Welcome to the Tech & Telecom Weekly, an e-newsletter keeping you apprised of the latest developments in the telecommunications and high-tech industries.
The next FCC Open Meeting is scheduled for March 17, 2021, at 10:30am ET. The Tentative Agenda contains eight items, including an order providing state and federal agencies with communications outage data on a read-only, confidential basis and an order designating 100 MHz of spectrum in the 3.45 GHz band for flexible use. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.
The amended FCC rule to combat robocalls, which further implements the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED Act), has been published in the Federal Register. The rule allows only three TCPA-exempt (non-commercial) calls to a residence in a consecutive 30-day period. The rule also requires entities to create opt-out mechanisms for residential customers and to adhere to minimum standards such as creating a written policy that is available upon demand, recording do-not-call requests, and maintaining do-not-call lists for five years. Those portions of the amended rule not requiring approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act will be effective March 29, 2021. For more information, please contact Doug Bonner.
The FCC has extended the deadline to file Form 477 indefinitely due to technical issues within the filing portal. Form 477 is due biannually — March 1 and September 1 — and is filed by carriers and interconnected VoIP providers. The data is used to assist the FCC with broadband mapping and the determination of underserved areas. The Commission will issue a Public Notice once it sets new Form 477 deadline.
The FCC has issued Notices of Apparent Liability (NAL) against a number of broadband providers for failing to file Form 477 in 2020. The proposed fines range from $10,000 to $20,000. The NALs were issued to Ryan Root d/b/a Root Automation and 4Fast.net, MidwayNet, LLC, Your Town Online, Inc., City of Sandy, Oregon d/b/a SandyNet, and Western Iowa Wireless, Inc.
Due to the COVID pandemic, the FCC extended certain waivers in the Lifeline program through June 30, 2021. These waivers relate to documentation requirements for subscribers residing on Tribal lands, Lifeline de-enrollment, recertification, recerification, and income documentation. The Commission declined to extend its current waiver regarding usage beyond May 1, 2021, but stated that it will continue to monitor the situation and might extend that waiver as well.
For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall.
The FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau has granted 21 additional 2.5 GHz band licenses to Tribal communities who applied under the 2020 Rural Tribal Priority Window. This brings to 205 the total number of such licenses granted to Tribes. "Tribal communities should have the same access to the opportunities of the digital age as other Americans," said Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Tribal communities in New Mexico and Arizona are already using this part of our wireless spectrum to provide the only reliable high-speed wireless signal available in their communities.” For more information, please contact Doug Bonner.
The House Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing titled “The Future of Telehealth: How COVID-19 is Changing the Delivery of Virtual Care,” on March 2, 2021, at 10:30am ET. The hearing will be conducted via Cisco WebEx. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.
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