Open Internet—Enhanced Transparency Rule

Last week, several dozen Republican lawmakers signed a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler urging the agency to make permanent the interim exemption it granted to small businesses from the enhanced transparency rule adopted  as part of the Open Internet Order.  The rule requires Broadband Internet Access Service providers to publicly disclose certain information pertaining to their network management practices, performance, and service terms.  The Commission temporarily exempted small providers “with 100,000 or fewer broadband” connections.  Earlier this year, the Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau sought comment on whether it should make this exemption permanent.

Wireless Emergency Alert Proposed Rule

The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) last week to update its Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system.  The WEA system transmits warnings and critical information from authorized federal, state, and local government entities to users of WEA-capable mobile devices.  In the NRPM, the FCC proposed improving the content of the WEA system messages by increasing the maximum length of the message from 90 to 360 characters, enhance the accessibility features of the WEA system, and create a new class of alerts.  Comments and Reply Comments will be due 30 and 60 day after the date the NPRM is published in the Federal Register.

$1.44 Million Fine for Slamming

The FCC issued a Forfeiture Order imposing a $1.44 million fine against Preferred Long Distance, Inc., a California long distance carrier, for slamming violations.  Slamming is the illegal practice of switching a consumer’s traditional service carrier without permission.  The Order alleges that Preferred switched the carriers of 14 consumers without their consent.  In 11 of those instances, Preferred’s telemarketers knowingly misrepresented to consumers that they were calling on behalf of the consumer’s current carrier.

FirstNet Update

Last week during NTCA’s Telecom Executive Policy Summit (Summit), rural broadband industry leaders, FCC Commissioner Pai, and members of Congress met to discuss possible solutions to various challenges affecting the telecommunications industry.  As reported by Paul Kirby of TRDaily, rural broadband providers acknowledged interest in partnering with the entity that wins the bid to build the (NPSBN), but expressed concern pertaining to the cost of the services on the NPSBN.  FirstNet indicated that the cost of services offered over the NPSBN will be competitive.  The final Request for Proposal (RFP) is scheduled to be released by the end of the year.