Commissioner O’Rielly Says FCC Will Get Aggressive With Municipalities

Last week, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly spoke at the Wireless Infrastructure Association’s Connectivity Expo and specifically discussed making mid-band spectrum available for 5G deployment while hinting at future regulatory reform to remove barriers to network deployment. O’Rielly stated that many state and local jurisdictions are still acting in ways that impede the deployment of wireless infrastructure, referring to some communities as “bad actors.” O’Rielly said the Commission had “tried to be nice” but “now we are going to go the aggressive route, getting bad actor communities out of the way.” 

FCC Will Vote on Mid-Band Proposal at July 12 Open Meeting

FCC Chairman Pai announced in a speech last week that the Commission will vote on a proposal to make more intensive use of the C-Band (3.7-4.2 GHz) for commercial terrestrial use at its July 12 Open Meeting. The Commission originally released its mid-band Notice of Inquiry in July of 2017, which focused on how spectrum between 3.7 GHz and 24 GHz could be used for wireless broadband (Vol. XIV, Issue 29). Commenters have been unable to reach a consensus on how the other portions of mid-band spectrum may be used for wireless broadband. 

FCC ISP Disclosure Rule Effective on June 11, 2018

The broadband service provider Disclosure Rule adopted in the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order (Vol. XV, Issue 20) becomes effective in two weeks (June 11, 2018). All Broadband Internet Access Services (“BIAS”) providers must publicly disclose information about network management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms of broadband services by either posting the required disclosure on an easily accessible web site or submitting their disclosure statements to an FCC portal that is accessible by members of the public. There are no small service provider exceptions or exemptions. Last week the FCC released a Public Notice announcing that the portal opens today (May 29, 2019) for submitting the disclosure statements. A BIAS provider that does not submit its required disclosure to the FCC through the portal will be deemed to have elected to post its disclosure statement on a publicly available, easily accessible website. 

FCC Rules on M&A Transactions

Several critical infrastructure companies recently announced transactions that will require the FCC’s prior consent. Two of these were announced in the wake of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decision limiting master limited partnership interstate natural gas and oil pipelines from recouping an income tax allowance in cost-of-service rates. Section 310 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, requires that the FCC issue its prior consent to the assignment of radio station licenses or the transfer of control of a radio station licensee. Generally, these applications should be filed no later than 60 days prior to the anticipated closing date. Although Assignment and Transfer applications for private wireless systems do not raise major public policy issues and are almost always granted by the FCC, failure to adhere to the Commission’s prior consent requirement can result in enforcement actions. 

FCC Seeks Comment on TCPA Petition by P2P Text Messaging Providers

The FCC released a Public Notice last week seeking comment on a Petition for Clarification filed by the P2P Alliance, which is a coalition of providers and users of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) texting services. The P2P Alliance stated in its Petition that P2P text messaging platforms do not allow senders to transmit messages without human intervention and don’t include equipment that constitutes an autodialer, and therefore the Commission should clarify that those services are not subject to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (TCPA) restrictions on calls to mobile phone numbers. Comments are due by June 22, 2018 and Reply Comments are due by July 9, 2018.