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This doesn't mean that nothing is ever published here that mentions a US political party—it just means that the editorial policy of this newsletter is to remain neutral on all political issues. We don't take sides.
A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn’t fill up your incoming e-mail account.
There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world’s major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.
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If You Work From Home, the FBI Has a Warning for You
Here's what you can do to protect yourself and your team.
By Jason Aten
Millions of Americans have started working from home in the last few weeks, and as they do, scammers and hackers have seized the opportunity. The reality is that most home network setups are far less secure than what most office workers are used to, making them far more vulnerable to attack. While it's impossible to eliminate every risk, the good news is that there are a few things you can do to protect yourself and your information from hackers and other bad actors.
Here are six things you can do:
Secure Your Zoom Meetings
I wrote about this specifically yesterday, but with the prevalence of "Zoombombing," where hackers log into your Zoom meeting and take it over by sharing inappropriate materials, you should take steps to protect yourself. The FBI has even issued a warning. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do like using the waiting room function, disabling screen sharing, and using a meeting password.
Don't Click on Unfamiliar Links
Especially Zoom invitations. Every legit Zoom meeting looks the same: https://zoom.us/j/ followed by the meeting ID. If it's close, but not exactly that, it could be from a scammer trying to get your information. According to research from Check Point, there has been a surge of fake domains registered trying to capitalize on people sending Zoom invites. Don't fall victim to their scams. Always check, and if something doesn't seem right, don't click on it.
Don't Give Up Login Info
Many phishing scams work by sending you what appears to be a legitimate link. When you click on it, however, it takes you to a fraudulent website that happens to look legit, but definitely is not. As a general rule, never give personal information to a link that you receive in an email. There are no banks that will ask you to do this, no matter how convincing the email. Even if you do get a legitimate email, it's still better to type the known website address directly into your browser.
Don't Download Attachments
Scammers have been sending attachments with malicious code for as long as there has been email. If you get an email with an attachment you weren't expecting, even if it appears to be from someone you know, double check first. By the way, replying to the email isn't the best way to find out. Send a brand new email to the address that you know belongs to the sender since a spoofed email will end up going back to the scammer—who can then "confirm" that you should open the file.
Put a Password on Your Wi-Fi
If you still haven't secured your home Wi-Fi network, now is the time. The last thing you need is a bored neighbor or curious hacker accessing your network. You might think it isn't a big deal until you realize that once someone logs on, it's possible to snoop on your Internet traffic and even gain access to your devices.
Use a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) creates a secure path for your Internet traffic, preventing others from snooping or tracking what you do. VPNs are common among larger businesses that have employees accessing a company network or server.
For small businesses and individuals, however, there's still a huge benefit to keeping your personal and company information secure and away from prying eyes. Providers like Dashlane and NordVPN offer affordable options that are easy to install and use.
PUBLISHED ON: APR 1, 2020
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
Paging Transmitters 150/900 MHz
The RFI High Performance Paging Transmitter is designed for use in campus, city, state and country-wide paging systems. Designed for use where reliable simulcast systems where RF signal overlap coverage is critical.
Built-in custom interface for Prism-IPX ipBSC Base Controller for remote control, management and alarm reporting.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
The Wireless Messaging News
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A Feature on Zoom Secretly Displayed Data From People’s LinkedIn Profiles
After an inquiry from Times reporters, Zoom said it would disable a data-mining feature that could be used to snoop on participants during meetings without their knowledge.
By Aaron Krolik and Natasha Singer
For Americans sheltering at home during the coronavirus pandemic, the Zoom videoconferencing platform has become a lifeline, enabling millions of people to easily keep in touch with family members, friends, students, teachers and work colleagues.
But what many people may not know is that, until Thursday, a data-mining feature on Zoom allowed some participants to surreptitiously have access to LinkedIn profile data about other users — without Zoom asking for their permission during the meeting or even notifying them that someone else was snooping on them.
The undisclosed data mining adds to growing concerns about Zoom’s business practices at a moment when public schools, health providers, employers, fitness trainers, prime ministers and queer dance parties are embracing the platform.
An analysis by The New York Times found that when people signed in to a meeting, Zoom’s software automatically sent their names and email addresses to a company system it used to match them with their LinkedIn profiles.
The data-mining feature was available to Zoom users who subscribed to a LinkedIn service for sales prospecting, called LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Once a Zoom user enabled the feature, that person could quickly and covertly view LinkedIn profile data — like locations, employer names and job titles — for people in the Zoom meeting by clicking on a LinkedIn icon next to their names.
The system did not simply automate the manual process of one user looking up the name of another participant on LinkedIn during a Zoom meeting. In tests conducted last week, The Times found that even when a reporter signed in to a Zoom meeting under pseudonyms — “Anonymous” and “I am not here” — the data-mining tool was able to instantly match him to his LinkedIn profile. In doing so, Zoom disclosed the reporter’s real name to another user, overriding his efforts to keep it private.
Reporters also found that Zoom automatically sent participants’ personal information to its data-mining tool even when no one in a meeting had activated it. This week, for instance, as high school students in Colorado signed in to a mandatory video meeting for a class, Zoom readied the full names and email addresses of at least six students — and their teacher — for possible use by its LinkedIn profile-matching tool, according to a Times analysis of the data traffic that Zoom sent to a student’s account.
The discoveries about Zoom’s data-mining feature echo what users have learned about the surveillance practices of other popular tech platforms over the last few years. The video-meeting platform that has offered a welcome window on American resiliency during the coronavirus — providing a virtual peek into colleagues’ living rooms, classmates’ kitchens and friends’ birthday celebrations — can reveal more about its users than they may realize.
“People don’t know this is happening, and that’s just completely unfair and deceptive,” Josh Golin, the executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a nonprofit group in Boston, said of the data-mining feature. He added that storing the personal details of schoolchildren for non-school purposes, without alerting them or obtaining a parent’s permission, was particularly troubling.
Early Thursday, after Times reporters contacted Zoom and LinkedIn with their findings on the profile-matching feature, the companies said they would disable the service.
In a statement, Zoom said it took users’ privacy “extremely seriously” and was “removing the LinkedIn Sales Navigator to disable the feature on our platform entirely.” In a related blog post, Eric S. Yuan, the chief executive of Zoom, wrote that the company had removed the data-mining feature “after identifying unnecessary data disclosure.” He also said Zoom would freeze all new features for the next 90 days to concentrate on data security and privacy issues.
In a separate statement, LinkedIn said it worked “to make it easy for members to understand their choices over what information they share” and would suspend the profile-matching feature on Zoom “while we investigate this further.”
The Times’s findings add to an avalanche of reports about privacy and security issues with Zoom, which has quickly emerged as the go-to business and social platform during the pandemic. Zoom’s cloud-meetings service is currently the top free app in the Apple App Store in 64 countries including the United States, France and Russia, according to Sensor Tower, a mobile app research firm.
As the videoconferencing service’s popularity has surged, however, the company has scrambled to handle software design choices and security flaws that have made users vulnerable to harassment and privacy invasions.
On Monday, for instance, the Boston office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning saying that it had received multiple reports from Massachusetts schools about trolls hijacking Zoom meetings with displays of pornography, white supremacist imagery and threatening language — malicious attacks known as “zoombombing.”
Privacy experts said the company seemed to value ease of use and fast growth over instituting default user protections.
It’s a combination of sloppy engineering and prioritizing growth,” said Jonathan Mayer, an assistant professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University. “It’s very clear that they have not prioritized privacy and security in the way they should have, which is obviously more than a little concerning.”
Although profiling consumers and prospecting for corporate clients are standard practices in sales and customer relations management, privacy experts criticized Zoom for making the data-mining tools available during meetings without alerting participants as they were being subjected to them.
One service, called “attention tracking,” which Zoom also said it was removing on Thursday after reporters’ inquiries, displayed an icon “next to the name of any participant who does not have Zoom in focus for more than 30 seconds,” according to the company’s site.
In 2018, Zoom introduced the LinkedIn profile-matching feature to help sales representatives better profile and target sales prospects attending Zoom meetings.
“Instantly gain insights about your meeting participants,” a Zoom video promoting the service said. “Once signed in, you’ll be able to match participants to their LinkedIn profile information and view their recent activity.”
Just after 1 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday, Zoom sent an automated message to users saying it had disabled the LinkedIn profile-matching feature “due to administrative issues.”
“We will notify you when the app is re-enabled,” the message said.
|Source:||The New York Times|
Click on the image above for more info about advertising here.
Internet Protocol Terminal
The IPT accepts Internet or serial messaging using various protocols and can easily convert them to different protocols, or send them out as paging messages.
An ideal platform for hospitals, on-site paging applications, or converting legacy systems to modern protocols.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
Paging Data Receiver PDR-4
The PDR-4 is a multi-function paging data receiver that decodes paging messages and outputs them via the serial port, USB or Ethernet connectors.
Designed for use with Prism-IPX ECHO software Message Logging Software to receive messages and log the information for proof of transmission over the air, and if the data was error free.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
Wireless Network Planners
FCC Tells Phone Companies to Use Robocall-Fighting Tools by June 2021
by Philip Palermo on April 1, 2020 at 11:03 am CDT in News
Phone companies have a little over a year to implement new tools meant to fight robocalls, after the Federal Communications Commission adopted new rules to better verify incoming phone calls.
In a press release, the FCC said phone companies have until June 30th, 2021 to put the tools to use on their networks. The move follows last year’s TRACED Act (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence), which directed the FCC to establish new rules and policies to better guard against robocalls.
Known as STIR/SHAKEN, the new tech allows phone companies to verify that caller ID info actually matches the caller’s phone number. The idea is to curb the use of “spoofing,” where phone calls are disguised and made to look like they’re coming from a reliable or trusted source.
“Widespread implementation of STIR/SHAKEN will reduce the effectiveness of illegal spoofing, allow law enforcement to identify bad actors more easily, and help phone companies identify — and even block — calls with illegal spoofed caller ID information before those calls reach their subscribers. Most importantly, it will give consumers more peace of mind when they answer the phone,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement today.
Earlier this year, we reported on phone companies beginning to implement STIR/SHAKEN into their systems. T-Mobile, for one, announced a program called Caller Verified that works with certain networks, such as when T-Mobile customers receive calls from other T-Mobile devices, or from Comcast Xfinity Voice home phones. Of course, the tool’s effectiveness should improve further as more networks and companies sign on.
The FCC estimates that cracking down on robocalls could save more than $3 billion per year, adding that fraudulent robocalls also cost Americans around $10 billion annually.
|Source:||Cord Cutters News|
Remote AB Switches
ABX-1 switches are often used at remote transmitter sites to convert from old, outdated and unsupported controllers to the new modern Prism-IPX ipBSC base station controllers. Remotely switch to new controllers with GUI commands.
ABX-3 switches are widely used for enabling or disabling remote equipment and switching I/O connections between redundant messaging systems.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
FRONTIER BANKRUPTCY —
Frontier prepares for bankruptcy, regrets failure to install enough fiber
Frontier said it lost customers due to "significant under-investment in fiber."
JON BRODKIN - 4/1/2020, 2:39 PM
As Frontier Communications moves closer to an expected bankruptcy filing, the ISP told investors that its troubles stem largely from its failure to invest properly in upgrading DSL to fiber broadband.
The presentation for investors, which is included in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, said that "significant under-investment in fiber deployment and limited enterprise product offerings have created headwinds that the company is repositioning itself to reverse." Much of Frontier's fiber deployment was actually installed by Verizon before Verizon sold some of its operations to Frontier.
About 51 percent of Frontier revenue comes directly from residential consumers, with the rest mostly from wholesale and business customers. Frontier said the residential segment that provides most of its revenue "has the highest monthly churn," meaning that customers are leaving the company in large numbers. DSL-customer losses are expected to increase, Frontier said.
Frontier also said a "large portion" of its revenue is from "declining legacy products" like copper-landline phone service. Frontier's consumer-broadband network is primarily copper-based DSL, whose capabilities are easily surpassed by cable and fiber networks. Frontier Internet service is available to 14 million homes across the United States, but 11 million of those are DSL-only, the presentation said. The remaining 3 million homes, 21 percent of Frontier's footprint, have access to fiber.
Frontier said it has 2.6 million Internet subscribers, with 1.4 million on DSL and 1.2 million on fiber. The homes-passed and subscriber numbers exclude operations in four Northwest US states that Frontier is selling to WaveDivision Capital. When those four states are included, Frontier's residential-broadband subscriber base dropped from 3.7 million to 3.5 million in calendar year 2019. After the four-state sale is completed, Frontier will keep offering service in 25 states.
Stop the Cap published a summary of the Frontier presentation yesterday. "Frontier customers are disconnecting the company's low-speed DSL service in growing numbers, usually leaving for its biggest residential competitor: Charter Spectrum," the article said. Customer losses could have been even worse if Frontier faced stronger competition throughout its territory.
In addition to not deploying enough fiber, Frontier has done a poor job maintaining its copper phone and broadband network. Investigations and complaints of chronic outages in New York, Minnesota, Ohio, and West Virginia have helped reveal the ISP's shortcomings.
Frontier discussed the risks of its likely bankruptcy in another SEC filing, warning investors that "seeking Bankruptcy Court protection could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity." Frontier said another risk factor is "our ability to obtain sufficient financing to allow us to emerge from bankruptcy and execute our business plan post-emergence."
Frontier is skipping an April 1 debt payment in anticipation of its bankruptcy filing. Frontier was originally expected to file for bankruptcy by mid-March.
While things are bleak now, Frontier says it has a plan to improve performance in the long run. The presentation for investors said Frontier intends to "transform the business from a provider of legacy telecom services over a primarily copper-based network to a next-generation broadband-service provider with long-lived fiber-based infrastructure."
Frontier recently hired a new CEO, former Dish executive Bernie Han, to lead a turnaround attempt. Though Frontier has failed to prevent customer losses, company leadership apparently believes a restructuring, more investment, and better management would help the ISP compete more effectively against cable and fiber ISPs. Frontier said its potential market is "an attractive investment with opportunity for capital deployment" and that its "under-managed assets" pose an opportunity. The board of directors is likely to change significantly after bankruptcy, the company said.
After a restructuring, Frontier says it intends to "invest in high-return" fiber-to-the-home upgrades, and fiber expansions "for wireless and wholesale customers." Frontier said it has identified about 3 million households "with attractive economics for new fiber builds."
Frontier said it intends to get a slice of Federal Communications Commission funding that can be used to upgrade rural-broadband networks. With Frontier's customer service also a problem, the company said it hopes to reduce subscriber losses with improvements to the installation process, equipment functionality, and customer service in general.
Disclosure: The Advance/Newhouse Partnership, which owns 13 percent of Charter, is part of Advance Publications. Advance Publications owns Condé Nast, which owns Ars Technica.
New T-Mobile Brims With Optimism as Legere Steps Down as CEO
The telecom world and cellular consumers finally got closure yesterday as the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint became official. The newly formed company, New T-Mobile, said the deal will drive an investment of $40 billion into its network over the next three years and unleash at least $43 billion in value for shareholders. The company said there were no immediate plans for the Sprint brand while Sprint’s investor relations web page directed all inquiries to T-Mobile’s page. It was also announced that Mike Sievert will replace John Legere as CEO, effective immediately.
“It’s a relief to end the uncertainty and move on with business. Everyone is excited to seize this opportunity to build up our nation’s wireless networks,” said WIA President and CEO Jonathan Adelstein. “It’s more important now than ever to ensure that our nation’s next-generation wireless networks are deployed quickly to serve communities, providing means for telehealth and distance learning, and restoring economic growth and jobs for America.”
“During this extraordinary time, it has become abundantly clear how vital a strong and reliable network is to the world we live in. The New T-Mobile’s commitment to delivering a transformative broad and deep nationwide 5G network is more important and more needed than ever and what we are building is mission-critical for consumers,” said Mike Sievert, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “With this powerful network, the New T-Mobile will deliver real choice and value to wireless and home broadband customers and double down on all the things customers have always loved about the Un-carrier.”
“T-Mobile has been changing wireless for good — and now we are going to do it on a whole new level,” Sievert said. During his tenure as CEO, the company says John Legere engineered a turnaround as T-Mobile disrupted the wireless industry and became the fastest growing company in wireless, capturing 80 percent of the industry’s postpaid phone growth from 2013 to today. Legere will continue as a member of the Board of Directors for the remainder of his current term, through the Annual Meeting of Shareholders scheduled in June 2020.
Heather Gastelum, National Site Safety at T-Mobile, said in a social media post: “Hold on for the ride folks . . . l know you’re going to enjoy our energetic culture, besides Magenta, looks great on everyone!”
|Source:||Inside Towers newsletter|| Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers Jim Fryer.
Inside Towers is a daily newsletter by subscription.
Selected portions [sometimes more — sometimes less — sometimes the whole updates] of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update and/or the BloostonLaw Private Users Update — newsletters from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP — are reproduced in this section of The Wireless Messaging News with kind permission from the firm. The firm's contact information is included at the end of this section of the newsletter.
FCC Waives Lifeline De-Enrollment Requirements, Extends Re-verification Until May 29
On March 30, the FCC issued an Order waiving the Lifeline program’s usage requirements and general de-enrollment procedures until May 29, 2020. It also extended a recent waiver of the program’s recertification and re-verification requirements to May 29, 2020 to ensure that all of the waiver periods for the Lifeline de-enrollment rules will have the same duration. The Order also directed the Lifeline program administrator, the Universal Service Administrative Company, to pause any involuntary de-enrollment of existing subscribers until that date. See the article below for more information.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Extends Filing Deadline for Net Neutrality/Lifeline Comments
On March 25, the FCC issued an Order granting a 21-day extension of time for filing comments and reply comments on the Public Notice seeking to refresh the record in its Restoring Internet Freedom and Lifeline proceedings. With this 21-day extension, comments are due on April 20, 2020, and reply comments are due on May 20, 2020.
As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the record-refresh comes in the wake of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision in Mozilla Corp. v. FCC, in which the court remanded three discrete issues for further consideration by the FCC:
Carriers interested in filing comments may contact the firm for more information.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Waives Lifeline De-Enrollment Rules; Extends Recertification Until May 29
On March 30, the FCC released an Order taking “several actions to help ensure that no Lifeline subscribers are involuntarily de-enrolled from the Lifeline program during this unprecedented national pandemic.” First, the FCC temporarily waived, on its own motion, the Lifeline program’s usage requirements and general de-enrollment procedures, until May 29, 2020. Second, the FCC extended, again on its own motion, the previous waiver of the Lifeline program’s recertification and re-verification rules to May 29, 2020 to ensure that all of the waiver periods for Lifeline’s de-enrollment rules will have the same duration. Third, the FCC directed the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to pause any involuntary de-enrollment of existing subscribers.
Lifeline providers are required by the program rules to de-enroll any Lifeline subscriber who the carrier has a reasonable basis to believe is no longer eligible for the program. A Lifeline provider who believes that a subscriber is no longer eligible for the program must provide that subscriber with written notice, and the subscriber then has 30 days to demonstrate their continued eligibility, or else be de-enrolled from the program. For Lifeline subscribers who do not pay a fee for their Lifeline-supported service, the subscriber’s eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) may only claim reimbursement from the Lifeline program for those subscribers who have used their Lifeline service in the past 30 days. If a Lifeline subscriber receiving a free-to-end-user service does not use their service for 30 days, the ETC must notify the subscriber that they have 15 days to “cure” the non-usage or they will be de-enrolled from the Lifeline program. Subscribers who do not use the service during the cure period must then be de-enrolled.
Lifeline subscribers are also required to certify their continued eligibility for the program, and may also be required to provide proof of eligibility for USAC’s National Verifier eligibility determination system. As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, in light of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the FCC, on March 17, 2020, granted a 60-day waiver of these certification requirements to ensure that no Lifeline subscriber would be de-enrolled for failing to certify or verify their continued eligibility.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Mary Sisak and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Extends E-Rate Program Deadlines
On April 1, the FCC announced extensions of key E-Rate service implementation and filing deadlines to provide relief to program participants affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Specifically, the FCC’s Order waives the so-called service implementation deadline for special construction for all funding year 2019 applicants and extends this deadline by one year, from June 30, 2020 to June 30, 2021. Under FCC rules, applicants must complete special construction (e.g., deploying fiber) and the network must be “lit” or in use by June 30 of the applicable funding year. With schools and libraries closed for lengthy periods of time, the Order recognizes that service providers may not be allowed on the premises and may experience significant challenges in meeting this construction deadline.
The Bureau also (1) extends the service delivery deadline for non-recurring services for funding year 2019 by one year, from September 30, 2020 to September 30, 2021; (2) grants schools and libraries an automatic 60-day extension to file requests for review or waiver of decisions by the E-Rate program administrator, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC); (3) provides applicants and service providers an automatic 120-day extension of the invoice filing deadline; and (4) gives all program participants an additional 30-day extension to respond to certain information requests from USAC.
“In light of extended school and library closures, we’re granting an across-the-board, one-year extension of the E-Rate special construction deadline for funding year 2019,” said Chairman Ajit Pai. “By providing this proactive relief, we want to ease burdens on schools and libraries to allow them to focus their time and resources on transitioning their students, patrons, teachers, and staff to remote learning during this crisis. This is yet another step the FCC is taking to offer help to students and teachers in need—and I look forward to continue working with Congress to fund a Remote Learning Initiative so that every child can continue being educated during the pandemic.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
President Trump Signs CARES Act Into Law; Chairman Pai Circulates COVID Telehealth Order
On March 30, President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stimulus (“CARES”) Act into law. Among other provisions, the Act provides for $25,000,000 to RUS for a “Distance Learning, Telemedicine, and Broadband Program”, to remain available until expended, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, for telemedicine and distance learning services in rural area; another $100,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2021, for USDA’s ReConnect program, provided that at least 90 percent of the households to be served by a project receiving a grant shall be in a rural area without sufficient access to broadband; and $200,000,000 to the FCC, to remain available until expended, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, including to support efforts of health care providers to address coronavirus by providing telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to enable the provision of telehealth services during an emergency period.
Three days later, on March 30, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced his plan for a COVID-19 Telehealth Program to support health care providers responding to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which will use the $200 million appropriated in the CARES Act. If adopted by the FCC, the Program would help eligible health care providers purchase telecommunications, broadband connectivity, and devices necessary for providing telehealth services. These services would directly help COVID-19 patients and provide care to patients with other conditions who might risk contracting the coronavirus when visiting a healthcare provider—while reducing practitioners’ potential exposure to the virus.
The Chairman has also presented his colleagues with final rules to stand up a broader, longer-term Connected Care Pilot Program. It would study how connected care could be a permanent part of the Universal Service Fund by making available up to $100 million of universal service support over three years to help defray eligible health care providers’ costs of providing telehealth services to patients at their homes or mobile locations, with an emphasis on providing those services to low-income Americans and veterans.
“As we self-isolate and engage in social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth will continue to become more and more important across the country. Our nation’s health care providers are under incredible, and still increasing, strain as they fight the pandemic. My plan for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program is a critical tool to address this national emergency. I’m calling on my fellow Commissioners to vote promptly to adopt the draft order I circulated today, so that we can take immediate steps to provide support for telehealth services and devices to health care providers during this national crisis,” said Chairman Pai. “I’d like to thank Congress for acting with bipartisan decisiveness to allocate funding for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program and Commissioner Carr for his leadership on telehealth issues, including the Connected Care Pilot Program.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Waives Mobile Competitive ETC Spending Requirements
On April 1, the FCC issued an Order waiving the requirement that a mobile competitive ETC receiving legacy high-cost universal service support must use all funding for their own service area rather than an affiliated ETC’s service area. This flexibility will be afforded until June 30, 2020.
Competitive ETCs receive a fixed amount of legacy high-cost universal service support. The FCC has restricted high-cost support recipients from spending universal service funds received for a service area outside of the area for which it was originally designated. Under this waiver, competitive ETCs will have the flexibility to use such support for the provision, maintenance, and upgrading of facilities and services within any of the designated service areas of an affiliated ETC (e.g., where several ETCs share a common holding company), regardless of whether those areas span more than one state.
The waiver applies only to mobile competitive ETCs receiving legacy support. Further, nothing in this Order permits a competitive ETC to use high-cost support to provide service outside of its or an affiliated competitive ETC’s designated service areas, nor does it permit any competitive ETC to use high-cost support for anything but its intended purposes. BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.
Law and Regulation
Carrier Settles Unauthorized Transfer of Control Investigation for $8,000
On March 30, the FCC issued an Order resolving resolve its investigation into whether Missouri Network Alliance, LLC (MNA) violated the FCC’s rules related to the sale of its assets to Bluebird Media, LLC (Bluebird) prior to receiving approval from the FCC. Sections 63.03 and 63.04 of the FCC’s rules require prior approval to enable the FCC to apply a public interest standard in evaluating possible risks to competition and consumers that could result from transfers of control of entities holding federally granted authorizations pursuant to section 214 of the Act. To settle this matter, MNA admits that it failed to obtain the FCC’s approval prior to the sale of assets to Bluebird, and will implement a compliance plan and pay an $8,000 civil penalty.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.
Additional CBRS Environmental Sensing Capabilities Approved for CommScope and Google
The FCC last week announced their approval of the updated Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) sensor deployment and coverage plans (ESC Sensor Registrations) of CommScope and Google. The approval marks an important milestone in expanding the availability of 3550-3650 MHz CBRS spectrum for commercial use in areas near the coasts, where the band is shared from with itinerant DoD radar systems.
Under the FCC’s rules for ESC sensor deployment, ESC operators must operate in conjunction with at least one Spectrum Access System (SAS) that has been approved for commercial deployment by the FCC. Prior to providing commercial service for any given dynamic protection area (DPA), an ESC operator must file a notification with the FCC affirming that approved sensors covering the DPA are constructed and operational.
By the FCC’s Public Notice, CommScope and Google have satisfied the sensor coverage requirements for East DPA’s 3, 15 through 18, and 21; West DPAs 1 through 14; Alameda; Long Beach; San Diego Port; Pensacola; Webster Field; and Bremerton Everett.
In the fall of 2018, CommScope and Google announced they would work together to jointly develop, deploy and operate an ESC network while each would continue to provide independent SAS services.
BloostonLaw Contact: Cary Mitchell
Comments on Outage Report Sharing Due April 30
On April 1, the FCC issued a Public Notice establishing the comment and reply comment deadlines for its Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in PS Docket No. 15-80, which proposes a framework for sharing detailed communications outage information with state and federal agencies to improve their situational awareness and enhance their ability to respond more quickly to outages affecting their communities, while also preserving the confidentiality of this data. Comments are due April 30, and reply comments are due June 1.
Specifically, the FCC proposes to grant direct access to NORS and DIRS filings to State and Federal agencies acting on behalf of the federal government, the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Tribal Nation governments, and United States territories (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) that reasonably require access to the information in order to prepare for, or respond to, an event that threatens public safety, pursuant to its official duties (i.e., agencies with a “need to know”).
In order to protect the confidentiality of this information, the FCC proposes to extend its policy of treating NORS and DIRS filings as presumptively confidential – i.e., withheld from public disclosure, shared on a limited basis to eligible entities, and provided to others in summarized and aggregated form – to participating state and federal government agencies. Other safeguards include read-only access, and disclosure on a “need-to-know” basis.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell
FCC Extends Broadcast Report Deadlines
On March 27, the FCC issued a Public Notice extending the filing deadline for the first annual Children’s Television Programming Report (FCC Form 2100, Schedule H) to July 10, 2020. Additionally, the FCC extended the deadline by which radio and television broadcasters must place their first quarter issues/programs lists into their Online Public Inspection File to July 10, 2020. As a result, the filing deadline for both the first and second quarter issues/programs lists will be the same.
According to the FCC, extending these reporting deadlines will not significantly impact the public’s or the FCC's review of licensee’s compliance with the FCC’s rules. At the same time, the FCC encouraged licensees to file their Children’s Television Programming Report and their quarterly issues/programs lists as soon as practicable.
BloostonLaw Contact: Gerry Duffy.
FCC Issues Guidance on Local Television Ownership Rule During Pandemic
On March 25, the FCC issued a Public Notice providing guidance on the Local Television Ownership Rule during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Specifically, the FCC recognizes that in light of the outbreak, individual licensees may need to request temporary waivers of the Local Television Ownership Rule, which prohibits news coverage on one television station—the brokered station—from being produced by another in-market station via an existing Local Marketing, Shared Services, or similar agreement if such programming is in excess of 15% of the brokered station’s weekly programming hours.
Section 1.3 of the FCC’s rules permits waivers to be based on “good cause shown.” This is by necessity a fact-specific determination. The temporary waivers will be limited only to the time period during which COVID-19 remains a national emergency. Grants may be conditioned on compliance with the Local Television Ownership Rule once COVID-19 is no longer determined to be a national emergency. Failure to abide by any conditions placed on grant of the waiver may subject a licensee to enforcement action.
BloostonLaw is available to assist clients in obtaining any waivers, including the Local Television Ownership Rule.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino.
USDA Launches COVID-19 Resource Webpage
On March 27, the USDA’s Rural Development announced the launch of a COVID-19 resource page to keep its customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated on actions taken by the Agency to help rural residents, businesses, and communities impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak: www.rd.usda.gov/coronavirus.
As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the USDA has already taken a number of steps to assist, including extending the deadline for Telecommunications and Electric Program borrowers and grantees to submit their annual CPA audit; waiving borrower covenant requirements for loan agreement financial ratios; and allowing applicants to use alternative methods to notify the public, such as through video conferences, teleconferences and public notices on websites and in local newspapers, as a substitute for the public meeting notification requirement for water and waste projects.
FCC Grants Wireless ISPs Temporary Access to 5.9 GHz Spectrum; AT&T Access to AWS-4
On March 27, the FCC announced the grant of temporary spectrum access to 33 wireless Internet service providers serving 330 counties in 29 states to help them serve rural communities facing an increase in broadband needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Special Temporary Authority (STA) granted today allows these companies to use the lower 45 megahertz of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band for 60 days.
The day prior, the FCC granted STA to AT&T, Inc., to allow it to use for 60 days AWS-4 spectrum licensed to Dish Network Corp. to bolster its capacity to serve Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Like everybody else, rural Americans are facing an increased need for broadband service as more and more workers, students, and families stay home during this national emergency,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “Fixed wireless broadband providers deliver this service for many communities, especially those hardest for other providers to reach. Giving them access to the 5.9 GHz band will help them meet their customers’ needs during these challenging times. I want to thank these companies for all they’re doing to help their customers. I also would like to thank our counterparts at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration for their cooperation. Last but not least, I would like to thank the FCC’s excellent staff for their hard work in processing these applications thoroughly and swiftly. Their efforts here and on many other issues demonstrate the FCC’s determination to do everything we can to Keep Americans Connected.”
APRIL 1: FCC FORM 499-A, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. This form must be filed by all contributors to the Universal Service Fund (USF) sup-port mechanisms, the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the cost recovery mechanism for the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP). Contributors include every telecommunications carrier that provides interstate, intrastate, and international telecommunications, and certain other entities that provide interstate telecommunications for a fee. Even common carriers that qualify for the de minimis exemption must file Form 499-A. Entities whose universal service contributions will be less than $10,000 qualify for the de minimis exemption. De minimis entities do not have to file the quarterly report (FCC Form 499-Q), which was due February 1, and will again be due May 1. Form 499-Q relates to universal and LNP mechanisms. Form 499-A relates to all of these mechanisms and, hence, applies to all providers of interstate, intrastate, and international telecommunications services. Form 499-A contains revenue information for January 1 through December 31 of the prior calendar year. And Form 499-Q contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. (Note: the revised 499-A and 499-Q forms are now available.) Block 2-B of the Form 499-A requires each carrier to designate an agent in the District of Columbia upon whom all notices, process, orders, and decisions by the FCC may be served on behalf of that carrier in proceedings before the FCC. Carriers receiving this newsletter may specify our law firm as their D.C. agent for service of process using the information in our masthead. There is no charge for this service.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
APRIL 1: ANNUAL ACCESS TO ADVANCED SERVICES CERTIFICATION. All providers of telecommunications services and telecommunications carriers subject to Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act are required to file with the FCC an annual certification that (1) states the company has procedures in place to meet the record-keeping requirements of Part 14 of the Rules; (2) states that the company has in fact kept records for the previous calendar year; (3) contains contact information for the individual or individuals handling customer complaints under Part 14; (4) contains contact information for the company’s designated agent; and (5) is supported by an affidavit or declaration under penalty of perjury signed by an officer of the company.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy, Mary Sisak, Sal Taillefer.
MAY 1: FCC FORM 499-Q, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. All telecommunications common carriers that expect to contribute more than $10,000 to federal Universal Service Fund (USF) support mechanisms must file this quarterly form. The FCC has modified this form in light of its decision to establish interim measures for USF contribution assessments. The form contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. Form 499-Q relates only to USF contributions. It does not relate to the cost recovery mechanisms for the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP), which are covered in the annual Form 499-A that is due April 1.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
JUNE 1: FCC FORM 395, EMPLOYMENT REPORT. Common carriers, including wireless carriers, with 16 or more full-time employees must file their annual Common Carrier Employment Reports (FCC Form 395) by May 31. However, because the 31st is a Sunday this year, the filing will be due on June 1. This report tracks carrier compliance with rules requiring recruitment of minority employees. Further, the FCC requires all common carriers to report any employment discrimination complaints they received during the past year. That information is also due on June 1. The FCC encourages carriers to complete the discrimination report requirement by filling out Section V of Form 395, rather than submitting a separate report.
BloostonLaw Contact: Richard Rubino.
BloostonLaw Remains Available to Help You During the COVID-19 Pandemic
During the National Emergency concerning the COVAD-19 pandemic, the Blooston Law Firm has converted to a virtual environment with its attorneys and staff mostly telecommuting, in keeping with the requirements of the DC Government and recommendations of the CDC. All Blooston Law personnel have remote access to their emails and voicemails, and will be fully engaged in helping our clients whether at home or in the office.
We anticipate that our staff will be telecommuting for the foreseeable future and at least through April 30th, consistent the President’s extension of social distancing guidelines. We will revisit this date as conditions warrant.
We hope that everyone is able to stay safe and healthy.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
“Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act” Introduced – Includes Repeal of T-Band Auction
On March 23, 2020, House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), along with co-sponsors Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and Richard E. Neal (D-MA), introduced HR 6379, the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act, a coronavirus response bill that was designed to inject more than $2.5 trillion into the American economy.
Of particular interest to our Private Radio clients is Section 501 of the proposed legislation – which may or may not ever see the light of day given the fact that the Senate’s COVID-19 economic stimulus bill was signed into law last week by President Trump. If adopted, Section 501 would repeal the requirement that the FCC reallocate and auction the T-Band (470-512 MHz), thereby allowing first responders and industrial business users to continue the use of the band for their public safety communications.
As we have previously reported over the years, the requirement for the reallocation and auction of the T-Band by 2021 can be traced back to the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which mandated the sale of the T-Band spectrum even though it is used to support public safety communications and provide regional interoperability for first responder communications, as well as in support of industrial business/critical infrastructure communications. In supporting a repeal of this mandate, Chairman Pai stated in December 2019 that “[i]n 2012, Congress passed legislation requiring the FCC to reallocate and auction T-Band spectrum used for decades by public safety licensees and fund the relocation of those licensees elsewhere. The agency has extensively analyzed the T-Band and concluded that moving forward is not viable—relocation costs for public safety licensees would likely far exceed any potential auction revenue, making it impossible to fund the relocation and comply with the mandate. The Government Accountability Office has agreed—reporting to Congress that the T-Band mandate is unworkable and could deprive first responders of their current ability to communicate by radio. Because of these concerns, I’m calling on Congress to repeal the T-Band mandate. I’m hopeful that Congress can resolve this matter without delay. Doing so will not only protect public safety communications in the T-Band but will also allow our dedicated auction staff to focus in 2020 on auctions that will make new airwaves available for 5G, like spectrum in the 3.5 GHz and 3.7 GHz bands.”
Even if this legislation is not successful, it is hoped that Congress will take the necessary steps to repeal the T-Band mandate in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. While this mandate was targeted to public safety licensees, the reallocation and associated auction of the T-Band spectrum would also adversely affect industrial business and critical infrastructure users, since spectrum would likely not be available for those uses. And, because industrial business and critical infrastructure users were not covered by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, there is no certainty regarding how the relocation costs for those users would be addressed should the repeal fail and the FCC be forced to reallocate and auction the T-Band spectrum.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
FCC Temporarily Waives 3.65 GHz Transition Requirement
On March 19, the FCC issued an Order temporarily waiving the requirement for licensees in the 3650-3700 MHz band to transition their Part 90 operations to Part 96 operations by April 17, 2020. Under the extension, the FCC has specified a new deadline of October 17 for all licensees that would otherwise have had to complete the transition of their 3650-3700 MHz operations April 17 and October 17, 2020. According to the FCC, the temporary waiver was granted in effort to ensure connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The transition rules were adopted in 2015 as part of the rules for shared commercial use of the 3550-3700 MHz Band (3.5 GHz Band). That order included a transition period for existing Part 90 wireless broadband licensees in the 3650-3700 MHz band (3650-3700 MHz band licensees) to complete the transition of their operations to Part 96 Citizens Broadband Radio Service, either on a grandfathered, protected basis or on a non-grandfathered basis. Pursuant to the FCC’s existing rules, the transition period was to end between April 17, 2020, and January 8, 2023, depending on the grant and expiration dates of each individual license.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast, Cary Mitchell and Richard Rubino
FCC Implements Electronic Payments for Forfeiture Penalties
On February 28, the FCC released an Order implementing mandatory electronic payments for forfeiture penalties. As a result, payments for forfeiture penalties may no longer be paid via check or money order 90 days from the date the Order is published in the Federal Register. After that date, forfeiture penalty payments must be made in accordance with the procedures set forth on the Commission’s website, www.fcc.gov/licensing-databases/fees. For now, such payments will be made through the Fee Filer Online System (Fee Filer), accessible at https://www.fcc.gov/licensing-databases/fees/fee-filer. These changes were made without notice and comment because they are rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice which is exempt from the general notice-and-comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
FCC Takes Actions to Ensure Reliable Communications Necessary for Telecommuting and Distance Learning During COVID-19 Pandemic
Due to the unique nationwide circumstances triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the FCC has taken action to ensure that public communications can be maintained without adding additional financial burdens to service providers. Among these actions are the issuance of a temporary waiver of the FCC’s access arbitrage rules to Inteliquent, a telecommunications company that carries traffic for two of the nation’s largest conference calling providers, Zoom Video Communications and Cisco WebEx. Because of various state and local orders to shutter non-essential business activities, maintain social distancing, etc., many businesses, K-12 schools and universities are operating in a virtual environment with employees and students telecommuting or using distance learning. As a result, there has been a significant increase in the amount of conference calls and virtual meeting being held — whether over Zoom or WebEx.
Had the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau not granted a waiver to Inteliquent, the massive increase in conference calls and virtual meetings using Zoom and WebEx to work and attend classes from home during the COVID-19 pandemic would likely have result in Inteliquent being deemed an “access-stimulating” carrier under the FCC’s rules, which in turn, would trigger significant cost increases that could impede its ability to provide these critical communications services to conference calling companies and platforms.
In taking this action, Chairman Ajit Pai stated that “[t]his nationwide pandemic has fundamentally changed our daily lives. Americans across the country—me included—have transitioned to teleworking, and their kids have transitioned to remote learning. Inteliquent’s customers enable these things to happen by providing popular conference calling platforms.” Pai continued that “[g]iven the sharp increase in conference calling traffic, we’ve granted a waiver to Inteliquent so it can continue to provide service to these platforms, specifically by avoiding unintended, negative financial consequences under our access arbitrage rules. Those rules targeted companies that have been exploiting our inter-carrier compensation system by generating inflated call volumes to pad their bottom lines. They weren’t intended to ensnare companies that, during a national emergency, are experiencing unprecedented call volumes that would push them out of compliance without a waiver.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
FCC Extends Push Notification Waiver until September 30, 2020
The FCC has extended its waiver of the push notification requirements of Rule Sections 15.37(j) and 15.711(i) for fixed and Mode II personal/portable white space devices and white space databases through September 30, 2020.
In August 2015, the FCC adopted rules to regulate both unlicensed microphones that operate in the 600 MHz and TV bands and white space devices that operate on TV Channel 37. Under the FCC’s Rules, white space devices are required to check a database at least once each day in order to obtain a list of available channels at their operating location. In maintaining this requirement, the Commission also required database administrators to “push” information about changes in channel availability to white space devices in the area where the licensed microphones would be used. More specifically, database administrators were required to share licensed wireless microphone channel registration information among themselves within 10 minutes as well as push information changes in channel availability for fixed and Mode II personal/portable white space devices within 20 minutes. Further, white space devices that did not incorporate a push notification capability were originally to have ceased operation no later than December 23, 2016, which is the same date that administrators were required to update their systems to implement push notification capabilities.
Because various petitions for reconsideration of the push notification requirements had been filed, which argued that the push notification requirement was unwieldy, the Commission determined that there was good cause to waive the requirements of Rule Section 15.37(j) and 15.711(i) until final action is taken on the pending petitions for reconsideration. Inasmuch as the petitions are still pending, the Commission determined that the reasons justifying the original waiver remain valid.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
FCC Rules that COVID-19 Related Emergency Robocalls by Public Health and Governmental Officials are Legal
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was enacted by Congress in order to address certain calling practices that invade consumer privacy and threaten public safety. Essentially, the TCPA and the Commission’s Rules prohibit autodialed, prerecorded, or artificial voice calls (including text messages and SMS texts) to wireless telephone numbers and other specified recipients in most circumstances (otherwise known as Robocalls).
The United States has been under a state of emergency since March 13, 2020 upon the President’s proclamation that the COVID-19 outbreak constitutes a national emergency. The FCC has acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has endangered American lives with a respiratory illness that has spread throughout the United States and stated that efforts to slow the spread of the disease depend in part on effective communications with the American public about measures such as social distancing that can mitigate transmission of the illness, as well as other health and safety information that could save lives. With its Declaratory Ruling, the FCC seeks to ensure that public health officials can efficiently and effectively communicate vital health and safety information to the public. Specifically, FCC confirmed that the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes an “emergency” under the TCPA and that consequently hospitals, health care providers, state and local health officials, and other government officials may lawfully communicate information about the novel coronavirus as well as mitigation measures without violating federal law and consistent with the TCPA exception for “emergency purposes.” In this regard, “emergency purposes” is defined as “calls made necessary in any situation affecting the health and safety of consumers.” The FCC stated that this exception is intended for “instances [that] pose significant risks to public health and safety, and [where] the use of prerecorded message calls could speed the dissemination of information regarding . . . potentially hazardous conditions to the public.”
By issuing this Declaratory Ruling, the FCC has confirmed that certain callers may lawfully make automated calls and send automated text messages to wireless telephone numbers when such calls are necessary to protect the health and safety of citizens pursuant to the TCPA’s “emergency purposes” exception. The FCC has previously made clear that these sorts of automated calls to wireless numbers made necessary by incidents of imminent danger including “health risks” are made for an emergency purpose, and do not require prior express consent to be lawful since the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes an imminent public health risk.
In order to determine whether a call will fall under the emergency purposes exception, the FCC will look to the identity of the caller and the call’s content. First, the caller must be a hospital, a health care provider, state or local health official, or other government official (as well as persons calling under the express direction of such an organization and acting on its behalf). Second, the content of the call must be solely informational, made necessary because of the COVID-19 outbreak, and directly related to the imminent health or safety risk arising out of the COVID-19 outbreak. Thus, a call from a hospital that provides vital and time-sensitive health and safety information related to the COVID-19 outbreak would be permissible. Likewise a call from a local government official to inform citizens of shelter-in-place requirements, quarantines, medically administered testing information, or school closures necessitated by the national emergency would be made for an emergency purpose as such measures are designed to inhibit the spread of the disease and would therefore be allowed.
On the other hand, a call containing advertising or telemarketing services does not constitute a call made for an “emergency purpose” (e.g., advertising a commercial grocery delivery service, or selling or promoting health insurance, cleaning services, or home test kits). Calls made to collect debt, even if such debt arises from related health care treatment, are not made for an “emergency purpose,” as those calls are not time-sensitive, do not “affect the health and safety of consumers,” and are not directly related to an imminent health or safety risk. Such debt collection, advertising, or telemarketing automated calls require the prior express consent of the called party. The FCC has cautioned that impermissible calls will subject the caller to enforcement action and the FCC has warned that “unscrupulous” callers should not view the FCC’s action as a “retreat” from its aggressive work to combat illegal robocalls.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
Interference and Failure to Use Call Sign Costs Amateur Radio Operator $18,000
The FCC has issued an $18,000 fine against Jerry Materne for causing interference to licensed radio operations on the frequency 146.130 MHz and failing to transmit his assigned call sign in the Amateur Radio Service. Following the issuance of a Notice of Apparent Liability, Mr. Materne asserted that he was using a radio that was not capable of transmitting on the frequency 146.130 MHz and that the FCC had erroneously determined that he was causing the interference by transmitting digital noise into an analog radio that transmitted on a radio repeater’s input frequency (146.130 MHz). Additionally, the digital noise did not include Mr. Materne’s assigned call sign.
The FCC noted that the field agent had used direction finding techniques and positively confirmed that Mr. Materne’s vehicle was the source of the interference, after monitoring transmissions for approximately half an hour. When the field agent approached Mr. Materne’s vehicle, he inspected the radio and confirmed that the radio in Mr. Materne’s possession was capable of operating on the frequency 146.130 MHz – even though Mr. Materne claimed that he was using a radio that was not capable of transmitting on that frequency.
Mr. Materne also claimed that he did not have the ability to pay the $18,000 fine given his financial condition due to being a disabled veteran. The FCC’s has long required respondents to a proposed fine who claim inability to pay to provide supporting documentation in the form of their IRS tax return and that it will not consider such requests without corroborating documentation to support the claim. In this case, Mr. Materne refused to provide his tax return to support his request for reduction/remission of the proposed fine. Instead, he argued that the “government can very easily examine [his] accounts and credit history to determine [his] ability to pay.” As a result, the FCC upheld Mr. Materne’s $18,000 fine.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR|
I hope you and your family are doing well.
Keep up the good fight.
God bless & Godspeed. . .
Rex M. Lee
|INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK|
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