Net Neutrality Appeal Transferred to D.C. Circuit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has granted a motion to transfer venue to the D.C. Circuit to review and rule upon the petitions for review of the FCC’s 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom Order (Vol. XV, Issue 5). In 2016, the D.C. Circuit affirmed the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order.

AT&T, Verizon Launch Public Safety Cores

AT&T and Verizon have both released details on the completion of their core public safety networks, which will support mobile broadband services for public safety users. Both companies offer prioritization and pre-emption for public safety network traffic. While AT&T’s (FirstNet’s) core network uses physically separate facilities, Verizon’s is a virtual core within its radio access network. Verizon has reassured prospective public safety customers that its core network separates public safety traffic from commercial traffic. AT&T has also added two more priority levels for public safety personnel, which can vary depending on “command structure or shifting needs.”

911 Wireless Routing NOI Adopted

The Commission voted to adopt a geospatial routing Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) at their March Open Meeting. As we previously reported (Vol. XV, Issue 11), the NOI aims at reducing the number of wireless 911 calls routed to incorrect PSAPs. Such mistakes often result in significant delays in dispatching aid. In the NOI, the FCC seeks comment on whether a transition from tower-based to location-based routing is the best solution. Comments are due May 7, 2018 and reply comments are due June 21, 2018.

FCC Proposes USF Support Ban on Products and Services Posing National Security Threats

On March 27, 2018, the FCC released an NPRM proposing a rule to ensure that disbursements from the Universal Service Fund (USF) are not spent on equipment or services from suppliers that raise national security concerns. The NPRM seeks comment on the types of equipment and services that should be covered, how the FCC should identify which suppliers are covered by the proposed rule, and the costs and benefits of the proposed rule. FCC Chairman Pai released a statement indicating that the proposal would maintain the integrity of U.S. communication systems and identify potential security vulnerabilities.

FCC Extends Push Notification Waiver

The FCC released an Order extending push notification requirements for white space devices and unlicensed wireless microphones operating in TV bands and the 600 MHz band to September 30, 2018. This follows a 2015 Report and Order which, among other things, adopted new and modified rules for fixed and Mode II personal/portable white space devices and databases. Petitions for reconsideration were filed and remain under active consideration due to implementation difficulties of the push notifications. Manufacturers can continue to market and operate approved white space devices and wireless microphones without fear of interference.