Just before suspending most operations due to the ongoing partial federal government shutdown, the FCC announced its tentative agenda for its next open meeting, scheduled for January 30, 2019. While the January agenda is brief compared to the jam-packed meetings that typified 2018, the FCC plans to adopt items to advance new anti-spoofing measures combating manipulated caller ID information and take further action to address the management and handling of 911 calls for the IP Captioned Telephone Service (“IP CTS”) that aids communication by those with hearing loss. Rounding out the notable meeting items, the FCC would adopt a mechanism to phase down legacy high-cost support for price cap carriers as well as competitive carriers previously subject to the “identical support rule” and transition such support to the winners of the recent Connect America Fund (“CAF”) Phase II auction.

You will find more details on the significant January meeting items after the break:

Continue Reading FCC Issues Tentative Meeting Agenda Addressing Spoofing and Disabilities Access Before Federal Government Shutdown

At the next open meeting on September 26th, the FCC Commissioners will vote on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) aimed at improving the nation’s 911 system and Americans’ ability to access emergency services. The proposed rule changes are largely intended to implement directives from Congress in two bills that were signed into law earlier this year. Importantly, the proposed rules will apply not only to traditional providers of telecommunications service, but also equipment manufacturers and other vendors in the communications supply chain, as well as businesses and other entities that operate communications systems that allow users to dial 911. Given the potentially broad reach of these proposed rules, we encourage our readers to monitor this proceeding carefully and be prepared to offer feedback to the FCC on proposed changes that will impact your business.

Continue Reading Revamp of 911 Rules on Docket for FCC September Open Meeting

Continuing its focus on broadband infrastructure deployment for 5G technologies, the FCC announced that it plans to eliminate regulatory impediments that delay and increase the cost of wireless deployments at its next meeting, scheduled for September 26, 2018. The item would alter the balance of power between wireless broadband providers and state/local governments concerning control over rights of way and deployment fees. The FCC also anticipates initiating a rulemaking aimed at improving 911 dialing and location accuracy for multi-line telephone systems (“MLTS”), potentially imposing new compliance obligations on office building, hotel, and other large facility managers. Rounding out the major actions, the FCC released draft items that would:  (1) permit toll free numbers to be auctioned and sold on the secondary market and (2) consolidate rules and expand the spectrum available for so-called Earth Stations in Motion (“ESIMs”) that provide high-speed broadband service to vehicles, aircraft, and vessels. The proposed items will generate input from all corners of the communications industry as well as real estate interests. You will find more details on the significant September FCC items after the jump:

Continue Reading FCC Plans Major Wireless Deployment and 911 Actions at September Meeting

The FCC recently reached a $5.25 million settlement with AT&T to resolve investigations into two 911 service outages that resulted in thousands of failed emergency calls. This edition of Full Spectrum’s series on FCC enforcement discusses the unexpected settlement and its implications on carrier network practices and the FCC’s enforcement priorities. We cover LED sign

On June 28, 2018, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau announced a Consent Decree with AT&T Mobility, LLC (“AT&T”) to resolve investigations into two 911 service outages in 2017. The outages lasted for more than five hours and resulted in approximately 15,000 failed calls. The settlement was somewhat unexpected because more than a year had passed since the FCC issued its report on the outages, which did not indicate that enforcement action was coming. The penalty levied against AT&T underscores that improving the nation’s 911 capabilities continues to be a top priority for the FCC and that outages will be met with significant fines.

Continue Reading AT&T Pays $5.25 Million and Agrees to Significant FCC Oversight to Resolve 911 Outage Investigations

On July 12, 2017, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (“Bureau”) of the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) issued a Public Notice encouraging communications service providers to implement certain “best practices” to avoid major service disruptions.  The Bureau’s recommendations come on the heels of recent major service outages caused by minor changes to service providers’ network management systems that knocked out 911 service.  These service disruptions are known as “sunny day” outages because they are not caused by weather-related issues or other disasters, but rather internal network management failures due to faulty software or botched upgrades.  The Bureau’s recommendations serve as a warning to service providers, but do not (at this time at least) have an enforceable effect on providers.

Continue Reading FCC (Again) Takes to Bully Pulpit to Urge Network Reliability “Best Practices” to Combat Service Outages

911-emergency-service-777x437  On May 18, 2017, at the Federal Communication Commission’s (“FCC” or “Commission”) May Open Meeting, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (“Bureau”) presented its final report on its investigation into the VoLTE 911 outage experienced by AT&T Mobility (“AT&T”) on March 8, 2017 (“the Report”).  The Bureau offered a strong critique of AT&T, concluding that the outage could have been avoided had AT&T adopted network reliability best practices previously recommended by an FCC advisory committee.  Despite the criticism, however, neither the Bureau nor the Commissioners made any mention of possible enforcement action against AT&T for the outage — at least not at this time.

Continue Reading FCC Takes No Enforcement Action Despite Report Finding that Avoidable Failures Led to AT&T Mobility 911 Outage

The Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC’s” or “Commission’s”) new text-to-911 rules are effective today. As we discussed in a previous post immediately following the adoption of the related order, the FCC has mandated that all messaging services that permit users to send text messages using domestic telephone numbers also enable users to communicate with public emergency response providers via text messages. The FCC adopted its Second Report and Order and Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Text-to-911 proceeding on August 8, 2014. On September 16, the order and NPRM were published in the Federal Register making the rules effective today and setting the comment deadline on the NPRM for today, with reply comments due on November 17.
Continue Reading Text-to-911 Rules Now Effective

Following on the heels of a voluntary commitment from the four nationwide wireless carriers to support text-to-911, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”), on August 8, 2014, adopted a Report and Order and Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will require all wireless carriers and “interconnected” text messaging providers – i.e., over-the-top (“OTT”) text

This week the FCC took enforcement action against a local exchange carrier operating in Oklahoma for failing to route 911 calls to public safety authorities.  In what appears to be the first Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) issued to a telecommunications carrier for failing to provide 911 service, the FCC took an aggressive position and