Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Announcements

  • The FCC will hold the second meeting of the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council on December 4, 2013, at 1:00 pm Eastern. To read more, click here.
  • The FCC has released the Tentative Agenda for its next Open Meeting scheduled for December 12, 2013, at 10:30 am Eastern. It contains four items, including a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to increase access to in-flight mobile service, and a Report and Order on 911 networks. To read the full agenda, click here.

The Mobile Market

  • The FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau will host an event on December 6, 2013, titled “FCC mHealth Innovation Expo.” The event will explore the “innovative use of mobile communications devices to improve health care” and “will bring together innovators and federal agencies to showcase mobile health products and solutions and provide resources for mobile health pioneers and entrepreneurs.” It will run from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm Eastern. More information is available here.
  • • The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau has announced that the auction of licenses in the 1915-1920 MHz and 1995 MHz-2000 MHz bands, also known as the “H Block,” has been rescheduled and will now commence on January 22, 2014. This Public Notice also revises the schedule of pre-auction deadlines. To read the Public Notice, click here 

Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) Notes

  • On November 13, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it had denied an application seeking approval of a proposed verifiable parental consent method submitted by AssertID under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection (COPPA) Rule. The rule requires covered online sites and services to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting personal information from children under age 13. The rule lays out a number of acceptable methods for gaining parental consent, but also allows interested parties to seek FTC approval of new verifiable parental consent methods. The FTC informed AssertID that its proposal failed to provide sufficient evidence that its method would meet the requirements set out under the rule. Specifically, the Commission noted that there was not yet adequate research or market testing to show the effectiveness of the AssertID “social-graph verification” method. The agency’s press release on the decision is here.

Compliance Notes

  • The FCC has released proposed new versions of its FCC Form 499-A and FCC Form 499-Q and accompanying instructions for comment. The proposed revisions include clarification of the definition of “reseller” for universal service assessment purposes, as well as new sample reseller certification language. The comment deadline is November 27, 2013.

 A copy of the Public Notice that lists the proposed changes can be found here.
A redline of the proposed changes to the FCC Form 499-A can be found here, with a redline of the proposed accompanying instructions here.
A redline of the proposed changes to the FCC Form 499-Q can be found here, and the accompanying instructions can be found here. (DA 13-2090)

  • The Universal Service Fund proposed contribution factor for the Fourth Quarter of 2013 is 15.6%. A copy of the Public Notice can be found here. (DA 13-1880) 

In the Courts

  • On November 12, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied Comcast’s motion to strike the renewed motion for class certification that plaintiffs filed in the now decade-old putative class action suing Comcast in antitrust for allegedly anticompetitive “overbuilding” in the Philadelphia market. In March 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Third Circuit’s affirmation of the district court’s order certifying the Philadelphia class, finding that plaintiffs’ damages theories went far broader than the narrow overbuilding theory they advanced. Comcast now has argued to the trial court that the Supreme Court’s mandate precludes plaintiff from filing another motion for class certification on remand, but the court disagreed. The court held that the operative case law “clearly states that any issue left open by an appellate court may be addressed at the discretion of the district court, as long as it is consistent with the appellate court’s decision.” The district court reasoned that the Supreme Court explicitly left open the possibility that plaintiffs could move to “certify a significantly narrowed class based on a more limited antitrust impact model.” The court denied Comcast’s motion to strike and ordered it to file a substantive opposition to the revised class certification motion by December 6, 2013. Glaberson v. Comcast Corp., No. 03-6604 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 12, 2013).