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NO POLITICS HERE
This doesn't mean that nothing is ever published here that mentions a US political party—it just means that the editorial policy of this newsletter is to remain neutral on all political issues. We don't take sides.
A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn’t fill up your incoming e-mail account.
There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world’s major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.
I regularly get readers’ comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.
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There is not a lot of news about Paging these days but when anything significant comes out, you will probably see it here. I also cover text messaging to other devices and various articles about related technology.
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Service Monitors and Frequency Standards for Sale
(Images are typical units, not actual photos of items offered for sale here.)
Startup’s planned 5G Blackberry revival is officially dead
OnwardMobility is shutting down
By Jon Porter @JonPorty Feb 22, 2022, 6:02am EST
OnwardMobility, the startup hoping to revive Blackberry phones with a 5G keyboard-equipped Android device, is ending its work on the phone and shutting down as a company. “It is with great sadness that we announce that OnwardMobility will be shutting down, and we will no longer be proceeding with the development of an ultra-secure smartphone with a physical keyboard,” the company wrote in a statement on its website.
The announcement doesn’t come as much of a surprise given reports that OnwardMobility’s 5G Blackberry had been cancelled earlier this month. But at the time there was speculation that the company might live on and attempt to produce a 5G keyboard-equipped Android phone without the Blackberry name. Now, however, we know it’s the end of the line for the company as a whole as well as the product itself.
Despite saying “this is not the outcome we worked and hoped for,” OnwardMobility’s statement doesn’t give any indication of exactly why it cancelled the project. But Android Police previously reported that its license to use the Blackberry branding had recently been cancelled. And, more generally, it can’t have been easy trying to make it as a new smartphone manufacturer amidst an ongoing global chip shortage.
Apple's AR headset rumored to ship with M1 chip, micro OLED
The long-rumored Apple AR device is rumored to ship with a M1 processor, and a micro OLED display — and will face challenges by Samsung's "Hologram" headset.
As supply chain sources claim Apple is entering a second round of pre-production tests on its AR headset, a new report provides some details on the hardware in the unit.
The big news is the rumored inclusion of the M1 processor in the device. The same report also backs up previous reports that Apple's headset will use micro OLED displays.
According to Korea's ET News, Samsung is now deciding on the release date for its first headset. At the same time, Samsung has also reportedly formed a task force focused on working with Microsoft to develop further AR headsets.
"The metaverse device market is expected to grow at a annual rate of 80%, and emerge as a new market following smartphones," an unnamed parts company official told the publication. "The parts and equipment industry is also risking everything to become a partner."
Samsung's own AR headset is said to use hologram technology. Developed over an extended period by the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, the hologram headset is made in conjunction with the US firm DigiLens.
ET News says Samsung's own headset will be based on an Exynos processor, and use Google's Android for the operating system. Microsoft's headsets, made with Samsung, will also use this hologram technology.
Alongside Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and even Meta (formerly Facebook), it's recently been reported that Google is working on a rival headset.
Paging Transmitters 150/900 MHz
The RFI High Performance Paging Transmitter is designed for use in campus, city, state and country-wide paging systems. Designed for use where reliable simulcast systems where RF signal overlap coverage is critical.
Built-in custom interface for Prism-IPX ipBSC Base Controller for remote control, management and alarm reporting.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
The Wireless Messaging News
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|PRISM IPX Systems
|Prism IPX Products
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.
Experts in Paging Infrastructure
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
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.
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INTERNET Protocol Terminal
The IPT accepts INTERNET or serial messaging using various protocols and can easily convert them to different protocols, or send them out as paging messages.
An ideal platform for hospitals, on-site paging applications, or converting legacy systems to modern protocols.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
FCC: Amateur Service Licensees May Not Use Their Radios to Commit Criminal Acts
The FCC Enforcement Bureau has re-issued its earlier Enforcement Advisory that licensees in the Amateur Radio Service and licensees and operators in the Personal Radio Services are prohibited from using radios in those services to commit or facilitate criminal acts.
"The Bureau recognizes that these services can be used for a wide range of permitted and socially beneficial purposes, including emergency communications and speech that is protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution," the FCC said. "Amateur and Personal Radio Services, however, may not be used to commit or facilitate crimes."
As it did in advisories in 2021, the Enforcement Bureau is reminding amateur licensees that they may not transmit, "communications intended to facilitate a criminal act" or "messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning."
"Likewise, individuals operating radios in the Personal Radio Services, a category that includes Citizens Band radios, Family Radio Service walkie-talkies, and General Mobile Radio Service, are prohibited from using those radios "in connection with any activity which is against Federal, State, or local law.
"Individuals using radios in the Amateur or Personal Radio Services in this manner may be subject to severe penalties, including significant fines, seizure of the offending equipment, and, in some cases, criminal prosecution.
"To report a crime, contact your local law enforcement office or the FBI, the FCC said."
Amateur Radio in Ukraine Ordered Off the Air in State of Emergency
A state of emergency was declared in Ukraine just prior to the Russian military invasion. Among other things, the February 24 decree from President Volodymyr Zelensky will remain in effect at least for 30 days and may be extended. As published on the website of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's unicameral legislative body, the state of emergency includes regulation of TV and radio activities and "a ban on the operation amateur radio transmitters for personal and collective use."
The decree also imposes a ban on mass events and on strikes and authorizes checking the documents of citizens, and if necessary, conducting searches on persons, vehicles, cargo, office space, and housing. A curfew could be imposed. "The situation changes rapidly," IARU Region 1 Secretary Mats Espling, SM6EAN, said. "IARU Region 1 continues to monitor the development and expect all radio amateurs to follow their national laws and regulations."
|The ARRL Letter
Paging Data Receiver PDR-4
The PDR-4 is a multi-function paging data receiver that decodes paging messages and outputs them via the serial port, USB or Ethernet connectors.
Designed for use with Prism-IPX ECHO software Message Logging Software to receive messages and log the information for proof of transmission over the air, and if the data was error free.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
Wireless Network Planners
Llano County to get $1.2M grant for emergency communications
February 18, 2022
Llano County will receive a $1,246,900 grant to purchase radio dispatch consoles with interconnectivity and recording systems. The Capital Area Emergency Communications District Board of Managers approved the money on Feb. 9, according to a media release from the county.
The new equipment will replace the county’s existing two dispatch consoles and add a third, which will enhance communications capabilities during natural disasters and other major events.
Once the project is completed, the county will be better able to address potential gaps in radio communications interoperability identified in the Capital Area Council of Governments‘ 10-county regional plan, according to the release.
“We are extremely grateful for the consideration and approval for this substantial amount of funding to provide the Llano County Emergency Communications with much-needed new equipment,” stated Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham in the media release. “ … While functional, our existing equipment is quickly reaching End of Lifecycle Expectancy, and this new equipment will greatly enhance our Emergency Communications capabilities.”
Llano County now will begin the first phase of the project, which is working with CAPCOG representatives and vendors in defining responsibilities of milestones and deliverables of purchasing and replacing the existing equipment at the Llano County Emergency Communications Office.
The Capital Area Council of Governments serves Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis, and Williamson counties as an advocate, planner, and coordinator on important regional issues in the 10-county region. For more information, visit capcog.org.
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 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
Remote AB Switches
ABX-1 switches are often used at remote transmitter sites to convert from old, outdated and unsupported controllers to the new modern Prism-IPX ipBSC base station controllers. Remotely switch to new controllers with GUI commands.
ABX-3 switches are widely used for enabling or disabling remote equipment and switching I/O connections between redundant messaging systems.
Prism-IPX Systems LLC.
FCC goes easy on a robocaller by proposing slap-on-the-wrist fine of $45 million
It seems light for over 500,000 nuisance calls
By Cal Jeffrey February 21, 2022, 7:25 PM
Why it matters: A robocaller may be the subject of a $45 million fine for using automated calling without customer consent. It sounds like a hefty penalty, but it could have—maybe should have—been so much more.
Last week the Federal Communications Commission announced it proposed a $45 million fine for an insurance broker out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who was caught using automated calls without customer consent.
According to the FCC's account, Interstate Brokers of America made 514,467 robocalls without written consent. It also made false claims about the pandemic to generate an urgency to take action. These calls went against the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). While not the highest fine the FCC has issued, it is the highest ever doled out under the TCPA.
At a glance, the proposed penalty is much smaller than what the law allows. Under the TCPA, the minimum penalty is $500 per offense and up to $1,500 for willful violations. That amounts to a conservative $250 million fine when you crunch the numbers. So, if the fine is approved, Interstate Brokers will only pay $87.47 per infraction. It is hardly an amount that would make a robocaller think twice about committing the nuisance calls in the future.
However, the FCC did not verify every call. The Commission reviewed a sample of about 10,000 calls, and the fine is based on verified violations in that sample. It did not have a specific figure of illegal calls, but working backward, that would mean the FCC only found 18 percent or an estimated 93,000 calls out of the more than 500,000 that broke the rules. It seems a small percentage and a minimal price to pay for annoying people day in and day out.
In a unanimous vote on Friday, the FCC filed a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL). Interstate Brokers owner Gregory Robbins will have the opportunity to respond to the NAL, and the Commission will consider any evidence he provides in its final ruling.
It Takes a Village: Solving the Broadband Adoption Problem in Rural America
It will take more than infrastructure to get rural and tribal communities online.
Feb. 23, 2022 2:30 p.m. PT
When the world shut down two years ago forcing millions to live their lives online, people lacking broadband access or the skills to get online were essentially left out of day-to-day life. With stores, offices and classrooms closed, they weren't able to shop, go to school or work, or even to see a doctor.
The problem was especially hard for rural communities, like Orleans County on the south shore of Lake Ontario in western New York state. Like much of rural America, Orleans County, population 41,000, suffered from a lack of access to broadband infrastructure.
For nearly a decade, the county pursued state and federal funds to help improve access, but progress was slow. And as COVID-19 pandemic-related closures grew, the gaps in infrastructure and digital literacy were magnified.
It was a crisis that pushed the federal government to act. Federal COVID relief money began flowing to the region, sparking a $3.2 billion investment in fixed wireless broadband to blanket the entire county. But access was only one part of the problem. As the pandemic dragged on and more people needed to rely on the internet for everyday activities, it became clear that people were still being left behind.
|Inside Towers Newsletter
FCC Strives to Resolve Pole Attachment Fights
By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
The FCC intends to step up its efforts to make broadband more affordable during its March meeting. That includes facilitating pole access to deploy broadband infrastructure.
“Easy, predictable access to poles can significantly speed the deployment and lower the cost of broadband infrastructure,” notes Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in her blog detailing what that agency plans to vote on.
The agency intends to consider a rulemaking exploring ways to expedite the resolution of pole replacement disputes. It would establish clear standards for when and how utilities and attachers must share the costs of a pole replacement caused by a new attachment request.
|Inside Towers newsletter
|Courtesy of the editor of Inside Towers, Jim Fryer.
Inside Towers is a daily newsletter by subscription.
AT&T Begins Shut Down of its 3G Network
On February 22, AT&T was scheduled to start the shutdown of its 3G network. As a result, customers still using 3G services, such as cellular service, alarm systems, and personal emergency response systems may experience outages. Efforts are underway to initiate a public/private solution brokered by the FCC, whereby users of AT&T’s 3G service may roam on T-Mobile 3G network, which is not scheduled to shut down until July 1. If a 3G device is compatible with the T-Mobile network (by, e.g., being on the Cisco Jasper platform and having a SIM card configured for roaming), the service provider can gain four additional months to upgrade to LTE or 5G by establishing a roaming arrangement through AT&T.
Carriers with questions about the 3G shut down or the roaming arrangement may contact the firm for more information.
BloostonLaw Contact: John Prendergast.
FCC Announces Initial Broadband Data Collection Filing Date of September 1, 2022
On February 22, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that all facilities-based providers of fixed and mobile broadband Internet access service can begin to submit broadband availability data under the new rules and procedures for the Broadband Data Collect (BDC) beginning on June 30, 2022. Filers must submit data depicting deployment as of June 30, 2022, and must submit the data by September 1, 2022. However, should the systems and processes comprising the BDC be ready for launch in advance of June 30, the FCC retains the statutory discretion to issue an order modifying the filing window dates, subject to providing notice not later than 60 days before the deadline for submission of the data. The FCC indicates that additional information for filers, including data specifications on how to prepare their data for submission in the BDC system, will be forthcoming.
The BDC is the result of both legislation and an FCC rulemaking, beginning in March 2020 with the enactment of the Broadband DATA Act. The Broadband DATA Act overhauled the FCC’s methods for collecting broadband availability data and required the FCC to adopt new rules for “the biannual collection and dissemination of granular data . . . relating to the availability and quality of service with respect to terrestrial fixed, fixed wireless, satellite, and mobile broadband Internet access service,” and to develop new data systems and processes to implement them. Under the Act, the FCC must also establish the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (Fabric), defined as “a common dataset of all locations in the United States where fixed broadband Internet access service can be installed, as determined by the FCC,” which must “serve as the foundation upon which all data relating to the availability of fixed broadband Internet access service . . . shall be reported and overlaid.” The Act also established standardized propagation model details that mobile wireless service providers must use to report 4G LTE service availability and directed the FCC to update its reporting standards for future generations of mobile broadband Internet access service technologies, as necessary.
Despite the ‘overhauling’ nature of the BDC, it will not alter the obligation of service providers to file the semiannual Form 477 filing. Until the FCC announces a sunset date for the submission of Form 477 broadband deployment data, all service providers required to submit these data under Form 477 must continue to do so by the March 1 deadline. Fixed and mobile broadband service providers that have traditionally filed broadband and voice subscribership data in the FCC’s Form 477 filing interface will be required to file these subscribership data in both the new BDC system and the existing Form 477 filing interface.
BloostonLaw Contact: Sal Taillefer.
Chairwoman Rosenworcel Proposes Plan for NG911
On February 22, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel proposed a plan to dedicate proceeds from upcoming spectrum auctions toward a nationwide investment in digital, next generation 911 services. Specifically, in a speech at the National Press Club celebrating the 10th anniversary of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), the Chairwoman proposed that, if and when Congress reauthorizes the FCC’s spectrum auction authority, it consider taking funds from future spectrum auctions and putting them toward the nation’s transition to next-generation 911, which would benefit public safety in every state and territory.
The FCC’s authority to auction spectrum is scheduled to expire at the end of this fiscal year, on September 30, 2022. As Congress considers legislation to extend it, the Chairwoman proposes that they take the first set of funds raised from the FCC’s next auctions and use them to support a nationwide upgrade of 911.
“Historically, our nation’s 911 systems have been updated through fees on bills and a mix of town, county, and state funding measures. But as with first responder communications, it’s time for a nationwide, digital upgrade. This is a generational change that needs broader support,” said Rosenworcel in today’s speech. “Once again, we would be using the auction of public airwaves to support public safety. And the funds would flow to every state and jurisdiction with 911 call centers to help make next-generation 911 a reality nationwide. Think of it this way: This is next-generation spectrum for next-generation 911. I think this is a golden opportunity.”
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, John Prendergast, and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Finds Vonage, Bandwidth Failed to Fully Implement STIR/SHAKEN
On February 12, the FCC issued a Press Release announcing that voice service providers Bandwidth and Vonage lost their partial exemption from STIR/SHAKEN implementation requirements because they failed to meet STIR/SHAKEN implementation commitments and have been referred to the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau for further investigation.
The FCC found that Bandwidth did not achieve full implementation of STIR/SHAKEN because Bandwidth, by its own admission, “has not yet completed all necessary network upgrades to support [STIR/SHAKEN] throughout its entire [IP] network” and that “as of October 21, 2021, it “still operate[s] some legacy IP equipment that supports a de minim[i]s amount of traffic that cannot support the STIR/SHAKEN standards at this time.”
The FCC found that Vonage also did not achieve full implementation because its recent certification reflects that it is not verifying caller ID information for all authenticated calls it receives. Vonage claimed that it “completed all necessary network upgrades to its network infrastructure to be able to authenticate and verify caller ID information for calls exchanged with STIR/SHAKEN-enabled partners by June 30, 2021,” but that only “50% of inbound SIP calls [are] being validated as of today,” and that it is “coordinating with . . . partners and expects to expeditiously re-enable inbound processing of STIR/SHAKEN identification headers.”
As we reported in previous editions of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, large providers were required to implement STIR/SHAKEN throughout the IP portions of their networks by June 30, 2021, but Congress also required the FCC to grant exemptions from that mandate for voice service providers that could demonstrate early implementation progress by December 30, 2020. STIR/SHAKEN standards provide a common information sharing language between networks to verify caller ID information which can be used by robocall blocking tools, FCC investigators, and by consumers trying to judge if an incoming call is likely legitimate or not.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
RUS Extends ReConnect Application Window to March 9
On February 17, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announced that it is in the process of extending the deadline for submission of applications for ReConnect funding under the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) published on October 24, 2021, to Wednesday, March 9 at 11:59 a.m. Eastern. Notice of this deadline extension will be published in the Federal Register.
This extension will provide interested parties with an additional 15 days to submit an application for ReConnect funding. Applications will not be accepted after March 9, until a new application opportunity has been opened with the publication of an additional FOA in the Federal Register.
As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, ReConnect funding is available for projects that serve rural areas where at least 90 percent of the households lack broadband service at speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) (download) and 20 Mbps (upload). USDA indicates that it will give funding priority to projects that will serve people in low-density rural areas and areas lacking Internet access services at speeds of at least 25 Mbps (download) and 3 Mbps (upload).
Applicants must commit to building facilities capable of providing broadband service at speeds of 100 Mbps (download and upload) to every location in a proposed service area at the same time. In making funding decisions, USDA has indicated it will also consider the economic needs of the community to be served; the extent to which a provider will offer affordable service options; a project’s commitment to strong labor standards; and whether a project is serving Tribal lands or is submitted by a local government, Tribal government, non-profit or cooperative.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
Emergency Connectivity Fund Delivery Date Extended to June 30, 2023
On February 22, the FCC issued an Order granting in part a petition for waiver of the service delivery date for the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program (ECF). As a result, the service delivery date is now June 30, 2023 for all applicants who applied for Emergency Connectivity Fund support for equipment, other non-recurring services, and recurring services during the first and second application filing windows. This means that applicants will be able to receive Emergency Connectivity Fund support for the full requested twelve months of service, or for connected devices or other eligible equipment delivered by June 30, 2023.
The ECF is a $7.17 billion program that is designed to help schools and libraries provide the tools and services their communities need for remote learning during the COVID-19 emergency period. For eligible schools and libraries, the ECF Program will cover reasonable costs of laptop and tablet computers; Wi-Fi hotspots; modems; routers; and broadband connectivity purchases for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons. Congress authorized the Emergency Connectivity Fund as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
BloostonLaw Contact: Sal Taillefer.
Law and Regulation
Comments on World Radiocommunications Conference Recommendations Due March 4
On February 22, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that comments are being sought on the draft recommendations of the World Radiocommunication Conference Advisory Committee (WRC-23 Advisory Committee or WAC) on issues that will be considered by the 2023 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-23). Comments are due March 4.
The draft recommendations can be found here. Based upon its initial review, the FCC has indicated that it tentatively concludes that it can generally support most of the content the WRC-23 Advisory Committee draft recommendation. The FCC also seeks comment on the NTIA draft proposals, which can be found here.
The FCC was careful to note that these recommendations may evolve in the course of interagency discussions as WRC-23 approaches and, therefore, do not constitute any final U.S. Government positions on any issue.
BloostonLaw Contacts: John Prendergast and Cary Mitchell.
FCC Proposes Largest TCPA Fine Ever Against Robocaller
On February 18, the FCC issued a Press Release announcing that it has proposed a $45 million fine against a company that conducted an apparently illegal robocall campaign to sell health insurance under the pretense that the annual enrollment period had been reopened due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Press Release, the company – Interstate Brokers of America – apparently made 514,467 unlawful robocalls without subscribers’ prior express consent or an emergency purpose. This is the largest Telephone Consumer Protection Act robocall fine ever proposed by the FCC.
The Press Release states that Interstate Brokers is a Ft. Lauderdale, Florida-based lead generator run by a Mr. Gregory Robbins and which also does business as National Health Agents. The company apparently purchased lists of phone numbers from third-party vendors; it also acquired numbers from consumers looking for health insurance quotes online, without clearly disclosing that, by providing contact information, the consumers would be subject to robocalls. The company left prerecorded voice messages marketing its clients’ insurance plans. Voice recognition software would identify when a consumer answered the call. If a consumer responded by pressing a number on their phone, or by staying on hold, the system automatically transferred the call to a call center operated by Interstate Brokers. Consumers were then offered insurance products sold by one of several insurance companies that had hired Interstate Brokers.
Under the TCPA, robocalls made to wireless phones and telemarketing robocalls made to landlines require prior written consent of the called party. Many of the calls also were made, apparently unlawfully, to consumers on the Do Not Call Registry. As we reported in a previous edition of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, the FCC recently clarified that leaving pre-recorded voice messages constitutes a robocall.
Neither the allegations nor the proposed sanctions are final FCC actions; the party will be given an opportunity to respond, and the FCC will consider the party’s submission of evidence and legal arguments before acting further to resolve the matter.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.
FCC Proposes $100k Fine for Failure to Timely File Form 499
On February 17, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability against IK Communications, Inc. and IK Communications Corporation d/b/a Amantel (collectively, IK Communications) for apparently failing repeatedly to file a total of six Annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheets (Annual Worksheets) – also known as FCC Form 499 – between April 1, 2016, and April 1, 2021. IK Communications also failed to respond to a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) regarding compliance with filing and contribution requirements. As a result, the FCC proposed a fine of $100,000 against the company.
Under the FCC’s rules and orders, telecommunications service providers and certain telecommunications providers (collectively, service providers) are required to periodically file Telecommunications Reporting Worksheets (Worksheets) with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). There are two such forms – Form 499-A, which is filed annually, and Form 499-Q, which may be filed quarterly. USAC and the administrators of Telecommunications Relay Service, Local Number Portability, and the North American Numbering Plan rely on information filed in the Worksheets to fairly and accurately determine, as prescribed in FCC rules, each service provider’s contributions responsibilities for the Universal Service Fund (USF) and these other federal funding mechanisms. Likewise, the FCC relies on the information filed in Worksheets to assess fair and accurate federal regulatory fees owed by each service provider.
A Notice of Apparent Liability is not a final FCC action; IK Communications will be given an opportunity to respond, and the FCC will consider the party’s submission of evidence and legal arguments before acting further to resolve the matter.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens and Sal Taillefer.
Small Company Coalition Urges FCC to Require Big Tech to Contribute to USF
On February 16, the Small Company Coalition (SCC) filed a letter with the FCC urging the agency to require social media, Internet marketplace companies, and streaming services to pay for their usage of broadband networks:
The SCC has referenced this issue before, in a letter dated June 15, 2021 to Commissioner Carr, identifying this topic as being at the core of SCC members' concerns.
FCC Commits $86 Million in Emergency Connectivity Funding; Exceeds $4.6 Billion Total
On February 23, the FCC announced that it is committing over $86 million in the 10th wave of Emergency Connectivity Fund program support. Since its June 2021 launch, the program has committed over $4.62 billion supporting all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the District of Columbia. This latest round of funding will support over 240,000 students and provide funding for over 350 schools, 29 libraries and 8 consortia, which are approved to receive over 239,000 connected devices and over 96,000 broadband connections.
The funding can be used to support off-campus learning, such as nightly homework, to ensure students across the country have the necessary support to keep up with their education. Total commitments to date are supporting over 11,000 schools, 900 libraries, and 130 consortia for over 10 million connected devices and over 5 million broadband connections. Today’s announcement includes over $30 million in commitments from Window 1 applications and nearly $56 million in commitments from Window 2 applications.
MARCH 1: COPYRIGHT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT FORM FOR CABLE COMPANIES. This form, plus royalty payment for the second half of last year, is due March 1. The form covers the period July 1 to December 31, and is due to be mailed directly to cable TV operators by the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office.
BloostonLaw Contact: Gerry Duffy.
MARCH 1: CPNI ANNUAL CERTIFICATION. Carriers should modify (as necessary) and complete their “Annual Certification of CPNI Compliance” for this year. 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 for more information. Note: If you file the CPNI certification, you must also file the FCC Form 499-A Telecom Reporting Worksheet by April 1.
BloostonLaw contacts: Gerry Duffy and Sal Taillefer.
MARCH 1: FCC FORM 477, LOCAL COMPETITION & BROADBAND REPORTING FORM. This annual form is due March 1 and September 1 annually. The FCC requires facilities-based wired, terrestrial fixed wireless, and satellite broadband service providers to report on FCC Form 477 the number of broadband subscribers they have in each census tract they serve. The Census Bureau changed the boundaries of some census tracts as part of the 2010 Census.
Specifically, three types of entities must file this form:
BloostonLaw contacts: Ben Dickens, Gerry Duffy, and Sal Taillefer.
MARCH 1: HUBB LOCATION DATA FILING AND CERTIFICATION. Carriers participating in modernized Connect America Fund (CAF) programs with defined broadband buildout obligations have until March 1 of each year to file deployment data with USAC's High Cost Universal Broadband (HUBB) portal showing where they built out mass-market, high-speed Internet service in the previous calendar year. Carriers that have no locations to upload must certify this fact in the HUBB. Affected programs include: CAF Phase II Model; Alternative Connect America Cost Model (Original A-CAM) and Revised ACAM; ACAM II; Connect America Fund Broadband Loop Support (CAF BLS); Rural Broadband Experiments (RBE); Alaska Plan (other than carriers with individualized performance plans that only require them to maintain service at existing levels); CAF Phase II Auction; and Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF).
Carriers with 2021 deployment milestones must also complete milestone certifications as part of the annual HUBB filing and will face verification reviews tied to those milestones. Carriers subject to defined deployment milestones must notify the FCC and USAC, and relevant state, U.S. Territory or Tribal governments if applicable, within 10 business days after the applicable deadline if they have failed to meet a milestone. Carriers that miss milestones face increased reporting obligations and potential loss of support.
BloostonLaw attorneys have successfully assisted clients in uploading and certifying their HUBB location data, as well as obtain petitions for waiver of the FCC’s rules where necessary.
BloostonLaw Contact: Sal Taillefer.
APRIL 1: FCC FORM 499-A, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. This form must be filed by all contributors to the Universal Service Fund (USF) sup-port mechanisms, the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the cost recovery mechanism for the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP). Contributors include every telecommunications carrier that provides interstate, intrastate, and international telecommunications, and certain other entities that provide interstate telecommunications for a fee. Even common carriers that qualify for the de minimis exemption must file Form 499-A. Entities whose universal service contributions will be less than $10,000 qualify for the de minimis exemption. De minimis entities do not have to file the quarterly report (FCC Form 499-Q), which was due February 1, and will again be due May 1. Form 499-Q relates to universal and LNP mechanisms. Form 499-A relates to all of these mechanisms and, hence, applies to all providers of interstate, intrastate, and international telecommunications services. Form 499-A contains revenue information for January 1 through December 31 of the prior calendar year. And Form 499-Q contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. (Note: the revised 499-A and 499-Q forms are now available.) Block 2-B of the Form 499-A requires each carrier to designate an agent in the District of Columbia upon whom all notices, process, orders, and decisions by the FCC may be served on behalf of that carrier in proceedings before the FCC. Carriers receiving this newsletter may specify our law firm as their D.C. agent for service of process using the information in our masthead. There is no charge for this service.
BloostonLaw Contacts: Ben Dickens, and Gerry Duffy.
APRIL 1: ANNUAL ACCESS TO ADVANCED SERVICES CERTIFICATION. All providers of telecommunications services and telecommunications carriers subject to Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act are required to file with the FCC an annual certification that
BloostonLaw Contacts: Gerry Duffy and Sal Taillefer.
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Can you help?
Do you know of anyone that deals in Unipage terminal equipment? Bob Burchett was very generous and supplied me with all of his Unipage equipment, documentation and software, so I'm well on the way to assembling a working terminal. Looks like a GL3000ES wasn't meant to be, and it's going to be an M15 instead. Works for me!
I am specifically looking to add voice prompts to the system so I am in need of the VP8 card and whatever else is required to add that feature.
Can you help me find someone who might have or know of that equipment? Bob didn't use voice prompts, he was all about speed and trunk holding time.
The very best,
Chris Baldwin, #9513L ESU ER-II
|THIS WEEK'S MUSIC VIDEO
“Playing For Change”
Playing For Change
We hope that you are inspired to “keep playing for love; playing for peace; playing for change.”
Check out this video and more in "Peace Through Music: A Global Event for the Environment" at
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