Agriculture Appropriations Bill to Allocate Millions to Broadband
The House Appropriations Committee’s Agriculture Subcommittee released a draft of the 2019 agriculture appropriations bill, which will be considered by the Full Committee next week. The bill allocates $620 million for broadband deployment in rural areas. Funding will be made available through loans and grants including the Broadband Loan, Community Connect, Distance Learning and Telemedicine programs and a broadband pilot program. The pilot program focuses on deployment in areas where 90% of homes do not have access to the Internet.
Pleading Cycle Set for 4.9 GHz Band
The 4.9 GHz Band’s Sixth NPRM was published in the Federal Register, setting the pleading cycle. As previously reported (Vol. XV, Issue 13), the FCC seeks comment on alternative methods to encourage use and investment in the 4.9 GHz band, currently allocated exclusively for public safety communications. Comments are due July 6, 2018 and reply comments are due August 6, 2018.
Pleading Cycle Set for Forbearance Plea
The FCC released a Public Notice setting the pleading cycle on a forbearance request from the 1996 Telecommunications Act. This follows USTelecom’s petition requesting forbearance from the unbundling, resale, and related requirements imposed on ILECs under the 1996 amendments to the Communications Act. USTelecom’s petition claims that granting the request will reduce rates, offer better quality of service, and increase network. Comments are due June 7, 2018 and Reply Comments are due June 22, 2018.
Effective Date Released for Restoring Internet Freedom Rule
The Restoring Internet Freedom Order was published in the Federal Register, listing the effective date as June 11, 2018. As we previously reported (Vol. XV, Issue 2), the rule repeals the 2015 Open Internet Order. In its place, the Restoring Internet Freedom Order provides a comprehensive “transparency rule” and shifts enforcement authority to the FTC.
DOT Announces Drone Integration Pilot Program Winners
The Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced ten selectees for the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program. Under the program, the FAA will partner with local, state and tribal governments that will work with private sector participants to explore further drone integration. Data from the pilot program will be used to further update the regulatory framework to promote safe drone integration into the national airspace.
911 Certification Data Report Released
The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released a Report summarizing 911 Certification Data for 2017. The FCC requires service providers to annually certify measures employed to “prevent a loss of 911 service to the public.” The certification rules apply to providers that offer 911, E911, or NG911 to PSAPs. Specifically, the Report identifies the 911 service providers that have certified 911 circuit diversity, backup power, and network monitoring. The FCC has committed to reviewing the rules by January 2019 “to determine whether they are still technologically appropriate and both adequate and necessary to ensure reliability and resiliency of 911 networks.