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Wireless News Aggregation

Friday — December 4, 2020 — Issue No. 937

Welcome Back To

The Wireless
Messaging News

This Week's Wireless News Headlines:

  • These photos of the Arecibo Observatory telescope collapse are just heartbreaking
    • An icon of astronomy is in ruins
  • Head of FCC to leave on Inauguration Day
  • China Moon Landing: What to Know About Its Space Mission
  • The four main types of Covid-19 vaccines in development
  • InsideTowers
    • Dems Brace for Floor Fight Over FCC Nominee
  • BloostonLaw Telecom Update
    • FCC Revises STIR/SHAKEN Framework Regarding Direct Access to Numbers
    • FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for December Open Meeting
    • National Lifeline Verifier Launched in California
    • FCC Announces 2021 Comparability Benchmarks
    • Senate Approves Simington to Seat on FCC
    • 8YY Access Reforms Effective December 28; Key Requirements Still Awaiting OMB Approval
    • FCC Announces Revisions to 2021 Form 499 Filing
    • FCC Fines Carrier $64,000 for Failing to Report Network Outage
    • Chairman Pai Announces Intent to Depart FCC
    • FCC Selects SomosGov as Next Telephone Number Administrator
    • Deadlines
    • Calendar At-a-Glance
  • BloostonLaw Private Users Update
    • FCC Cites Rugged Race Products for Illegal Marketing of Unauthorized RF Devices
    • FCC Denies Petition to Deny Assignment of AMTS License to Positive Train Control Group
    • Windstream Hit for $18,000 Penalty for Non-Compliance with Environmental and Historic Preservation Requirements
    • Senate Commerce Committee Holds Hearing on Simington Nomination
    • FCC Preempts City Regulations on Rights-of-Way Fees
    • Contact List
  • This Week's Music Video
    • Erika Lewis & Tuba Skinny — “Mean Blue Spirits”

Wireless Messaging News

  • Emergency Radio Communications
  • Wireless Messaging
  • Critical Messaging
  • Two-way Radio
  • Technology
  • Telemetry
  • Science
  • Paging
  • Wi-Fi
wireless logo medium


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.

About Us

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 Policy

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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Advertiser Index

Easy Solutions  (Vaughan Bowden)
IWA Technical Services, Inc.  (Ira Wiesenfeld)
Leavitt Communications  (Phil Leavitt)
Media 1
Prism-IPX Systems  (Jim Nelson & John Bishop)
Paging & Wireless Network Planners LLC  (Ron Mercer)
Wex International Limited

Service Monitors and Frequency Standards for Sale

Motorola Service Monitor

IFR Service Monitor

Efratom Rubidium Standard

(Images are typical units, not actual photos of items offered for sale here.)

Qty Item Notes
2 Late IFR 500As with new batteries
1 Motorola R 2001D  
4 Motorola R 2400 and 2410A  
5 Motorola R 2600 and R 2660 late S/Ns  
4 Motorola R 1200  
2 Motorola R 2200  
2 Stand-alone Efratom Rubidium Frequency Standards 10 MHz output
1 Telawave model 44 wattmeter Recently calibrated
1 IFR 1000S  
All sold with 7 day ROR (Right of Refusal), recent calibration, operation manual and accessories  
Factory carrying cases for each with calibration certificate  
Many parts and accessories  

Frank Moorman animated left arrow

(254) 596-1124

Leavitt Communications


50 years experience providing and supporting radio and paging customers worldwide. Call us anytime we can be useful!






Minitor VI

Leavitt sells and supports most pager brands. We stock Unication G1, G5, Secure and some Elegant pagers. Call or e-mail for price and availability.

Philip C. Leavitt, V.P.
Leavitt Communications
7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Web Site:
Mobile phone: 847-494-0000
Telephone: 847-955-0511
Fax: 270-447-1909
Skype ID: pcleavitt

These photos of the Arecibo Observatory telescope collapse are just heartbreaking

By Elizabeth Howell — December 1, 2020

An icon of astronomy is in ruins.

This aerial view shows the damage at the Arecibo Observatory after one of the main cables holding the receiver broke in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, on December 1, 2020. (Image: © Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images)

Gut-wrenching pictures and video documented the beginning of the end for one of the world's most iconic telescopes.

The National Science Foundation's Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, known for its studies of asteroids and aliens and for its cameo in a James Bond film, collapsed this morning (Dec. 1). The 900-ton platform that hung above the radio dish fell 450 feet (140 meters) into the structure below around 8 a.m. local time, causing massive damage documented online.

The pictures of the destruction are sad, although the situation was not a surprise after the National Science Foundation announced days ago it would need to decommission the observatory following hurricane and cable damage at the famed observatory.

This aerial view shows the damage at the Arecibo Observatory after one of the main cables holding the receiver broke in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, on December 1, 2020. (Image credit: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images)

"We heard a loud sound, a loud bang outside the control room. We started to see the eventual downfall of the observatory," Ángel Vázquez, chief of telescope operations and a worker at Arecibo for four decades, said in a video posted on Twitter.

Drone footage taken after the collapse shows the crumpled cable towers lying on top of the dish, with tower pieces and other debris scattered around the area. Numerous pictures posted on Getty Images by photographer Ricardo Arduengo of Agence France-Presse show the radio dish elements split in the middle from the force of the fall.

"Engineers are on-site. Top priorities are maintaining safety at the site and assessing damage," NSF said on Twitter, along with a closeup of the damage showing crumpling in the radio telescope.

(Image credit: UCF)

"We knew this was a possibility, but it is still heartbreaking to see," Elizabeth Klonoff, vice-president for research at UCF, said in an NSF statement. "Safety of personnel is our number one priority. We already have engineers on site to help assess the damage and determine the stability and safety of the remaining structure. We will continue to work with the NSF and other stakeholders to find ways to support the science mission at Arecibo."

Source: and YouTube


Hong Kong




W8008 Thinnest IP67 Rated Alphanumeric Pager 4 Line/8 Line, OLED Display, Now with Magnetic Charger

W8001 (4 Line/8 Line IP67 Alphanumeric Pager)

W2028 (2 Line/4 Line Alphanumeric Pager)
  • Available in VHF, UHF & 900 MHz Full Range Frequency Bands
  • We are OEM for Major Brand names in USA and Europe
  • We also Design and Manufacture POCSAG Decoder Boards
  • We can Design and Manufacture to customer specifications
  • Factory located in Shenzhen, China
  • Pagers have FCC, RoHs, C-Tick, CE-EMC, IC Approvals

Visit our websites for more details

For ESPAÑOL, PORTUGUÊS AND DEUTSCH versions, please go to:

For Trade inquiries contact:
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Head of FCC to leave on Inauguration Day

Updated November 30, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

Chairman of Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai POOL/GETTY


Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced Monday that he’ll step down from his post in January, concluding a four-year run atop the nation’s telecom regulatory agency. President Trump tapped Pai, then a commissioner, to serve as his first and only FCC chairman during his sole term in office — a period during which the Republican-led commission muscled through a series of significant deregulatory moves, including a repeal of the country’s Net neutrality rules, which had required Internet providers to treat all Web traffic equally. Pai said he intends to depart on Jan. 20, the same day that President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated, potentially setting the stage for Democrats to control the FCC next year. — WASHINGTON POST

Source: The Boston Globe  

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.

  • Commercial Paging systems.
  • Healthcare Paging systems.
  • Public Safety Emergency Services Paging systems.
  • Demand Response Energy Grid Management.

Built-in custom interface for Prism-IPX ipBSC Base Controller for remote control, management and alarm reporting.

  • Use as a stand-alone unit or in wide area network.
  • Mix with other transmitter brands in an existing paging network.
  • Adjustable from 20-250 watts.
  • 110/240 VAC or 48VDC.
  • Absolute Delay Correction.
  • Remote Diagnostics.
  • Configurable alarm thresholds.
  • Integrated Isolator.
  • Superb Reliability.
  • Improved amplifier efficiency.
  • Most reliable high-powered paging transmitter available.

Prism-IPX Systems LLC.

11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
Ph: 678-242-5290 Email:


“Is Paging Going Away?” by Jim Nelson

  • Click here for English.
  • Click here for German. (Berlin Revision: November 8, 2016)
  • Click here for French.

Here is an English PDF edit of this paper formatted with page breaks and suitable for printing.

Volunteers needed for translations into other languages.

Board of Advisors

The Wireless Messaging News
Board of Advisors

Frank McNeill
Founder & CEO
Communications Specialists
Jim Nelson
President & CEO
Prism Systems International
Kevin D. McFarland, MSCIS
Sr. Application Systems Analyst
Medical Center
Paul Lauttamus, President
Lauttamus Communications & Security
R.H. (Ron) Mercer
Wireless Consultant
Barry Kanne
Paging Industry Veteran
Ira Wiesenfeld, P.E.
Consulting Engineer
Allan Angus
Consulting Engineer

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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Newspapers generally cost 75¢ $1.50 a copy and they hardly ever mention paging or wireless messaging, unless in a negative way. If you receive some benefit from this publication maybe you would like to help support it financially?

A donation of $50.00 would certainly help cover a one-year period. If you are wiling and able, please click on the PayPal Donate button above.


  • LIVE response possible to any program with Media 1 Live app from Android or Apple stores, summed up immediately for producer on web site
  • Propose LIVE broadcast on INTERNET with live response to reach youth with low cost quality education, seeking persons interested.
  • Contact:

China Moon Landing: What to Know About Its Space Mission

Deceember 2, 2020

China landed its Chang’e-5 spacecraft on the moon to conduct the first mission to retrieve lunar samples in more than 40 years, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Chang’e-5, which touched down late Tuesday, is preparing for about 48 hours’ work on the moon’s surface, Xinhua said. A lander module is due to collect around two kilograms of material, some of it by drilling underground, and seal it in a container, according to the report.

The touchdown took place on the north of the Mons Rumker in Oceanus Procellarum, also known as the Ocean of Storms, on the near side of the moon, Xinhua said, citing an announcement by the China National Space Administration.

Source: YouTube  



10 Vanadium Place, Addington
Christchurch 8024, New Zealand
Ph: +64 (0)3 379 2298
Web Page:
Free: 0508 Salcom (NZ Only)



Easy Solutions

easy solutions

Providing Expert Support and Service Contracts for all Glenayre Paging Systems.

The GL3000 is the most prolific paging system in the world and Easy Solutions gladly welcomes you to join us in providing reliable support to the paging industry for many more decades in the future.

Easy Solutions provides cost effective computer and wireless solutions at affordable prices. We can help in most any situation with your communications systems. We have many years of experience and a vast network of resources to support the industry, your system and an ever changing completive landscape.

  • We treat our customers like family. We don’t just fix problems . . . We recommend and implement better cost-effective solutions.
  • We are not just another vendor . . . We are a part of your team. All the advantages of high priced full-time employment without the cost.
  • We are not in the Technical Services business . . . We are in the Customer Satisfaction business.

Experts in Paging Infrastructure

  • Glenayre, Motorola, Unipage, etc.
  • Excellent Service Contracts
  • Full Service—Beyond Factory Support
  • Making systems More Reliable and MORE PROFITABLE for over 30 years.

Please see our web site for exciting solutions designed specifically for the Wireless Industry. We also maintain a diagnostic lab and provide important repair and replacement parts services for Motorola and Glenayre equipment. Call or  e-mail  us for more information.

Easy Solutions
3220 San Simeon Way
Plano, Texas 75023

Vaughan Bowden
Telephone: 972-898-1119
Telephone: 214 785-8255


I would like to recommend Easy Solutions for Support of all Glenayre Paging Equipment. This Texas company is owned and operated by Vaughan Bowden. I have known Vaughan for over 35 years. Without going into a long list of his experience and qualifications, let me just say that he was the V.P. of Engineering at PageNet which was—at that time—the largest paging company in the world. So Vaughan knows Paging.

GTES is no longer offering support contracts. GTES was the original group from Vancouver that was setup to offer support to customers that wanted to continue with the legacy Glenayre support. Many U.S. customers chose not to use this service because of the price and the original requirement to upgrade to version 8.0 software (which required expensive hardware upgrades, etc.). Most contracts ended as of February 2018.

If you are at all concerned about future support of Glenayre products, especially the “king of the hill” the GL3000 paging control terminal, I encourage you to talk to Vaughan about a service contract and please tell him about my recommendation.

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.

Input Protocols: Serial and IP
Output Protocols: Serial and IP
FLEX (optional PURC control)   POCSAG (optional PURC control)

Additional/Optional Features

  • Database of up to 5000 subscribers.
  • 4 serial ports on board.
  • Up to 8 phone lines (DID or POTS).
  • Can be configured for auto-fail-over to hot swap standby.
  • 1RU rack mount unit appliance—no moving parts.
  • Easily secure legacy system messages leaving site for HIPAA compliance.
  • Only purchase the protocols/options you need.
  • Add Paging Encryption for HIPAA compliance on site.

Prism-IPX Systems LLC.

11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
Ph: 678-242-5290 e-mail:

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.

  • Option—decode capcode list or all messages.
  • Large capcode capacity.
  • Serial, USB and Ethernet output.
  • POCSAG or FLEX page decoding, special SA protocols.
  • Receivers for paging bands in VHF, UHF, 900 MHz.
  • Message activated Alarm Output.
  • 8 programmable relay outputs.
  • Send notifications of a system problem.
  • Synthesized Receiver Tuning.
  • Selectivity better than 60 dB.
  • Frequencies 148-174, 450-470, 929-932 MHz.
  • Image Rejection better than 55 dB.
  • Spurious Rejection better than 55 dB.
  • Channel Spacing 12.5 or 25 kHz.
  • Power 5VDC.
  • Receiving Sensitivity 5µV at 1200 bps.

Prism-IPX Systems LLC.

11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
Ph: 678-242-5290 e-mail:

Wireless Network Planners

Wireless Network Planners
Wireless Specialists

R.H. (Ron) Mercer
217 First Street
East Northport, NY 11731

ron mercer
Telephone: 631-786-9359 left arrow left arrow

The four main types of Covid-19 vaccines in development

Even before coronavirus broke out in 2019, pharmaceutical companies were working on designs for vaccines they could quickly adapt to a pandemic strain of virus. Their work paid off in some of the new Covid-19 vaccines being tested and prepared for rollout as illustrated below.

Used by: Pfizer, Moderna
Doses: 2
mRNA vaccines are the newest approach. They use genetic material called messenger RNA, a kind of genetic software that instructs cells to make a piece of the coronavirus spike protein. That will get the attention of the immune system. The mRNA is coated in soft fatty lipids to protect it.
Used by: AstraZeneca, Janssen, Sputnik
Doses: 1-2
Vector vaccines use another virus to carry in the genetic instructions to make the spike protein. For coronavirus they all use adenoviruses, a type of common cold virus. They attach to cells and inject DNA that tells the cells to make coronavirus spike protein.
Used by: Novavax, Sanofi
Doses: 1-2
Protein subunit vaccines just get little pieces of the target virus circulating in the system for the immune system to find and recognize. Instead of using the human body as the vaccine factory, genetically engineered insect viruses are used to infect moths, whose cells then produce the pieces of coronavirus spike protein. These are harvested and made into a vaccine.
Used by: Sinovac
Doses: 1
Whole inactivated virus vaccines take longer to make because batches of the coronavirus must first be grown and then killed using a chemical or heat, and then made into a vaccine that can be injected to elicit an immune response.

Source: CNN Reporting Graphic: Will Mullery, CNN

Both Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines use pieces of genetic material called messenger RNA (mRNA) to prompt the body to make synthetic pieces of the coronavirus and stimulate an immune response — a new technology that has not been used in existing vaccines.

But mRNA is vulnerable to degradation at room temperature. Moderna's vaccine has to be stored at -20 degree Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit), or at refrigerator temperatures for up to 30 days, while the Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at an ultra-cold temperature of -75˚C (-103˚F), and used within five days once refrigerated at higher temperatures.

Sinopharm and Sinovac, meanwhile, use an old-fashioned approach that has long been proven effective in other vaccines, such as polio and flu shots. Their coronavirus vaccines employ an inactivated whole virus to prompt the body to develop immunity, and only need to be stored at standard refrigerator temperatures of 2˚C to 8˚C (36˚F to 46˚F). CanSino's vaccine, which uses a common cold virus called adenovirus 5 to carry genetic fragments of coronavirus into the body, can also be kept at 2˚C to 8˚C.

Still, the required temperatures must be maintained throughout transport, from leaving the production facility to airport storage and finally to global distribution.

Source: CNN  

Consulting Alliance

Brad Dye, Ron Mercer, Allan Angus, Vic Jackson, and Ira Wiesenfeld are friends and colleagues who work both together and independently, on wireline and wireless communications projects.

Click here left arrow for a summary of their qualifications and experience. Each one has unique abilities. We would be happy to help you with a project, and maybe save you some time and money.

Note: We do not like Patent Trolls, i.e. “a person or company who enforces patent rights against accused infringers in an attempt to collect licensing fees, but does not manufacture products or supply services based upon the patents in question.” We have helped some prominent law firms defend their clients against this annoyance, and would be happy to do some more of this same kind of work.

Some people use the title “consultant” when they don't have a real job. We actually do consulting work, and help others based on our many years of experience.

“If you would know the road ahead, ask someone who has traveled it.” — Chinese Proverb

WHAT IS 5G? 5G is the ext generation of wireless networks and promises a mobile experience that's 10x to 100x faster than today's 4G networks. We say the word promise because we're in the early days of 5G. When more smartphones and networks support 5G tech, it will have far-reaching consequences for consumers, from the cars we drive (or that drive us) to the food we eat to the safety of our roads to the ways we shop to the entertainment we share with family and friends. And that doesn't include things we haven't yet imagined because we've never had the capability to unlock those new scenarios. Today, 5G may seem confusing even as it's widely hyped. We're here to help you sort fact from fiction, weed through the acronyms and jargon, and figure out when and how 5G can change the way you live. And we'll keep you from getting caught up in hyperbole — and empty promises. [ source ]

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.


Common Features:

  • RJ45 for A, B and Common connectors.
  • Manual push button or use Prism IP commands to switch one or more relays.
  • Single or Dual Port Control card for IP or Serial connection.
  • Form C relay—control local connection.
  • Power Loss Indicator.
  • Rear Panel Connector for controlling the switch externally.
  • Power Source: 5VDC for ABX-1; 12VDC for ABX-3.

Prism-IPX Systems LLC.

11175 Cicero Dr., Alpharetta, GA 30022
Ph: 678-242-5290 e-mail:

Leavitt Communications

We can supply alphanumeric display, numeric display, and voice pagers.

We also offer NEW and refurbished Alphamate 250s, refurbished Alphamate IIs, the original Alphamate refurbished, and new and refurbished pagers, pager repairs, pager parts, and accessories. We are FULL SERVICE in Paging! Outstanding service is our goal.

E-mail Phil Leavitt ( ) for pricing and delivery information, or for a list of other available paging and two-way related equipment.

Phil Leavitt

7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Inside Towers Newsletter

Thursday, December 3, 2020 Volume 8 | Issue 234

Dems Brace for Floor Fight Over FCC Nominee

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief The Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday voted to advance Nathan Simington’s FCC nomination to the floor in December’s lame-duck session. The GOP push could impede Democrat’s agenda early into next year, dividing the agency 2-2 once Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Michael O’Rielly exit.

The committee voice vote along party lines was 14-12. Committee Chair Roger Wicker (R-MS) had no comment on Simington’s suitability for the FCC commissioner position; he did on the other two nominees up for a vote.

Democrats on the committee oppose Simington, saying he was President Donald Trump’s choice because he intends to police social media. Ranking member Maria Cantwell of Washington said she opposes Simington because he’s “doing the White House’s bidding” in that regard.

At least one Democratic leader, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, said he would carry the fight to the floor, noting, “What’s at stake here is the independence of the FCC.” Simington “has worked on an issue that will come before the FCC. His version is very much in dispute. I fear the Commission will be deadlocked.”

Blumenthal emphasized that some “may want the FCC to be neutralized, but with the pandemic, this agency needs to be more active than ever” for consumers and their telecommunications. He found Simington’s answers to questions by both sides of the aisle “to be inadequate and evasive.”

Referring to news reports that Simington tried to help advance President Trump’s agenda to reign in social media, Blumenthal said Simington “failed to disclose” this to lawmakers. “The FCC and NTIA [where Simington is a senior advisor] simply cannot be permitted to be an instrument of political bullying,” said the Senator. “This committee must take this threat seriously.”

Both Blumenthal and Cantwell said Simington lacks the qualifications for the FCC job and the Senate should hold his nomination. They prefer the committee go the traditional route of nominating and moving forward FCC Commissioner nominees in pairs, including a member of each major party.

President Trump chose Simington to replace FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly for questioning Trump’s desire to have the agency curb social media actions, according to news accounts. During Simington’s nomination hearing, he said he worked on NTIA’s petition concerning social media in a small way, Inside Towers reported. O’Rielly’s nomination was pulled by Trump and he must now leave the agency before the new Congress is installed.

Source: Inside Towers newsletter Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers Jim Fryer.
Inside Towers is a daily newsletter by subscription.

BloostonLaw Newsletter

  BloostonLaw Telecom Update Vol. 23, No. 49 December 2, 2020  

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's partners. The firm's contact information is included at the end of this section of the newsletter.

FCC Revises STIR/SHAKEN Framework Regarding Direct Access to Numbers

On November 18, the FCC adopted a Public Notice announcing that the Secure Telephone Identity Governance Authority (Governance Authority) issued an update to its Service Provider Code (SPC) Token Access Policy. Under the revised policy, an entity will no longer need direct access to telephone numbers to participate in the STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication framework.

As previously reported, the FCC adopted an extension to voice service providers that cannot obtain a certificate due to the SPC Token Access Policy “until it is feasible for a provider to participate in STIR/SHAKEN due either to the possibility of compliance with the Governance Authority policy or a change in the Governance Authority policy.” This revision may affect the applicability of the extension for certain carriers.

See the full article below for more.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.


FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for December Open Meeting

On November 19, the FCC announced the tentative agenda for its upcoming December Open Meeting, currently scheduled for December 10th. At the meeting, the FCC will consider the following items:

  • Securing the Communications Supply Chain: a Report and Order that would require Eligible Telecommunications Carriers to remove equipment and services that pose an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of its people, would establish the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program, and would establish the procedures and criteria for publishing a list of covered communications equipment and services that must be removed. (WC Docket No. 18-89)
  • Allowing Earlier Equipment Marketing and Importation Opportunities: a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would propose updates to its marketing and importation rules to permit, prior to equipment authorization, conditional sales of radio-frequency devices to consumers under certain circumstances and importation of a limited number of radio-frequency devices for certain pre-sale activities. (ET Docket No. 20-382)
  • Promoting Broadcast Internet Innovation Through ATSC 3.0: a Report and Order that would modify and clarify existing rules to promote the deployment of Broadcast Internet services as part of the transition to ATSC 3.0. (MB Docket No. 20-145)

In addition, the FCC is slated to consider two “National Security Matters.”

Each summary above contains a link to the draft text of each item expected to be considered at this Open Commission Meeting. However, it is possible that changes will be made before the Meeting. One-page cover sheets prepared by the FCC are included in the public drafts to help provide an additional summary.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.

FCC Revises STIR/SHAKEN Framework Regarding Direct Access to Numbers

On November 18, the FCC adopted a Public Notice announcing that the Secure Telephone Identity Governance Authority (Governance Authority) issued an update to its Service Provider Code (SPC) Token Access Policy. Under the revised policy, an entity will no longer need direct access to telephone numbers to participate in the STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication framework.

Specifically, the SPC Token Access Policy previously required an entity seeking a certificate, among other things, to “[h]ave direct access to telephone numbers from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator . . . and National Pooling Administrator.” The newly revised SPC Token Access Policy removes and replaces the requirement that an entity have direct access to telephone numbers to receive a certificate. In place of that requirement, the revised policy requires that an entity must be listed in the FCC’s forthcoming Robocall Mitigation Database. The Governance Authority announced that the new policy will be effective upon the FCC’s Robocall Mitigation Certification filing deadline and that, until then, “the current SPC token access policy remains in effect.”

As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the FCC adopted an extension to voice service providers that cannot obtain a certificate due to the SPC Token Access Policy “until it is feasible for a provider to participate in STIR/SHAKEN due either to the possibility of compliance with the Governance Authority policy or a change in the Governance Authority policy.” There, the FCC further “recognize[d] that a voice service provider may not be able to immediately come into compliance with its caller ID authentication obligations after it becomes eligible to receive a certificate,” and found that it “will not consider a voice service provider that diligently pursues a certificate once it is able to receive one in violation of our rules.” This is just such a change that will change whether a carrier can participate. Those carriers expecting to take advantage of the extension should review the impact of this revision. Carriers with questions may contact the firm for more information.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.

National Lifeline Verifier Launched in California

On November 18, the FCC announced the full launch of the National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier (National Verifier) in California, effective December 18, 2020. California consumers seeking to enroll in the Lifeline program will continue to use the state’s existing application process, but the National Verifier will take responsibility for eligibility verification for all new subscribers of standalone broadband service. ETCs, which currently handle verification for those subscribers, must cease using legacy eligibility processes.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.

FCC Announces 2021 Comparability Benchmarks

On November 30, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the 2021 reasonable comparability benchmarks for fixed voice and broadband services for eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) that are subject to broadband public interest obligations. These ETCs include incumbent local exchange rate-of-return carriers, incumbent price-cap carriers that are receiving Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II support, Rural Broadband Experiment providers, CAF Phase II Auction (Auction 903) winners, and Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction winners.

Based on the survey results, the 2021 urban average monthly rate is $33.73. Therefore, the reasonable comparability benchmark for voice services, two standard deviations above the urban average, is $54.75.

The following table provides the 2021 benchmark for a number of different broadband service offerings, though providers will need to determine the benchmark for services with characteristics not shown in the table:

Download Bandwidth (Mbps) Upload Bandwidth (Mbps) Capacity Allowance (GB) 2021 U.S. 2021 AK
4 1 350 $70.69 $107.50
4 1 Unlimited $75.72 $113.17
10 1 350 $79.51 $119.67
10 1 Unlimited $85.11 $125.90
25 3 350 $80.97 $127.66
25 3 Unlimited $86.72 $134.04
25 5 350 $89.13 $138.94
25 5 Unlimited $94.89 $145.33
50 5 Unlimited $102.04 $148.34
100 10 Unlimited $106.20 $152.93
250 25 Unlimited $125.78 $174.67
500 50 Unlimited $131.51 $182.24
1000 100 Unlimited $140.80 $191.20

To facilitate benchmark calculations, the Office will post an Excel file with a tool in which providers can enter the relevant variables to determine the benchmark for specific service characteristics at The FCC also adopted a minimum monthly usage allowance of 350 GB for 2021.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.

Senate Approves Simington to Seat on FCC

On December 2, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee voted to approve the nomination Mr. Nathan Simington, a Commerce Department official under President Trump, to the seat currently held by Commissioner Michael O’Rielly on the FCC. He was approved on a 14-12 vote. According to a report in Reuters, “It is not clear when the full U.S. Senate may take up the nomination for the five-year term. If approved, the FCC could initially be deadlocked 2-2 when President-elect Joe Biden takes office next month.”

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens.

Law and Regulation

8YY Access Reforms Effective December 28; Key Requirements Still Awaiting OMB Approval

On November 27, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Report and Order in which it shifts most access charges for toll free or 8YY calls to a bill-and-keep system, in an effort to address arbitrage and fraud. Accordingly, the rules effecting this transition are effective December 28. We note however that those parts of the rules which require carriers to establish separate rate elements and new rates beginning July 1, 2021 still require approval by the Office of Management and Budget. The FCC will publish notice of approval in the Federal Register upon receipt.

As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the FCC moved 8YY originating end office access charges to bill-and-keep over approximately three years, and, as a transitional step toward bill-and-keep, combined 8YY originating transport and originating tandem switching into a single nationwide tandem switched transport access service rate capped at $0.001 per minute. The FCC also transitioned charges for the 8YY database queries needed to route all 8YY calls to $0.0002 over approximately three years and prohibit carriers from charging for more than one such query per call.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Mary Sisak.

FCC Announces Revisions to 2021 Form 499 Filing

Each year the FCC revises the annual 499 filing due on April 1 to address regulatory changes and otherwise clarify the form itself and the accompanying instructions. Though not always terribly substantial, carriers should nevertheless be on the lookout for these revisions each year. Changes for 2021 include clarifying that SMS and MMS messaging are information services, and updating the instructions to accommodate USAC’s E-file system configuration requirements.

Carriers seeking assistance with their annual 499 filing may contact the firm for more information.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Sal Taillefer.

FCC Fines Carrier $64,000 for Failing to Report Network Outage

On November 30, the FCC announced that it has entered into a Consent Decree with to resolve its investigation into whether Logix Communications, LP. d/b/a Logix Fiber Networks (Logix), timely filed required reports in the FCC’s Network Outage Reports System. The FCC’s rules require communications providers to report certain disruptions to their networks, providing the FCC with the means to quickly analyze communications vulnerabilities and share aggregate information with industry to help prevent future outages and preserve network integrity. To settle this matter, Logix admits that it failed to timely file the required network outage reports, will implement a compliance plan to ensure future compliance, and will pay a $64,000 civil penalty. Logix is a wireline communications provider. In April 2020, the FCC notified Logix that it had failed to file its required Notification, Initial Report, and Final Report in connection with a reportable network outage that occurred on January 5, 2020. After learning from the FCC of the overdue filings, Logix submitted the reports required by the FCC. The FCC subsequently referred this matter to the Enforcement Bureau for investigation. As noted, Logix admitted it failed to timely file.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Mary Sisak, and Sal Taillefer.


Chairman Pai Announces Intent to Depart FCC

On November 30, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that he intends to leave the FCC on January 20, 2021. Chairman Pai issued the following statement: “It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve at the Federal Communications Commission, including as Chairman of the FCC over the past four years. I am grateful to President Trump for giving me the opportunity to lead the agency in 2017, to President Obama for appointing me as a Commissioner in 2012, and to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and the Senate for twice confirming me. To be the first Asian-American to chair the FCC has been a particular privilege. As I often say: only in America.”

“I also deeply appreciate the chance to have worked alongside the FCC’s talented staff. They are the agency’s best assets, and they have performed heroically, especially during the pandemic. It’s also been an honor to work with my fellow Commissioners to execute a strong and broad agenda. Together, we’ve delivered for the American people over the past four years: closing the digital divide; promoting innovation and competition, from 5G on the ground to broadband from space; protecting consumers; and advancing public safety. And this FCC has not shied away from making tough choices. As a result, our nation’s communications networks are now faster, stronger, and more widely deployed than ever before.

“I am proud of how productive this Commission has been, from commencing five spectrum auctions and two rural broadband reverse auctions in four years, to opening 1,245 megahertz of mid-band spectrum for unlicensed use, to adopting more than 25 orders through our Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative, to aggressively protecting our communications networks from national security threats at home and abroad, to designating 988 as the three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and much, much more. I’m also proud of the reforms we have instituted to make the agency more accountable to the American people. In particular, for the first time ever, we’ve made public drafts of the proposals and orders slated for a vote three weeks before the agency’s monthly meetings, making this the most transparent FCC in history.”

“Last but not least, I want to thank my family for all they have done to enable me to serve at the agency. The public service of one generally results from the private sacrifice of many, and I’m grateful for their love and support.”

FCC Selects SomosGov as Next Telephone Number Administrator

On December 1, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that it has selected SomosGov, Inc. as the next administrator responsible for various telephone number management responsibilities. Specifically, SomosGov will serve as the North American Numbering Plan Administrator, the Pooling Administrator, and the new role of Reassigned Numbers Database Administrator under a five-year contract, with options for the FCC to continue the contract for up to a total of eight years.

The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) administers the North American Numbering Plan on behalf of its member countries, providing numbering administration functions for telecommunications services. The Pooling Administrator (PA) administers number pooling functions in the United States and serves as the Routing Number Administrator for the United States, responsible for administering non-dialable numbers used for routing emergency calls and other purposes. SomosGov is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Somos, Inc., the present NANPA and PA. SomosGov has been performing the NANPA and PA functions as a subcontractor to Somos, Inc., and will continue operating the NANPA/PA functions under the new contract.

As the Reassigned Numbers Database Administrator (RNDA), SomosGov will create and operate a comprehensive Reassigned Numbers Database that will contain reassigned numbers information from each provider that obtains North American Numbering Plan U.S. geographic numbers and toll-free numbers.


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 2020 calendar year, will be due January 15, 2021, for all CMRS service providers that had operations during any portion of 2020. Companies that sold their wireless licenses during 2019 and that didn’t otherwise provide mobile wireless service (e.g., via resale) during the 2020 calendar year won’t have any obligation to file a HAC compliance certification for the 2020 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 2020 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.

JANUARY 31: FCC FORM 555, ANNUAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS CARRIER CERTIFICATION FORM. All Lifeline Program service providers are required to file the FCC Form 555, except where the National Verifier, state Lifeline administrator, or other entity is responsible. Since January 31 falls on a weekend or holiday this year, Form 555 may be filed by February 1. The FCC Form 555 must be submitted to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) electronically via USAC’s E-File (One Portal). Carriers must also file a copy of their FCC Form 555 in the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System, Docket 14-171, and with their state regulatory commission. The form reports the results of the annual recertification process and non-usage de-enrollments. Recertification results are reported month-by-month based on the subscribers’ anniversary date.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and John Prendergast.

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.

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 Contacts: Cary Mitchell.

Calendar At-a-Glance

Dec. 2 – Comments on ACAM Broadband Coalition Petition for Rulemaking are due.
Dec. 7 – Reply comments are due on 3.45-3.55 GHz Licensing and Operating Framework are due.

Jan. 15 – FCC Form 855 (HAC Certification).
Jan. 31 – FCC Form 555 (Lifeline Recertification) is due (subscribers without National/State verifier).

Feb. 1 – FCC Form 499-Q (Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
Feb. 1 – FCC Form 502 (Number Utilization and Forecast Report) is due.
Feb. 1 – Live 911 Call Data Reports from Non-Nationwide Providers are due.

  BloostonLaw Private Users Update Vol. 20, No. 11 November 2020  

FCC Cites Rugged Race Products for Illegal Marketing of Unauthorized RF Devices

The FCC has issued a citation to Rugged Race Products (RRP) that it has unlawfully marketed six models of radio frequency devices that (a) operated outside the scope of their respective equipment authorization, or without any equipment authorization; (b) permitted any operator to program and transmit on new frequencies using the device’s external operation controls; and (c) lacked the appropriate labeling. The citation directs RRP to immediately comply with the FCC’s equipment authorization and marketing rules and to cease marketing any unauthorized radio frequency devices in the United States. The FCC noted that if RRP fails to comply, it could become liable for significant fines up to $20,489 per day of violation for each unauthorized model marketed, as well as other sanctions.

In order to ensure that that different communications needs can be satisfied with the available radio frequency (RF) spectrum, the FCC has allocated spectrum for different licensed and unlicensed uses. Additionally, the FCC has created a certification process that is designed to ensure that RF devices which intentionally emit radio waves meet various operating requirements, including power limits, frequency band limits, and channel bandwidth restrictions. Otherwise, RF devices can cause interference to federal government and licensed communications systems.

In this instance, the FCC received several complaints that RRP was marketing unauthorized radio frequency devices in violation of the Commission’s equipment authorization and marketing rules. Complaints further alleged that RRP had programmed some two-way radios to enable them to transmit on frequencies outside the scope of their equipment authorizations. In response, the FCC initiated an investigation which revealed that RRP had marketed six models over a period of years, starting as early as 2014 for one model and as recently as May 2017 for another. RRP acknowledged that all six models were “sold with the capability of being face programmable to allow a user to enter new operating frequencies” and that the associated manufacturer or supplier delivered the radio with this capability. The Company supplied valid FCC Identifiers (FCC ID) suggesting that four of the six two-way radios had been properly tested and authorized under the Commission’s equipment authorization rules, even though it turned out that two of those radios had been modified and that the radios, as modified had not been tested. Additionally, while two radios had been certified, the certification was only as a scanning receiver and not as a transceiver (meaning that those radios could receive, but were not authorized to transmit). Finally, the FCC noted that RRP did not initially provide accurate information in its investigation.

Those of our clients who manufacture, import or market RF equipment in the US must be cognizant of the requirements under Part 2 of the FCC’s Rules, which require equipment certifications/authorizations before intentional and unintentional radiating RF equipment may be imported, marketed or sold in the US. In addition to complaint-based investigations, the FCC also visits trade shows and stores as well as Internet websites. While RRP did not receive a fine in this circumstance due to the fact that it was otherwise not regulated by the FCC, those of our clients who do hold FCC radio licenses could be subjected to fines for equipment violations without a citation first from the FCC.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

FCC Denies Petition to Deny Assignment of AMTS License to Positive Train Control Group

Warren Havens and the Polaris PNT Group (Petitioners) challenged an application filed by Thomas Kurian to assign certain Automated Maritime Telecommunications System (AMTS) spectrum to PTC-220 LLC, which is a consortium of the seven largest freight railroads in the United States. As part of the application, PTC-220 requested a waiver of the AMTS rules to facilitate the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) and related rail safety systems for its members. The FCC denied the Petition and will process the application.

From its inception, the FCC intended that AMTS spectrum be used to provide service to tugs, barges, and other commercial maritime vessels. The Commission amended the AMTS rules in 1997 to permit AMTS stations to serve fixed, mobile, and handheld units on land, and now licenses AMTS stations by geographic area. The AMTS band includes two spectrum blocks in 10 geographic license areas: Block A (217.5- 218/219.5-220 MHz) and Block B (217-217.5/219-219.5 MHz).

On July 16, 2019 Kurian and PTC-220 filed an application for partial assignment of the license in order to partition and disaggregate a certain portion of the spectrum from Kurian’s license to PTC-220. Petitioners assert in their Petition to Deny that (a) granting the application would interfere with the jurisdiction of the Nevada state courts, including the Nevada Supreme Court, regarding a contractual dispute in which Havens claims he is entitled to an assignment of spectrum licensed under Station WQCP809 (the “Nevada litigation”); (b) Kurian and PTC breached duties to the FCC and lacked candor by not disclosing the Nevada litigation in the Application; and (c) the Public Interest Showing and Waiver Request are deficient.

The primary basis for Haven’s challenge was the ongoing Nevada litigation in which the Courts awarded monetary damages but declined to require specific performance to force the assignment of the license for station WQCP809 by Kurian to Havens. In declining to provide relief on this ground, the FCC noted that it is well established that it will not defer action on a license assignment application pending the resolution of private litigation in the courts – consistent with a prior decision involving Havens and the very same license. This principle has been affirmed by the US Court of Appeals. As a result, absent a stay or injunction issued by a court, the FCC will routinely act on license assignment applications pending the resolution of a private dispute.

Havens also asserted that Kurian and PTC-220 had an affirmative duty to report the ongoing Nevada litigation in the underlying license partition application, and that by not reporting this litigation, both Kurian and PTC-220 “breached their duties to the FCC, including a lack of candor.” It was also alleged that the application was improper since the parties had not signed an agreement for the transaction. The FCC noted that at the time the application was filed, the Nevada courts had not issued a final order that would have barred the processing of the application, nor has there been one since. Further, the FCC stated that there is no rule that requires an executed contract to exist at the time of the filing of a license application. As a result, the FCC found that neither Kurian nor PTC-220 had breached their duty to the FCC nor lacked candor.

The FCC has recognized that “PTC is a potentially transformative technology” that can “save lives, prevent injuries, and avoid extensive property damage,” and has taken myriad actions to facilitate its successful implementation. The FCC found that consistent with this precedent, the Application’s Public Interest Showing, its related Waiver Request, and Section 309(a) of the Communications Act, the proposed assignment of spectrum to enhance PTC and other rail safety systems will serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity. Accordingly, the FCC granted the waiver relief only to the extent that AMTS spectrum is used to deploy PTC and related rail safety applications in defined rail corridors, thereby limiting the area of potential interference. If PTC-220 assigns, partitions, disaggregates, or leases any spectrum to be assigned from Kurian under Station WQCP809 to a third party, the waivers would only apply if that spectrum is used for PTC or related rail safety applications.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

Windstream Hit for $18,000 Penalty for Non-Compliance with Environmental and Historic Preservation Requirements

Windstream has agreed to pay an $18,000 civil penalty for violations of the FCC’s environmental and historic preservation rules, including rules which implement the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) as a result of the construction of two tower sites without onsite monitoring requested by the affected native American tribes.

Under the FCC’s Rules, applicants and licensees are required to assess whether a proposed facility/antenna tower could significantly affect the environment, as defined by Rule Section 1.1307. This rule addresses facilities that could significantly affect the environment, including those that: (a) affect threatened or endangered species or their critical habitats, or are likely to jeopardize proposed threatened or endangered species, or destroy or adversely modify proposed critical habitats; (b) may affect districts, sites, buildings, structures or objects that are listed, or eligible for listing, in the National Register; (c) may affect Native American religious sites; or (d) will involve significant change in surface features. In considering potential effects on historic properties, the FCC’s environmental rules require applicants to follow the prescribed procedures set forth in the rules of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (Advisory Council), as modified by the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for the Collocation of Wireless Antennas (Collocation Agreement) and the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement Regarding the Section 106 National Historic Preservation Act Review Process (Wireless Facilities Agreement). To meet its compliance obligations under the Commission’s rules implementing NEPA and the NHPA, Windstream properly solicited the views of the State Historical Preservation Officers (SHPOs) and appropriate tribal representatives. While the SHPOs provided Windstream with their concurrence, the tribes requested onsite monitoring of construction during all ground disturbance activity. In spite of the FCC’s requirements, Windstream’s contractor commenced construction at the Nebraska Tower and Arkansas Tower without the onsite monitoring requested by the affected tribes. As a result, the FCC concluded that Windstream violated the FCC’s Environmental Rules.

This case demonstrates that compliance with the FCC’s environmental rules can be complex and that even an inadvertent failure to meet each and every requirement could result in costly fines and penalties. When planning antenna sites, it is critically important that our clients take into account not only the traditional environmental issues in order to ensure that the proposed antenna structure will not constitute a major environmental action, but also ensure that appropriate consultations with the SHPO and affected tribal representatives are completed prior to the commencement of any construction or ground disturbance activities.

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Richard Rubino

Senate Commerce Committee Holds Hearing on Simington Nomination

On November 10, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee (the Committee) held a hearing to consider three presidential nominations, including that of Nathan Simington to replace former Commissioner Michael O’Rielly – whose renomination, according to press reports, was withdrawn by the White House due apparently to his failure to support the Administration’s request that the FCC re-examine Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. In his testimony before the Committee, Mr. Simington enumerated four principles that outline the view and approach that he would take if confirmed: regulatory stability; universal connectivity; public safety and national security; and serving the public interest.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and John Prendergast.

FCC Preempts City Regulations on Rights-of-Way Fees

On November 9, the FCC issued a Declaratory Ruling by preempting a legal framework imposed by the cities of Cameron, Maryville, and St. Joseph, Missouri (collectively, the Cities) to the extent that it has been or may be used to require Missouri Network Alliance, LLC d/b/a Bluebird Network (Bluebird) to pay duplicative rights-of-way fees based solely on the passive ownership of the facilities it uses to provide telecommunications services (the Network) by Leasing MW, LLC (LMW).

Specifically, the FCC found that the Cities regulations imposed a material inhibition to the extent that they construe their ordinances in a manner that allows them to effectively double-charge Bluebird for its single use of the public rights-of-way simply because another entity owns the Network—an entity that does not have any physical connection to the public rights-of-way itself. The FCC found that LMW does not use, maintain, or control the Network; rather, it simply leases the Network to Bluebird to provide telecommunications services, which Bluebird does pursuant to existing rights-of-way agreements with the Cities. Nevertheless, the Cities sought to impose the same rights-of-way fees on LMW based on its passive ownership of the Network facilities, which would ultimately increase Bluebird’s rights-of-way costs by 100%.

According to the FCC, “such a dramatic increase in costs for Bluebird’s use of the Network would impose a financial burden that effectively prohibits Bluebird from providing its services in violation of section 253(a) of the Telecommunications Act.”

BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast, Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy

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Harold Mordkofsky, 202-828-5520,
Benjamin H. Dickens, Jr., 202-828-5510,
Gerard J. Duffy, 202-828-5528,
John A. Prendergast, 202-828-5540,
Richard D. Rubino, 202-828-5519,
Mary J. Sisak, 202-828-5554,
D. Cary Mitchell, 202-828-5538,
Salvatore Taillefer, Jr., 202-828-5562,

This newsletter is not intended to provide legal advice. Those interested in more information should contact the firm.

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Erika Lewis & Tuba Skinny — Mean Blue Spirits
(album version)

Tuba Skinny is a traditional jazz street band based in New Orleans, Louisiana. The ensemble draws its inspiration from the early jazz, ragtime, and blues music of the 1920s and 1930s. For over a decade, Tuba Skinny has grown steadily in popularity, releasing ten albums, frequently touring, and attracting high-profile fans . . . hailed by Offbeat Magazine, The Syncopated Times, and other publications as one of the best traditional early jazz bands performing today. The band is popular on YouTube with “more than 500 videos, many with 100,000-plus views, in a variety of languages.” However, the ensemble does not have an official YouTube page, and nearly all of the recorded footage is fan-made. Despite the band’s global fame and frequent performances in nightclubs and at jazz festivals, they have continued to perform on the streets of New Orleans and other cities in order to maintain their intimate connection with audiences.




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