Senate Votes to Repeal Broadband Privacy Rules

In a vote along party lines, the Senate passed a Joint Resolution, which uses the Congressional Review Act to repeal the FCC’s 2016 Broadband Privacy Order and prevent the FCC from adopting similar rules in the future. An identical version of the resolution was introduced in the House by Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). The House is expected to vote on the companion bill this week. The resolution is likely to pass the House, and then be signed into law by the President. For more information, please contact Tracy Marshall (marshall@khlaw.com; 202.434.4234).

Enforcement Bureau Cracks Down on Wideband Emissions

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture to Global Paratransit Inc. proposing a $13,000 penalty for “apparently failing to operate a private land mobile radio (PLMR) station… in accordance with the Commission’s narrowbanding rules, failing to transmit its station identification, and failing to respond to a Commission communication.” The Commission’s Narrowbanding Second Report and Order, adopted in 2003, imposed a ten-year deadline for licensees operating in the 150-174 MHz and 421-512 MHz bands to migrate their signals to 12.5 kHz or narrower bandwidths. Despite multiple reminders of the January 1, 2013 deadline from the Commission, Global Paratransit, apparently failed to modify its system. The Commission discovered this failure through an investigation that derived from an anonymous tip in early 2016. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

Update on Investigation into AT&T 911 Outage; Stakeholder Input Sought

Per Chairman Pai’s instruction, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has begun its investigation into the AT&T 911 outage, which occurred earlier this month (Vol. XIV, Issue 11). At last Thursday’s Open Meeting, Lisa Fowlkes, Acting Chief of the Bureau, provided an update of the preliminary inquiry. It appears that the outage lasted approximately five hours and approximately 12,600 callers could not reach 911 directly, but some of these calls were answered by a backup center. The preliminary inquiry has shown that state entities took timely and appropriate measures to notify the public of the outage and alternative contact information. Regarding the cause of the outage, Fowlkes stated “It appears that AT&T reconfigured connections in its network that affected 911 call routing for its [Voice over LTE (VoLTE)] subscribers. As a result of these changes, automated call routing capability for VoLTE 911 calls failed.” Fowlkes also noted that after the investigation was underway, a second outage occurred on March 11. From the preliminary inquiry, the Bureau has determined that preliminary stakeholder input is necessary, and, accordingly, issued a Public Notice seeking comment. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

FCC Reforms Outdated 800 MHz Cellular Spectrum Rules

The Commission unanimously approved a Second Report and Order, a Report and Order, and a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) all aimed at facilitating Cellular spectrum for mobile broadband services. Specifically, the updated rules allow Cellular licensees to transmit the same amount of power across the spectrum band, whether they are deploying narrow bandwidth technology or wider bandwidth technology; ensure co-existence of Cellular and neighboring public safety systems by retaining Cellular-specific interference resolution rules and procedures and by engaging stakeholders; make rules related to power measurement, out of band emissions, field strength, and discontinuance of operations the same for Cellular spectrum as for other similar commercial wireless spectrum; and eliminate unnecessary rules related to filings, coordination, and comparative renewal. The FNPRM proposes to eliminate more unnecessary rules and seeks comment on whether to simplify and consolidate the rules for Cellular and other commercial wireless services. For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

FirstNet Announces Special Board Meeting

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) announced that a Special Board Meeting will be held on March 28, 2017. The meeting is an open teleconference beginning at 9:00 am. Those interested can listen by dialing toll free1-877-960-9067 and using passcode 2095167#. For more information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).