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Friday — January 17, 2020 — Issue No. 891

Welcome Back To

The Wireless Messaging News

NSA alerted Microsoft to major Windows 10 security flaw

By Brian Fung, CNN Business
Updated 10:37 AM ET, Thu January 16, 2020

Washington, DC (CNN Business) — The National Security Agency recently alerted Microsoft to a major flaw in its Windows operating system that could let hackers pose as legitimate software companies, agency officials said on Tuesday.

Microsoft (MSFT) issued a software update on Tuesday to fix the vulnerability, as part of its normal schedule for releasing software patches.

News of the vulnerability and patch were first reported by independent journalist Brian Krebs, who said Microsoft provided its software fix to the military and key infrastructure companies ahead of Tuesday's public release.

Microsoft said in a statement Monday night that it provides advance versions of its updates to some users under a special testing program. Jeff Jones, a senior director at Microsoft, declined to discuss specifics of the flaw "to prevent unnecessary risk to customers."

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

The NSA's rare announcement of the flaw, along with its decision to warn Microsoft rather than exploit the bug for intelligence purposes, underscores the magnitude of the threat it could pose to businesses, consumers and government agencies worldwide.

The NSA said that, while it has shared vulnerability information with the private sector in the past, this marks the first time that it has come forward publicly to do so. The agency said the decision reflects an effort to build trust with cybersecurity researchers.

"Part of building trust is showing the data," Anne Neuberger, the NSA's director of cybersecurity, told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. Because the NSA has never allowed itself to be linked to a vulnerability disclosure, she said, "it's hard for entities to trust that we take this seriously. And ensuring vulnerabilities can be mitigated is an absolute priority."

The NSA did not use the vulnerability to exploit adversaries, and the bug was turned over to Microsoft as soon as it was discovered, Neuberger added. She said the NSA has not detected any other entities using the bug.

The Department of Homeland Security said on the call that it would issue a bulletin to federal agencies advising them to install the Microsoft patches immediately.

The flaw concerns a core Windows function that verifies the legitimacy of apps and programs, a feature known as CryptoAPI.

"It's the equivalent of a building security desk checking IDs before permitting a contractor to come up and install new equipment," said Ashkan Soltani, a security expert and former chief technologist for the Federal Trade Commission.

By compromising that validation feature, hackers could easily impersonate "good" software companies to install bad software, Soltani said, potentially allowing them to spy on computer users or hold their devices hostage for ransom. [Source: CNN Business]

Wireless Messaging News

  • Emergency Radio Communications
  • Wireless Messaging
  • Critical Messaging
  • Two-way Radio
  • Technology
  • Telemetry
  • Science
  • Paging
  • Wi-Fi
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This doesn't mean that nothing is ever published here that mentions a US political party—it just means that the editorial policy of this newsletter is to remain neutral on all political issues. We don't take sides.

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.

We need your help. This is the only remaining news source dedicated to information about Paging and Wireless Messaging.

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Advertiser Index

IWA Technical Services, Inc.  (Ira Wiesenfeld)
Leavitt Communications  (Phil Leavitt)
Media 1
Prism Paging  (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


Specialists in sales and service of equipment from these leading manufacturers, as well as other two-way radio and paging products:

bendix king COM

motorola blue Motorola SOLUTIONS



Contact us for price and availability please

Philip C. Leavitt
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


Hong Kong


W8001 (4 Line/8 Line IP67 Alphanumeric Pager)

W8008 Thinnest IP67 Rated Alphanumeric Pager 4 Line/8 Line, OLED Display

W2028 (2 Line/4 Line Alphanumeric Pager)

For Trade inquiries contact:
Eric Dilip Kumar

  • 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:

Frontier Communications Internet Service Out for Most of the Day

Posted on January 15, 2020 by Editor

Frontier Communications Internet service for Berkeley Springs and much of Morgan County has been out for much of the day.

In southern Morgan County, Internet service has been out for more than six hours.

“Frontier Communications crews are currently working to repair fiber optic lines, which were damaged by a fire caused by downed power lines,” said Frontier spokesperson Javier Mendoza. “The damage is disrupting Internet service to some customers in Morgan County. We want to reassure customers we are actively addressing this issue and thank them for their patience as we complete repairs and restore service.”

Mendoza said that information regarding the location of the fire or how much of Morgan County was affected was “not available.”

Source: Morgan County USA  

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:

  • 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:


“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.


Can You Help The Newsletter?

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You can help support The Wireless Messaging News by clicking on the PayPal Donate button above. It is not necessary to be a member of PayPal to use this service.

Reader Support

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.

Paging Infrastructure For Sale

— Great Prices —

Item Description Mfr. Part Number WH spares
COMBINER 500W BOARD 2630082009 12
IPA BOARD 263-0082-008 8
POWER SUPPLY NUCLEUS 3-70559-0000 31
EXCITER 250W  F11 EXGA250-1 28
POWER AMPLIFIER SER-97 30/150F6 3T97A150 26
POWER AMPLIFIER SER-97 30/150F9 3T 97A150-2 24
POWER AMPLIFIER 250W F11 T-8500-1 42
POWER AMPLIFIER 500W F11 T-8600-1 26
ANTENNA PAGING 1/2W 406-512 MHz SRL310C4*4 1
PAGING ISOLATOR F11/F12 7914.00009 6
POWER AMPLIFIER SERIES 80 35/14 3T-80A125 25
RADIO PAGING FLEX F9 140 @ 175 GL-T8311C 5
PAGING RADIO FLEX 500W 931 MHz T-8600 F11 1
POWER AMPLIFIER 250W (F11) T-8500 PRF250 5
POWER AMPLIFIER 500W (F11) T8600F11PA500W 9
C-2000 GPS KIT WITH 200FT CABLE 1303.0200 10
EXCITER/PA CONTROLLER 265-0084-015 265-0084-015 13
CONTROLLER GL C-2000 2650090010 5
IPA DRIVER BOARD 250W 263-0082-022 3

Sale prices are $250.00 (or best offer) for each item. Please contact Adam Jaster direct for more information. Some of the items do not have a complete description. Cost of packing and shipping is the buyer's responsibility.

Adam Jaster
Account Manager
Desk: 805-879-4846
Mobile: 805-215-0163
Tempest Telecom Solutions
Tempest is a WBENC, NCTRCA and CPUC Certified WBE Company
Tempest is expanding our repair facility with a new location in Coppell, Texas

Source: Adam Jaster  

Prism-IPX Systems

prism-ipx systems

prism-ipx systems
prism-ipx systems


prism-ipx systems


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:

Technology Apple may have to abandon Lightning connector cable

17 January 2020


Apple could be forced to abandon its Lightning connector cable if European lawmakers get their way.

The cable is used to charge and sync many Apple devices, such as the iPhone.

But members of the European Parliament urged the European Commission on Monday to force tech giants to adopt a single universal charging method.

Two other charging cables - USB-C and micro-USB - are used on Android devices, and Apple has already stopped using Lightning on the 2019 iPad.

European regulators will vote on the matter on a yet to be determined date, but Apple says the proposed regulation would stifle innovation and be disruptive to consumers.

How likely is this to happen?

If the regulator enforces its proposed regulation, Apple devices sold in Europe would be required to have a new charging method.

It is likely Apple would then adopt USB-C, considering the company's 2019 iPad Pro ditched Lightning in favour of the technology.

Another possible option would be to remove charging ports and cables entirely and use wireless charging instead.

A new cable would mark the tech giant's third in 13 years.

The majority of newly-manufactured Android phones already feature USB-C ports.

Why does the EU want this change?

The European Commission has been campaigning for a single charging method for the past decade.

There were more than 30 types of charger on the market in 2009, but that number has since been reduced to just three.

The regulator is determined to cut down on electronic waste being created by obsolete cables, which it estimates generate more than 51,000 tonnes of waste per year.

"This is hugely detrimental for the environment," said European Parliament member Alex Agius Saliba.

"A common charger should fit all mobile phones, tablets, e-book readers and other portable devices."


Apple devices could be forced to use USB-C chargers

Hasn't this happened before?

Apple, along with 10 other leading tech giants such as Nokia and Samsung, signed a memorandum of understanding in 2009.

They pledged to provide micro-USB compatible chargers for consumers.

However, Apple took advantage of a loophole that allowed manufacturers to continue using their own chargers if they offered an adaptor.

Then, in 2014, the EU passed the Radio Equipment Directive, which called for a "renewed effort to develop a common charger".

Apple insisted that its slimmer devices would be unable to fit the then-new USB-C technology, and it claimed it would cost up to $2bn (£1.53bn) to meet the desired standard.

Isn't wireless charging the future anyway?

Apple and many of its rivals, such as Huawei and Samsung, have already released products that charge their devices wirelessly.

Although the technology is in its infancy, new developments have meant that it is now able to compete with traditional charging methods.

Some analysts are even predicting that Apple could scrap its charging ports altogether by releasing future iPhone and iPad models that rely solely on wireless charging.

Source: BBC News  

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

Germany Special Event Recognizes Anniversary of SDR Development

Posted date: January 14, 2020

The Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC) this year is honoring 35 years of software-defined radio (SDR) technology with special call sign and special DOK.

“In order to acknowledge the high importance of digital signal processing for communications technology in general, and amateur radio in particular, a special event station DL35SDR will be active from the greater Munich area throughout 2020,” the DARC announcement said. A special DOK of 35SDR was issued for this station.

DARC said digital signal processing via SDR has become the generally accepted standard for decoding and generating of radio signals. Commercial services have been using this technology for a long time and modern amateur radio is unimaginable without it.

Award-winning researcher Ulrich L. Rohde, N1UL/DJ2LR, was the first to describe the possibilities and perspectives of SDR in a lecture during the Third International Conference on HF Communication Systems and Technique in 1985. Rohde is recognized as one of the pioneers of SDR technology. — Thanks to OPDX

Source: QRZ now  

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

Consulting Alliance

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:

Here’s how new Microsoft Edge will roll out to Windows 10

By Mayank Parmar - January 15, 2020

In early December 2018, Microsoft first announced that they’re adopting Chromium platform and Blink rendering engine to replace its in-house Edge browser. Today, new Microsoft Edge browser is generally available on Windows and macOS.

If you haven’t downloaded the browser manually on your Windows 10 PC, you can expect it to show up on your PC over the next few months. Microsoft has no plans to roll out new Edge automatically via Windows Update immediately. The rollout will happen gradually, starting with Insiders next month.

Today, Microsoft is making Chromium-based Edge browser available for manual download on Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and macOS.

The browser is available in 90 languages and users can download it manually from here. If you’d like not to manually install Edge today, you need to wait for Windows Update.

Understanding Chromium-based Microsoft Edge rollout

Microsoft’s Edge rollout will happen in a staged way over the next few months. In the coming weeks, Microsoft plans to begin pushing the browser update to Release Preview Ring.

“The new Microsoft Edge will gradually be made available on Windows Update,” the company said. The rollout pace would depend on the data and feedback from users, and Microsoft may start seeding the browser to more users if the feedback is positive.

If you upgrade today or wait for the update to show up on your PC, Microsoft will automatically hide the old or legacy Edge browser when the new Edge is installed. Old Microsoft Edge is not removed from the system but Microsoft will make it look as if new browser is replacing it.

During the installation, your Edge settings, passwords, favourites and other data will carry over to the new Edge. If you use Google Chrome, Edge will ask you to migrate favourites, form-fill information, and basic settings.

It’s also worth noting that new Edge won’t make any changes to any browser you use currently. If you use Google Chrome or Firefox as your default browser, these browsers will remain as a default app on Windows or macOS.

You can expect Microsoft Edge’s automatic rollout to begin in about six to nine weeks from January 15. After seeding the browser to Release Preview Ring testers, Microsoft will extend the rollout to include Home and Pro users of Windows 10.

For enterprises and organizations, Microsoft will not replace Edge browser automatically. The administrators will have full control over when the new Microsoft Edge will be deployed to their employees’ devices.

Microsoft Edge updates

Microsoft Edge update system is not tied to Windows 10 feature updates or Microsoft Store updates. Microsoft Edge will use its own update channel to add new features, improvements and fix bugs.

Microsoft Edge (stable) will update roughly every six weeks on Windows 10, 7 and macOS. The company is also planning to launch the browser on Linux later this year, followed by Windows 10 on ARM release.

Source: Windows Latest  

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

Friday, January 17, 2020 Volume 8 | Issue 10

Vertical Location Rule Changes for E911 Calls Effective in March

Last November, the FCC released an order adopting rules for transmitting vertical, or “z-axis,” location information with indoor wireless 911 calls. The agency also sought public input on narrowing the z-axis location accuracy metric.

The adopted rules become effective on March 16, except for those containing information collection requirements that must be approved by the Office of Management and Budget. The agency approved a vertical location accuracy metric of plus or minus 3 meters for 80 percent of indoor wireless E911 calls for z-axis capable handsets. The Commission also requires nationwide Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) providers to deploy dispatchable location or z-axis technology that meets this metric in the top 25 markets by April 3, 2021 and in the top 50 markets by April 3, 2023. Federal Register publication triggered the effective dates.

In a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission seeks comment on adopting a timeline narrowing the vertical location accuracy metric, and requiring CMRS providers to deliver floor level information to Public Safety Answering Points in conjunction with a wireless indoor 911 call. The agency also seeks input on alternative methods for carriers to demonstrate z-axis technology deployment, and on expanding dispatchable location solutions. Comments are due to PS Docket No. 07–114 on or before February 18, and reply comments are due on or before March 16.

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

BloostonLaw Newsletter

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.

 BloostonLaw Telecom Update Vol. 23, No. 3 January 15, 2020 

CAF-BLS Location Information for Carriers with No HUBB Requirement Due March 1, 2021

On January 13, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that those carriers receiving CAF-BLS that did not have High Cost Universal Service Broadband portal (HUBB) reporting obligations prior to the FCC’s 2018 Rate-of-Return Reform Order — i.e., those carriers that had deployed broadband of 10/1 Mbps to 80% or more of their study areas, as determined by FCC Form 477 — will be required to submit geo-located broadband deployment information in the HUBB by March 1, 2021 for all locations to which broadband service of 25/3 Mbps or greater has been deployed since May 25, 2016.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.


FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for January Open Meeting

On January 9, the FCC issued the tentative agenda for this month’s Open Meeting, which is currently scheduled for January 30. At the meeting, the FCC is scheduled to consider:

  • Establishing the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund: a Report and Order that would adopt a two-phase reverse auction framework for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, committing $20.4 billion in high-cost universal service support to bring high-speed broadband service to millions of unserved Americans. (WC Docket Nos. 19-126, 10-90)
  • Hearing Aid-Compatible Handset Rules: a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would propose to incorporate a new technical standard for determining whether a wireless handset is hearing aid-compatible and to simplify and update the FCC’s hearing aid compatibility rules. (WT Docket No. 20-3)
  • At-Home Call Handling for Video Relay Service: a Report and Order that would adopt regulations on the handling of Video Relay Service, or VRS, calls by communications assistants working from their homes. (CG Docket Nos. 10-51,03-123)
  • Electronic Delivery of Notices to Broadcast Television Stations: a Report and Order that would modernize certain cable and satellite television provider notice provisions in Part 76 of the FCC’s Rules by requiring certain notices to be delivered to broadcasters by e-mail instead of on paper. (MB Docket Nos. 19-165, 17-105)

The documents linked in the above descriptions are the draft text of each item expected to be considered at the Open Meeting. The final version may differ. One-page cover sheets prepared by the FCC are included in these drafts to help summarize them.

Open Meetings are streamed live at and can be followed on social media with #OpenMtgFCC.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.

FCC to Consider Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Order; Estimates 6 Million Eligible Locations

As noted above, the FCC will consider a Report and Order establishing the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund at this month’s Open Meeting. According to the draft released January 9, the Report and Order would:

  • Establish the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, using competitive bidding to target up to $20.4 billion over ten years to support up to gigabit speed broadband networks in areas that lack access to 25/3 Mbps broadband service and connect the most Americans in a cost-effective manner;
  • Allocate up to $16 billion in Phase I for support targeting census blocks that FCC data show are clearly unserved by 25/3 Mbps broadband service, and at least $4.4 billion in Phase II for unserved locations in partially served census blocks and areas not won in Phase I;
  • Encourage the deployment of networks that will stand the test of time, including those providing gigabit connections, by:
    • Increasing the minimum speed to 25/3 Mbps from the 10/1 Mbps used in the Connect America Fund Phase II auction;
    • Prioritizing support for services with faster speeds and low latency;
    • Once the reverse auction hits the clearing price, allocating support in each area to the bidder in the faster speed tier when there is more than one bid to serve that area;
  • Require winning bidders in Phase I to offer the supported broadband and voice service to all eligible homes and small businesses within the awarded areas, subsequently identified by the Wireline Competition Bureau;
  • Prioritize support going to areas entirely lacking even 10/1 Mbps broadband as well as rural Tribal areas.

The full draft is available here.

According to a recent press release, the FCC anticipates about 6 million rural homes and businesses could be eligible for bidding in an auction slated for later this year to receive funding for high-speed broadband. This state-by-state list is for Phase I funding, which would target a total of $16 billion to census blocks with no broadband service at all meeting the FCC’s minimum speed standards. The remainder of the funding would be disbursed during Phase II.

State Bid-Eligible
  State Bid-Eligible
Alabama 211,000   Montana 50,000
Arizona 147,000   Nebraska 54,000
Arkansas 222,000   Nevada 34,000
California 421,000   New Hampshire 21,000
Colorado 99,000   New Jersey 14,000
Connecticut 4,000   New Mexico 74,000
Delaware 8,000   North Carolina 169,000
Florida 143,000   North Dakota 5,000
Georgia 197,000   Ohio 215,000
Hawaii 17,000   Oklahoma 162,000
Idaho 76,000   Oregon 91,000
Illinois 246,000   Pennsylvania 197,000
Indiana 202,000   Rhode Island 5,000
Iowa 68,000   South Carolina 120,000
Kansas 63,000   South Dakota 14,000
Kentucky 108,000   Tennessee 182,000
Louisiana 188,000   Texas 381,000
Maine 35,000   Utah 16,000
Maryland 49,000   Vermont 26,000
Massachusetts 34,000   Virginia 217,000
Michigan 286,000   Wisconsin 271,000
Minnesota 134,000   Washington 115,000
Mississippi 231,000   West Virginia 130,000
Missouri 236,000   Wyoming 21,000

As noted above, the RDOF Report and Order is scheduled for consideration at the FCC’s January Open Meeting.

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

FCC Seeks Further Comment on New and Expanded Truth-in-Billing Rules

On January 13, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Public Notice in CC Docket No. 98–170, WC Docket No. 04–36, released on December 13, 2019, in which it seeks to refresh the record on several issues relating to the FCC’s truth-in-billing rules. Comments are due on February 12, and reply comments are due March 13.

Specifically, the FCC asks to refresh the record on two proposals, originally made in 2005:

  1. whether it should extend its existing truth-in-billing rules, which currently apply only to wireline and wireless common carriers, to interconnected VoIP service providers and
  2. whether it should require all voice service providers to separate on consumer bills those line-item fees that are government-mandated from those that are not to the extent they include separate line items on a consumer’s bill.

With regard to the requiring the separation of government-mandated charges, the FCC also seeks comment on how to define “government-mandated charge.” When the FCC originally proposed the separation of government-mandated charges, it proposed such charges be defined as “those that providers are required by law to collect from consumers and remit directly to federal, state, or local governments,” or could also include charges “that providers are not required to collect from consumers but choose to do so through separate line items, to reimburse themselves for their own payments toward government programs.” The FCC suggests this definition would include charges for universal service, state and local taxes, 911/E911. Charges historically associated with network access, such as the Subscriber Line Charge and Access Recovery Charge; charges designed to recover the administrative or other costs for complying with federal and state law, such as a “Regulatory Fee” or “Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge, ” Charges to reimburse providers for more general operating costs, such as permit fees, application fees, or licensing fees, on the other hand, are not charges remitted to the government but are line items collected by carriers of their own volition, and would not be included in the proposed definition of “government-mandated charges.”

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

FCC Establishes Eligible Locations Adjustment Process for CAF Phase II

On January 13, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Order in WC Docket No. 10–90; DA 19–1165, adopted and released on November 12, 2019, in which it established procedures to review post-CAF Phase II Auction deployment requirements and adjust support where the total number of actual locations in a funded area is less than the number of funded locations.

The Order generally establishes an Eligible Locations Adjustment Process (ELAP) and adopts a challenge framework, detailed below:

  1. Participant Evidence Submission. This process begins with a new, one-time collection of information from support recipients that seek to participate in ELAP (participants) that includes information about all eligible locations within the state as well as evidence substantiating the completeness and accuracy of such information. The FCC will announce the submission deadline in the future.
  2. Prima Facie Determination. Within 60 days following the participant submission deadline, the FCC will release a list of participants that have met the prima facie evidentiary standards for location modification, along with the certain location information for qualifying locations and prospective locations, i.e., state, study area code (SAC), addresses, geocoordinates, and number of units.
  3. Stakeholder Challenge. Eligible stakeholders will then have 90 days from the public release of the participants’ location information to establish their eligibility, sign the protective order, and review and challenge the participants’ evidence (challenge window).
  4. Participant Reply. Challenged participants will have 30 days from the stakeholder submission deadline (response window) to:
    1. access and review certified data submitted by the stakeholder with respect to the challenged area; and
    2. submit additional data/information to oppose the challenge (response window).
  5. Location Adjudication. The FCC will adjudicate the challenges, and will only modify a participant’s defined deployment obligation to the extent that the participant produces adequate evidence demonstrating that it is more likely than not that the defined deployment obligation is greater than the number of actual locations within the state.
  6. Support Adjustment. The FCC will order a pro-rata reduction in future payments for the remainder of the support term proportionally to reflect the total amount of reduction, as appropriate. Participants will be permitted to adjust their letters of credit to reflect the new authorized funding amount once the FCC’s order modifying the authorized support is issued.

The process was designed to give auction winners a way to bring to the FCC’s attention any discrepancies between the number of funded locations and the number of actual locations.

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

Law and Regulation

Revisions to TRS Rules Effective February 10

On January 9, the FCC published in the Federal Register its Report and Order of September 2019, in which it modernized and amend the definition of Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) contained in its rules to conform to the current statutory definition. This revision is effective February 10.

Specifically, the FCC amended the definition of TRS to reflect changes by Congress in 2010 to remove the specification that one of the parties to a TRS call must be a hearing person. As amended, TRS means telephone transmission services that provide the ability for an individual who is deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or who has a speech disability to engage in communication by wire or radio with one or more individuals, in a manner that is functionally equivalent to the ability of a hearing individual who does not have a speech disability to communicate using voice communication services by wire or radio. The FCC notes, however, that the amended rule does not authorize compensation for every call between two individuals with hearing or speech disabilities.

In most cases, people using the same form of TRS can understand each other without additional help from a relay service. For example, a call between two registered video relay service (VRS) users, in which both parties use video to sign to each other, would not require any help from a communications assistant (CA) and would not be eligible for compensation from the TRS Fund. The same applies to calls between two TTY users or between two users of IP Relay.

An exception to this same-relay-service rule applies, however, when more than one person on a call uses captioned telephone service (CTS), Internet Protocol captioned telephone service (IP CTS), or speech-to-speech service (STS). This is because calls between or among CTS, IP CTS, or STS users may still require captioning or re-voicing using more than one relay leg to ensure that one party's speech can be understood by the other party. Specifically, for calls between or among CTS and IP CTS users, each party requires captioning by a CA or automated speech recognition (ASR) system in order to understand what the other party says to that user. Similarly, for calls between or among STS users, each party must have their speech re-voiced in order for the other party to understand what the first party says.

BloostonLaw Contact: John Prendergast.

Congress Urges Chairman Pai to Require Carriers to Protect Against “SIM Swap” Fraud

On January 9, a group of Congressmen lead by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, asking him to “to require wireless carriers to protect consumers from fraud and the theft of their most sensitive personal data by criminals and foreign governments who can empty their bank accounts, read their personal email and access their private photos and documents.”

According to the letter, “fraudsters are often able to get wireless carriers to transfer the cell phone accounts of victims to them, steal their login credentials and then empty their victims' bank accounts.” Readers may remember similar issues with identification verification among the large carriers that resulted in the FCC’s implementation of CPNI programs and certifications. The letter goes on to note that according to the Federal Trade Commission, “the number of complaints about SIM swaps has increased dramatically, from 215 in 2016 to 728 through November 2019, and consumer complaints usually only reflect a small fraction of the actual number of incidents.”

The letter expressly calls for regulation: “Consumers have no choice but to rely on phone companies to protect them against SIM swaps — and they need to be able to count on the FCC to hold mobile carriers accountable when they fail to secure their systems and thus harm consumers.” As with CPNI, what works for the large carriers may not work for small rural carriers. BloostonLaw will be monitoring the issue with an eye toward actions small carriers can take to make sure their perspectives are considered.

Other members of Congress signing the letter included Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio), and Ed Markey (D., Mass.) and Reps. Ted W. Lieu (D., Calif.), Anna G. Eshoo (D., Calif.), and Yvette D. Clarke (D., N.Y.).

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, John Prendergast, and Sal Taillefer.

FCC Reaches $1.13 Million Settlement over Tower Lighting Investigation

On January 13, the FCC announced an agreement with Scripps Broadcasting Holdings to settle an investigation into the monitoring practices of lights on television towers it acquired earlier this year from Cordillera Communications. According to a Press Release, Scripps has agreed to resolve the FCC’s investigation by paying a $1,130,000 penalty and abiding by a compliance plan to prevent further violations.

The FCC began its investigation when, on August 31, 2018, a small airplane crashed into a Cordillera television tower in Kaplan, Louisiana. Although the FCC found no evidence connecting the collision to a violation of the FCC’s rules by Cordillera, the FCC discovered irregularities related to Cordillera’s compliance with FCC rules pertaining to communications towers. The FCC therefore broadened its investigation to cover all of Cordillera’s towers and observed problems with Cordillera’s monitoring of tower lighting systems, maintenance of complete records of lighting failures, and notifications to the FCC of changes of ownership of two towers.

BloostonLaw Contact: Richard Rubino.

President Trump Announces Intent to Nominate John Johnson to be FCC Inspector General

On January 8, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate John Chase Johnson of Oklahoma, to be the Inspector General at the FCC.

According to a press release by the White House, Mr. Johnson is an attorney at Covington & Burling LLP, where he practices in the commercial litigation and government contracts groups. He also serves as a Major and Military Judge in the United States Marine Corps Reserves. Before joining Covington, Mr. Johnson served on active duty in the United States Marine Corps and deployed to Afghanistan. He clerked for Judge Edith Clement of the Fifth Circuit and Judge Victor Wolski of the Court of Federal Claims. A native of Oklahoma, Mr. Johnson holds a B.A. in history from Duke University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.

Comments on Cable Service Change Notification NPRM Due February 6

On January 10, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the comment window for its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking of December 12, 2019 in MB Docket Nos. 19-347, 17-105, 10-71, wherein the FCC sought comment on whether to update its rules concerning notices that cable operators must provide to subscribers and local franchise authorities regarding service or rate changes. Comments are due February 6, and reply comments are due February 21.

Specifically, the FCC sought comment on amending the rules to make clear that cable operators must provide subscriber notice “as soon as possible” when service changes occur due to retransmission consent or program carriage negotiations that fail within the last 30 days of a contract.

BloostonLaw Contact: Gerry Duffy.


JANUARY 15: Form 855 HAC Compliance Certification. The next Hearing Aid Compatibility regulatory compliance certification, certifying compliance with the FCC’s HAC handset minimums as well as enhanced record retention and website posting requirements for the 2019 calendar year, will be due January 15, 2020, for all CMRS service providers that had operations during any portion of 2019. Companies that sold their wireless licenses during 2018 and that didn’t otherwise provide mobile wireless service (e.g., via resale) during the 2019 calendar year won’t have any obligation to file a HAC compliance certification for the 2019 calendar year. Under current FCC rules, Tier III service providers are required to offer at least 50% or ten (10) handsets that are rated M3- or better, and at least 33% or ten (10) handsets that are rated T3- or better. Beginning April 3, 2020, at least 66% of a Tier III provider’s handset must meet ratings of M3- or better and T3- or better.

BloostonLaw has prepared a 2019 HAC Regulatory Compliance Template to facilitate our clients’ compliance with the revised HAC rules. Contact Cary Mitchell if you would like to obtain a copy of the HAC Regulatory Compliance Template.

BloostonLaw Contact: Cary Mitchell.

FEBRUARY 1: FCC FORM 499-Q, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. All telecommunications common carriers that expect to contribute more than $10,000 to federal Universal Service Fund (USF) support mechanisms must file this quarterly form. The FCC has modified this form in light of its decision to establish interim measures for USF contribution assessments. The form contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. Form 499-Q relates only to USF contributions. It does not relate to the cost recovery mechanisms for the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP), which are covered in the annual Form 499-A that is due April 1.

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

FEBRUARY 1: FCC FORM 502, NUMBER UTILIZATION AND FORECAST REPORT. Any wireless or wireline carrier (including paging companies) that have received number blocks—including 100, 1,000, or 10,000 number blocks—from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), a Pooling Administrator, or from another carrier, must file Form 502 by February 1. Carriers porting numbers for the purpose of transferring an established customer’s service to another service provider must also report, but the carrier receiving numbers through porting does not. Resold services should also be treated like ported numbers, meaning the carrier transferring the resold service to another carrier is required to report those numbers but the carrier receiving such numbers should not report them. Reporting carriers are required to include their FCC Registration Number (FRN). Reporting carriers file utilization and forecast reports semiannually on or before February 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending December 31, and on or before August 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending June 30.

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

FEBRUARY 1: Live 911 Call Data Reports — Non-Nationwide Providers that do not provide coverage in any of the Test Cities must collect and report aggregate data based on the largest county within its footprint to APCO, NENA, and NASNA on the location technologies used for live 911 calls in those areas. Clients should obtain spreadsheets with their company’s compliance data from their E911 service provider (e.g., Intrado / West).

BloostonLaw Contact: Cary Mitchell.

MARCH 1: COPYRIGHT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT FORM FOR CABLE COMPANIES. This form, plus royalty payment for the second half of calendar year 2019, is due March 1. The form covers the period July 1 to December 31, 2019, and is due to be mailed directly to cable TV operators by the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office. If you do not receive the form, please contact the firm.

BloostonLaw Contact: Gerry Duffy.

MARCH 1: CPNI ANNUAL CERTIFICATION. Carriers should modify (as necessary) and complete their “Annual Certification of CPNI Compliance” for 2020. The certification must be filed with the FCC by March 1. Note that the annual certification should include the following three required Exhibits: (a) a detailed Statement Explaining How The Company’s Operating Procedures Ensure Compliance With The FCC’S CPNI Rules to reflect the Company’s policies and information; (b) a Statement of Actions Taken Against Data Brokers; and (c) a Summary of Customer Complaints Regarding Unauthorized Release of CPNI. A company officer with personal knowledge that the company has established operating procedures adequate to ensure compliance with the rules must execute the Certification, place a copy of the Certification and accompanying Exhibits in the Company’s CPNI Compliance Records, and file the certification with the FCC in the correct fashion. Our clients can forward the original to BloostonLaw in time for the firm to make the filing with the FCC by March 1, if desired. BloostonLaw is prepared to help our clients meet this requirement, which we expect will be strictly enforced, by assisting with preparation of their certification filing; reviewing the filing to make sure that the required showings are made; filing the certification with the FCC, and obtaining a proof-of-filing copy for your records. Clients interested in obtaining BloostonLaw's CPNI compliance manual should contact the firm.

BloostonLaw Contact: Gerry Duffy

MARCH 1: FCC FORM 477, LOCAL COMPETITION & BROADBAND REPORTING FORM. This annual form is due March 1 and September 1 annually. The FCC requires facilities-based wired, terrestrial fixed wireless, and satellite broadband service providers to report on FCC Form 477 the number of broadband subscribers they have in each census tract they serve. The Census Bureau changed the boundaries of some census tracts as part of the 2010 Census.

Specifically, three types of entities must file this form:

  1. Facilities-based Providers of Broadband Connections to End User Locations: Entities that are facilities-based providers of broadband connections — which are wired “lines” or wireless “channels” that enable the end user to receive information from and/or send information to the Internet at information transfer rates exceeding 200 kbps in at least one direction — must complete and file the applicable portions of this form for each state in which the entity provides one or more such connections to end user locations. For the purposes of Form 477, an entity is a “facilities-based” provider of broadband connections to end user locations if it owns the portion of the physical facility that terminates at the end user location, if it obtains unbundled network elements (UNEs), special access lines, or other leased facilities that terminate at the end user location and provisions/equips them as broadband, or if it provisions/equips a broadband wireless channel to the end user location over licensed or unlicensed spectrum. Such entities include incumbent and competitive local exchange carriers (LECs), cable system operators, fixed wireless service providers (including “wireless ISPs”), terrestrial and satellite mobile wireless service providers, BRS providers, electric utilities, municipalities, and other entities. (Such entities do not include equipment suppliers unless the equipment supplier uses the equipment to provision a broadband connection that it offers to the public for sale. Such entities also do not include providers of fixed wireless services (e.g., “Wi-Fi” and other wireless ethernet, or wireless local area network, applications) that only enable local distribution and sharing of a premises broadband facility.)
  2. Providers of Wired or Fixed Wireless Local Telephone Services: Incumbent and competitive LECs must complete and file the applicable portions of the form for each state in which they provide local exchange service to one or more end user customers (which may include “dial-up” ISPs).
  3. Providers of Mobile Telephony Services: Facilities-based providers of mobile telephony services must complete and file the applicable portions of this form for each state in which they serve one or more mobile telephony subscribers. A mobile telephony service is a real-time, two-way switched voice service that is interconnected with the public switched network using an in-network switching facility that enables the provider to reuse frequencies and accomplish seamless handoff of subscriber calls. A mobile telephony service provider is considered “facilities-based” if it serves a subscriber using spectrum for which the entity holds a license that it manages, or for which it has obtained the right to use via lease or other arrangement with a Band Manager.

BloostonLaw contacts: Ben Dickens and Gerry Duffy.

Law Offices Of
Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens,
Duffy & Prendergast, LLP

2120 L St. NW, Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20037
(202) 659-0830
(202) 828-5568 (fax)


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.

Calendar At-a-Glance

Jan. 15 – Form 855 HAC Compliance Certification is due.
Jan. 27 – Comments are due on Lifeline Reforms.
Jan. 27 – Comments are due on Consent Requirements for Wireless Carrier Marketing Messages.
Jan. 29 – Comments are due on Robocall Blocking Report.
Jan. 31 – FCC Form 555 (Annual Lifeline ETC Certification Form) is due.

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.
Feb. 3 – Comments on Supply Chain Prohibitions FNPRM are due.
Feb. 3 – Comments on Initial Designations of Huawei and ZTE under Supply Chain Prohibitions due.
Feb. 6 – Comments are due on Cable Service Charge Notification NPRM.
Feb. 11 – Reply comments are due on Consent Requirements for Wireless Carrier Marketing Messages.
Feb. 12 – Comments are due on Truth-in-Billing for VoIP proceeding.
Feb. 25 – Reply comments are due on Lifeline Reforms.
Feb. 21 – Reply comments are due on Cable Service Charge Notification NPRM.
Feb. 28 – Reply comments are due on Robocall Blocking Report.

Mar. 1 – Copyright Statement of Account Form for cable companies is due.
Mar. 1 – Annual CPNI Certification is due.
Mar. 1 – FCC Form 477 (Local Competition & Broadband Reporting) is due.
Mar. 3 – Reply comments on Supply Chain Prohibitions FNPRM are due.
Mar. 9 – Comments are due on All-Digital AM Broadcasting NPRM.
Mar. 13 – Reply comments are due on Truth-in-Billing for VoIP proceeding.
Mar. 31 – FCC Form 525 (Delayed Phasedown CETC Line Counts) is due.
Mar. 31 – FCC Form 508 (ICLS Projected Annual Common Line Requirement) is due.

Apr. 6 – Reply comments are due on All-Digital AM Broadcasting NPRM.

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