FirstNet Opt-Out Public Notice

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NITA) issued a Public Notice last week describing alternate routes qualified states may utilize to connect to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). The notice explains the preliminary steps in the “rigorous” application process associated with the State Alternative Plan Program (SAPP) for states seeking to construct their own radio access networks (RAN) with funding grants. Comments are due August 18, 2016. FirstNet’s federal consultation lead, Chris Algiere, announced in a blog post a FirstNet forum will be held August 30th and 31st in Phoenix, Arizona at the Bureau of Land Management’s National Training Center. According to Algiere, the southwest border forum is an opportunity for federal agencies to expand consultation beyond the headquarters and directly engage professionals. 

Google Pole Attachment “Make- Ready” Filing

On July 19, Google submitted a Notice of Ex Parte meeting at which it asked the FCC to adopt “one-touch make ready” or “dig once” policies rather than the traditional make ready processes. Google argued that the current make ready processes are time consuming, unaffordable, dangerous, inefficient, compromise pole integrity and inconvenience residents. The alternative procedure, “one touch make ready,” would allow any communications provider attaching to a utility pole to complete all make-ready work under certain circumstances. 

BBT Broadband Experiments Support

The FCC issued a Public Notice last week authorizing the Universal Service Administration (USAC) to disburse rural broadband experiment support to Big Bend Telecom, Ltd. (BBT). BBT placed five bids, totaling $178,425, for the support of 15 census blocks in rural Texas in 2014. BBT is obligated to submit an irrevocable stand-by letter of credit (LOC) and Bankruptcy Code opinion letter by August 4, 2016, in order to obtain the funds.

Special Access Reply Comments

Last week the FCC issued an Order extending until August 9, 2016, the date for filing reply comments in response to comments submitted in the FCC’s Tariff Investigation Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Vol. XIII, Issue 19). This proceeding looks toward new rules for regulating and lower rates for interstate special access services, principally DS-1 and DS-3 services, and equivalent Ethernet services. Verizon and InCompass (an association of competitive wireline carriers) recently proposed a regulatory framework that is favorable to competitive carriers and corporate customers, but opposed by AT&T, CenturyLink and the major cable operators.

Ligado Reply Comment Deadline Extended

The FCC granted an extension request for reply comments on Ligado Network LLC’s (formerly LightSquared) proposal that the Commission issue a rulemaking to allocate the 1675-1680 MHz band for terrestrial mobile use shared with the federal government (Vol. XIII, Issue 24). The deadline for reply comments has been extended to Aug. 11th on the grounds that a three-week extension will allow a wider variety of commenters to respond and provide a greater understanding of the proposed Petition.

FERC Supply Chain Cyber Control Standards

Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released a Final Order directing the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to begin developing reliability standards for supply chain operations risk management. The standards are intended to mitigate the risk of cybersecurity incidents affecting the electric systems by addressing software integrity and authenticity, vendor remote access, information system planning, and vendor risk management and procurement controls.