Draft C-Band Legislation

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) released the WIN 5G Act. The legislation is currently in draft form and has not been formally introduced. According to Rep. Matsui’s office, the “legislation proposes a consensus-based, compromise approach to rapidly and equitably reallocating spectrum between the frequencies of 3.7 GHz-4.2 GHz.” The bill requires the FCC to designate satellite users operating in the C-Band to serve as a “transition facilitator” that will create a transition plan for C-Band spectrum. The bill also proposes a plan for reallocating spectrum between 3.45-3.55 GHz for commercial wireless use.

House Appropriations Bill Contains FCC-Related Amendments

Last week, The House of Representatives passed H.R. 3351, which included a number of FCC-related amendments. The bill appropriates $339 million for the FCC for FY 2020, the same spending level as was appropriated for FY 2019. An amendment to prohibit a cap on the Universal Service Fund (USF) was adopted by Voice Vote. Other FCC-related amendments focused on robocalls, privacy, and protecting local ordinances that promote broadband competition. Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) introduced but did not offer an amendment that stipulates that no new funds may be used for data collection solicited through FCC Form 477 due to language that allows providers to include currently unserved areas in their reporting of areas in which broadband is available. 

FirstNet Update

The FirstNet Authority Board met last week in Indianapolis. At the meeting, the Board supported the progress and direction of the Roadmap to advancing the network. A press release notes that more than 600 public safety engagements informed the Roadmap. In conjunction with the Roadmap, the Board has been working on an investment strategy for the network and approved network investment funds at the meeting. Additionally, the Board recognized Board Member Teri Takai for her service and announced the nomination period for the Chief Harlin R. McEwen Public Safety Broadband Communications Award, “which honors a public safety individual who has displayed remarkable leadership or made significant contributions in the field of public safety broadband communications.

FCC Harmonizes EAS Testing Requirements for Satellite

The Commission adopted an Order on Reconsideration, which harmonizes the Emergency Alert System (EAS) testing requirements for Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) and Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS). The EAS is a warning system that requires EAS participants, such as broadcast stations, cable systems, etc, to deliver alerts to the public to warn them about emergencies. Both DBS and SDARS are EAS participants, however, they were subject to different testing requirements. In the Order on Reconsideration, the Commission responded to a petition by Sirius XM, finding “that harmonizing SDARS testing requirements with DBS testing requirements is appropriate because these services are technologically similar.” For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).