FirstNet Issues RFP

Last week, FirstNet released its long-awaited Request for Proposal (RFP) to build a nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN). Although one nationwide bid will be selected, no one entity is capable of meeting all of FirstNet’s objectives. Nationwide bidders will need to form partnerships, including those with infrastructure owners in rural America.  FirstNet will hold a pre-proposal conference on March 10, 2016 in Reston, Virginia.  Pre-Registration is required for in-person attendance at the conference.  Questions on the RFP are due no later than February 12, 2016 but FirstNet is encouraging questions to be submitted sooner.  Capability statements are due March 17, 2016.  Proposals in response to the RFP are due April 29, 2016 and FirstNet anticipates making an award in the fourth quarter of 2016.

FCC Addresses TCPA Liability of Text Broadcasters

Last week, the FCC released an Order denying a petition by Club Texting, Inc. for a declaratory ruling that text broadcasters who transmit text messages on behalf of others should be held to a different, lower standard under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  Club Texting, which provides software to facilitate text messages, urged that, unlike their customers whose goods and services are promoted through text messages, text broadcasters should only be liable for texts sent in violation of the TCPA if they demonstrate a high degree of involvement in, or actual notice of, the unlawful activity and fail to take steps to prevent it.  In denying the petition, the FCC reiterated that the determination of liability for autodialed text messages is fact-based, and deferred to existing precedent for determining the liability of text broadcasters.

Vehicular Repeaters

Last week a final rule was published in the Federal Register implementing changes to Part 90 of the FCC’s rules to allow licensing and operation of vehicular repeater systems and other mobile repeaters on six offset channels in the 173 MHz band.  The rule change permits operations on the 11.25 kHz channels on a co-primary basis with adjacent land mobile operations, and the Commission removed certain restrictions on omni-directional antennas, fixed station power limits, and antenna heights for telemetry operations (Vol. XII, Issue 33).  The rule change will become effective on February 16, 2016.