FCC to Rollback Net Neutrality

Last week, the FCC announced that it had circulated a draft Order for consideration at the agency’s December 14th Open Meeting that, if adopted, would largely repeal the agency’s net neutrality rules that were adopted in 2015. The net neutrality rules prohibit broadband providers from blocking access to legal content, throttling (impairing or degrading) lawful Internet traffic and favoring some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration (paid prioritization). FCC Chairman Pai has been a vocal critic of these rules. He released a statement last week endorsing a repeal of the rules, which was echoed by the two other Republican Commissioners: O’Rielly and Carr. The two Democratic Commissioners, Rosenworcel and Clyburn, issued statements opposing a repeal of the rules. For additional information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180) or Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

MLTS E-911 Proceeding Update

Earlier this month, the FCC received comments in response to its Notice of Inquiry seeking information about the state of enterprise communication system (ECS) equipment. The Commission is considering whether to extend E-911 obligations to ECS equipment, including requiring ECS equipment to route 911 calls to the nearest public safety answering point (PSAP) and providing the PSAP with number and location information of the caller. Public safety entities tend to support requiring ECS equipment – which tends to be deployed by large businesses, hotels and universities – to provide callers with the ability to directly dial 911. ECS equipment companies and other companies urged the Commission to allow the marketplace to dictate ECS functionality. Reply comments are due by December 15th. Please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4239; wright@khlaw.com) with questions.

FirstNet Update

Georgia became the 33rd state or territory to opt-in to the FirstNet network. California became the latest state to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to build a competing public safety radio access network relying on FirstNet spectrum. Verizon previously stated that if California released an RFP it intended to submit a bid. One state that had considered adopting a competing network – Vermont – established a Public Safety Broadband Network Commission that voted last week to recommend the state opt-in to the FirstNet system. Vermont’s Legislative Counsel issued an opinion stating that under state law and the legal principles embedded within the constitutional doctrines of separation of powers and federalism the Governor of Vermont needs legislative approval for a final opt-in/opt-out decision. The Florida FirstNet Executive Committee recommended that Florida opt-in. Please contact Al Catalano (202.434.4207; catalano@khlaw.com) with questions.

FCC Enforcement

Last week, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture imposing a penalty of $15,000 for the unlicensed operation of a radio station in Van Nuys, California. In October of last year, the Commission received a complaint of interference that was investigated by its Los Angeles Field Office. The Field Office Agent determined that the interference was caused by transmissions that exceeded the limits for permissible unlicensed operations under Part 15 of the agency’s rules and issued a Notice of Unlicensed Operation (NOUO). The unauthorized user reprogrammed his radio but continued operating and received another NOUO, which resulted in the ensuing enforcement action and fine. For more information, please contact Tim Doughty (doughty@khlaw.com; 202.434.4271).