Federal Communications Commission

FCC Chairman Wheeler’s Statement On Competition In The Mobile Marketplace

Four national wireless providers is good for American consumers. Sprint now has an opportunity to focus their efforts on robust competition.

Tenth Broadband Progress Notice of Inquiry

This Federal Communications Commission inquiry concerns the deployment of advanced telecommunications capability to all US-Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion, and possible steps to accelerate such deployment.

The FCC starts anew by analyzing current data and seeking information that will enable the FCC to conduct an updated analysis for purposes of its next report.

In particular, the FCC seeks comment on the benchmarks to use to define “advanced telecommunications capability,” to explore whether the agency should establish separate benchmarks for fixed and mobile services, which data is reliable for measuring broadband, whether and how to take into account differences in broadband deployment, particularly between urban areas versus non-urban and Tribal areas, and other issues.

FCC Makes Open Internet Comments More Accessible to Public

As of August 4, over 1.1 million comments were filed in the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet docket. Every comment will be reviewed as part of the official record of this proceeding.

Because of the sheer number of comments and the great public interest in what they say, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has asked the FCC IT team to make the comments available to the public in a series of six XML files, totaling over 1.4 GB of data -- approximately two and half times the amount of plain-text data embodied in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

The release of the comments as Open Data in this machine-readable format will allow researchers, journalists and others to analyze and create visualizations of the data so that the public and the FCC can discuss and learn from the comments we’ve received.

Empowering Small Businesses

Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler circulated a proposal to open new opportunities for small and growing businesses in the mobile marketplace.

Although the proposal may sound technical – updating the Commission’s approach to small business participation in wireless auctions— the purpose is simple: To provide innovative, smaller companies the opportunity to build wireless businesses that can spur additional investment and bring more choices to consumers.

Here’s one way: smaller companies may want to leverage business partnerships with larger companies through more flexible leasing arrangements to gain access to capital and cash flow, not to mention operational experience. Allowing structured entry into the wireless business make sense, especially given the billions of dollars it would take to build a new national network from scratch. With experience in operations and investment, smaller networks will have the prospect of progressing into more robust, facilities-based competition, which has been, and remains, a critical goal of the Commission.

As promised in the Mobile Spectrum Holdings Report and Order, we now seek comment on whether and how we should restrict the ability of wireless companies to combine their bids during an auction.

[Sherman is FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Chief]

FCC Open Commission Meeting Agenda August 8

The Federal Communications Commission will hold on August 8, 2014 an Open Meeting on:

  • Wireless communications. Streamlining and updating the rules governing the construction, marking, and lighting of antenna structures; and
  • Public safety & homeland security. The FCC will consider a Second Report and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that establishes deadlines for covered text providers to be capable of delivering texts to appropriate 911 public safety answering points, and seeks comment on proposals to improve text-to-911 service.

FCC Will Begin Accepting Law Student And Judicial Clerk Applications

The Federal Communications Commission will accept applications from graduating law students and current judicial clerks for its Fall 2015 Attorney Honors Program.

The application window opens on August 1, 2014.

Attorneys at the FCC work on cutting-edge legal and policy issues in the communications and technology arenas. They promote the deployment of high-speed broadband communications; protect the rights of consumers; promote access to communications services for all Americans, including Americans with disabilities; review major mergers and acquisitions; and promote public safety and homeland security.

FCC Requests Comment on the Public Trial of Google’s TV Band Database System Registration Procedures

The Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) is requesting comment on the 45-day public trial of a new system of registration procedures for Google’s TV bands database system that was completed on July 17, 2014.

Google has provided a summary report on the trial of its new registration procedures and modified database system to OET.

This summary report identifies: 1) problems reported and their disposition and 2) descriptions of changes made by Google to its new registration procedures or its channel availability calculator during the trial period. The FCC is requesting that interested parties submit comments on the trial and this report by August 13, 2014. Replies are due by August 19, 2014.

Remarks of FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai At The Citizens Against Government Waste Policy Breakfast

The single largest driver of the increase in the Universal Service Fund (USF) -- and hence, consumers’ phone bills -- has been the Lifeline program. Unfortunately, however, Lifeline has been laced with fraud.

So here are four simple steps that we should take to further reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program.

First, the time has come to put the Lifeline program on a budget. Second, we must reduce the financial incentives for people to commit Lifeline fraud. One option would be to prohibit wireless carriers participating in Lifeline from giving away free phone service to Lifeline recipients. A second option would be to empower the states to play a stronger role in helping to police the program. A third option would be to review the size of the current Lifeline subsidy -- $9.25 per month -- and ask whether it’s too high, given that it often pays for the entire cost of a monthly phone bill.

Third, the FCC should fill the gaps in its rules that still encourage fraudulent behavior.

And fourth, the FCC must step up its enforcement efforts.

Pleading Cycle Established For Comments On Electric Power Board And City Of Wilson Petitions Seeking Preemption Of State Laws Restricting The Deployment Of Certain Broadband Network

On July 24, 2014, the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the City of Wilson, North Carolina, filed separate petitions asking that the Federal Communications Commission act pursuant to section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 19961 to preempt portions of Tennessee and North Carolina state statutes that restrict their ability to provide broadband services. The FCC is allowing the public until August 29 to file comments in the proceeding and until September 29 to file reply comments.

FCC Requests Comment On Implementation Of CSRIC III Cybersecurity Best Practices

In March 2012, the FCC’s third Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC III) unanimously adopted voluntary recommendations for Internet service providers (ISPs) to combat three major cybersecurity threats: (1) botnet attacks; (2) domain name fraud; and (3) Internet route hijacking.

The FCC seeks comment from ISPs, the Internet community, consumer organizations, and the broader public on the implementation and effectiveness of the CSRIC III recommendations and/or alternatives that stakeholders have developed since the time of the CSRIC’s original work to address these challenges; and on the implementation status and effectiveness of voluntary recommendations, or alternatives, by ISPs and other members of the Internet community.

The FCC is particularly interested in comment on the following questions as they relate to the four broad areas of CSRIC’s best practices:

  • What progress have stakeholders made in implementing the recommendations?
  • What barriers have stakeholders encountered in implementing the recommendations?
  • What significant success stories or breakthroughs have been achieved in implementing the recommendations?
  • What are stakeholders’ views and/or plans for full implementation of the recommendations?
  • How effective are the recommendations at mitigating cyber risk when they have been implemented?