The FCC released a streamlined agenda for its next Commission Open Meeting, scheduled for December 14, 2021. The agency will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) and Notice of Inquiry regarding how to improve the clarity and accessibility of Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) visual messages to the public, including persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, and to seek comment on other EAS improvements, such as redesigns to enable matching visual and audio alert content (“EAS NPRM”). The FCC will next address an Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would grant a petition for rulemaking filed by Space Exploration Holdings, LLC (“SpaceX”) to amend the spectrum sharing rules applicable to non-geostationary satellite orbit, fixed-satellite service (“NGSO FSS”) systems (“Satellite Spectrum Sharing NPRM”). The commissioners will close the meeting by considering a NPRM that would propose to establish a central bidding portal through which service providers would submit their bids to the E-Rate program administrator, the Universal Service Administrative Company (“USAC”) (“E-Rate NPRM”).

You will find more information about the items on the December meeting agenda after the break:

Continue Reading FCC’s December Meeting Agenda Includes Emergency Alerts, Satellite Broadband and E-Rate Items

Nearly two years ago, in ACA International v. FCC, the DC Circuit reversed the FCC’s 2015 order interpreting the term “automatic telephone dialing system” (ATDS) in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and remanded that interpretation for further consideration.  Since that time, callers, call recipients, practitioners and litigants have all been awaiting the

Slamming cases are a rarity these days, but this settlement is noteworthy not because it involves slamming, but because of the unusual remedies the FCC required in its consent decree.

The case involves two Notices of Apparent Liability issued to companies now under common ownership, Horizon Telecom, Inc. and Reduced Rate Long Distance, LLC.  In Horizon, the Commission proposed a fine of $5,084,000 for slamming.  In Reduced Rate, the Commission proposed a fine of $8,000 for failing to respond to two informal consumer complaints.  Both NALs were issued in 2008.  Yesterday, the Enforcement Bureau released a consent decree settling the two cases.

What is so unusual about the settlement?

Continue Reading FCC Settles Slamming Case with Unusual Remedies

In August, we warned that the FCC was preparing a series of major enforcement orders for the transmission of unsolicited faxes.  Today, the FCC released 9 forfeiture orders totaling $3.1 million in fines against senders of unsolicited faxes (aka "junk faxes").  With the two proposed fines released in early September and a $77,500 forfeiture ordered two weeks ago, the Commission looks to have completed this round of "junk fax" enforcement.

In a few days, the Commission will list the Forfeiture Orders here.  Notably, all but one of the alleged senders failed to respond to the FCC’s Notices of Apparent Liability, and the FCC imposed the full forfeiture it had proposed. 

Continue Reading FCC Imposes $3 Million in Fines in “Junk Fax” Cases