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I was an early adopter of the Internet. My URL www.BradDye.com has been on the web for a long time. Maybe about 20 years.
So I am happy to read how the FCC is pushing the expansion of faster Internet speeds to unserved and underserved areas. Do you remember dial-up? Wasn't it slow and terrible? We use to say that WWW stood for "world wide wait."
FCC will pay ISPs to deploy broadband with 250GB monthly data cap
Ajit Pai's rural-broadband fund now includes 50Mbps tier with 250GB data cap.
JON BRODKIN - 1/10/2020, 1:30 PM
The Federal Communications Commission plans to grant a request from AT&T and other ISPs to make more rural-broadband funding available for slower-speed services with lower data caps.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai initially proposed distributing $20.4 billion in rural-broadband funding to ISPs offering three levels of service: an entry-level tier of 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload speeds, with a data cap of at least 150GB a month; a mid-range level of 100Mbps down and 20Mbps up, with a data cap of at least 2TB per month; and a "gigabit performance" tier of 1Gbps down and 500Mbps up, with a data cap of at least 2TB.
But AT&T, Frontier, Windstream, and their industry lobby group urged the FCC to either lower the standards of the mid-range tier or add another tier that would be below the mid-range one. The FCC is complying, with an updated plan that it released yesterday and scheduled for a January 30 vote.
Specifically, the FCC added a new tier of 50Mbps down and 5Mbps up, with a data cap of at least 250GB a month. The FCC also raised the planned cap on the lowest tier from 150GB to 250GB. AT&T and other ISPs had pushed for a cap of 150GB on both the 25/3 and 50/5Mbps tiers.
NO POLITICS HERE
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.
I regularly get readers’ comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.
I spend the whole week searching the Internet for news that I think may be of interest to you — so you won’t have to. This newsletter is an aggregator — a service that aggregates news from other news sources. You can help our community by sharing any interesting news that you find.
Editorial Opinion pieces present only the opinions of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of any of advertisers or supporters. This newsletter is independent of any trade association. I don't intend to hurt anyone's feelings, but I do freely express my own opinions.
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The FCC will use a reverse auction to distribute $20.4 billion over 10 years to ISPs that bring service at the specified speeds and data caps to rural areas. The new program is called the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, and it will replace the existing Connect America Fund. Like all of the FCC's Universal Service programs, the new fund would be paid for by Americans through fees on their phone bills.
In practical terms, adding the new tier means that some federal funding that would have gone to 100/20Mbps service with a generous 2TB data cap could instead go to 50/5Mbps service with a much stricter data cap of 250GB. It's also possible that 50/5Mbps projects will get some funding that would have otherwise gone to 25/3Mbps. However, the FCC said it expects to distribute funding for 25/3Mbps services "only in areas where higher speeds are not economical," which suggests the 50/5Mbps tier is likely to play a big role in the program. The overall pool of $20.4 billion, or just over $2 billion per year, is unchanged.
It would be better for Internet users if the 25/3Mbps and 50/5Mbps tiers required data caps larger than 250GB. That amount has been outdated for heavy Internet users for a long time—Comcast raised its data cap from 300GB to 1TB in April 2016. A year ago, research by the vendor OpenVault found that US cable Internet customers were using an average of 268.7GB per month, and 4.1 percent of households were using at least 1TB. Median usage was 145.2GB per month.
The caps won't remain at 250GB indefinitely, though. The FCC said it chose the amount because its Measuring Broadband America testing program recently found average monthly usage of 251.45GB per month. The FCC plan calls for updating the 250GB cap yearly based on the "average usage of a majority of fixed broadband customers."
There's no proposed mechanism for automatically updating speeds each year, though.
Small ISPs objected to lower-speed tier
Two groups that represent smaller ISPs previously urged the FCC to reject calls for slower speeds. NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association and ACA Connects (formerly the American Cable Association) wrote that "It would be remarkable 'backsliding' indeed... to adopt lesser standards—such as lower upstream speeds or entirely new, lower speed tiers."
In explaining why it rejected the argument from small ISPs, the FCC said, "Adding a performance tier at 50/5Mbps furthers our goal of incentivizing providers to deploy networks that will deliver services that consumers need today as well as in the future, but also ensures minimum speed service will be available in the hardest to serve areas."
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, part of the commission's Democratic minority, has been unsuccessfully pushing the Republican majority to adopt more forward-thinking speed standards. The 25/3Mbps entry-level tier is too low, she argues.
Ten years ago, the FCC standard for measuring broadband deployment was a mere 200kb per second, which sounds preposterous today. The FCC raised that standard to 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up in 2010 and to 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up in 2015. Pai, who was then a commissioner but not the chair, voted against raising the standard to 25/3Mbps.
The 200kbps standard used 10 years ago "is comically slow today," Rosenworcel said in August. "But with this proposal we're taking today's standard and assuming it makes sense ten years hence. That's not right."
FCC broadband maps still inaccurate
Rosenworcel is not impressed with the updated plan, either. In a statement to Ars, she pointed out that the FCC's broadband maps are inaccurate and said they should be overhauled before the FCC doles out $20.4 billion. The FCC voted to collect more accurate data in August, but it could select the first auction winners before the government has a better idea of which parts of the country lack broadband.
"The agency looks to be rushing its newest effort out the door before it even tries to fix the fundamental problems with its broadband maps," Rosenworcel told Ars this week. "Everyone knows how poor the agency's information is about where service is and is not. That's why we need maps before money and data before deployment."
The FCC plan says it can account for the data problems by splitting the funding distribution into two auction phases. The first auction, which would start later this year and distribute $16 billion of the $20.4 billion, would "target those areas that current data confirm are wholly unserved," the FCC plan says.
"By relying on a two-phase process, we can move expeditiously to commence an auction in 2020 for those areas we already know with certainty are currently unserved, while also ensuring that other areas are not left behind by holding a second auction once we have identified any additional unserved locations through improvements to our broadband deployment data collection," the plan says.
Pai said in an announcement Wednesday that "the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund would be the biggest step the FCC has taken to date to close the digital divide."
The FCC this week said that about 6 million locations (i.e. homes and businesses) would be eligible for funding in the first auction phase but previously said that the project will "connect up to 4 million rural homes and small businesses."
Gigabit providers will get more money
In the reverse auction, the FCC will assign a weight to each tier, with the weights helping determine how much money an ISP gets for providing service at the specified speeds and caps.
In good news, the FCC's weighting system favors higher-speed services. The FCC gives preference to speed tiers with lower weights—a zero weight is assigned to the gigabit tier, so ISPs that promise gigabit services should get more money for each location they serve.
The assigned weight for the 25/3Mbps tier is 50, which is unchanged from the initial proposal to the revision. In the initial plan, the 100/20Mbps tier's weight was 25, and that has been dropped to 20. The brand-new tier of 50/5Mbps with a 250GB data cap has a weight of 35.
There are also latency standards. Services with latency of 100ms or less won't be penalized with a greater weight. Higher-latency services of up to 750ms will get an additional weight of 40, which means that traditional satellite services will be at a disadvantage compared to wired or fixed wireless services. The FCC rejected calls to require lower latencies.
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Service Monitors and Frequency Standards for Sale
(Images are typical units, not actual photos of items offered for sale here.)
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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Paging Infrastructure For Sale
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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.
Top Public Safety and Emergency Communications Trends in 2020
Rave Mobile Safety CEO Todd Piett shares what he believes will be the biggest public safety and emergency communications trends in the coming year.
December 26, 2019
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Establishing clear and open lines of communication is among the most critical component of any emergency response operation. Emergency communications and public safety technology are vital to providing 911 response and emergency service dispatch operations to organizations, municipalities, K-12 school and higher education institutions, among other end users.
A leading provider in the emergency communications field is Rave Mobile Safety. With constant feedback from the company’s array of partners and customers, Rave strives to keep abreast of the latest trends and challenges, as well as what’s about to be the next big thing in the industry.
Public safety — or lack thereof — has been a hot topic in 2019, says Rave Mobile Safety CEO Todd Piett.
“We’ve seen sections of states shut down due to wildfires, malfunctions with the emergency communications systems and NextGen911 really take off and evolve,” he says. “States have deployed emergency communications technologies in every public school.”
There has also been an increased call for interoperability between departments and districts, and a cry for more preventative technologies and measures to be put in place to keep more tragedies from occurring, he continues.
Reflecting on these things, and pulling from Rave’s insight and experience, here is what Piett believes will be the biggest public safety and emergency communications trends in 2020:
An increase in collaboration across public safety agencies — In 2020, we’ll see public safety agencies sharing more information and communicating more frequently than ever before. To support the collaboration across entire ecosystems of those entrusted with safety, technology will continue to evolve to support open, secure and quick communication between different departments and agencies, saving time during emergency response.
Secure, high-speed wireless data communications networks for public safety will force technology to evolve — The addition of networks like FirstNet and Public Safety Broadband Network (PSBN) will increase responder access to high bandwidth reliable networks, enabling innovation in safety technology.
Faster detection of indoor location — With new FCC benchmarks being put in place in 2020, we’ll likely see faster and more accurate detection of indoor location. However, once 911 can more closely pinpoint exact location, does that data become actionable information?
Why FirstNet Is Key to Safeguarding Schools, Colleges and Hospitals Related: Why FirstNet Is Key to Safeguarding Schools, Colleges and Hospitals When the precision of location are matched quickly with floor plans or campus lay outs, 911 and first responders will be able to know exactly where a call is coming from inside a building, making for a quicker response.
A continued debate over the balance of privacy vs. public safety — Many citizens don’t want to share personal information for fear it will be misused or compromised. While some concern is understandable, it’s crucial for agencies to have this information so they are better equipped to response to emergencies.
From identifying potential threats to helping citizens evacuate during an emergency thanks to vulnerable needs registries, a lot of good can be done with this information.
|Source:||Security Sales & Integration|
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
Board questions changes in 911 radio system bids
By Don Reid
Plans for a new emergency radio system upgrade for Branch County 911 Central Dispatch have stalled after Motorola said three or four existing towers would need to be changed for the 800 MHz system.
Consultant ACD Telcom asked for three more months, at an additional $47,750 fee, to make a final recommendation.
ACD sent an email indicating it had learned three or four of the existing towers, planned to be used by leading contender Motorola, “can’t hold the load.” Height is another issue since the current VHS system doesn’t have to be as tall.
The 911 technical committee had been leaning toward the Motorola system since it would connect and operate on the state police network. The state would maintain the towers and system. Only Motorola can bid and use the state system.
Director Kurt Spalding also he was told the changes would need to be made on two county towers — one in Hillsdale and the other near Leonidas. He questioned spending Branch County money in other counties.
Technical Committee Chair and Coldwater Fire Chief Dave Schmaltz said the issue should have been addressed in the Request for Proposal response from Motorola.
“I say this is a raw deal,” Schmaltz said. “You said this would work.”
J&K was the only other vendor. Its bid was $500,000 lower and planned to build five new towers, but would not be on the state network.
Spalding said 911 could use Motorola for the system and then buy Kenwood radios from J&K. He discouraged this since each could blame the other for problems.
J&K has sold radios for decades, but has only built one other system.
No matter which system is used, there is only one vendor for emergency pagers for volunteer fire departments. The cost from Motorola is almost $1 million more for the same pagers from J&K.
Schmaltz said the consultants looked at the RFP because “there were problems with each vendor in what they would and would not cover.”
Board member Rich Crabtree asked why the issues were just now identified.
“Why didn’t these questions come up at the vendors meetings?” he asked.
Chair Scott Wilber, Bronson fire chief, said “this sounds like a legal issue. Motorola put out a (response to) request for proposal and now they are retracting it.”
Newly-elected board chairman Keith Baker, Coldwater city manager, said the board had never officially accepted the proposal so it would not have legal standing.
Spalding will discuss the issues with ACD and report board back to the board in February.
Schmaltz was told to continue with federal radio grant application due in January as it concurrently decides on the system builder.
The 911 board has been looking at a system upgrade for the 30-year-old emergency radio system for the last five years.
Spalding reported with only six dispatchers, a new one is completing training with two more to start training in the next five days. That will still leave two opening for which he is screening candidates.
A proposal to change computerized training systems was tabled to get other bids.
|Source:||The Daily Reporter|
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.
Investor Relations — Press Release
Spok Survey Reveals Top Priorities for Healthcare IT Leaders in 2020
Integrating technology solutions and improving processes top the list
SPRINGFIELD, Va.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Jan. 6, 2020— SPOK, INC., a wholly owned subsidiary of Spok Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPOK) and a global leader in healthcare communications, is heading into the new year with research findings regarding priorities for healthcare IT leaders in 2020. More than 70 CIOs and Health IT leaders responded to the web-based survey of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) members. The survey measured challenges and priorities and whether leaders plan to advance the skillset of their IT departments in 2020.
This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: HTTPS://WWW.BUSINESSWIRE.COM/NEWS/HOME/20200106005053/EN/
The top three priorities that CIOs identified were:
“Insights from this survey reinforce the complexity of health IT and the challenge of operationalizing new technology solutions,” said Tim Tindle, CIO of Spok, Inc. “It requires a partnership between IT and health system leaders to drive the overall adoption and ultimately to achieve the clinical or business program’s objectives.”
When asked what percent of their IT staff have the skills to be successful, 48% of survey respondents said almost everyone, 30% said most do, 12% said some do, and 10% said very few.
However, those surveyed said middle managers in health system IT departments need to work on being better project managers (64%), learn to speak the same language as clinicians and other internal teams (63%), and step up their game when it comes to leveraging IT platforms and processes (62%). They also wish for middle managers to better understand how technology can make a difference in the way hospitals deliver care (45%), to set goals that help achieve strategic initiatives (40%), and to develop financial skills, such as budgeting, forecasting, and justifying (37%).
Even though there are competing priorities for these CIOs in 2020, the survey also revealed that they are ready for and most excited about technology innovation.
“Health system leaders are looking for innovative ways to solve problems, and we are pleased to be able to offer integrated solutions that fulfill their priorities for the coming year,” said Vincent D. Kelly, president and chief executive officer of Spok Holdings, Inc. “As we kick off 2020, Spok is offering cutting-edge technology that no one else can offer. It is an exciting time as we continue to introduce our new, innovative, cloud-native and integrated communication platform, Spok Go® and further align with CIO’s needs and desires for the future.”
The full results of the survey can be found HERE.
Spok, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Spok Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPOK), headquartered in Springfield, Virginia, is proud to be a global leader in healthcare communications. We deliver clinical information to care teams when and where it matters most to improve patient outcomes. Top hospitals rely on the Spok Care Connect® platform to enhance workflows for clinicians, support administrative compliance, and provide a better experience for patients. Our customers send over 100 million messages each month through their Spok® solutions. Spok is making care collaboration easier. For more information, visit SPOK.COM or follow @SPOKTWEETS on Twitter.
Spok is a trademark of Spok Holdings, Inc. Spok Care Connect is a trademark of Spok, Inc.
View source version on businesswire.com:
Source: Spok, Inc.
Pai Anticipates Vote on $20B Rural Broadband Fund This Month
Wednesday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai circulated to his colleagues for a vote a draft order, that if passed, would establish the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to help close the digital divide. Pai plans to schedule a vote on the plan at the agency’s January 30 meeting.
The new fund would provide up to $20.4 billion over the next decade to support the deployment of high-speed broadband networks in rural areas that lack fixed broadband service that meets the Commission's baseline speed standards. To maximize the impact of these investments, the agency would use a multi-round, descending-clock reverse auction. The Commission used this same approach in 2018 for Phase II of the Connect America Fund. That helped fund the deployment of high-speed broadband to 713,000 unserved rural homes and businesses for 30 percent of the projected cost, according to the Commission.
To get money for broadband to participants faster, Pai proposes to divide the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund into two phases. Phase I would provide up to $16 billion to fund the deployment of high-speed broadband in census blocks where the agency knows there's no service that meets the Commission's baseline speed standards. Based on initial estimates, the FCC believes almost six million homes and businesses would be eligible for Phase I.
The FCC’s broadband maps have been criticized for inaccuracies. Once it fixes them to more precisely identify connectivity gaps, it will move forward with Phase II. Phase II will cover unserved households in census blocks where some households are served, as well as areas that don’t receive funding in Phase I.
In cases of a deadlock between two bidders for the same area, the one providing faster speeds would win, agency staffers told reporters. They anticipate, in addition to carriers, bidders could include Wireless Internet Service Providers and electric utilities.
In reaction to the news, the National Association of Tower Erectors Executive Director Todd Schlekeway stated: “NATE member companies are on the front lines on a daily basis deploying the broadband and related-infrastructure to rural and underserved areas of the United States, and the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund will ultimately facilitate closing the digital divide by expanding access to the broadband networks these rural homes and businesses need at the high-speeds they deserve.”
Submarine Cable Turns Virginia Beach Into a Fiber Hub
Northern Virginia is a hub for data centers, with almost double the capacity compared to any other U.S. market. According to Data Center Dynamics (DCD) Magazine, experts think it’s time to start spreading capacity across the Commonwealth of Virginia to alleviate the congestion in the north. One of the ways to address the diversity challenge is to bring in more fiber from outside the state.
Until recently, the closest East Coast fiber landfall was 300 miles away in New Jersey. However, Virginia Beach, in the southern part of the Commonwealth, has become a fiber landing point. Telxius built a submarine cable called Marea (Spanish for tide), stretching across the Atlantic from Virginia Beach to Bilbao in Northern Spain. Another cable built by the same company runs from Virginia Beach to Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza, and San Juan.
The arrival of this additional submarine fiber is enabling faster transmission capacity.
Authorities in Virginia Beach are priming the pump with an incentive: sales tax on power, cooling, and IT equipment have been dropped to 0.4 percent, and less expensive land prices are also in its favor, reported DCD.
Earlier in 2019, Digital Realty bought a 13-acre plot in Ashburn, Northern Virginia, for a record $2.14 million per acre. In Richmond, Facebook has invested $1.75 billion in a 970,000 sq ft (90,000 sq m) data center, which already has a 1.5 million sq ft expansion planned. Also, in Richmond, QTS opened a 1.3 m sq ft (120,000 sq m) data center a decade ago. DCD reported that two more cables are planned for Virginia Beach: Google’s Dunant cable, connecting to the west coast of France, and the South Atlantic Express cable being built by SAEx, which starts in Cape Town, South Africa. Telxius announced in October 2019 that it would connect Virginia Beach to New Jersey — the first direct fiber between two landing stations, a useful extra route for intercontinental traffic, and a solution that creates redundancy.
According to Microsoft, who’s investing in Marea, “We were hit with the outages when Hurricane Sandy rolled through the Northeast of the U.S. in 2012. Because of this, we saw a huge need to bring additional diversity to the East coast.”
|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.
Revised TRS Fund Rules Effective Feb. 5; Intrastate and VoIP Contributions Begin July 1
On January 6, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Report and Order modifying the cost recovery rules for Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) so that intrastate as well as interstate end-user revenues of telecommunications carriers and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers are included in the calculation of Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Fund contributions to support the costs of providing IP CTS. The rules modifications are effective February 5, and intrastate and VoIP revenues will be included in the calculation beginning July 1, 2020.
As a result of the FCC’s modifications, TRS Fund contributions will now be required from providers of intrastate-only telecommunications and VoIP services.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.
Comments on Supply Chain FRPRM, Huawei/ZTE Designations due February 3
On January 3, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking prohibiting the use of USF funds to purchase equipment from “covered companies” posing a national security threat, and seeking comment on requiring carriers to remove such equipment if it has already been purchased and installed. Although the prohibition was effective immediately upon publication on January 3, no companies have been designated as covered companies just yet.
The Report and Order initially designated Huawei Technologies Company and ZTE Corp. as covered companies, and established a process for designating additional covered companies in the future. Comments on the initial designations of Huawei and ZTE are also due February 3. After the conclusion of the comment period, the FCC will issue a public notice announcing its final determination and the effective date of any final designation.
In an accompanying FNPRM, the FCC specifically proposed to require carriers receiving USF funds, to remove and replace existing equipment and services from covered companies. This could adversely affect rural carriers that have invested substantial sums in equipment from these companies. It seeks comment on how to pay for such removal and replacement. And to aid in the design of a removal and replacement program, the FNPRM proposes to conduct an information collection to determine the extent to which eligible telecommunications carriers have equipment from Huawei and ZTE in their networks and the costs associated with removing and replacing such equipment. Comments on the FNPRM are due February 3 with reply comments are due March 3. Clients with Huawei or ZTE equipment that wish to be heard on this issue should contact us promptly.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
Comments on Unbundling and Resale Rule Modifications Due February 5
On January 6, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on proposals to eliminate and/or reduce certain network unbundling and resale requirements that, according to the FCC, may no longer be necessary. Comments are due February 5, and reply comments are due March 6.
Specifically, the NPRM proposes to eliminate requirements to provide the following unbundled network elements, in certain areas but with certain exceptions:
The NPRM also proposes to grant non-price cap incumbent LECs relief from the requirement that they resell their retail legacy telecommunications services at statutorily prescribed rates (mirroring the relief the FCC granted large, price-cap incumbent LECs earlier this year).
Finally, the NPRM proposes a three-year transition period to give existing customers served via these unbundling and resale obligations time to transition to alternative arrangements without service disruption.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
Law and Regulation
FCC Releases Form 477 Data as of December 31, 2018
On January 8, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the release of updated data on fixed broadband deployment and mobile voice and broadband deployment as of December 31, 2018. These data were collected through FCC Form 477 and are available on the FCC’s website. Fixed Deployment Data are available for download at https://www.fcc.gov/general/broadband-deployment-data-fcc-form-477 and can be viewed on the National Broadband Map at https://broadbandmap.fcc.gov. Mobile Deployment Data are available at https://www.fcc.gov/mobile-deployment-form-477-data.
The fixed broadband data released include revisions made by filers through December 3, 2019, while the mobile deployment data include revisions made by filers through June 11, 2019. Data users should expect future revisions to be captured in subsequent releases. Unless otherwise noted there, the data have been released as filed.
For data on fixed broadband deployment, users can download data on the census blocks where providers report offering fixed broadband services to at least part of the block. These data tables also indicate the technology used to offer the service and the maximum advertised download and upload speeds for both consumer and business fixed broadband services. The data are available in CSV (comma delimited) format for both the entire United States and for individual states.
For data on mobile deployments, users can download coverage area shapefiles indicating mobile voice and broadband network deployment for each combination of provider and network technology, as well as separate CSV files depicting mobile coverage resulting from two different coverage analyses: centroid and actual area.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
Comments on All-Digital AM Broadcasting NPRM Due March 9
On January 7, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to amend its rules to allow AM broadcasters to use all-digital transmissions. Comments are due March 9 and reply comments are due April 6.
Specifically, the FCC proposed to allow AM broadcasters to broadcast an all-digital signal using the HD Radio in-band on-channel (IBOC) mode known as MA3. According to the FCC, a voluntary transition to all-digital broadcasting has the potential to benefit AM stations and provide improved AM service to the listening public.
Comment is sought on proposed operating standards for all-digital stations and the impact of such operations on existing analog stations and listeners.
BloostonLaw Contact: John Prendergast.
FCC Settles NEPA/NHPA Investigation for $20,000
On January 6, the FCC issued an Order entering into a consent decree to resolve the Bureau’s investigation into allegations that Teton Communications, Inc. (Teton Communications) constructed a wireless facility without complying with the FCC’s environmental and historic preservation rules, including rules implementing the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). To settle this matter, Teton Communications admits that it violated the FCC’s environmental and historic preservation rules, will implement a robust compliance plan to ensure that it does not violate these rules in the future, and will pay a $20,000 civil penalty.
According to the Order, in September 2018, Teton Communications engaged an independent contractor to perform the required environmental and historic preservation reviews, including Tribal consultation procedures, for a proposed wireless facility in Idaho (Idaho Tower). Teton also hired the contractor to ascertain whether the Idaho Tower could significantly affect the environment. In November 2018, a Tribal Historic Preservation Office notified the FCC that Teton Communications failed to complete the environmental and historic preservation reviews, specifically the Tribal consultation process, before breaking ground at a location of cultural significance to the Tribe. The FCC opened the Investigation and issued a Letter of Inquiry to Teton Communications, directing it to submit a sworn written response to a series of questions relating to its compliance with the FCC’s Environmental Rules. Teton Communications filed a response admitting that it began construction of the Idaho Tower on November 6, 2018, before completing the requisite Tribal consultation process and without conclusion of the statutorily mandated State Historic Preservation Office review.
BloostonLaw Contact: John Prendergast.
USDA Announces $23 Million in ReConnect Funding in North Dakota
On January 7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development announced USDA has invested $23 million in two high-speed broadband infrastructure projects that will create or improve rural e-Connectivity for 2,643 rural households and 78 businesses in North Dakota. This is one of many funding announcements in the first round of USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program investments.
Polar Communications will use a $21.2 million loan and grant combination in ReConnect Program funding to construct a fiber-to-the-premises network encompassing 1,870 square miles. The service area is expected to reach 2,237 households, six educational facilities, one health care center and one critical community facility in Grand Forks, Walsh and Pembina counties. Polar Communications provides telecommunications services to more than 8,000 subscribers in North Dakota and Minnesota. Its fiber-optic network provides voice, video and broadband services. Polar Communications also provides advanced business services such as phone systems, video surveillance and advanced networking.
Daktel Communications will use a $1.8 million ReConnect Program grant to provide broadband service to 406 households and three educational facilities over 354 square miles. Daktel Communications is a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier that provides services within the Jamestown, N.D., exchange.
“Providing critical communications investments in rural areas of North Dakota is important because when rural America thrives, all America thrives,” said North Dakota State USDA Director Clare Carlson. “Polar Communications and Daktel Communications will use USDA’s ReConnect Program to provide essential broadband technology to rural areas, which is a utility as important as water, sewer and electricity. North Dakota farms and ranches, small businesses and families in these communities will experience a positive economic impact from access to broadband e-Connectivity.”
FCC to Hold Webinar on Children’s Programming Report (FCC Form 2100)
On January 8, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that it will host a webinar reviewing the functionality of, and changes to, the FCC’s revised Children’s Television Programing Report (Report). As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the Report has been amended to implement changes adopted by the FCC regarding the children’s programming rules and broadcasters’ related reporting and filing obligations. The webinar will be held on January 23, 2020, from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm Eastern Time. It can be viewed by clicking here at that time.
JANUARY 15: Form 855 HAC Compliance Certification. The next Hearing Aid Compatibility regulatory compliance certification, certifying compliance with the FCC’s HAC handset minimums as well as enhanced record retention and website posting requirements for the 2019 calendar year, will be due January 15, 2020, for all CMRS service providers that had operations during any portion of 2019. Companies that sold their wireless licenses during 2018 and that didn’t otherwise provide mobile wireless service (e.g., via resale) during the 2019 calendar year won’t have any obligation to file a HAC compliance certification for the 2019 calendar year. Under current FCC rules, Tier III service providers are required to offer at least 50% or ten (10) handsets that are rated M3- or better, and at least 33% or ten (10) handsets that are rated T3- or better. Beginning April 3, 2020, at least 66% of a Tier III provider’s handset must meet ratings of M3- or better and T3- or better.
BloostonLaw has prepared a 2019 HAC Regulatory Compliance Template to facilitate our clients’ compliance with the revised HAC rules. Contact Cary Mitchell if you would like to obtain a copy of the HAC Regulatory Compliance Template.
BloostonLaw Contact: Cary Mitchell.
FEBRUARY 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 Mary Sisak.
FEBRUARY 1: FCC FORM 502, NUMBER UTILIZATION AND FORECAST REPORT. Any wireless or wireline carrier (including paging companies) that have received number blocks—including 100, 1,000, or 10,000 number blocks—from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), a Pooling Administrator, or from another carrier, must file Form 502 by February 1. Carriers porting numbers for the purpose of transferring an established customer’s service to another service provider must also report, but the carrier receiving numbers through porting does not. Resold services should also be treated like ported numbers, meaning the carrier transferring the resold service to another carrier is required to report those numbers but the carrier receiving such numbers should not report them. Reporting carriers are required to include their FCC Registration Number (FRN). Reporting carriers file utilization and forecast reports semiannually on or before February 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending December 31, and on or before August 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending June 30.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Mary Sisak.
FEBRUARY 1: Live 911 Call Data Reports — Non-Nationwide Providers that do not provide coverage in any of the Test Cities must collect and report aggregate data based on the largest county within its footprint to APCO, NENA, and NASNA on the location technologies used for live 911 calls in those areas. Clients should obtain spreadsheets with their company’s compliance data from their E911 service provider (e.g., Intrado / West).
BloostonLaw Contact: Cary Mitchell.
MARCH 1: COPYRIGHT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT FORM FOR CABLE COMPANIES. This form, plus royalty payment for the second half of calendar year 2019, is due March 1. The form covers the period July 1 to December 31, 2019, and is due to be mailed directly to cable TV operators by the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office. If you do not receive the form, please contact the firm.
BloostonLaw Contact: Gerry Duffy.
MARCH 1: CPNI ANNUAL CERTIFICATION. Carriers should modify (as necessary) and complete their “Annual Certification of CPNI Compliance” for 2020. The certification must be filed with the FCC by
BloostonLaw Contact: Gerry Duffy
MARCH 1: FCC FORM 477, LOCAL COMPETITION & BROADBAND REPORTING FORM. This annual form is due March 1 and September 1 annually. The FCC requires facilities-based wired, terrestrial fixed wireless, and satellite broadband service providers to report on FCC Form 477 the number of broadband subscribers they have in each census tract they serve. The Census Bureau changed the boundaries of some census tracts as part of the 2010 Census.
Specifically, three types of entities must file this form:
BloostonLaw contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.
|MUSIC VIDEO OF THE WEEK|
Si tu vois ma mère (Sidney Bechet)
Avalon Jazz Band
Jan 7, 2020
Here is a video from our collaboration with clarinetist and saxophonist Patrick Bartley. "Si tu vois ma mère" was written in 1952 by New Orleanian clarinetist Sidney Bechet. The lyrics are by Jean Broussolle. It is the soundtrack to the opening sequence of Woody Allen's movie "Midnight in Paris". Filmed live at the Keep in Brooklyn by Edward Bally and Stephen Lamarche.
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