Welcome to the Tech & Telecom Weekly, an e-newsletter keeping you apprised of the latest developments in the telecommunications and high-tech industries.

FCC Policy

The FCC has extended its comment cycle on the Petition for Declaratory Ruling filed by NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, which seeks clarification of the FCC’s pole attachment rules and orders. Comments are now due September 2, 2020, with reply comments due September 17, 2020. More information can be found here (WC Docket No. 17-84; DA 20-881). For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall
The next meeting of the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) will take place on September 25, 2020. The CAC will receive briefings from the FCC Staff on the FCC’s recent activities and will review developments of interest to consumers. Specific information about the CAC meeting, including access information, can be found here (DA 20-862). For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall

Compliance Alerts

The Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) announced the proposed North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA) contribution factor of 0.0001267 per assessable dollar for the fiscal year commencing on October 1, 2020. All telecommunications carriers and interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers are required to contribute to the costs of numbering administration. The Public Notice announcing the rate can be found here (CC Docket 92-237, DA 20-856). For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall.
WCB is seeking nominations to fill six positions on the Board of Directors of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). Board members serve three-year terms and each represent a particular segment of service providers and beneficiaries of USAC’s funds. Nominations are due October13, 2020, and the specific positions to be filled can be found here (CC Dockets 96-45 and 97-21, DA 20-880). For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall.

Potomac Law Speaker Spotlight

On August 24, 2020, Potomac Law Group partner Susan Metcalfe will speak at the International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) in a panel session titled Location-Based Services—Possibilities, Privacy and More. The panel will focus on new tools for first responders, including advancements in 3D mapping, location systems, environmental and health sensors, and situational awareness tools. The Expo is all virtual this year, and will take place August 24-27, 2020. For more information and to register, click here

Legislative Affairs

On August 13, 2020, 15 Democratic members of the House Commerce Committee sent a letter to FCC Chmn. Ajit Pai urging him to “provide unlimited voice minutes and unlimited mobile data to Lifeline recipients, with an increase in the basic support amount to offset any associated incremental costs, for the duration of the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.” The congressmen explained that “[g]iven the importance of connectivity and remote learning, working, and health care during the pandemic, we believe that the FCC should follow past practices and take aggressive action to support struggling Americans.” For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.

In the Courts

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected, in all but one respect, challenges to three 2018 FCC orders related to 5G deployment. City of Portland v. FCC, No. 18-72689. Two of the orders, known as the Small Cell Order and Moratoria Order, curtail the authority of state and local governments to restrict deployment of 5G technology. The court of appeals held that these orders are a proper exercise of the FCC’s authority “to expand deployment of wireless services.” The third order, known as the One-Touch Make-Ready Order, prevents owners of utility poles from refusing or unreasonably delaying attachment of 5G equipment to poles. The decision was hailed by FCC Chmn. Pai as “a massive victory for U.S. leadership in 5G, our nation’s economy, and American consumers.” For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has held that “devices that dial from a stored list of numbers” are “autodialers” that are subject to the prohibitions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227. Susan Allan v. Penn. Higher Ed. Assistance Agency, No. 19-2043. The two plaintiffs in the underlying case had received 353 calls about one student loan after revoking consent to receiving autodialed calls. The creditor, PHEAA, employed a system that automatically dialed numbers from a stored list, conduct that the court of appeals, after close analysis of TCPA’s language and recent decisions by other circuits, found to be the kind of machine-originated dialing that Congress intended to curtail. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.

Note: This publication is distributed with the understanding that the author, publisher and distributor of this publication and/or any linked publication are not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or opinions on specific facts or matters and, accordingly, assume no liability whatsoever in connection with its use. Pursuant to applicable rules of professional conduct, portions of this publication may constitute Attorney Advertising.

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