Selected portions of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, a newsletter from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP are reproduced in this section with the firm's permission.
TDS Telecom Hit With $350,000 CPNI Payment To U.S. Treasury
BloostonLaw CPNI Manual Available to Clients
The FCC's Enforcement Bureau and TDS Telecom have entered into a consent decree that terminates the Bureau's investigation of TDS Telecom's compliance with Section 222(c)(1) of the Communications Act, which includes protections for the confidentiality of customer proprietary network information (CPNI). These Rules generally require customer approval before a carrier may use, disclose or permit access to CPNI. Last year, TDS Telecom "self-reported" failures in its CPNI opt-out mechanism to the FCC. This involved approximately 41,660 residential customers between January 7, 2008 and February 6, 2011, and thus the CPNI of 30,254 customers may have been used without authorization. As a result, TDS Telecom will make a $350,000 voluntary contribution to the U.S. Treasury.
The annual CPNI certification is due March 1. BloostonLaw is prepared to help our clients meet the requirements of this filing, which we expect will be strictly enforced (as noted with the TDS Telecom case). We are available to assist with the preparation of the filing, reviewing the filing to ensure that the required showings are made, filing the certification with the FCC, and obtaining a proof-of-filing copy for your records.
Note: If you file the CPNI Certification, you must also file the FCC Form 499-A "Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet" by April 1. And if you file a Form 499-A, the FCC will be looking for your CPNI Certification.
FCC Won't Automatically OK Discontinuing Verizon's TDM And Frame Relay Services
The FCC has released a public notice advising Verizon that its applications to discontinue certain Time-division multiplexing (TDM) services will not be automatically granted on November 21. Verizon had filed two applications to discontinue certain domestic private line and frame relay telecommunications services in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (BloostonLaw Telecom Update, October 17). Verizon Select Services Inc. (VSSI), filed an application requesting authority to discontinue TDM-based interstate long distance private line services at DS-3 (44.736 Mbps) bandwidth and below (Private Line services). (WC Docket No. 12-298). These Private Line services are long distance point-to-point communications channels that offer voice, video and data services over non-switched, non-usage sensitive dedicated facilities. The Private Line services VSSI plans to discontinue include: Long Distance Private Line Service, Long Distance Private Line Service II, Direct Line Service, Digital Private Line Service II and Global Private Line Service.
MCI Communications Services, Inc. d/b/a Verizon Business Services and Verizon Enterprise Solutions LLC (collectively Verizon Business), filed an application requesting authority to discontinue interstate frame relay service at speeds less than 200 kbps (Frame Relay service). (WC Docket No. 12-297). Verizon Business describes Frame Relay service as a public metropolitan and wide-area data service that utilizes packet switching technology and digital transmission facilities to provide a data delivery service primarily used by commercial customers.
The FCC states that normally the proposed discontinuances of service will be automatically granted "unless it is shown that customers or other end users would be unable to receive service or a reasonable substitute from another carrier, or that the public convenience and necessity would be otherwise adversely affected." However, "[w]here there is question as to whether a service has reasonable substitutes or whether the present or future public convenience and necessity will be adversely affected, the Commission will scrutinize the discontinuance application, consistent with its statutory obligations." The FCC concludes that the public interest will not be served by automatic grant of the VSSI and Verizon Business applications and, therefore, they will not be granted automatically.
The removal of the applications from the automatic grant process is not, however, a final determination on the merits of the discontinuance petitions. Accordingly, any parties who do not want these services to be discontinued should promptly file any information supporting their position with the FCC through the ex parte process.
AT&T Wants To Discontinue Certain Services
AT&T Services Inc., seeks to discontinue Multi-service Optical Network (MON Ring) service, provided by its affiliates in the Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin service areas. (WC Docket No. 12-323). The affiliates involved are Illinois Bell Telephone Company d/b/a AT&T Illinois; Indiana Bell Telephone Company, Inc. d/b/a AT&T Indiana; Michigan Bell Telephone Company d/b/a AT&T Michigan; Nevada Bell Telephone Company d/b/a AT&T Nevada; The Ohio Bell Telephone Company d/b/a AT&T Ohio; Pacific Bell Telephone Company d/b/a AT&T California; The Southern New England Telephone Company d/b/a AT&T Connecticut; Southwestern Bell Telephone Company d/b/a AT&T Arkansas, AT&T Kansas, AT&T Missouri, AT&T Oklahoma and AT&T Texas; and Wisconsin Bell, Inc. d/b/a AT&T Wisconsin (AT&T Affiliates).
According to AT&T, "MON Ring service provides high volume optical transport utilizing multiplexing technology in a dedicated ring configuration." Further, "MON Ring service supplies dedicated capacity over a single pair of fibers in two directions that increases capacity without limiting customer-required data interfaces." AT&T seeks to discontinue this service such that it is not available for new customers effective December 1, due to low market demand. For existing customers, AT&T Affiliates will "no longer allow existing customers to renew term payment plans, enter into new term agreements, or add new MON Ring service nodes at new locations" and they will "no longer accept move, add or change orders of any type for existing MON Ring service effective December 1, 2016." The service will be discontinued entirely on September 30, 2017.
AT&T, on behalf of its affiliate BellSouth Telecommunications, LLC d/b/a AT&T Southeast also seeks to discontinue Wavelength Dedicated Ring Service (WDRS) in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. (WC Docket No. 12-322) According to AT&T, "WDRS provides high volume transparent and bit rate specific optical transport capabilities in a dedicated ring configuration." AT&T plans to discontinue the service because of low market demand. AT&T will no longer offer the service to new customers on or after December 1, subject to Commission authorization. For existing customers, effective December 1, AT&T "will no longer allow existing customers to renew term payment plans, enter into new term agreements, or add new WDRS nodes at new locations." AT&T will no longer accept move, add or change orders of any type for existing WDRS effective December 1, 2016. AT&T will discontinue the service entirely on September 30, 2017. AT&T claims that its Ultravailable Network Service is a substitute for WDRS.
In accordance with section 63.71(c) of the Commission's rules, the applications will be deemed to be granted automatically on December 10, 2012, unless the Commission notifies AT&T that the grant will not be automatically effective.
Comments objecting to the applications must be filed with the Commission on or before November 26, 2012.
FCC Seeks Comment On LightSquared Request To Modify ATC Authorizations
Also Seeks L-Band Rule Changes
The FCC seeks comment on the request by LightSquared to modify the Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) authorization associated with its Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) L-Band licenses. LightSquared states that its proposed modification is intended to address concerns raised by the GPS industry and others and to allow LightSquared to proceed with deployment of its proposed broadband network.
LightSquared has a license for MSS operations specifying the 1525-1544 MHz and 1545-1559 MHz downlink bands and the 1626.5-1645.5 MHz and 1646.5-1660.5 MHz uplink bands. LightSquared also has a conditional authorization for ATC in the same frequency bands.
In its modification application, LightSquared proposes "permanently relinquishing" its "right to deploy terrestrial downlink operations at 1545-1555 MHz and permanently relocating those terrestrial operations instead to 1670-1680 MHz." LightSquared states that doing so will provide GPS receivers with an additional 10 MHz guardband from terrestrial services and will allow LightSquared to deploy its broadband network. LightSquared states that the 1670-1680 MHz band consists of "1670-1675 MHz, which LightSquared already has authority to use nationwide, and . . . 1675-1680 MHz, which LightSquared proposes to share with certain existing government users."
LightSquared's existing ATC authorization is for use of the 1526-1536 MHz downlink band. LightSquared contemporaneously filed a separate rulemaking petition to revise the rules for operations in this 10 MHz band. LightSquared states that it will voluntarily not deploy terrestrially in the 1526-1536 MHz band during the pendency of that rulemaking proceeding. LightSquared also indicates that it contemplates operating in the 1627.5-1637.5 MHz and 1646.7-1656.7 MHz uplink bands under the parameters of its current ATC authorization.
LightSquared argues that the proposed modifications to its ATC authorization will facilitate deployment of its terrestrial network while providing "GPS receivers an additional 10 MHz guardband from terrestrial services." LightSquared states that being able to deploy its mobile broadband network will provide substantial public interest benefits in the form of additional broadband capacity.
Petitions to deny or comments are due December 17. Responses or oppositions to comments are due January 4, 2013. Replies to such pleadings are due January 11, 2013. All filings should reference DA 12-1863, IB Docket No. 12-340, as well as the specific file numbers of the individual applications or other matters to which the filings pertain.
Separately, the FCC has requested comment on LightSquared's petition to develop operating parameters for terrestrial use of the 1526-1536 MHz portion of the L-Band that would be reflected in revised technical rules. Such rules would, for a transitional period, allow terrestrial use of the lower 10 megahertz of LightSquared's L-Band downlink spectrum at 1526-1536 MHz to ensure compatibility with GPS receivers. Comments in this RM-11683 proceeding are due 30 days after the FCC's November 16 Public Notice (that is, December 16).
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison Proposes Alternative Cybersecurity Bill
With cybersecurity legislation stalled in the Senate, and President Obama considering issuing an executive order, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, last week spoke on the Senate floor regarding the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, S. 3414. Sen. Hutchison voted against efforts to end debate on the bill, expressing concern with the lack of debate as well as with the substance of the bill and detailed her cybersecurity bill, SECURE IT Act. Excerpts of her floor speech are set forth follow:
"This is unacceptable because though we have worked diligently with the sponsors of the cybersecurity bill on the floor, a number of ranking members of the relevant committees that have jurisdiction over cybersecurity have an alternative bill, the SECURE IT Act, that we would like to be able to put forward as an alternative or have an amendment process that would allow our approach to have a chance to prevail anyway.
"The SECURE IT Act offers the balanced approach that will significantly advance cybersecurity in both the public and private sectors.
"First, to facilitate sharing of cyber threat information between the private sector and government, allow the reporting to go to the defense agencies where the response can be direct, not filtered through Homeland Security.
"Secondly, it gives liability immunity for sharing among the industries that might be affected as well as the defensive actions that are taken. This is essential. Because you need antitrust immunity if you are going to share vital information on this issue so that you're not going to get sued for collaborating with a competitor. And it is in our country's interest and I think our private sector companies want the ability to secure all of our networks because we know that this is a real threat."
HOUSE PANEL SETS DEC. 12 HEARING ON BROADBAND SPECTRUM: Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today announced all five FCC commissioners will testify on "Keeping the New Broadband Spectrum Law on Track" on Wednesday, December 12. The subcommittee is continuing to exercise oversight over implementation of spectrum auctions, which will help meet soaring demand for wireless broadband services and fund a nationwide public safety network. The auctions were part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 and originated in the House Energy and Commerce Committee as Chairman Walden's Jumpstarting Opportunity with Broadband Spectrum (JOBS) Act. Chairman Walden stated, "Our subcommittee carefully crafted the legislation to create jobs by getting more spectrum into the pipeline to meet consumer demands for more mobile broadband, and to allocate a portion of auction proceeds toward build-out of a public safety broadband network, while ensuring broadcasters are treated fairly. I look forward to the testimony of all five FCC commissioners as we examine what the FCC can do to advance those goals, and what it should avoid."
SENATE PANEL TO CONSIDER E-MAIL PRIVACY LAW: According to Wired and Gigalaw.com, recent intrusions by the FBI into e-mail correspondence between former CIA Director David Petraeus and his mistress and biographer, Paula Broadwell, have raised questions and concerns about the government's ability to access private e-mails. The Senate Judiciary Committee has announced that it will be voting November 29 on whether to advance legislation that would require authorities to obtain a probable-cause warrant to get access to all e-mail and other content stored in the cloud, just as a warrant is required to search a car or house.
GROUP SAYS LTE NETWORKS ARE VULNERABLE TO JAMMING ATTACKS: The Wireless @ Virginia Tech research group has told the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks are vulnerable to jamming attacks. In comments on NTIA's proceeding on the "Development of the Nationwide Interoperable Public Safety Broadband Network," the research group said that if LTE technology is to be used for the air interface of the public safety network, "then we should consider the types of jamming attacks that could occur five or ten years from now. It is very possible for radio jamming to accompany a terrorist attack, for the purpose of preventing communications and increasing destruction. Likewise it is possible for criminal organizations to create mayhem among public safety personnel by jamming." In addition, the research group said, it is possible for a jammer to increase its effectiveness by employing a sophisticated strategy. This is especially likely when every technical aspect of the target signal is known. An example strategy would be to target specific control or synchronization signals, in order to increase the geographic range of the jammer and better avoid detection. The availability of low-cost and easy to use software-defined radios makes this threat even more realistic, the research group said. It added that its preliminary research has shown the extent to which LTE is vulnerable to jamming. It was shown that extremely effective attacks can be realized, using fairly low complexity. It would be in the interest of public safety to put forth an effort to find solutions to the described problem, and ultimately improve the wireless interface of Public Safety LTE, the research group said. For example, a laptop combined with an inexpensive, battery-operated software-defined radio unit—which might sell for as little as $650—could swiftly knock offline an LTE macrocell serving thousands of people. Further, LTE is particularly susceptible to jamming because its signal relies upon control instructions that make up less than 1 percent of the overall signal, and some of those instructions govern the essential time synchronization and frequency synchronization functions upon which LTE relies.
BASIC SERVICE TIER ENCRYPTION RULES EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 10: The FCC's rules allowing cable operators to encrypt the basic service tier in all-digital cable systems if they comply with certain consumer-protection measures become effective on December 10, 2012. The FCC adopted the revised rules in its Report and Order in Basic Service Tier Encryption; Compatibility Between Cable Systems and Consumer Electronics Equipment (MB Docket No. 11-169; PP Docket No. 00-67).
FEBRUARY 1: FCC FORM 502, NUMBER UTILIZATION AND FORECAST REPORT. Any wireless or wireline carrier (including paging companies) that have received number blocks—including 100, 1,000, or 10,000 number blocks—from the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), a Pooling Administrator, or from another carrier, must file Form 502 by February 1. Carriers porting numbers for the purpose of transferring an established customer's service to another service provider must also report, but the carrier receiving numbers through porting does not. Resold services should also be treated like ported numbers, meaning the carrier transferring the resold service to another carrier is required to report those numbers but the carrier receiving such numbers should not report them. Reporting carriers are required to include their FCC Registration Number (FRN). Reporting carriers file utilization and forecast reports semiannually on or before February 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending December 31, and on or before August 1 for the preceding six-month reporting period ending June 30.