Public Notice

FCC Seeks Comment Regarding Possible Revision or Elimination of Rules Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act

Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), see 5 U.S.C. section 610, the Federal Communications Commission hereby publishes a plan for the review of rules adopted by the agency in calendar years 2001 – 2004 which have, or might have, a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The purpose of the review is to determine whether such rules should be continued without change, or should be amended or rescinded, consistent with the stated objective of section 610 of the RFA, to minimize any significant economic impact of such rules upon a substantial number of small entities. This document lists the FCC regulations to be reviewed during the next twelve months. The Commission will issue separately plans for the review of rules adopted in succeeding years.

Applications Filed for the Transfer of Control of Level 3 Communications to CenturyLink

CenturyLink and Level 3 Communications filed a series of applications seeking approval to transfer control to CenturyLink of various licenses and authorizations held by operating subsidiaries of Level 3. Applicants filed a supplement to their application on December 19, 2016. Pursuant to this Transaction, if approved, CenturyLink will acquire control of Level 3 and indirect control of Level 3’s operating subsidiaries. Petitions to Deny the applications are due at the FCC by January 23, 2017. Opposition to those petitions are due February 7, 2017.

FCC Offers Revised Alternative Connect America Cost Model Support

The Federal Communications Commission authorized 35 rate-of-return companies that elected 45 offers of Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) support to receive model-based support pursuant to their existing elections. In addition, for the remaining 191 companies that elected model-based support, the FCC announced 228 revised offers of model-based support and the associated revised deployment obligations.

The accompanying report shows the revised state-level offers of model-based support and revised deployment obligations for each carrier that is eligible to elect a second offer. These carriers have until January 19, 2017 (30 days) to notify the FCC, on a state-by-state basis, whether they elect to receive the revised amount of model-based support.

FCC Releases Order on the voluntary Wireless Network Resiliency Cooperative Framework

In this Order, the Federal Communications Commission addresses proposals raised in its earlier Notice, released in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, designed to address the resiliency of the mobile wireless industry’s communications infrastructure.

The FCC finds that the “Wireless Network Resiliency Cooperative Framework” (Framework) -- as submitted by AT&T, CTIA – The Wireless Association (CTIA), Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon -- presents a more appropriate path forward to improving wireless resiliency and provider transparency, and the FCC refrains from adopting further regulations at this time. The FCC finds the voluntary framework to be a reasonable approach to achieving the FCC’s stated goals, including promoting availability of wireless mobile services in the event of natural disasters and other emergencies and increasing provider transparency around wireless resiliency. The FCC also believes the framework will bolster situational awareness for the FCC, consumers, and public officials, and provide a mechanism by which consumers will be able to hold providers accountable for service continuity during disaster-related events.

FCC Commissioner Clyburn Releases Draft #Solutions2020 Action Plan

Federal Communications Commission member is seeking public comment on her #Solutions2020 Call to Action Plan which includes:

  • Comprehensive Reform of Inmate Calling Services
  • Streamlined Access to Lifeline Service
  • Deployment of Next-Generation Communications Services
  • Empowering Communities to Deploy Communications Infrastructure Where the Market has Not
  • Ensuring Tribal Voices are Heard at the FCC
  • Passage of the Making Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limit Excessive and Needless Obstacles to the Wireless Act, or MOBILE NOW Act
  • Identifying Spectrum Bands Suitable for Unlicensed Use
  • Promoting Efficient and Collaborative Infrastructure Siting Policies
  • Advancing Policies to Promote 5G Deployment in Rural America
  • Promoting Security and Reliability in Communications Networks
  • Enhancing Consumer Protections Expanding Provider Access to the FCC’s Healthcare Connect Fund
  • Adopting a Public Notice to Support Adoption and Accessibility of Broadband-Enabled Health Care Solutions Promoting Remote Patient Monitoring Programs
  • Promoting a More Diverse Media Landscape

Comment is sought by January 11, 2017; a final report will be issues during the first quarter of 2017.

FCC, TIGTA Issue IRS Impersonation Phone Scam Advisory

Telephone fraudsters posing as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents have bilked tens of thousands of American consumers out of millions of dollars. This scam, the largest impersonation scam in the history of the IRS, has cost victims more than $50 million. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) are committed to quashing the scam, prosecuting the individuals behind the scam, and protecting consumers from future fraud and harassment.

FCC Announces Effective Dates of Broadband Privacy Rules

In this Public Notice, the Wireline Competition Bureau announces the effective dates of certain broadband privacy rules and provides guidance to telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers on implementation of the requirements adopted in the 2016 Privacy Order. A summary of the 2016 Privacy Order, FCC 16-148, was published in the Federal Register on December 2, 2016. Pursuant to the implementation framework outlined in the 2016 Privacy Order, except for the new data security requirements and certain other provisions subject to Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the provisions adopted in the 2016 Privacy Order will become effective on January 3, 2017. The 2016 Privacy Order provides that the data security obligations (new section 64.2005) will be effective on March 2, 2017.

It also states that the new breach-notification requirements (new section 64.2006) will become effective the later of PRA approval or June 2, 2017 (6 months after Federal Register publication) and the notice and customer approval provisions (new sections 64.2003, 64.2004, and 64.2011(b)) will become effective the later of PRA approval or December 4, 2017 (12 months after Federal Register publication). Pursuant to the 2016 Privacy Order, small providers will have an additional 12 months before the new notice and customer approval rules are effective.

Chairman Wheeler Names Six Members to the Board of Directors of the Universal Service Administrative Company

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler hereby appoints six members to the Board of Directors of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). In a public notice released September 9, 2016, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) solicited nominations for the Board member positions listed below in accordance with section 54.703(c) of the Commission’s rules. Chairman Wheeler appoints the following persons to the USAC Board of Directors:
Representative for incumbent local exchange carriers (Bell Operating Companies): Joel Lubin, Consultant, AT&T
Representative for libraries that are eligible to receive discounts pursuant to section 54.501 of the Commission’s rules: Robert Bocher, Consultant, Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction
Representative for schools that are eligible to receive discounts pursuant to section 54.501 of the Commission’s rules: Dr. Daniel A. Domenech, Executive Director, American Association School Administrators
Representative for state consumer advocates: Cynthia Kinser, Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Tennessee Attorney General
Representative for commercial mobile radio service providers: Matt Gerst, Director for Regulatory Affairs, CTIA
Representative for cable operators: Beth Choroser, Vice President of Regulatory, Comcast Corporation

USAC Offers FCC Draft Lifeline National Verifier Plan; Public Welcomed to Comment

On March 31, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission adopted the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order, with the goals of ensuring the affordability of voice and broadband service for low-income consumers and promoting the fiscal integrity of the Lifeline program. In the Order, the FCC established a National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier (National Verifier) to make eligibility determinations and perform other functions necessary to enroll eligible subscribers into the Lifeline program. The Order also directed the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to submit a Draft National Verifier Plan to the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau and the Office of the Managing Director (OMD) before December 1, 2016.

By this Public Notice, the Bureau announces that USAC submitted the Draft National Verifier Plan to the Bureau and OMD on November 30, 2016. The Draft Lifeline National Verifier Plan is now available for public review. Beginning December 5, 2016, USAC will accept comments, questions, and feedback. Feedback is welcome throughout the implementation of the National Verifier, however, stakeholders are encouraged to provide comments by December 30, 2016 with respect to the National Verifier Plan.

FCC Enforcement Advisory--Robotext Consumer Protection--Text Message Senders Must Comply With The Telephone Consumer Protection Act

The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau issues this Advisory to promote understanding of the clear limits on the use of autodialed text messages, known as “robotexts.” The FCC is committed to protecting consumers from harassing, intrusive, illegal, and unwanted robotexts to cell phones and other mobile devices. The FCC has stated that the restrictions on making autodialed calls to cell phones encompass both voice calls and texts. Accordingly, text messages sent to cell phones using any automatic telephone dialing system are subject to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (“TCPA”). The term “automatic telephone dialing system” (or “autodialer”) covers any equipment that has the capacity to store or produce numbers to be dialed and dial them without human intervention but does not need to have the present ability to do so.

The TCPA places limits on autodialed calls and prerecorded- or artificial-voice calls to wireless numbers; emergency numbers; guest or patient rooms at hospitals, health care facilities, elderly homes, or similar establishments; and to any service for which the called party is charged for the call. The FCC’s corresponding rules restrict the use of prerecorded-voice calls and automatic telephone dialing systems, including those that deliver robotexts. The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau will rigorously enforce the important consumer protections in the TCPA and our corresponding rules. We expect this Advisory will facilitate compliance with the law and rules by those who initiate robotexts to mobile devices