Federal Communications Commission

FCC’s 19th Mobile Wireless Competition Report

This Nineteenth Mobile Wireless Competition Report analyzes competition across the entire mobile wireless marketplace, including key market segments such as spectrum and infrastructure. It provides an analysis of the overall competitive dynamics of the industry, describing the various operating entities and their relative positions using indices such as market share, subscribership (totals, additions, and churn), as well as various financial indicators. The Report then presents a broad overview of industry trends and developments in the mobile marketplace that have taken place since the Eighteenth Report. The Report then turns to an analysis of key inputs necessary for provision of mobile service, such as spectrum and network infrastructure.

Spectrum, in particular, is a critical input that wireless service providers need for the provision of mobile wireless services, and this Report examines the distribution of spectrum in the various bands. Next, the Report analyzes recent developments in the ways service providers compete for and attract subscribers through pricing innovations, such as the decreased reliance on traditional handset subsidies and term contracts. The Report then analyzes competitive rivalry in non-price factors, such as coverage, service quality, and speed. Finally, the Report considers developments in the downstream mobile wireless ecosystem as well as issues such as consumer access to information and intermodal developments.

Seattle's Best

After spending the past three days in Seattle meeting with the heads of both world-leading companies and start-ups, I’m more bullish than ever about America’s future. If there were a central theme to the trip it was unlocking the potential of the next-generation of wireless technology – 5G. At the annual meeting of the Competitive Carriers Association, I spoke with network operators – large and small – about the development and deployment of fiber-fast wireless connectivity. The convention floor was filled with displays of how high-speed, high-capacity, low-latency networks could drive economic growth, especially in rural America. In a separate visit to T-Mobile’s headquarters, I saw a demonstration of technology under development, including 5G technologies, and heard about the work they are pursuing to bring next-generation products to market.

Industry Makes Progress on Unlicensed LTE Coexistence

The Office of Engineering and Technology and the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau have been closely monitoring industry efforts to ensure that new versions of LTE technology can co-exist with Wi-Fi and other unlicensed devices operating at 5 GHz. The Commission’s rules for unlicensed devices are designed to prevent harmful interference to authorized radio services through limits on transmitter power and spurious emissions. Industry has developed standards such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee within the framework of these rules, generally with the intention of ensuring cooperative sharing of the spectrum by unlicensed devices while recognizing that such devices are not protected from interference.

Remarks by Karen Peltz-Strauss on Accessibility and Inclusion, 2016 Trumpeter Awards

What does inclusion actually mean for people with disabilities? Communication services can open doors to education, information, jobs, commerce, entertainment, and government services. Being able to connect can break down not only physical, but attitudinal barriers for people with disabilities, promoting greater self-determination and integration into society. But this can only happen if these technologies are designed to be accessible. Now, clearly, technological advances have improved our lives – and dramatically so. But staying ahead of the technological curve becomes a challenge when new innovations for the general public don’t consider the needs of people with disabilities.

From the 1980s until my tenure at the Federal Communications Commission, I was fortunate to be part of a nationwide movement to end discrimination against people with disabilities, an effort that has been compared to the civil rights movements of the 60s and 70s. Our reward was a string of federal laws that require closed captioning, video description, access to mobile and video devices, and a host of other disability protections. Under Chairman Wheeler’s strong leadership, the FCC has implemented these mandates by, for example, adopting rules for high quality captions, text-to-911 access, hearing aid compatibility, and the distribution of free communications devices to low income people who are both deaf and blind. A debt of thanks is owed to the Chairman, the Commissioners, and the incredible teams of FCC employees who have been so dedicated in their commitment to developing these safeguards.

FCC Reaches $450,000 Settlement with AT&T for Unauthorized Wireless Operations

The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau has reached a $450,000 settlement with AT&T to resolve an investigation into whether AT&T operated fixed wireless stations without authorization or without filing required license modification notices. The investigation revealed that AT&T operated numerous common carrier fixed point-to-point microwave stations throughout the United States in ways that differed from the stations’ licenses for periods ranging from three and a half years to over four years.

The Enforcement Bureau began its investigation of AT&T in 2012. In August 2014, during the course of the investigation, AT&T reported to the Commission that it had discovered numerous inconsistencies between the licensed parameters and the constructed facilities of a large number of fixed microwave licenses that it acquired from 2009 through 2012. AT&T did not timely review the acquired licenses, which resulted in the unauthorized operation of many of the stations by its subsidiaries New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC and AT&T Mobility Puerto Rico, Inc. As a result, the Enforcement Bureau investigated the licensing history of approximately 250 AT&T stations to determine the extent of the unauthorized operations. In January 2015, the Commission adopted a Notice of Apparently Liability for Forfeiture to AT&T alleging violations that the company admitted to in today’s settlement. As part of today’s settlement agreement, AT&T has agreed to implement a compliance plan through which it will conduct timely reviews of wireless fixed microwave stations acquired in future transactions to ensure that the stations are operating in accordance with their licensed parameters, file periodic progress reports on its compliance efforts, and correct any noncompliance discovered during the review process within 60 days of its discovery.

FCC Confirms Sept 29 Meeting Agenda

The Federal Communications Commission will hold an Open Meeting on Thursday, September 29, 2016. The FCC will consider:

  • A Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would leverage advancements in technology to improve wireless emergency alert content, delivery and testing, while seeking comment on further measures to ensure effective alerts.
  • A Report and Order that extends to broadcast licensees the same streamlined rules and procedures that common carrier wireless licensees use to seek approval for foreign ownership, with appropriate broadcast-specific modifications. The item also establishes a framework for a publicly traded common carrier or broadcast licensee or controlling U.S. parent to ascertain its foreign ownership levels.
  • A NPRM that proposes steps the Commission can take to promote the distribution of independent and diverse programming to consumers. A Report and Order that modernizes the Commission’s rules to allow consumers to use a device of their choosing to access multichannel video programming instead of leasing devices from their cable or satellite providers.
  • A seven-item consent agenda.
  • Six personnel actions.

FCC Announces Timeline for Completion of 2017 Urban Rate Survey

The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) will shortly be initiating the urban rate survey for 2017. The information collected in this survey will be used, among other things, to develop voice and broadband reasonable comparability benchmarks that will be in place in 2017. To obtain statistically valid samples, the Bureau will be collecting the rates offered by providers of fixed services identified using FCC Form 477 data (as of June 30, 2015). There will be separate samples for fixed voice and fixed broadband services with up to 500 urban Census tracts in each. Completed surveys will be due on October 25, 2016. (WC Docket No. 10-90)

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Statement on Internet Governance

The current model of Internet governance has been a tremendous success. Under American stewardship, the Internet has become an unprecedented platform for free expression, innovation, and democratization. That's why two years ago, when the Department of Commerce first announced its intent to relinquish its role in overseeing the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, I argued that the burden of proof was on those favoring this momentous change. When it comes to Internet governance, I do not believe the transition should take place on October 1. Getting it right is far more important than getting it done right now, and additional time to consider the merits of the transition would benefit all stakeholders.

Preserve Consumer Privacy Trades

The Commission seems intent to push forward, in the coming weeks or months, with a specious plan imposing new broadband privacy mandates and burdens. Reacting to this impending action, a number of broadband providers have sought to retain the ability to offer consumers incentives in exchange for consumers’ willingness to share a greater level of private information. Seemingly in disagreement, Federal Communications Commission leadership is quoted as saying that they “hope privacy doesn’t become a luxury item.” If data sharing enticements are prohibited, however, it would harm the overall operations of the Internet, increase companies’ costs for offering features and functions, and decrease consumer options. Such an approach tramples on the notion of consumer choice.

In the coming weeks, the FCC will debate internally over whether and what consumer privacy protections to enact. Arguably, the Commission should rethink its insistence to enact new broadband privacy rules, but assuming it moves forward, it should not prohibit private data exchanges that benefit consumers in the form of lower prices, greater service or more features and functions.

Remarks of FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai at Competitive Carriers Association 2016 Annual Convention

I want to take a few minutes to lay out my ideas on how we can close the digital divide—how governments at all levels can make it easier for providers to deploy broadband across the country. I call it a Digital Empowerment Agenda.