January Commission Open Meeting

On January 30, the Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau will present its investigation into the false emergency alert in Hawaii, and the Commission will consider an Order to enhance the effectiveness of Wireless Emergency Alerts. The Commission will consider two Connect America Fund Phase II Auction items: a Public Notice setting out rules, bidding procedures and important dates for the reverse auction, and an Order resolving several policy questions (Vol. XV, Issue 3). For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

2017 National 911 Progress Report

Earlier this month, the National 911 Program released its 2017 National 911 Progress Report. The Report compiles information from nearly all U.S. states and territories about progress towards implementation of next generation 911 (NG 911) networks. NG 911 networks, among other things, support sending text messages, images, and videos to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) and allow the transfer of data and other forms of communication to coordinate incident responses. The National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA) urges state and federal legislators to consider its recommendations, adopt appropriate mechanisms to fund NG911 networks, implement effective policies to improve 911 services. Currently, twenty-two states have reported that they are installing and testing NG911 technology. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

State Action on Net Neutrality

Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order prohibiting the state’s government from contracting with Internet service providers (ISP) unless “net neutrality” principles are in place, and Montana Governor Steve Bullock signed a similar executive order. These principles restrict ISPs from blocking, throttling, or prioritizing Internet content, and from requiring end users to pay more for access to specific information or applications. Some other states, including California, Rhode Island, and Washington, have introduced bills to mandate net neutrality. Several lawsuits have also been filed challenging the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order, including a suit by attorneys general for 21 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, please contact Tracy Marshall (marshall@khlaw.com; 202.434.4234).

House Hearing on Broadband Bills

The House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology announced a hearing, set for January 30, 2018, titled “Closing the Digital Divide: Broadband Infrastructure Solutions” to discuss five House Resolutions and fifteen Bills related to broadband deployment. Last week, subcommittee Chairwoman Marsha Blackburn released another series of broadband bills aimed at encouraging broadband deployment in disaster areas, supporting innovation, and removing “obstacles to expansion,” such as certain historical and environmental impact reviews. For more information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).