In a highly anticipated action, the Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines on March 31 to adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice) seeking comment on a range of privacy guidelines for broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs). FCC Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel each voted to adopt the Notice, while Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly dissented.
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) on January 13, 2016, issued its Request for Proposals (RFP) to deploy and operate a nationwide public safety broadband network, marking a major step forward in a decades-long effort to modernize communications for first responders and other public safety personnel. The release follows extensive dialogue with public safety and potential vendors in the technology and communications industry on the objectives and scope of the RFP for the FirstNet network, including a consultation and outreach program to engage with the states, territories, federal agencies, tribal governments, among others.
The Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) International Bureau (“IB”) has removed Cuba from the International Section 214 Exclusion List, an index of countries that are not covered by the FCC’s otherwise global “International Section 214” authorizations to carry telecommunications traffic beyond U.S. borders. Entities seeking to operate lines between the U.S. and countries on the Exclusion List were required to obtain specific authorization from the FCC and the U.S. Department of State (“State Department”).
On January 29, 2016, the FCC released its 2016 Broadband Progress Report (“Report”) pursuant to Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Section 706 requires the FCC to report annually on whether advanced telecommunications capability “is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion,” and to take “immediate action to accelerate deployment of such capability by removing barriers to infrastructure investment and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market” if the FCC determines that that it is not being deployed in this way. The Report finds that “advanced telecommunications capability is not being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” This finding comes one year after the FCC revised its standard for broadband, from 10 Mbps/1Mbps to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps. Continue reading FCC Releases 2016 Broadband Progress Report
Starting out the New Year with its first “enforcement advisory,” the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau on February 5, 2016 issued a Public Notice reminding telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers that they have until March 1, 2016 to file annual Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) certifications with the FCC. Continue reading Reminder – CPNI Annual Certification Filings Due March 1
On January 20, 2016, the FCC released a Report and Order adopting new broadcast ownership reporting forms in a bid to improve demographic information available to the FCC. The order (1) imposed a requirement for a new Restricted Use FCC Reporting Number (“RUFRN”); (2) increased reporting obligations for noncommercial education broadcasters; (3) limited the availability of Special Use FRNs; and (4) revised the relevant reporting forms for improved efficiency. Continue reading FCC Reforms Broadcast Ownership Reports and Filing Procedures
At its January 2016 open meeting, the FCC adopted rules to require radio stations, multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) and satellite radio licensees to maintain their public inspection files online. These new rules follow a similar plan used in 2012 when the FCC adopted online public file requirements for television stations. Implementation of the new rules for MVPDs and radio stations will be staggered, with DBS and satellite radio licensees being required to come into compliance upon the effective date of the new rules. Continue reading FCC Adopts Rules to Move Radio Stations to Online Public Files
On February 9, 2016, the FCC announced that Children’s Television Programming Reports (FCC Form 398) will need to be filed on the Licensing and Management System (LMS), commencing with the First Quarter 2016 reports due in April 2016. Continue reading Children’s Television Programming Reports Have A New Home