At its December 12 Open Meeting, the FCC adopted its first Communications Marketplace Report, which combines several separate reports into one and is meant to provide a comprehensive overview of the mobile wireless, fixed broadband, audio, video, and satellite communications markets. Congress directed the Commission to complete such a report biennially with its passage of the RAY BAUM’S Act in March 2018. The Act also reauthorized the FCC for the first time in nearly three decades and directed the FCC to take on additional efforts to free up spectrum for commercial mobile and fixed wireless use. Significantly, while the Commission was previously required to include in the Mobile Wireless Competition Report an assessment of whether there is effective competition in the mobile wireless market, whether any carriers have a dominant share of the market, and whether additional carriers would enhance competition, these requirements were struck by the RAY BAUM’S Act when the wireless report was folded into the marketplace report. As a result, the marketplace report does not venture to analyze, or even mention, the proposed merger of Sprint and T-Mobile.
Click here for more on the report.

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

On April 17, 2018 the Federal Communications Commission adopted a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) that seeks to streamline and otherwise tailor the agency’s current one-size-fits-all satellite regulations for small satellite systems (commonly referred to as “smallsats”). The NPRM sets forth proposals to expedite smallsat approvals and identifies certain frequency bands for potential use by smallsats.

If the proposals in the NPRM are eventually adopted, the FCC envisions that qualifying smallsat systems will be able to save significant time and money. In particular, qualifying smallsat systems would not have to go through the often time-consuming and paperwork-intensive processing rounds normally associated with the licensing or market entry approval of non-geostationary orbit (“NGSO”) satellite systems. Furthermore, qualifying smallsat systems would only have to pay the proposed satellite application fee of $30,000 (as opposed to the $454,705 satellite application fee under the standard Part 25 approval process). Last but not least, qualifying smallsat systems that deploy at least half of their satellites within one year and thirty days of FCC approval would be able to forego filing surety bonds with the Commission. That’s not a small alteration, as these bonds can cost anywhere from one to five million dollars per system. Continue Reading Tailor-Made: FCC Recognizes Need for Bespoke Rules for Smallsats

On June 22, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) conditionally granted OneWeb’s proposed 720 Non-Geostationary Satellite Orbit (“NGSO”) constellation access to the U.S. market in select frequency bands.   OneWeb filed a Petition for Declaratory Ruling with the FCC or U.S. market access rather than an application because it states that its space system license application will be acted upon by the United Kingdom.

The FCC order approving the Petition (the “OneWeb Approval Order”) characterizes the grant as “the first of its kind for a new generation of large… NGSO systems” which the Commission hopes will facilitate “high-speed, affordable broadband connectivity” nationwide.  The FCC’s grant was conditioned on, among other things, ITU coordination, power limits, avoidance of in-line interference, orbital debris mitigation, the outcome of pending and future rulemakings, and satisfaction of bond and milestone requirements.  The OneWeb grant remains subject to the outcomes of several other pending proceedings (as well as any future FCC rules) and the requirement that OneWeb will share spectrum with other NGSO systems the Commission approves in the same spectrum bands and other users of the spectrum.  The OneWeb Approval Order makes clear that any earth station applications will be subject to a separate filing and review cycle. Continue Reading June 2017 FCC Meeting Recap: FCC Grants OneWeb’s U.S. Market-Access Petition for its Ka/Ku-Band NGSO System Subject to Conditions

atelier-reseau-internet-mondeBy Public Notice released February 25, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“Commission” or “FCC”) International Bureau (“Bureau”) reminded filers that the annual Section 43.62 International Circuit Capacity Report (“International Capacity Report”) will be due by the traditional date of March 31.  (Last year, due to the timing of the new manual and implementation of the filing portal, the deadline was delayed one month on a one-time basis.)  The Public Notice identified some updates to the Section 43.62 filing manual (“43.62 Manual”) clarifying certain reporting requirements.  Most updates were ministerial but one is of more significance for properly completing the Circuit Capacity Report requirement. Accordingly, entities subject to the international Circuit Capacity Reporting requirement should carefully review the revised filing manual to determine the scope of their reporting obligations. Continue Reading FCC Announces March 31 International Circuit Capacity Report Filing Deadline and Update to International Circuit Capacity Report Filing Manual

As we noted in a February post on our CommLawMonitor blog, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) new Section 43.62 international reporting requirements became effective on February 11, 2015. Now the FCC has made clear that the upcoming filing deadline for the Section 43.62 (a) annual international circuit capacity reports is postponed one month from March 31 to April 30 — at least for this year. Because the new online filing portal has not been available, the FCC suspended the regular March 31 filing date. In a Public Notice issued March 9, 2015, the International Bureau announced the April 30 deadline and that the new online report filing portal will be open from March 30, 2015, to April 30, 2015 for submissions. The FCC urges circuit capacity holders to file their reports “as early as possible” in the filing window.

Continue Reading FCC International Bureau Announces Filing Window for Annual International Circuit Capacity Reports – Reports Due by April 30, 2015

stock_02032014_0596In January 2013, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) comprehensively revised its reporting rules applicable to providers of international telecommunications, making numerous substantive revisions to the categories of providers subject to the reporting requirements, the information to be reported and the format of the reports. See our advisory on the January 2013 Order. Continue Reading FCC Announces Effectiveness of New International Reporting Requirements, Deadline for Filing Uncertain