Public Notice

Disability Advisory Committee Announcement Of Date, Time And Agenda Of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Disability Advisory Committee will take place on Tuesday, December 6, from 9:00 a.m. to approximately 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time, at the Federal Communications Commission. At its December 6, 2016 meeting, the Committee is expected to receive and consider reports and recommendations from its subcommittees, which may include:

A report on the activities of its Communications Subcommittee;
A report on the activities of its Emergency Communications Subcommittee;
A report and recommendations from its Relay & Equipment Distribution Subcommittee regarding:
videomail-to-text services for Video Relay Services consumers who are Deaf-Blind;
mobile device support for USB connectivity to Braille displays;
best practices for the development and testing of Augmentative-Alternative Communication (AAC) devices;
the portability of ten-digit telephone numbers and associated features from one IPenabled relay provider to another;
A report and recommendation from its Technology Transitions Subcommittee regarding the accessibility of the Internet of Things; and
A report and recommendation from its Video Programming Subcommittee on video description services.
The Committee will also receive presentations from Commission staff on recent activities, and expects to receive a presentation on the future of television from Committee members. In addition, a reserved amount of time will be available on the agenda for comments and inquiries from the public.

Wireline Competition Bureau Updates Applicable Rates for Inmate Calling Services

With this Public Notice, we notify providers and consumers of Inmate Calling Services (ICS) of the applicable rates for ICS.

On August 4, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission released the ICS Reconsideration Order, in which the Commission increased the ICS rate caps to expressly account for reasonable facility costs. Several parties filed motions asking the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) to stay the revised rate caps adopted in the ICS Reconsideration Order pending judicial review. On November 2, 2016, the D.C. Circuit granted those motions. Accordingly, “pending further order of the court,” the ICS Reconsideration Order is stayed “insofar as [it] imposes rate caps on inmate calling services.” The interim rate caps set forth in the Commission’s rules – $0.21 per minute for debit and prepaid ICS calls and $0.25 per minute for collect ICS calls – remain in effect for all interstate ICS calls. The interim rate caps do not apply to intrastate ICS calls.

FCC Seeks Public Comment in 2016 Biennial Review of Telecommunications Regulations

The Federal Communications Commission is in the process of conducting its comprehensive 2016 biennial review of telecommunications regulations. The law requires the FCC to (1) review biennially its regulations “that apply to the operations or activities of any provider of telecommunications service,” and (2) “determine whether any such regulation is no longer necessary in the public interest as the result of meaningful economic competition between providers of such service.”

The law directs the FCC to repeal or modify any regulation that it finds are no longer in the public interest. The FCC seeks input from the public as to what rules should be modified or repealed as part of the 2016 biennial review. Submissions should identify with as much specificity as possible the rule or rules that the commenting party believes should be modified or repealed, and explain why and how the rule or rules should be modified or repealed.
Comments due Dec 5; reply comments Jan 3, 2017.

FCC Adopts CAF Phase II Service Obligations for Alaska Communications Systems

In this Order, the Federal Communications Commission adopts tailored service obligations for Alaska Communications Systems (ACS), a carrier serving a non-contiguous area that elected to receive nearly $20 million annually in Connect America Phase II frozen support amounts in lieu of model-based support. We find these obligations are in the public interest and will advance the Commission’s goal of ensuring universal availability of modern networks capable of providing voice and broadband service.

Specifically, ACS will receive Phase II frozen support for a 10-year term and be required to offer voice service and broadband service at the same speed, latency, usage and pricing metrics as established for Phase II model-based carriers to at least 31,571 locations, primarily in census blocks identified as highcost that are unserved by unsubsidized competitors, with limited exceptions. These service obligations strike the appropriate balance of ensuring Alaska consumers receive broadband service while also allowing ACS the flexibility to provide that service in a way that is logical, maximizes its network and is reasonable considering the unique climate and geographic conditions of its service territory.

FCC Consumer Advisory Committee: Announcement of Renewal of Charter, Appointment of Members, Designation of Chairperson, Agenda

By this Public Notice, the Federal Communications Commission announces the renewal of the charter of its Consumer Advisory Committee and appointment of members, designates a Chairperson, and further announces the date, time, and agenda of the Committee’s first meeting under its renewed charter.

In anticipation of the renewal of the Committee’s charter, by a Public Notice (DA 16-657) released June 14, 2016, the Commission solicited applications for membership on the Committee for its ninth two-year term. The application deadline was July 25, 2016. After a review of the applications received, Chairman Tom Wheeler hereby appoints twenty-nine (29) members to the Committee (including the Benton Foundation). Of these, seventeen (17) represent interests of general consumers, two (2) represent interests of people with disabilities, six (6) represent interest of industry, one (1) represents minority interests, two (2) represent interests of quasi-government/regulators, and one (1) represents interests of seniors. The Committee’s membership is designed to be representative of the Commission’s many constituencies, and the diversity of the selected members will provide a balanced point of view as required by the Federal Advisory Committee Act. In addition, Chairman Wheeler designates Eduard Bartholme representing Call For Action as Chairperson of the Committee. All appointments and reappointments are effective October 21, 2016, and shall terminate October 21, 2018, or when the Committee is terminated, whichever is earlier. The first meeting of the Committee under its renewed charter will take place on Friday, January 27, 2017, from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. at the FCC.

Consumer And Governmental Affairs Bureau Seeks Comment On Petitions Concerning The Commission's Rule On Opt-Out Notices On Fax Advertisements

Two petitions have been filed seeking a waiver of section 64.1200(a)(4)(iv) of the Commission’s rules, which requires that an opt-out notice containing certain information be included in fax ads sent to a consumer who has provided prior express invitation or permission. With this Public Notice, we seek comment on the Petitions as described below. Specifically, Petitioners seek retroactive waiver of the opt-out notice requirement for fax ads they sent where prior express invitation or permission allegedly had been obtained from the recipients. The Petitioners argue that good cause exists because they are similarly situated to parties who were granted retroactive waivers from this requirement by the Commission in the Anda Order. In the Anda Order, the Commission granted retroactive waivers to several individual petitioners because of uncertainty about whether the opt-out notice requirement applied to “solicited” faxes.

FCC Provides Guidance on Rolling Recertification Pursuant to the Lifeline Modernization Order

In this Public Notice, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) provides guidance regarding the implementation of the rolling recertification process, as established by the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order. The Commission adopted rules to change the subscriber eligibility recertification process from once each calendar-year to a rolling process based on each subscriber’s service initiation date. Currently, Lifeline subscribers must recertify their eligibility once every calendar year. The Order adopted a rolling recertification process that requires subscriber eligibility to be recertified every 12 months following the subscriber’s service initiation date. The Commission established this rolling recertification requirement to improve administrative efficiency and reduce burdens on carriers, USAC and, in the future, the National Verifier.

FCC’s Biennial Report to Congress as Required by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010

The Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission prepared this Biennial Report for submission to the House and Senate Commerce Committees in accordance with the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA).

This Report presents information and assessments related to the accessibility of telecommunications services and equipment, advanced communications services (ACS) and equipment used for ACS, and Internet browsers built into mobile phones, along with a summary of actions taken by the Commission related to the CVAA. Specifically, this Report presents information and assessments related to the accessibility of telecommunications services and equipment as required by section 255,14 ACS and equipment used for ACS as required by section 716,15 and Internet browsers built into mobile phones as required by section 718,16 since the submission of the 2014 CVAA Biennial Report. In addition, this Report provides information about complaints alleging violations of sections 255, 716, and 718 for the period of January 1, 2014, through December 31, 2015.

FCC Provides Guidance Regarding Designation as a Lifeline Broadband Provider and Lifeline Broadband Minimum Service Standards

In this Public Notice, the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau provides guidance to entities seeking designation as Lifeline Broadband Providers for the purpose of receiving reimbursement through the Lifeline program for qualifying broadband Internet access service (BIAS) provided to eligible low-income consumers.

The Bureau also provides additional guidance regarding the implementation of the FCC’s minimum service standards for Lifeline-supported BIAS, which is applicable to Lifeline Broadband Providers (LBPs) and also other eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) seeking Lifeline reimbursement for BIAS provided to qualifying low-income consumers. LBPs will be designated by the Wireline Competition Bureau, and may qualify for a streamlined designation process, designed to encourage broader provider participation and competition in the program while protecting consumers and the integrity of the Universal Service Fund (Fund). All petitions for LBP designation must be sent to the Bureau.

FCC Releases Data on Mobile Broadband Deployment as of December 31, 2015 Collected Through FCC Form 477

The Federal Communications Commission released data on mobile broadband deployment as of December 31, 2015. These data were collected through FCC Form 477 and are available on the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Data – FCC Form 477. This marks the FCC’s second release of mobile broadband deployment data collected through Form 477. On November 10, 2015, the FCC released mobile broadband deployment data as of December 31, 2014. Coverage area maps showing mobile broadband network deployment for each combination of provider and network technology are also available for download. These data are available in shapefiles, a file format used to store, depict, and analyze geospatial data.