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

The Tentative Agenda for the next FCC Open Meeting, scheduled for January 13, 2021, at 10:30am ET, consists entirely of presentations from various bureaus, offices, and task forces. The presentations “will summarize the work their teams have done over the last four years.” The meeting will be live-streamed here. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.

On December 23, 2020, the FCC submitted the required annual report to Congress pursuant to the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act. The report contains data about robocall complaints and enforcement actions for the period December 1, 2019, through November 30, 2020. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.

Compliance Alerts

The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) has announced that its filing window for the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program will open on January 4, 2021, for funding requests for FY2021. Although the window is open through April 1, 2021, USAC strongly encourages applicants to file as early as possible. For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall.

The FCC has entered into a consent decree with IBM to settle allegations of E-Rate fraud when serving public schools in New York City and El Paso during Funding Years 2005-2008. IBN is alleged to have engaged in improper bidding proceedings and taken funds not eligible for E-Rate support. IBM must return $24.25 Million to the Universal Service Fund in addition to promising not to employ the improper bidding procedure and implementing an E-Rate training program. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.

Legislative Affairs

The Senate Commerce Committee released a statement about the $7 Billion allocated in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which was signed by Pres. Trump today, for broadband deployment and services. The money is earmarked for seven different initiatives, including $1.9 Billion to implement the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act by replacing unsecure network equipment and $285 Million to implement the Connecting Minority Communities Act. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act spans nearly 5600 pages. Among its provisions is an extension of the December 30 deadline by which the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) resources must be spent. Recipients now have until December 31, 2021. This extension provides significant relief to companies that received state grants for broadband facilities deployment funded by the CARES Act earlier in 2020, but have only had a few months to spend those resources. For more information, please contact Doug Bonner.

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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