Selected portions of the BloostonLaw Telecom Update, and/or the BloostonLaw Private Users Update — newsletters from the Law Offices of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP — are reproduced in this section with the firm’s permission.
|BloostonLaw Telecom Update||Vol. 18, No. 30||July 22, 2015|
Reminder: Comments on FirstNet Draft RFP for Participation in Public Safety Network Due July 27
FirstNet is requesting public comment by Noon July 27, 2015, on its “draft” Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking private sector partners in the construction, operation and use of the National Public Safety Broadband Network. The draft RFP should be of interest to many of our clients: Telecommunications carriers that wish to partner by providing infrastructure or services to FirstNet as a way to help it complete the network; Public safety agencies and private sector entities wishing to have access to the National Public Safety Broadband Network; and other contractors that may be able to furnish equipment and/or services useful to FirstNet.
Interested parties may also submit (by July 27) a “capabilities statement”, providing information pertaining to coverage, capacity, network “hardening”, and other potential methods to leverage existing and new third-party roaming, infrastructure and other arrangements. We will be glad to help clients formulate and submit comments or capability statements. Of importance to our rural telco clients, FirstNet proposes either: (1) a single entity responsible for providing all functions on a nationwide level, or (2) regional partners providing network infrastructure for a state or region. Either approach could make it difficult for RLECs to participate in FirstNet, and the current comment cycle would appear to represent the only remaining chance to persuade FirstNet to re-think this approach.
FCC Circulates Order Approving AT&T/DirecTV Merger
In a statement released earlier today, Chairman Tom Wheeler indicated that, ““An order recommending that the AT&T/DirecTV transaction be approved with conditions has circulated to the Commissioners.” The Chairman’s statement goes on to focus on the conditions that will be included with the transaction:
- AT&T will build out high-speed fiber to bring service to approximately 12.5 million customer locations (approximately 10 times the size of its existing fiber-to-the-premises buildout).
- AT&T will not be permitted to exclude affiliated video services and content from data caps on its fixed broadband connections.
- AT&T will be required to submit all completed interconnection agreements to the Commission, along with regular reports on network performance.
- An independent officer will be appointed to help ensure compliance with these and other proposed conditions.
The Chairman’s statement did not provide details on any of the other proposed conditions. Whether any of them are effective in preserving competition remains to be seen. The Order is only on circulation at the moment and has not been scheduled for a full vote as of this time.
Various news sources are reporting that the Justice Department will not challenge the merger.
FCC Votes to Adopt Chairman’s Competitive Bidding and DE Proposals
At the July 16th Open Meeting of the FCC last Thursday, Commissioners voted 3-2 (along party lines) to adopt Chairman Tom Wheeler’s competitive bidding proposal and revisions to the Designated Entity (DE) rules.
As expected, and in a significant victory for our law firm’s clients, the Commission adopted its first ever “rural carrier” bidding credit. A 15% bidding credit – equal to the small business bidding credit – will be available to rural telcos and other service providers that provide commercial service to a customer base of fewer than 250,000 combined wireless, wireline, broadband and cable subscribers or fewer and that serve primarily rural areas, regardless of gross revenues. Our last-minute push together with other rural advocates to increase the size of the rural carrier bidding credit to 25% was unfortunately not successful. We had argued that a 25% credit was necessary to put rural service providers on an equal footing with “special purpose DEs” and to give rural carriers a meaningful boost when bidding against the likes of AT&T and Verizon. Ironically, the FCC kept the 15% level because of the availability of USF and other funding to rural carriers.
The Commission adopted a BloostonLaw suggestion to make it easier for rural carriers to join forces in bidding without losing the new rural bid credit:
“For DEs that acquire licenses with the new rural service provider bidding credit, however, we will include an exception to this new attribution rule, similar to that suggested by Blooston Rural, to apply to any disclosable interest holder that would independently qualify for a rural service provider bidding credit. Pursuant to this exception, a rural service provider may have spectrum license use agreements with a disclosable interest holder, without having to attribute the disclosable interest holder’s subscribers, so long as (a) the disclosable interest holder is independently eligible for a rural service provider credit and (b) the use agreement is otherwise permissible under our existing rules. This exception should ensure that rural service providers can work in concert to provide service to rural areas.” [footnotes omitted]
The FCC also appears to agree with the arguments made by BloostonLaw, NTCA and RWA in a joint filing, that rural carriers can form limited partnerships and LLCs in a way that will prevent the aggregation of their lines, for purposes of the rural bid credit. This ruling may require some clarification prior to the short form deadline.
The full text of the order has just been released and we are still analyzing the “fine print”. Some of the policy and rule changes adopted by the Commission were discussed by the staff in their presentation and debated by the Commissioners when they read their separate statements.
First, the Commission’s order eliminates the attributable material relationship (or “AMR”) rule. This rule previously prevented DEs from leasing access to their spectrum to third parties. Lease your spectrum to another carrier, and the rule required that the lessee’s gross revenues be attributed to the licensee. The new rule will evaluate eligibility for small business bidding credits on a license-by-license basis and use a two-pronged test to ensure that DEs are the ones who remain in control of the license.
The AMR rule was created to ensure that DEs participate in the provision of wireless service through the ownership/operation of network facilities, so elimination of the rule is a repudiation of the facilities-based requirement for DEs. The rule had its flaws, to be sure, but it helped to ensure that small and rural service providers were bidding against small businesses that were likewise service providers, not just DEs backed by well-heeled investors. This rule change comes as no surprise and is a major victory for advocates on behalf of women and minority-owned businesses and other “startup” entrepreneurs who had argued that the nature of the wireless business had changed, and that DEs today need to have greater operational flexibility – including the ability to lease 100% of their spectrum to a nationwide carrier.
BloostonLaw opposed elimination of the AMR rule, because of the risk of more “cozy” arrangements between special purpose DEs and large “sugar daddy” backers. While the FCC voted to eliminate the AMR rule, it did acknowledge our concerns and provided a modified protective measure that may help curb abuses:
“We nonetheless recognize Blooston Rural’s concerns and agree that in relaxing our rules with respect to leasing generally, we must counterbalance such modifications to ensure that ineligible entities cannot invest in a DE and then use spectrum leases to gain full access to spectrum obtained with the small business benefits. Accordingly, to address the scenario raised by Blooston Rural, we adopt a specific attribution rule that will serve to limit the amount of spectrum capacity a disclosable interest holder in a DE applicant or licensee will be able to utilize during the five-year unjust enrichment period under any use agreement.” [footnotes omitted]
The Commission also adopted its proposed revisions to the small business size standards. Now, small businesses with attributable gross revenues of $55 million or less will qualify for a 15% bidding credit, and very small businesses with gross revenues of $20 million or less will qualify for a 25% bidding credit. The FCC raised revenue limits to $3 million for its 35% “entrepreneur” credit, but this category is seldom used and will not be available for the broadcast incentive auction.
Also of help to our clients, the Commission adopted a cap of $150 million on the use of small business bidding credits, a $10 million cap on the rural service provider cap, and a $10 million limit on the ability to use bidding credits in smaller markets. This means that startup DEs (which typically focus on more profitable urban markets) will have limited ability to use their “small business” bidding credits to dominate bidding in rural areas. It also means that rural service providers and rural consortia will be able to bid up to $60 million on licenses before they effectively “max out” on the rural carrier credit. In adopting the caps, the FCC observed:
“As Blooston Rural notes, a cap ‘would serve as a substantial disincentive to truly large entities that may be tempted to configure an applicant that is designed to qualify for a small business status’.”
Other DE provisions discussed in the meeting were consistent with Chairman Wheeler’s recently-circulated proposals. In this regard, the DE rules will continue to have a five-year unjust enrichment period; there will be new prohibitions on joint bidding agreements; DEs will be able to form bidding consortia; and there will be a prohibition on holding interest in multiple auction applicants, with certain exceptions. Details about matters that were the subject of our eleventh-hour lobbying efforts — in particular, allowing rural carriers to continue to use limited partnerships, LLCs and other business forms they have used in previous auctions to maximize bid credit eligibility and recognizing exceptions to the rules that will benefit rural telcos that participate in historic rural wireline cellular partnerships — will remain unclear until we are able to read the fine print. However, we are hopeful that the FCC staff’s interest in calling us in for face-to-face meetings and numerous phone calls is an indication they are genuinely concerned about getting these things right.
Each of the Commissioners read from statements after a summary of the item was presented by the staff, and Eighth Floor tensions were abundantly clear. Statements in support of the item from Democratic commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel focused on successes of the DE program and the Commission’s statutory obligation to create meaningful opportunities for small businesses, rural carriers, and businesses owned by women and minorities. Dissenting statements from Republican commissioners Pai and O’Rielly focused on the previous abuses of the DE program and the Commission’s obligation to prevent unjust enrichment. Commissioner Pai’s dissent was particularly strident, citing to abuse that has plagued the DE program “to the detriment of legitimate DEs” and “new loopholes” created in the rules. He called the new DE rules “no real reform” and complained of a “take it or leave it” attitude from Chairman Wheeler.
Wheeler closed out the initial agenda item with a full-throated defense of his new DE rules, and saying he was both “surprised and disappointed” by his colleagues. He recalled the early days of wireless when entrepreneurs — including many of his friends — were able to obtain a license and to start a new facilities-based wireless business. But with 98% of all mobile subscribers today served by one of four nationwide providers, Wheeler explained that the environment that existed back in 1993 no longer exists. “The reality of today’s market changes things,” said Wheeler. Wheeler read from the text of Section 309(j) of the Communications Act and paused on the words “economic opportunity.” He then explained his viewpoint that in today’s marketplace, economic opportunity equated to “asset ownership” and said that the new DE rules reflected 21st century economic opportunity. He concluded his statement by noting the irony of his Republican colleagues arguing for more stringent FCC regulation.
FCC Considering March 29, 2016 Start Date for Broadcast Incentive Auction
Consistent with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s “early 2016” target date, a draft item is reportedly circulating on the Eighth Floor that would set Tuesday, March 29, 2016 as the official start date for the Broadcast Incentive Auction. If the March start date holds, our clients can expect to see short-form applications due in mid-to-late fall of this year. Accordingly, our clients who may wish to bid for 600 MHz band PEA licenses should be exploring strategic partnerships and financing options so they can react quickly once the Report and Order with revised DE and competitive bidding rules is released.
In an FCC blog post on the incentive auction procedures, Chairman Wheeler wrote: “No single party will be happy with everything we’ve done, but the final product is a balanced solution to a challenging situation with more moving parts than a Swiss watch. One message we heard loud and clear, however, was that the final rules must be as simple as possible. We have thus eliminated earlier ideas that added to complexity.”
An FCC web page listing items on circulation at the Commission level includes mention of an item from the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau with the title: “Broadcast Incentive Auction to Begin March 29, 2016; Procedures for Competitive Bidding in Auction 1000, Including Initial Clearing Target Determination, Qualifying to Bid, and Bidding in Auctions 1001 (Reverse) and 1002 (Forward)”
The “Procedures Public Notice” for the incentive auction was originally slated for consideration during last week’s FCC Open Meeting but removed from the agenda because of controversy surrounding the last-minute addition of significant data about broadcast repacking scenarios into the rulemaking record. Consideration of the item has been delayed until the next FCC Open Meeting, scheduled for August 6, 2016.
In addition to setting pre-auction application dates and other deadlines, the Public Notice will provide information on final procedures for setting the initial spectrum clearing target, qualifying to bid, and bidding in the reverse and forward auctions.
Comment Deadline Established for Lifeline FNPRM
On Friday, July 17, the FCC’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the modernization of the Lifeline program appeared in the Federal Register. Comments are due August 17, and reply comments are due September 15.
Specifically, the FCC seeks comment on a number of aspects of the Lifeline program, including:
- Improving Lifeline Service Offerings , by establishing minimum service levels for both broadband and voice service; whether to set a budget for the program; and a transition period to implement these reforms.
- Reducing Waste , Fraud, and Abuse, by establishing a national verifier to make eligibility determinations and perform other functions related to the Lifeline program; leveraging efficiencies from other federal benefit programs and state agencies that determine eligibility; whether a third-party entity can directly transfer Lifeline benefits to individual consumers; changing the programs through which consumers qualify for Lifeline to ensure that those consumers most in need can receive support; and putting in place standards for eligibility documentation and state eligibility databases.
- Increasing Competition , by streamlining the eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) designation process; permitting Lifeline providers to opt-out of providing Lifeline supported service in certain circumstances; ways to encourage states to increase state Lifeline contributions; how to best utilize licensed and unlicensed spectrum bands to provide broadband service to low-income consumers; and, as an alternative to streamlining the Commission’s current ETC designation process, creating a new designation process for participation in Lifeline.
- Enhancing Lifeline Service , by amending the rules to treat the sending of text messages as usage of Lifeline service; adopt procedures to allow subscribers to de-enroll from Lifeline upon request; and to increase Lifeline provider participation in Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).
- Increasing Administrative Efficiency, by changing Tribal enhanced support; enhancing the requirements for electronic signatures; using subscriber data in the NLAD to calculate Lifeline provider support; and rules to minimize disruption to Lifeline subscribers upon the transfer of control of Lifeline providers.
Carriers interested in filing comments in this proceeding should contact the firm for more information.
Law & Regulation
CORRECTION: Lifeline Documentation Retention Requirement Effective Upon OMB Approval
Last week, we reported that the FCC’s Lifeline Order on Reconsideration and Second Report and Order appeared in the Federal Register, establishing an effective date of August 13th for the rules adopted therein. This included the requirement that all ETCs retain documentation demonstrating subscriber eligibility for the Lifeline program for the purposes of audits or investigations.
The FCC has clarified that the actual revisions to Part 54 of the Commission’s rules, however — specifically, the document retention requirements and limits for reimbursement for Lifeline service to Lifeline providers directly serving Lifeline customers — will not go into effect on August 13. Rather, these revisions are subject to OMB approval and will not go into effect until such approval is received.
The other items in the Order go into effect on August 13 as noted previously. We will report when OMB approval is obtained and these requirements become effective.
T-Mobile Fined $17.5 Million for 911 Service Outages
On July 17, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued an Order adopting a consent decree with T-Mobile and terminating its investigation into two related 911 service outages on August 8, 2014. According to the decree, these “sunny day” outages resulted from a planned software upgrade that interfered with the routing of 911 calls by T-Mobile, and T-Mobile should have timely notified all affected PSAPs of the outages, but failed to do so. As a result, the Bureau found, T-Mobile customers were unable to reach 911 for approximately 3 hours without first responders being aware.
Under the terms of the consent decree, T-Mobile will pay a fine of $17.5 million and implement a compliance plan to adopt proactive risk management principles designed to reduce the likelihood and impact of 911 failures, ensure reliable 911 call completion, and plan for and provide timely notification to PSAPs affected by 911 outages.
FCC Likely to Deny $3.3 Billion in Bid Credits Sought By DISH’s DE Bidders
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the FCC is said to be close to reaching agreement on an Order that would deny $3.3 billion in bidding discounts to two “small business” Designated Entity (DE) bidders affiliated with DISH Network.
During a press conference following last week’s Open Meeting, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler acknowledged that an order with staff recommendations on the small business eligibility claims of Northstar Wireless, LLC and SNR Wireless LicenseCo, LLC was circulating on the Eighth Floor. Wheeler did not provide any details on the substance of the order, and FCC staff following the meeting also declined to comment. However, the Journal article reports that FCC staff concluded that Northstar and SNR didn’t qualify for small business discounts “because their bidding conduct violated the spirit of the auction rules.”
Northstar and SNR each have complex ownership and management structures, and the applicants each claimed that DISH, a company with nearly $14 billion in annual revenue, was merely a “passive” investor despite having 85% beneficial ownership interest. However, each of the DISH DE applicants reported having less than $15 million in revenues, allowing them to claim eligibility for “very small business” status. Short-form applications of Northstar, SNR disclosed existence of a bidding agreement with third bidder, American AWS-3 Wireless I, LLC, that was a wholly-owned subsidiary of DISH and that did not seek bid credit eligibility.
All three companies made significant upfront payments, and all were presumed to be bidding in the auction, which was conducted under “blind bidding” procedures. After two and a half months and 341 rounds of bidding, the AWS-3 auction brought almost $45 billion in gross bids, and a record $41.3 billion in net proceeds to the US Treasury. When the identity of bidders was revealed at the conclusion of the auction, review of the bidding records showed that DISH’s wholly-owned subsidiary had actually dropped out of the bidding on November 21st (after Round 21). Bidding records also appeared to show allegedly close coordination of bids placed by Northstar and SNR.
Responding to criticism in the days following the auction, DISH issued the following press statement :
“We respectfully disagree with the criticism of the Designated Entity program, and we are confident that we fully complied with the DE rules in the AWS-3 auction, which were unanimously approved by the full Commission. The DE program has been successful in providing much smaller entities the ability to access stronger capital structures, which has facilitated their meaningful participation in an auction process from which they would otherwise be precluded. Our approach — publicly disclosed ahead of the auction — was based on DE investment structures that have been approved by the FCC in past wireless spectrum auctions, including structures used by AT&T and Verizon.”
Verizon fired back in an April ex parte filing telling the FCC that a round-by-round analysis of the auction showed DISH and its DEs frequently bid on the same licenses in the same rounds while other bidders were active. Verizon said this created the “false perception that multiple other parties were interested in those licenses.” Verizon also said that after competing bidders dropped out, DISH and the DEs avoided bidding against one another. “This conduct is indicative of a bidding ring, intended to drive out competitors and then suppress rivalry among the ring members,” Verizon wrote.
While details of the FCC’s order are not yet known, tying the denial of small business eligibility to the conduct of the bidders is significant because it would seem to allow the Commission to distinguish (and let stand) other DE bidding arrangements where a large entity held a significant ownership interest (and side agreements) with a DE. Thus, the sheer size of the DISH DE play, and the alleged collusive conduct, may turn out to be its undoing.
Phone Scam Prevention Act Introduced in US Senate
Senators Bill Nelson (D-Florida) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) have co-sponsored legislation, which if adopted, would provide consumers with additional tools to combat telephone fraud. In recent years, scammers have been falsifying Caller ID information in order to hide their identities — even though this is against the Truth in Caller ID Act that was signed into law in 2010 and prohibited calling parties from falsifying Caller ID information when done for the purpose to defraud. The proposed Phone Scam Prevention Act is intended to make this legislation stronger by requiring the Federal Communications Commission to develop Caller ID authentication standards, extend the prohibition on Caller ID spoofing to include calls originating from outside the United States as well as text messaging services and provide consumers with information regarding where they can obtain technology to combat Caller ID fraud.
Spoofing of Caller ID information makes it easy for the criminal to hide while making it difficult, if not impossible, for consumers and law enforcement to track down the calling party. In many instances, scammers create false Caller ID information in order to make it appear that the phone call or text message is coming from a legitimate source such as a familiar business, government organization or known individual. It is well known that scammers will typically target senior citizens, low income families and immigrant communities as easy targets for fraudulent scams.
FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for August Open Meeting
On July 16, the FCC issued a tentative agenda for its August 6, 2015 Open Meeting. At the meeting, the FCC is scheduled to consider:
- a Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, and FNPRM on technology transitions;
- a Report and Order to protect consumers through the transitions from legacy copper networks to modern networks;
- an Order on Reconsideration addressing petitions for reconsideration of the mobile spectrum holdings Report and Order;
- a Procedures Public Notice that provides information on final procedures for setting the initial spectrum clearing target, qualifying to bid, and bidding in the reverse and forward auctions;
• a Report and Order that adopts technical and operational rules for unlicensed services in the broadcast television bands; and
- a Report and Order adopting a plan to accommodate the long-term needs of wireless microphone users.
As always, the meeting will be held at 10:30a, and will be webcast live at www.fcc.gov/live .
Motions Filed for Amici Curiae Briefs in Open Internet Appeal
Ten parties have filed motions with the D.C. Circuit Court seeking to participate as amicus curiae in the case reviewing the FCC’s Open Internet Order.
The Telecommunications Industry Association seeks leave to argue the FCC’s decisions to reclassify BIAS as common carriage under Title II was arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and otherwise not in accordance with law.
The Business Roundtable, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, and the National Association of Manufacturers filed jointly, seeking leave to argue that the proposed regulation of broadband Internet services will reduce broadband investment and stifle innovation.
The International Center for Law and Economics seeks leave to argue that 1) the FCC’s adoption of the Open Internet Order exceeded the FCC’s delegated authority under this Court’s administrative law precedent, as well as recent precedent in the Supreme Court; and 2) even if the adoption of the Open Internet Order was an appropriate exercise of delegated authority, the FCC acted arbitrarily and capriciously or otherwise improperly by failing to consider relevant economic literature, evidence, and the costs of the rules under the Order.
The Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy seeks leave to explain the speculative nature of the anti-competitive concerns the FCC cites as a rationale for reclassification of broadband Internet services, and Mobile Future seeks to argue how competitive conditions and operational realities differentiate mobile broadband from fixed broadband in ways it asserts the FCC failed to adequately address in the Order.
Other movants include Former Commissioner Furchtgott-Roth and the Washington Legal Foundation; the Multicultural Media, Telecom, and Internet Council; Mobile Future; Christopher S. Yoo; and Richard Bennett.
JULY 31: FCC FORM 507, UNIVERSAL SERVICE QUARTERLY LINE COUNT UPDATE. Line count updates are required to recalculate a carrier's per line universal service support, and is filed with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). This information must be submitted on July 31 each year by all rate-of-return incumbent carriers, and on a quarterly basis if a competitive eligible telecommunications carrier (CETC) has initiated service in the rate-of-return incumbent carrier’s service area and reported line count data to USAC in the rate-of-return incumbent carrier’s service area, in order for the incumbent carrier to be eligible to receive Interstate Common Line Support (ICLS). This quarterly filing is due July 31 and covers lines served as of December 31, 2014. Incumbent carriers filing on a quarterly basis must also file on September 30 (for lines served as of March 31, 2015); December 30 (for lines served as of June 30, 2015), and March 31, 2016, for lines served as of September 30, 2015).
JULY 31: CARRIER IDENTIFICATION CODE (CIC) REPORTS. Carrier Identification Code (CIC) Reports must be filed by the last business day of July (this year, July 31). These reports are required of all carriers who have been assigned a CIC code by NANPA. Failure to file could result in an effort by NANPA to reclaim it, although according to the Guidelines this process is initiated with a letter from NANPA regarding the apparent non-use of the CIC code. The assignee can then respond with an explanation. (Guidelines Section 6.2). The CIC Reporting Requirement is included in the CIC Assignment Guidelines, produced by ATIS. According to section 1.4 of that document: At the direction of the NANPA, the access providers and the entities who are assigned CICs will be requested to provide access and usage information to the NANPA, on a semi-annual basis to ensure effective management of the CIC resource. (Holders of codes may respond to the request at their own election). Access provider and entity reports shall be submitted to NANPA no later than January 31 for the period ending December 31, and no later than July 31 for the period ending June 30. It is also referenced in the NANPA Technical Requirements Document, which states at 7.18.6: CIC holders shall provide a usage report to the NANPA per the industry CIC guidelines … The NAS shall be capable of accepting CIC usage reports per guideline requirements on January 31 for the period ending December 31 and no later than July 31 for the period ending June 30. These reports may also be mailed and accepted by the NANPA in paper form. Finally, according to the NANPA website, if no local exchange carrier reports access or usage for a given CIC, NANPA is obliged to reclaim it. The semi-annual utilization and access reporting mechanism is described at length in the guidelines.
AUGUST 1: FCC FORM 499-Q, TELECOMMUNICATIONS REPORTING WORKSHEET. All telecommunications common carriers that expect to contribute more than $10,000 to federal Universal Service Fund (USF) support mechanisms must file this quarterly form. The FCC has modified this form in light of its recent decision to establish interim measures for USF contribution assessments. The form contains revenue information from the prior quarter plus projections for the next quarter. Form 499-Q relates only to USF contributions. It does not relate to the cost recovery mechanisms for the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) Fund, the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA), and the shared costs of local number portability (LNP), which are covered in the annual form (Form 499-A) that was due April 1.
AUGUST 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 August 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 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.
AUGUST 29: COPYRIGHT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS. The Copyright Statement of Accounts form plus royalty payment for the first half of calendar year 2015 is due to be filed August 29 at the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office by cable TV service providers.
SEPTEMBER 1: FCC FORM 477, LOCAL COMPETITION AND BROADBAND REPORTING FORM. Three types of entities must file this form. (1) Facilities-based Providers of Broadband Connections to End User Locations: Entities that are facilities-based providers of broadband connections — which are wired “lines” or wireless “channels” that enable the end user to receive information from and/or send information to the Internet at information transfer rates exceeding 200 kbps in at least one direction — must complete and file the applicable portions of this form for each state in which the entity provides one or more such connections to end user locations. For the purposes of Form 477, an entity is a “facilities-based” provider of broadband connections to end user locations if it owns the portion of the physical facility that terminates at the end user location, if it obtains unbundled network elements (UNEs), special access lines, or other leased facilities that terminate at the end user location and provisions/equips them as broadband, or if it provisions/equips a broadband wireless channel to the end user location over licensed or unlicensed spectrum. Such entities include incumbent and competitive local exchange carriers (LECs), cable system operators, fixed wireless service providers (including “wireless ISPs”), terrestrial and satellite mobile wireless service providers, MMDS providers, electric utilities, municipalities, and other entities. (Such entities do not include equipment suppliers unless the equipment supplier uses the equipment to provision a broadband connection that it offers to the public for sale. Such entities also do not include providers of fixed wireless services ( e.g., “Wi-Fi” and other wireless ethernet, or wireless local area network, applications) that only enable local distribution and sharing of a premises broadband facility.) (2) Providers of Wired or Fixed Wireless Local Telephone Services: Incumbent and competitive LECs must complete and file the applicable portions of the form for each state in which they provide local exchange service to one or more end user customers (which may include “dial-up” ISPs). (3) Providers of Interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Service: Interconnected VoIP service is a service that enables real-time, two-way voice communications; requires a broadband connection from the user’s location; requires Internet-protocol compatible customer premises equipment; and permits users generally to receive calls that originate on the public switched telephone network and to terminate calls to the public switched telephone network. Interconnected VoIP providers must complete and file the applicable portions of the form for each state in which they provide interconnected VoIP service to one or more subscribers, with the state determined for reporting purposes by the location of the subscriber’s broadband connection or the subscriber’s “Registered Location” as of the data-collection date. “Registered Location” is the most recent information obtained by an interconnected VoIP service provider that identifies the physical location of an end user. (4) Providers of Mobile Telephony Services: Facilities-based providers of mobile telephony services must complete and file the applicable portions of this form for each state in which they serve one or more mobile telephony subscribers. A mobile telephony service is a real-time, two-way switched voice service that is interconnected with the public switched network using an in-network switching facility that enables the provider to reuse frequencies and accomplish seamless handoff of subscriber calls. A mobile telephony service provider is considered “facilities-based” if it serves a subscriber using spectrum for which the entity holds a license that it manages, or for which it has obtained the right to use via lease or other arrangement with a Band Manager.
SEPTEMBER 30: FCC FORM 396-C, MVPD EEO PROGRAM REPORTING FORM. Each year on September 30, multi-channel video program distributors (“MVPDs”) must file with the Commission an FCC Form 396-C, Multi-Channel Video Programming Distributor EEO Program Annual Report, for employment units with six or more full-time employees. Users must access the FCC’s electronic filing system via the Internet in order to submit the form; it will not be accepted if filed on paper unless accompanied by an appropriate request for waiver of the electronic filing requirement. Certain MVPDs also will be required to complete portions of the Supplemental Investigation Sheet (“SIS”) located at the end of the Form. These MVPDs are specifically identified in a Public Notice each year by the FCC.
Calendar At A Glance
Jul. 27 – Comments are due on FirstNet Draft RFP.
Jul. 31 – Reply comments are due on Part 4 Outage Reporting NPRM.
Jul. 31 – FCC Form 507 (Universal Service Quarterly Line Count Update) is due.
Jul. 31 – Carrier Identification Code (CIC) Report is due.
Aug. 1 – FCC Form 502 due (North American Numbering Plan Utilization and Forecast Report).
Aug. 1 – FCC Form 499-Q (Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
Aug. 5 – Comments are due on Transparency Exemption proceeding.
Aug. 13 – Effective date for Lifeline rule revisions (including document retention requirements).
Aug. 17 – Comments on Lifeline Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking are due.
Aug. 21 – Comments due on Video Programming Competition Report.
Aug. 29 – Copyright Statement of Accounts is due.
Sep. 1 – FCC Form 477 due (Local Competition and Broadband Report).
Sep. 4 – Reply comments are due on Transparency Exemption proceeding.
Sep. 15 – Reply comments on Lifeline Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking are due.
Sep. 21 – Reply comments are due on Video Programming Competition report.
Sep. 25 – Comments are due on Section IV.B of the Special Access Data NPRM.
Sep. 30 – FCC Form 396-C (MVPD EEO Program Annual Report).