Municipal Broadband Arguments

Last week, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments from the FCC and states of North Carolina and Tennessee regarding the Commission’s preemption of laws in those states that limit the ability of municipalities to expand broadband service beyond their municipal boundaries. (Vol. XII, Issue 9). The FCC found these laws conflict with provisions of the Communications Act that direct the FCC to remove barriers to broadband investment and competition. Tennessee and North Carolina appealed the Commission’s decision and the case was consolidated before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. A decision is expected later this year. 

FirstNet Meetings

The FirstNet Board and Committees held a joint meeting last week. Among the many issues addressed were rural coverage, state plans, environmental programmatic concerns and bylaw changes. The Board emphasized its goal of selecting a winning bidder for the construction, maintenance and operation of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network by the end of 2016. FirstNet also disclosed that there are over 600 entities on a list created by FirstNet looking to partner or team with a nationwide bidder. 

NTIA Drone Meeting

Last week the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced it will convene a meeting on April 8 in the boardroom of the American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Ave. NW, Washington DC, to discuss commercial and private use of drones. The meeting is part of NTIA’s multistakeholder process concerning privacy, transparency, and accountability regarding commercial and private use of UAS. The meeting is scheduled to run from 1-5 p.m.

USF Contribution Reporting

The annual Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) Annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet (499-A) is due on April 1. In advance of the upcoming deadline, KH Partner Doug Jarrett penned a blog article setting forth recommendations for Universal Service Fund (USF) reporting reforms, such as limiting adjustments to the USF contribution factor to just once a year.