Geoffrey Starks Nominated to FCC

Last week, the White House announced the nomination of Geoffrey Starks to replace Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. Starks currently serves as Assistant Bureau Chief in the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. Previously, Starks served at the U.S. Department of Justice. It was reported in March that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had selected Starks to fill the seat. FCC Chairman Pai issued a statement congratulating Starks and wishing him the best through the confirmation process.

FCC Funding for Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands

The Commission released an Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which it adopted on May 8, 2018. The Order established the Uneido a Puerto Rico Fund and the Connect USVI Fund, which allocate up to $750 million in Puerto Rico and up to $204 million in the US Virgin Islands to support facilities-based providers of voice and broadband in the next year. The NPRM proposes that $699 million ($44.55M to Puerto Rico and $188.5M to USVI) over ten years be removed from the frozen support fund and offered through a competitive mechanism, such as a reverse auction or request for proposal (RFP) process. Comments and Reply Comments are due 21 days and 35 days, respectively, after publication in the Federal Register. 

Revised CBRS PAL Proposal

A coalition of companies submitted an ex parte filing outlining a revised proposal for Priority Access Licenses (PALs) 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (“CBRS”) band. The proposal calls for a seven-year license term and PALs in a combination of sizes, including county, census-tract, and Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). The Coalition includes Frontier, Google, GE, Motorola, NCTA, NTCA, Ruckus Networks, the Rural Wireless Association, and the Wireless Internet Service Provider Association. In addition to the companies who signed the filing, there are companies and associations listed as supporting of the proposed framework for PAL licensing, including NRECA. 

California Senate Passes Net Neutrality Bill

Last week, the California Senate passed SB 822, which restores the net neutrality rules repealed by the Restoring Internet Freedom Order. After a vote of 23 to 12, the bill will move to the Assembly. Predictably, the California Cable and Telecommunications Association opposes the bill. The Restoring Internet Freedom Order will go into effect on June 11, 2018 (Vol. XV, Issue 20). 

FCC Proposes $590,380 Fine for Non-Compliant Equipment

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) against Bear Down Brands, LLC, doing business as Pure Enrichment, for marketing “14 models of consumer-grade electronic personal hygiene and wellness devices that were apparently noncompliant because they lacked proper equipment authorization, user manual disclosures, and/or FCC labels.” The NAL proposes a fine of $590,380, finding that upward adjustment was warranted based on Pure Enrichment’s intentional conduct and the duration and scope of the violations