Federal Communications Commission

FCC Wireline Competition Bureau Extends Deadline for Filing Reply Comments in The Open Internet And Broadband Service Framework Proceedings

The Federal Communication Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau extends the deadline for filing reply comments in response to the 2014 Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and the Framework for Broadband Internet Access Service Refreshing the Record Public Notice.

Accordingly, interested parties now have until September 15, 2014 to file reply comments.

Rates for Interstate Inmate Calling Services

On September 26, 2013, the Federal Communications Commission released the Inmate Calling Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM).

On April 17, 2014, the FCC submitted the mandatory data collection to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. In response to several petitions requesting an extension of time to file the mandatory data, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau extended the data collection deadline by 30 days, to August 18, 2014.

In this Order, the FCC responds to motions filed by CenturyLink, GTL, ICSolutions, NCIC, and Telmate (collectively ICS providers) seeking a further extension of time to respond to the Commission’s one-time mandatory data request. We do not find that the circumstances presented here warrant granting another extension.

FCC Announces Technological Advisory Council Meeting On September 23, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission’s Technological Advisory Council, comprised of a diverse group of leading technology experts, provides technical expertise to the FCC to identify important areas of innovation and develop informed technology policies supporting the United States’ competitiveness in the global economy.

The TAC is helping the FCC to continue the momentum spurred by the National Broadband Plan to maximize the use of broadband to advance national interests and create jobs.

Second Report and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

In this , we affirm the Commission’s commitment to ensuring access to emergency services for all Americans.

The need to provide text-to-911 service in a timely manner is made more pressing because many consumers believe text-to-911 is already an available service, because of the unique value of text-to-911 for the millions of Americans with hearing or speech disabilities, and because of the crucial role it can play in protecting life and property when making a voice call would be dangerous, impractical, or impossible due to transmission problems.

We therefore take action to ensure that the potentially life-saving benefits of text-to-911 are available to all consumers as swiftly as possible. We require that Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) providers and other providers of interconnected text messaging applications be capable of supporting text-to-911 service by December 31, 2014. Covered text providers will have until June 30, 2015, or six months from the date of a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) request, whichever is later, to implement text-to-911 for that PSAP.

In the Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we seek comment on technical issues related to the provision of enhanced location information and support for roaming for texts to 911, as well as the capabilities of future texting services.

Opening Remarks of Commissioner Ajit Pai At Ohio Association Of Broadcasters’ AM Radio Town Hall

We all know that the AM band is facing some big challenges. That’s why back in 2012 I proposed that the Federal Communications Commission launch an AM Radio Revitalization Initiative.

One year later, the FCC took the first step by announcing a comprehensive review of our AM radio regulations.

One thing is clear: While there are many issues at the FCC that are controversial, AM radio isn’t one of them. So the time for action is now. By Halloween, my goal is for the FCC to adopt AM revitalization reforms that do two things.

First, we should adopt the proposals the FCC outlined in 2013, with appropriate tweaks.

Second, we need to ask the public to comment on a new batch of specific proposals for improving our AM radio rules. We need to discuss whether there is still a demand for skywave, whether the FCC should pave the way for the use of synchronous transmission systems on the AM dial, and finally, whether we have reached the point where AM stations should be allowed to go all-digital on a voluntary basis.

FCC Transaction review: Competition and the Public Interest

Three points about the Federal Communications Commission’s review of transactions are important to understand:

First, the nature of the substantive review that Congress has instructed the FCC to apply. Second, the process that the FCC has instituted, consistent with that statutory standard, to provide an open and fair means of reviewing transactions. Third, the manner in which the complementary approaches of the Commission and the antitrust agencies work harmoniously to serve the public interest in a sector that has traditionally been the subject of careful governmental scrutiny.

I believe that the Federal Communications Commission's actions should be informed by competition principles. These principles look to the impact of practices on consumers and the public interest, not just on competitors. But, the "public interest" standard is not limited to purely economic outcomes. It necessarily encompasses the "broad aims of the Communications Act," which include, among other things, a deeply rooted preference for preserving and enhancing competition in relevant markets, accelerating private-sector deployment of advanced services, ensuring a diversity of information sources and services to the public, and generally managing spectrum in the public interest.

Moving Forward with a Data-Driven E-rate Modernization Process

The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau and Office of Strategic Planning and Policy released a staff report summarizing what we have learned to date as the result of an extraordinary effort to collect and analyze data, both about the current state of communications technology in America’s libraries and schools as well as the way the E-Rate program provides support.

We also published two maps providing a visualization of current fiber availability for schools and libraries across the country. A few insights from the report really stand out:

  • The Commission’s E-rate Modernization Order has the potential to dramatically expand access to funding for Wi-Fi upgrades.
  • Phasing down support for non-broadband services will, over the next five Funding Years, result in a total of over $3.5 billion which will be freed up and reallocated to higher priority broadband connections to and within schools and libraries.
  • The report confirms that while there is work to be done in connecting more schools to fiber, the current state is somewhat better than expected.
  • At the same time, many rural schools and the vast majority of libraries lack physical infrastructure necessary to meet the broadband goals adopted in the E-rate Modernization Order.
  • One of the more striking takeaways from the report is how vividly it illustrates the variability in prices being paid for similar services by similarly situated schools and libraries seeking E-rate support.

Remarks On Sports Blackout Rule

In late 2013, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it would consider eliminating its sports blackout rule.

League blackout policies can prohibit local television broadcast stations from airing games. And if the local stations can’t broadcast it, the FCC’s blackout rule prohibits cable and satellite companies (within a local blackout zone) from carrying it.

This hurts fans who can’t go to the game. After carefully reviewing all of the arguments, I don’t believe the government should intervene in the marketplace and help sports leagues enforce their blackout policies.

Our job is to serve the public interest, not the private interests of team owners. So I’m asking the FCC to hold an up-or-down vote on ending the sports blackout rule.

Order in the matter of the Connect America Fund

In this Order, the Federal Communications Commission dismisses as untimely a petition filed by the American Cable Association and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association requesting reconsideration of the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau’s Phase II Challenge Process Guidance Public Notice.

However, as separate and independent grounds, the FCC concludes that the arguments raised by the petitioners do not justify reconsideration of the Phase II Challenge Process Guidance Public Notice.

Parties have 30 days from public notice of a Commission or Bureau action to file a petition for reconsideration. The Challenge Process Guidance Public Notice was released on June 20, 2014. Petitions for reconsideration were due on July 21, 2014. Petitioners filed the Joint Petition on July 22, 2014, after the 30-day window for filing had elapsed.

FCC Announces Series of Open Internet Roundtable Discussions

To further develop our understanding of open Internet issues, the Federal Communications Commission will host a series of staff-led Open Internet Roundtable Discussions in Washington, (DC).

The public Open Internet Roundtable Discussions will provide an opportunity for staff and interested parties to further examine the actions the FCC should take for its goal of determining the best approach to protecting and promoting Internet openness.

Specifically, the roundtable discussions from Sept 16 to Oct 7, 2014 will focus on public policy considerations and how they should be addressed to protect and promote Internet openness in both the fixed and mobile markets; the technological considerations involved in protecting the open Internet; how the competitive landscape and the economics of providing broadband and online services affects Internet openness; how the Commission can effectively enforce the current and proposed open Internet requirements; and the various legal theories underlying possible Commission actions in this area.