Internet of Things Bill

A bipartisan group of Senators introduced the Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things Act (DIGIT Act), which would require the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to conduct a study evaluating the future spectrum needs of the Internet of Things (IoT). The study would address whether there is sufficient spectrum available to support the growth of IoT, which Congress estimates will consist of more than 50,000,000,000 devices by 2020. In addition, the study would examine regulatory barriers to providing needed spectrum for the IoT and the roles of licensed and unlicensed spectrum in the growth of the IoT. 

FirstNet RFP and Board Meeting

Last week FirstNet released more amendments to its Request for Proposal to build a nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) (Vol. XIII, Issue 3). Included in the amendments is the fourth set of vendor clarification requests, as well as an updated Partnering/Teaming List of offerors interested in subcontracting and teaming opportunities with other potential offerors. On March 16, the FirstNet Board Committees and full Board will meet for an open teleconference and webinar from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. EDT. The meetings will be open to the public via teleconference and webcast. 

Letter of Credit Obligation Clarified

The FCC requires “provisionally selected” Rural Broadband Experiment (“RBE”) bidders to secure a letter of credit (“LOC”) from a qualified financial institution. The FCC recently adopted an order limiting the duration of the LOC to when the RBE recipient completes its buildout of broadband facilities, rather than for the ten years during which RBE funds will be dispersed. The remaining LOC issues are (1) whether institutions other than the 100 largest US banks may issue LOCs, and (2) whether these rules will apply to winners of the CAF II reverse auction. 

2nd Quarter USF Contribution Factor

The FCC released a Public Notice announcing that the Universal Service Contribution Factor for the second quarter of 2016 will be 0.179 or 17.9 percent.

Broadband Privacy NPRM

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler circulated a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) at the Commission proposing new privacy and data security rules for broadband service providers. The NPRM will be voted on at the Commission’s Open Meeting on March 31. A summary is available on Keller and Heckman’s Consumer Protection Connection blog.