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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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Service Monitors and Frequency Standards for Sale
(Images are typical units, not actual photos of items offered for sale here.)
Passive Audio Amps For Smart Phones
Avoid The Christmas Rush — Buy An Amp today
These are acoustic amplifiers for smartphones. They don't need electric power to operate and there are no moving parts. They work like a megaphone (speaking-trumpet, bullhorn, or loudhailer). Everyone that I have shown one to has said something like “Wow, I want one of those!” So I have built a few of them.
Of course there are more “Hi-Fi” ways to listen to audio on your smartphone but who would want to plug an elegant smartphone into some cheap, plastic gadget? Or even use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, which are a pain in the neck to set up, even on a smartphone.
These have been made with hardwood bases and some of them are exotic hardwoods with interesting grain patterns. The horns are polished brass — made from mostly old horns that had rubber bulbs on the ends and were used in “times gone by” by taxis and even clowns in circuses. These horns have been re-purposed, reshaped, soldered, and polished.
They horns are now on display and for sale at:
The two large horns — the trombone and the gramophone — are difficult to pack and ship to they are for local pickup only. The remainder can be sent to you.
Please call for pricing and availability or stop in for a demo and a great cup of espresso.
P.S. Allan and Virginia and I worked together at WebLink Wireless in Dallas.
The Jerusalem Post — Health & Science
New coronavirus strain more contagious than original — study
The strain was originally seen spreading in Europe, after which it spread to the rest of the world and is currently the most common strain.
By TAMAR BEERI MAY 7, 2020 11:35
A coronavirus study by several researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where the atomic bomb was invented, claims that a new strain of the novel COVID-19 is more contagious than the original form of the virus.
The study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, looked at 14 mutations in the "spike protein," which mediates the infection of human cells and is therein targeted by most attempted vaccines for the virus. Of those mutations, one stood out, according to the study, for spreading much more aggressively than the original strain of the virus.
That same mutation was originally seen spreading in Europe, after which it spread to the rest of the world. That is currently the most common strain. This was found through a computational analysis of thousands of coronavirus sequences found around the world by the Global Initiative for Sharing All Influenza Data, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The report claimed that people who catch this strain are at an increased risk of catching the illness a second time, which is why the authors felt that an early warning was necessary so that vaccines and drugs that are in development may be effective against the mutated strain, according to the LA Times.
Because of the rate at which this new strain is spreading, it is possible that it is more infectious than the previous strains of the virus. The reason is not yet known.
According to the LA Times, responses to the study were generally positive, if a bit hesitant towards the study. Biochemistry professor from University of Iowa Charles Brenner said that researchers looking into coronavirus are keeping their eyes peeled for such studies, and that it is a useful paper. However, the study does not indicate that the new strain makes people more sick, and so the risk is put in question.
Co-director of Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development Dr. Peter Hotez said that the study's conclusions need to be investigated further, according to the LA Times. Without experimental verification, the claims in the study are all theoretical, Hotez explained.
The main concern is that because many treatments that are being developed for coronavirus target the spike protein of the original strain, it may not be effective on the new one.
|Source:||The Jerusalem Post|
Zoom tries to buy its way out of its security problems
The videoconferencing service has acquired Keybase to beef up its encryption offerings.
By Sara Morrison May 7, 2020, 12:20pm EDT
Zoom now boasts 300 million daily meeting participants, after seeing a surge in popularity in the pandemic. Maja Hitij/Getty Images Open Sourced logo Zoom has bought Keybase, a small New York-based startup that offers various encryption products. This is Zoom’s first major acquisition in a campaign to reverse the company’s many security woes. Zoom did not disclose the terms of the deal, but it could be a bargain if it gets Zoom out of trouble.
You might know Zoom as the once-enterprise-focused video chat service that emerged as a hero in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Then, seemingly overnight, a spate of “Zoombombings” and privacy debacles cast it as a sort of villain, and just as quickly, tech giants like Facebook and Google swept in to swallow up Zoom’s customer base with their own competing products.
The Keybase acquisition seems like a good next move for Zoom. The acquisition comes just over a month after Zoom was widely criticized following an Intercept report that revealed that its end-to-end encryption claims weren’t exactly true. While text chats within video meetings were encrypted, the video chats themselves were not. Zoom now intends to fix that with Keybase’s technology.
The company has scrambled lately to fix this and a number of other problems. After Zoom became one of the most popular apps in the world — it currently boasts 300 million meeting participants a day — the company was also beset by numerous reports over its substandard or lax security measures. Children being “Zoombombed” by Nazi imagery and porn in their own virtual classrooms is not a good look.
So Zoom brought on former Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos as a security adviser, announced a 90-day plan to shore up its security practices, and has rolled out multiple improvements. In the meantime, Facebook announced Messenger Rooms, and Google has expanded its Meet video chat service. Both companies stressed that the security of their products can be trusted, but with its Keybase acquisition, Zoom will have a few more security credentials to brag about, too.
If you were a fan of Keybase’s encrypted messaging and file-sharing services, by the way, the future may not be so bright. Keybase’s immediate plans do not appear to include anything but Zoom.
“Initially, our single top priority is helping to make Zoom even more secure,” Keybase said in a statement. “There are no specific plans for the Keybase app yet. Ultimately Keybase’s future is in Zoom’s hands, and we’ll see where that takes us.”
The Zoom encryption service, whenever it becomes available, will only be offered to paying customers, Zoom said. So if you want your virtual happy hours with friends to be end-to-end encrypted, not to be accessed even by Zoom or law enforcement, you’ll have to pay for the privilege.
Open Sourced is made possible by Omidyar Network. All Open Sourced content is editorially independent and produced by our journalists.
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
The Board of Advisor members are people with whom I have developed a special rapport, and have met personally. They are not obligated to support the newsletter in any way, except with advice, and maybe an occasional letter to the editor.
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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.
Sinclair agrees to pay largest FCC fine by broadcaster in history
BY REBECCA KLAR — 05/06/20 07:52 PM EDT
Sinclair Broadcast Group agreed to pay a $48 million fine to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to settle three open investigations, the agency said Wednesday.
The FCC said it’s the largest fine ever paid to the federal agency in its 86-year history.
The fine closes three FCC investigations, including Sinclair's disclosure of information related to its proposed acquisition of stations owned by Tribune Media.
“Sinclair’s conduct during its attempt to merge with Tribune was completely unacceptable,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. “Today’s penalty, along with the failure of the Sinclair/Tribune transaction, should serve as a cautionary tale to other licensees seeking Commission approval of a transaction in the future.”
The FCC did not revoke Sinclair’s license, though.
Pai said he disagreed with those who called for Sinclair's license to be revoked for “transparently political reasons.”
“While they don’t like what they perceive to be the broadcaster’s viewpoints, the First Amendment still applies around here,” Pai said.
Sinclair President and CEO Chris Ripley said the company is “pleased with the resolution.”
“We thank the FCC staff for their diligence in reaching this solution. Sinclair is committed to continue to interact constructively with all of its regulators to ensure full compliance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations,” Ripley said in a statement.
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
Everything You Need to Know About USB 4
Brendan Hesse May 4, 2020 5:00 PM
USB 4—or USB4, as it’s officially branded—is on the tech horizon, and like WiFi 6E or mobile 5G, you probably have plenty of questions about what the new USB standard means for your many devices. So, let’s take a quick look at everything we know about the upcoming USB4.
It’s a big speed and bandwidth upgrade
USB4 is purported to be twice as fast as the current USB 3.2 standard (20Gbps), which means it’ll support up to 40Gbps speeds as a maximum in most instances. (Your actual speeds will obviously vary depending on what devices you’re using.)
USB cables use two “lanes” to send and receive signals from connected devices. However, some devices will be able to change a USB4 cable’s to single-direction delivery. For example, DisplayPort 2.0's “Alt mode” will increase the available signal bandwidth to 80Gbps, high enough to support 8K HDR video monitors and other high-speed devices over USB4. The two-lane delivery also means some USB4 devices will support Intel and Apple’s Thunderbolt 3 standard, though it’s up to manufacturers on that one.
Speaking of bigger bandwidth allocations, USB4 also supports the USB PD charging standard, which means your smartphones and other devices will be able to charge much faster over USB4—provided they’re built to support fast charging, that is.
USB4 devices can support three maximum speeds: 10Gbps, 20Gbps, and 40Gbps. In other words, make sure you’re scanning a device’s specs to get a sense of its maximum supported speeds if that’s what is most important to you when you’re buying, say, a new laptop (or hub).
And there’s one more speed-related feature that really puts the feather in USB4's cap, as Tom’s Hardware describes:
USB4 will be backward compatible
USB4 cables will use Type-C connectors, which is the flat, rounded port found on most smartphones and laptops these days.
You should be able to plug a USB4 cable into just about any USB Type-C port, but it won’t always function the same way. For example, a USB4 cable will experience a drop in speed when plugged into an older port, while older USB Type-C cables plugged in USB4B 4.0 port will use their highest-possible transfer speed by default (but can’t reach the same speeds as a USB4 cable).
Similarly, you may need and an adapter to use USB4 cables with USB Type-A ports, which the kind you usually see on PCs.
According to USB Promoter Group CEO Brad Saunders, the “USB4" branding was chosen to avoid confusion caused by the incremental upgrades of previous USB standards, i.e. “USB 3.1” and “USB 3.2.” It’s also possible that USB4 may be re-branded, or that further upgrades—what would’ve otherwise been “USB 4.1,” for example—will see more definitive naming differences despite still technically being “USB4.”
When will USB4 show up?
The first USB4 cables and devices are expected to arrive around late-2020, but 2021 is probably more likely at this point. Part of this is because USB4 will cost more than older types of USB to manufacture. And we’re kind of in the middle of a global manufacturing shutdown/slowness/Hell, which doesn’t help speed up USB4's launch at all.
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.
Pentagon Says Ligado 5G Network Will Cripple GPS and National Security
By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
UPDATE The Department of Defense, on behalf of itself and several other federal agencies, is preparing to challenge the FCC’s approval of Ligado’s 5G network plans. During a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee that went into the evening Wednesday, Pentagon officials said Ligado’s mobile network would interfere with GPS signals that are critical to its operations.
Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) criticized the FCC for approving the plan. “This is a complex issue, but it ultimately boils down to risk. And I do not think it is a good idea to place at risk the GPS signals that enable our national and economic security for the benefit of one company and its investors," he said. “This will certainly affect our war fighters,” and more than the military, he added, noting the plan to build a mobile network on L-band would disrupt GPS used by farmers, truckers and banks, which rely on GPS for transaction timing. “Economic security is national security,” Inhofe said.
Michael Griffin, DoD’s Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, said: “Every time you use an ATM you’re using the GPS timing signal to conduct an encrypted transaction. Credit card swiping machines are dependent upon GPS,” totaling in an industry worth over $100 billion. “That’s what’s at risk!” he emphasized.
Ranking Member Jack Reed of Rhode Island said Ligado, the former Lightsquared, came out of bankruptcy and re-submitted its plan in 2016. The company changed its proposal from a satellite-based mobile network to a “new ground tower system,” he said. “No consensus was reached before the license was granted” by the FCC, Reed said.
General John Raymond is Chief of Space Operations for the U.S. Space Force and Commander of U.S. Space Command. He said GPS was first used by the military to navigate in the desert at night in Operation Desert Storm. Today, DoD operates 31,000 satellites using GPS. The signals coming down to earth from satellites travel 12,000 miles, he said. “For receivers to pick up these faint signals, they have to operate in a noise pristine environment,” he said, comparing that to the quiet car on a train.
“Ground emitters will interrupt the GPS signal. The 23 MHz buffer zone will not mitigate all the interference. It’s about half of the buffer zone we have today,” Raymond testified. GPS, “is integrated into our weapons systems. GPS allows us to shoot and move along every step of the kill chain,” he explained. Raymond also noted GPS is critical to homeland defense as well as military and commercial space launches.
Proponents of Ligado’s plan, including the majority at the FCC, praise the sharing of L-band for future wireless use. DoD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy said, “We fully support America’s leadership in 5G. Ligado is not offering a 5G solution,” he said, noting Ligado would only comprise about three percent of future 5G uses. He called the repurposed Ligado license, “a classic case of bait and switch.”
DoD studies showed Ligado’s system would cause interference on L-band, he said, noting the FCC made its decision using studies paid for by Ligado, that said there could be interference.
The FCC included interference mitigation steps in its Order, but the military officials said it leaves it up to them to tell the agency there’s interference, which would be impractical for the millions of its devices that use GPS. Admiral Thad Allen, USCG (Ret.) spoke as a private citizen. He gave an example, saying: “Wishful thinking will not repeal the law of physics. If you lose the GPS signal, [in some cases] you can reboot and plant” crops, using a GPS-guided tractor. “But it’s different if you’re piloting a firefighting helicopter.”
The DoD is conducting experiments to study how commercial entities and the military could share L-band.
Neither representatives from Ligado nor the FCC were asked to testify. Inhofe said he wanted to focus on national security issues. In a letter to the committee regarding the hearing, Ligado wrote: “In recognition of the importance of GPS and the concerns of the DoD, the FCC established a comprehensive coordination regime that requires Ligado to provide six-months advance notice before deploying; to have a 24/7 monitoring capability, a hotline, a stop buzzer or kill switch; to work directly with any federal agency with concerns about the potential for interference; and to repair or replace at Ligado’s cost any government device shown to be susceptible to harmful interference.”
The Commission has consistently said it was guided by science and acted appropriately on the issue when it voted last month.
Senate Commerce Committee Chair Roger Wicker (R-MS), was at Wednesday’s hearing. He’s thinking about holding a hearing as well. Wicker’s committee has jurisdiction over the FCC. It’s unclear at this point whether lawmakers would draft legislation to change the outcome.
In the meantime, the DoD is asking the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to formally request the FCC to reverse its decision on behalf of itself and eight other federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security. The Administration has until May 29 to do so.
|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 Income Documentation Requirement for Lifeline Participants
On April 29, the FCC issued an Order temporarily waiving the requirement that consumers seeking to qualify for the program based on their income must provide at least three consecutive months of income documentation. The waiver is effective until June 30, 2020. Specifically, since individuals who have lost their jobs during the pandemic may not be able to verify their income-based eligibility for Lifeline with three consecutive months of income documentation, they can instead submit an official document that confirms their current income information, such as a notice of unemployment benefits.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
Chairman Pai Extends “Keep Americans Connected” Pledge through End of June
On April 30, FCC Commissioner Chairman Ajit Pai announced the extension of his Keep Americans Connected Pledge until June 30, 2020. In extending the duration of the pledge, the FCC recognized that some providers, particularly those in small markets and rural areas, may not be able to do so as a result of financial challenges, and encouraged those providers to contact the FCC to opt out if they wish.
As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the Keep Americans Connected pledge is a 60-day commitment to (1) not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic; (2) waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and (3) open their Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them. Since launching the pledge last month, more than 700 broadband and telephone service reportedly providers committed.
“Hundreds of providers have stepped up to the plate to keep Americans connected to communications services in this time of need,” said Chairman Pai. “This includes the largest and some of the smallest providers across the country. I salute them for making broadband available to Americans who increasingly rely on it for work, school, healthcare, and communicating with loved ones. And given our nation’s current situation, I’m urging these companies to extend these important offerings—uninterrupted service, waiving of late fees, and continued availability of Wi-Fi hotspots—until June 30. Companies representing the vast majority of broadband and telephone subscriptions have already agreed to this extension. I thank them for stepping up to the plate once again during this national emergency, and I encourage others to do so as well.”
BloostonLaw Contact: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Announces Disclosure of NRUF CMA Data; Objections Due May 11
On May 1, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that it intends to place into the record of its 5G Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proceeding (GN Docket No. 20-32) data related to the number of wireless telecommunications carriers’ subscribers per deployed megahertz of spectrum by CMA. Carriers will be anonymized in the dataset. Affected parties have until May 11, 2020, to oppose disclosure of their anonymized data.
As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, in the FCC’s April 23 5G NPRM, the FCC indicated it will propose and seek comment on appropriate adjustment factor values to be incorporated into the 5G Fund Phase I auction design to account for the relative cost of serving areas with differing terrain characteristics as well as the potential business case for each area. In developing the 5G Fund adjustment factor values, the FCC intends to examine anonymized data derived from information contained in the biannual Numbering Resource Utilization and Forecast (NRUF) reports filed by wireless telecommunications carriers, carrier-specific local number portability (LNP) data related to wireless telecommunications carriers, and further disaggregated monthly carrier-specific local number portability data (Carrier-to-Carrier LNP Data) related to wireless telecommunications carriers. Specifically, the FCC intends to examine anonymized wireless telecommunications carriers’ number of subscribers per megahertz of deployed spectrum at the Cellular Market Area level (NRUF CMA data).
Accordingly, subject to the provisions of a protective order, the FCC intends to place into the record in this proceeding the number of wireless telecommunications carriers’ subscribers per deployed megahertz of spectrum by CMA. The subscriber numbers by CMA are derived from the NRUF reports and LNP data as of December 31, 2013. Affected parties have until May 11, 2020, to oppose disclosure of their anonymized NRUF CMA data. In addition, affected parties will have three business days after the filing of an Acknowledgment of Confidentiality to object to the release of the data to a particular person who requests permission to review it.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.
Young, Peterson Introduce Bill Expanding USF Contributions to Include Broadband Services
On May 5, 2020, Representatives Don Young (R-AK) and Collin Peterson (D-MN), with the bipartisan support of T.J. Cox (D-CA), Hal Rogers (R-KY), Angie Craig (D-MN), Frank Lucas (R-OK), Luis Correa (D-CA), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), Ed Case (D-HI), and Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), have introduced The Universal Broadband Act, which would expand the Universal Service Fund (USF) contribution base to include broadband services.
Specifically, the Universal Broadband Act would:
“Reliable broadband is a utility, every bit as necessary as electricity,” said Rep. Peterson. “From distance learning to telehealth and the transitions of working from home during a public health crisis, broadband is more important than ever. It’s unacceptable that rural communities have limited, unreliable or worse yet no broadband access. In response to these inequities I have introduced the Universal Broadband Act that secures adequate funding to support the construction of broadband infrastructure in rural and underserved areas without having to increase the national debt.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Grants Blanket Extension of New Video Truth-in-Billing Requirements Until December 20, 2020
The FCC recently granted a blanket extension of the new truth-in-billing requirements contained in the Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019 from June 20, 2020, until December 20, 2020. The affected rules require all multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) to give consumers a breakdown of all charges related to the video service prior to entering into a contract with the customer for the service and to allow such customers to cancel such service contract without penalty within 24 hours after entering into it. The new rules also require greater transparency in electronic bills and prohibit MVPDs and fixed broadband Internet service providers from charging customers for equipment they do not provide.
BloostonLaw Contact: Gerry Duffy.
New Must Carry-Retransmission Consent Election Procedures For 2021-2024 Period Extended
In 2019, the FCC adopted revised procedures for the triennial must carry – retransmission consent elections that will take place by October 1, 2020 and at subsequent three-year intervals. The new system requires television broadcast stations and direct broadcast satellite providers to upload and maintain a current email address and telephone number in their online public files for the purpose of carriage related inquiries, and multichannel video service providers (MVPDs) to upload and maintain a current email address and telephone number in the FCC’s Cable Operations and Licensing System (COALS) for the same carriage-related inquiry purposes. Under the new carriage election system, broadcast stations will make their must carry – retransmission consent elections by uploading them to their online public files and will be required to notify specific MVPDs directly of their election only if they are making a different election with respect to the MVPD from that of the current period and to make such notification by email rather than via paper mail.
The recent FCC order extended the new election framework to Open Video Systems (OVS) and other video providers that may not use COALS. If they have not done so already, OVS systems must provide via COALS by July 31, 2020, a specific carriage election email address where broadcasters can send election change notices and a phone number that broadcasters may use for carriage inquiries. Each OVS operator must have a single email address and phone number for carriage inquiries, regardless of how many markets it serves. OVS providers must verify receipt of emailed election change notices via an email response as soon as reasonably possible, and must respond to carriage questions from broadcasters as soon as reasonably possible.
Qualified low power television stations (LPTVs) will be required to send a “baseline” must carry-retransmission consent notice via email to MVPDs by October 1, 2020, for the 2021-2023 period, and thereafter will be required to notify MVPDs via email on a triennial basis only if they make a change in their election status. Since they are not required to maintain online public files, qualified LPTVs must maintain a current email address and phone number for carriage-related matters in the FCC’s Licensing and Management System (LMS).
Noncommercial educational television translator stations may only request must carry status, so that the new election framework does not apply to them. They do, however, have to maintain a current email address and phone number in the LMS for carriage-related inquiries.
BloostonLaw Contact: Gerry Duffy.
Law and Regulation
House Democrats Announce Broadband Plan
On April 30, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., Chairman of the Energy & Commerce Committee, and Congressman James E. Clyburn, House Majority Whip and Chairman of the House Democratic Rural Broadband Task Force, along with 10 members of the Rural Broadband Task Force and Energy & Commerce Committee, today announced the House Democratic Plan to Connect All Americans to Affordable Broadband Internet According to a press release, this plan is the product of significant collaboration between the Rural Broadband Task Force, the Energy & Commerce Committee, and many Members of the House Democratic Caucus.
The House Democratic Plan to Connect All Americans to Affordable Broadband Internet details the following objectives:
Invest in Internet Infrastructure
Ensure Internet Affordability
Enable Internet Adoption
The other members announcing this plan are: Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA), Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Congressman Marc Veasey (D-TX), Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT), Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY), and Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI).
“In January, House Democrats proposed a bold framework to rebuild our country that included over $80 billion for broadband investments and built upon the Energy and Commerce Committee’s years-long work on the LIFT America Act. With the COVID-19 pandemic now plaguing our nation, our urgency to ensure all Americans have access to affordable, high-speed broadband Internet has only increased,” said Chairman Pallone. “This proposal will create good paying jobs and guarantee that no community is left behind in the digital economy. These investments are especially important for our children who rely on remote-learning, patients using telehealth, and many low-income and rural Americans who currently lack access to reliable Internet service.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.
Comments on Implementation of Secure Networks Act Due May 20
On May 5, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Noted of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on how the recently enacted Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019 (Secure Networks Act) applies to proposals under consideration in the FCC’s Protecting Against National Security Threats to the Communications Supply Chain rulemaking and related proceedings. Comments are due May 20, 2020 and reply comments are due June 4, 2020.
As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, in November 2019 the FCC adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which, among other things, sought comment on a reimbursement program proposal that would reimburse eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) receiving USF support for the cost to remove and replace communications equipment and services from companies finally designated as threats to national security in their networks.
On March 12, 2020, the Secure Networks Act was signed into law. The Secure Network Act includes provisions for a reimbursement program which, according to the FCC's largely consistent with the FCC’s proposals in the FNPRM, which proposed a reimbursement program for ETCs to replace potentially prohibited equipment and services.” However, where the Secure Network Act diverges from the FCC’s proposal in the FNPRM, the FCC seeks comments on whether and how it should modify the FNPRM to conform.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, John Prendergast, and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Issues Order Eliminating Requirement to Warn Robocallers Before Issuing Penalties
On May 1, the FCC adopted an Order ending its practice of warning most robocallers before issuing penalties for violating the law and for harassing consumers with unwanted robocalls. Such warnings were previously required by law until the TRACED Act was enacted in December 2019.
Specifically, under the prior statutory requirement, the FCC had to issue robocallers that did not otherwise fall within its jurisdiction warnings—formally called citations—related to their alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (by, for example, robocalling cell phones without prior consumer consent) before the agency was able to move forward with an enforcement action. In addition, prior to the TRACED Act, any fine the FCC proposed for TCPA violations by robocallers could be based on violations that occurred only after the warning had been issued. While caller ID spoofing violations—namely, the use of spoofing to scam consumers—did not require warnings, the act of illegal robocalling by these scammers did.
In addition, the FCC action extends the statute of limitations during which robocallers can be fined for TCPA and for spoofing violations. Until now, the FCC had either one or two years, respectively, from the day a violation took place to propose a fine, and only the violations that took place within that timeframe could be included when calculating the proposed forfeiture. With this change, the FCC has four years to propose a fine for spoofing and intentional robocall violations. The Order also increases the maximum fines for intentional robocall violations.
“Robocall scam operators don’t need a warning these days to know what they are doing is illegal, and this FCC has long disliked the statutory requirement to grant them mulligans,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “We have taken unprecedented action against spoofing violations in recent years and removing this outdated ‘warning’ requirement will help us speed up enforcement to protect consumers. With strong enforcement and policy changes like mandating STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication and authorizing robocall blocking, we are making real progress in our fight against fraudsters.”
FCC Extends Timeframe for Determining Whether to Finalize Huawei/ZTE Security Threat Designations
On May 1, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the extension of the timeframe for determining whether to issue final designations of Huawei Technologies Company (Huawei) and ZTE Corporation (ZTE) as national security threats to the integrity of communications networks and the communications supply chain. The final determination is now due June 30, 2020.
As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, Huawei and ZTE were initially designated as national security threats in late 2019. The original deadline was May 4, 2020. However, the FCC opted to extend the deadline because of two events that occurred in the interim. First, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019, which itself directs the FCC to develop a list of equipment and services for which USF funds may not be used, and pursuant to which Congress specifically identified Huawei and ZTE. The FCC sought input from the public on the application of the Secure Networks Act to the designation proceedings, and both Huawei and ZTE, among others, filed comments. The FCC stated that additional time will enable the FCC to fully consider the comments filed in response and to complete its analysis of the impact of the Secure Networks Act on these designation proceedings. Second, Huawei and ZTE both responded to their respective initial designation orders, in Huawei’s case submitting voluminous comments totaling more than 5,000 pages. According to the FCC, an extension of time to review the extensive record in these proceedings is “consistent with [its] commitment to providing appropriate process to potentially affected parties.”
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.
JULY 1: FCC FORM 481 (CARRIER ANNUAL REPORTING DATA COLLECTION FORM). All eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) must report the information required by Section 54.313, which includes information on the ETC’s holding company, operating companies, ETC affiliates and any branding in response to section 54.313(a)(8); its CAF-ICC certification, if applicable; its financial information, if a privately held rate-of-return carrier; and its satellite backhaul certification, if applicable.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
JULY 1: MOBILITY FUND PHASE I ANNUAL REPORT. Winning bidders in Auction 901 that are authorized to receive Mobility Fund Phase I support are required to submit to the FCC an annual report each year on July 1 for the five years following authorization. Each annual report must be submitted to the Office of the Secretary, clearly referencing WT Docket No. 10-208; the Universal Service Administrator; and the relevant state commissions, relevant authority in a U.S. Territory, or Tribal governments, as appropriate. The information and certifications required to be included in the annual report are described in Section 54.1009 of the FCC’s rules.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Sal Taillefer.
JULY 31: CARRIER IDENTIFICATION CODE (CIC) REPORTS. Carrier Identification Code (CIC) Reports must be filed by the last business day of July (this year, July 31). These reports are required of all carriers who have been assigned a CIC code by NANPA. Failure to file could result in an effort by NANPA to reclaim it, although according to the Guidelines this process is initiated with a letter from NANPA regarding the apparent non-use of the CIC code. The assignee can then respond with an explanation. (Guidelines Section 6.2). The CIC Reporting Requirement is included in the CIC Assignment Guidelines, produced by ATIS. According to section 1.4 of that document: At the direction of the NANPA, the access providers and the entities who are assigned CICs will be requested to provide access and usage information to the NANPA, on a semi-annual basis to ensure effective management of the CIC resource. (Holders of codes may respond to the request at their own election). Access provider and entity reports shall be submitted to NANPA no later than January 31 for the period ending December 31, and no later than July 31 for the period ending June 30. It is also referenced in the NANPA Technical Requirements Document, which states at 7.18.6:
CIC holders shall provide a usage report to the NANPA per the industry CIC guidelines. . . The NAS shall be capable of accepting CIC usage reports per guideline requirements on January 31 for the period ending December 31 and no later than July 31 for the period ending June 30. These reports may also be mailed and accepted by the NANPA in paper form. Finally, according to the NANPA website, if no local exchange carrier reports access or usage for a given CIC, NANPA is obliged to reclaim it. The semi-annual utilization and access reporting mechanism is described at length in the guidelines.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.
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