Federal Communications Commission

FCC Requests Additional Information from Charter in Comcast/Time Warner Cable Review

On August 21, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission sent Charter Communications a request for information and data with respect to the applications for transfer of control of certain licenses that the company filed on June 4, 2014. Now, the FCC asks that Charter provide additional written responses and supporting documentation for each request listed below:

Describe in detail Charter’s plans to migrate subscribers acquired as a result of the proposed divestiture transactions, including but not limited to:
a projected timeline for the transition of all the acquired customers;

  • any plans for relevant services and devices necessary to access the services to be offered to the acquired subscribers;
  • any plans for the acquired customers to retain their current service plans and if so, the length of time the acquired customers may remain enrolled under their existing service plans;
  • the features and services accessible from each device that will be offered to acquired customers;
  • any services or features that an acquired subscriber received from its previous provider that it will not be able to obtain from the Company after the consummation of the proposed the proposed divestiture transactions, and plans to introduce that lost service or otherwise compensate the subscriber; and
  • all documents discussing customer migration and transition of the acquired customers to the Company.

For the proposed divestiture transactions, provide: (i) a timetable for each transaction, a description of all actions that must be taken prior to consummation of each transaction, and any harm that will result if the transactions are not consummated; and (ii) a description of any other terms or conditions of the transactions that are not reflected in the transaction agreements between the parties.

The FCC requested responses no later than September 11, 2014.

[Lake is Chief, FCC Media Bureau]

[MB Docket No. 14-57]

T-Mobile USA Forfeiture Order Concerning Hearing Aid-Compatible Handsets

Although the Federal Communications Commission’s wireless hearing aid compatibility rules have been in place for nearly a decade, T-Mobile USA failed to provide the minimum number of hearing aid-compatible handset models required under the rules during calendar years 2009 and 2010.

To that end, the FCC imposes a penalty of $819,000 against T-Mobile, for failing to offer to consumers the required number of hearing aid-compatible digital wireless handset models for nearly two years.

Chris Henderson Named USAC CEO

Chris Henderson is an outstanding choice to lead USAC. His selection reflects the extensive and thorough search process conducted by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) Board.

Chris’s background and qualifications will be invaluable as we work together to implement the FCC’s modernization and reform of the Universal Service Fund programs.

Scott Jordan Named FCC’s Chief Technology Officer

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler appointed Scott Jordan as Chief Technology Officer. Jordan succeeds Henning Schulzrinne, who will return to Columbia University and continue to serve the FCC in a part-time capacity as a Technology Advisor.

In his role as Chief Technology Officer, Jordan will serve as the senior advisor on technical matters across the agency. Jordan will engage with technology experts outside the agency and promote technical excellence among agency staff.

Jordan will be based in the FCC’s Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis. He joins the FCC from the University of California, Irvine, where he is a Professor of Computer Science. Jordan is widely known for his research on communications platforms, pricing, and differentiated services on the Internet. In the technology arena, Jordan works to further integrate voice, data, and video on the Internet and on wireless networks.

Time Warner Cable Failed to Comply with Network Outage Reporting Requirements

The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau has resolved its investigation into whether Time Warner Cable complied with the FCC’s network outage reporting requirements.

TWC has failed to file a substantial number of reports with respect to a series of reportable wireline and Voice over Internet Protocol network outages. TWC admits that its failure to timely file the required network outage reports violated the FCC’s rules.

To resolve the investigation, TWC will pay a civil penalty of $1.1 million and implement a three-year compliance plan to ensure future compliance with the FCC’s network outage reporting rules.

FAQs for Rural Broadband Experiments

Starting from general questions regarding how rural broadband experiments relate to Connect America Phase II to whether an entity that wins support for the rural broadband experiments is then unable to bid in the Phase II competitive bidding process, the Federal Communications has provided communities with a list of frequently asked questions for its pending rural broadband experiments.

FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau Addresses the Payment of Site Commissions For Interstate Inmate Calling Services

In the 2013 Inmate Calling Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM), the Federal Communications Commission took numerous steps to address high interstate inmate calling services (ICS) rates.

A Partial Stay Order by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in January 2014 does not affect the ordinary operation of the FCC’s complaint process under section 208 of the Act. Moreover, the Partial Stay Order issued did not disturb the FCC’s determinations regarding site commissions Pursuant to a complaint that challenges the lawfulness of an ICS provider’s interstate ICS rates, the FCC will conduct an adjudication to determine whether those rates are just and reasonable under section 201 of the section 201” of the 1934 Communications Act.

As part of that review, the Commission will follow its established practice and consider whether the challenged rates exceed the reasonable costs of providing ICS and, in that connection, will examine any payment of site commissions by ICS providers to correctional facilities. Any interstate ICS rates that are found to exceed the recovery of costs reasonably related to the provision of ICS may be found unjust and unreasonable under section 201 of the 1934 Act.

Such a finding may result in lowering interstate ICS rates (even if those rates are already at or below the interstate ICS rate caps adopted in the Order). It may also result in an order of refunds to end users.

Matthew Berry's Remarks at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ 2014 Legislative Summit

The Federal Communications Commission recently sought comment on two petitions asking the Commission to preempt state laws regulating municipal broadband projects in Tennessee and North Carolina, two of twenty-one states that impose restrictions on municipal broadband.

The real debate is not about whether it is a good idea for cities to get into the broadband business. Nor is it about whether states should restrict localities from getting into the broadband business.

But those are questions to be asked and answered in the fifty state capitals as well as other cities all across our country. Rather, the debate at the Commission is going to be about a relatively narrow but critical question: Does the FCC have the legal authority to preempt state laws regulating municipal broadband? And the answer to that question is a resounding no.

[Berry is Chief Of Staff to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai]

T-Mobile and CenturyLink Seek FCC Consent to the Assignment of Thirteen Lower 700 MHz A Block Licenses

T-Mobile USA and CenturyLink have filed an application seeking the assignment of thirteen Lower 700 MHz A Block licenses from CenturyLink to T-Mobile.

The subject licenses cover geographic areas throughout the United States. The proposed transaction involves the transfer of spectrum; no customers or networks would be transferred.

The Federal Communications Commission’s preliminary review indicates that, as a result of the proposed transaction, T-Mobile would acquire 12 megahertz of Lower 700 MHz A Block spectrum in 179 counties in all or parts of 50 Cellular Market Areas (CMAs) in parts of various states. Post-transaction T-Mobile would hold 32 to 82 megahertz of spectrum in total in these 50 CMAs, including 12 megahertz of spectrum below 1 GHz.

Interested parties must file petitions to deny no later than September 3, 2014. Oppositions to such pleadings must be filed no later than September 15, 2014. Replies to such pleadings must be filed no later than September 22, 2014.

FCC Announces Application Process for Entities Interested In Participating In The Rural Broadband Experiments

The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau outlined the process that will be used to award up to $100 million in rural broadband experiment support to bring next-generation voice and broadband service to high-cost areas of the country.

Specifically, the FCC summarized the procedures, terms, and conditions governing the submission of rural broadband experiments applications, the post-selection review of winning bidders and other important information for parties seeking rural broadband experiment funding.

Formal applications for participation in the rural broadband experiments are due 90 days after the July 14, 2014 release of the Rural Broadband Experiments Order. The deadline for applications will be on October 14, 2014.