|Wireless News Aggregation|
|Friday — January 8, 2016 — Issue No. 689|
Dear Friends of Wireless Messaging,
Welcome back to The Wireless Messaging News.
Check out the article following: “ARRL Again Complains to FCC about Illegal Marketing of Electronic Lighting Ballasts.” This is important.
My Friend Ira Wiesenfeld helped a customer of his that couldn't receive paging messages in a building within a strong coverage area. He found the cause when he turned off the florescent lighting in the ceiling. The problem was being caused by the RF noise being generated by the relatively-new switching-type electronic ballasts controlling the florescent lights. These ballasts produce less flicker, are more efficient, but are noisy to radios.
The older ballasts were magnetic (or coil type, also called a choke) and instead of producing RF interference, they produced an annoying audible hum or buzz. The video below explains how they worked.
BlackBerry Falls Most in a Year as Chen Plans More Smartphones
Gerrit De Vynck
BlackBerry Ltd.’s stock slid to its worst day in almost a year, in line with a broader market sell-off, after Chief Executive Officer John Chen said the smartphone maker would unveil at least one more Android device this year.
New handsets indicate more costs and less profitability in an industry where BlackBerry’s global market share has slipped below 1 percent. Shares fell 8.5 percent to $8 at Thursday’s close in New York, its biggest decline since January 2015. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 3 percent, part of a slump in global equity markets this week.
Chen said on Wednesday he expects to make the money-losing smartphone division profitable soon, and CNET reported the company will produce a new phone running on Google’s Android operating system in 2016, citing an interview with Chen. The CEO has said he will keep making smartphones if he can make the unit profitable.
Some investors want BlackBerry to ditch the device business altogether and focus on growing software revenue, said Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Financial LP.
“For those people looking for BlackBerry to become much leaner, much less capital-intensive, the handset business might be considered a disappointment,” Gillis said.
Motorola's name disappears from its phones this year
By the end of 2016, 'Moto' will be all that's left of the storied mobile brand.
Motorola's name is virtually synonymous with cellphones (it invented the categor y, after all), but you aren't going to see it around for much longer. Parent company Lenovo informs CNET that it's phasing out the Motorola name on phones this year — the "Moto" name and that signature M logo will be all that's left on higher-end devices , while lower-cost models will go with Lenovo's own Vibe moniker. While Motorola as an organization will still exist, it won't be nearly as prominent in 2016.
It's not clear when you'll see the switch, although there should be a slow transition rather than an all-at-once rebranding. However it happens, it's definitely a big gamble for Lenovo. While it's a big mobile brand in China and a few other parts of the world, it's only really known for PCs in regions like North America. Motorola, meanwhile, is still well-remembered for its StarTACs, RAZRs and Droids on this side of the globe. There's no guarantee that a "Moto X by Lenovo" will be as attractive as its Motorola-branded predecessors, no matter how good the phone itself might be.[ source ] Thanks to Barry Kanne.
Now more news and views.
Wayne County, Illinois
A new issue of the Wireless Messaging Newsletter is posted on the web each week. A notification goes out by e-mail to subscribers on most Fridays around noon central US time. The notification message has a link to the actual newsletter on the web. That way it doesn’t fill up your incoming e-mail account.
There is no charge for subscription and there are no membership restrictions. Readers are a very select group of wireless industry professionals, and include the senior managers of many of the world’s major Paging and Wireless Messaging companies. There is an even mix of operations managers, marketing people, and engineers — so I try to include items of interest to all three groups. It’s all about staying up-to-date with business trends and technology.
I regularly get readers’ comments, so this newsletter has become a community forum for the Paging, and Wireless Messaging communities. You are welcome to contribute your ideas and opinions. Unless otherwise requested, all correspondence addressed to me is subject to publication in the newsletter and on my web site. I am very careful to protect the anonymity of those who request it.
I spend the whole week searching the Internet for news that I think may be of interest to you — so you won’t have to. This newsletter is an aggregator — a service that aggregates news from other news sources. You can help our community by sharing any interesting news that you find.
Editorial Opinion pieces present only the opinions of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of any of advertisers or supporters. This newsletter is independent of any trade association.
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|RF Demand Solutions|
RCA Announces 2016 Board Members
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
The Radio Club of America (RCA) elected its board members for 2016 in November.
Mark S. Allen is vice president of Rohn Tower Company. He is a registered professional engineer in several foreign countries and formerly was the vice president of engineering and chief engineer at EF Johnson Technologies along with other companies.
James “Ernie” Blair is CEO/director, of radio infrastructure for the Project-Huntsville-Madison County (Alabama) 9-1-1 system.
Karen J. Clark served as RCA director from 2003 – 2007 and 2013 – 2015. She also has served as RCA executive secretary.
John A. Facella is the founder of Panther Pines Consulting. He formerly was senior vice president at RCC Consultants and has more than 30 years in the wireless industry.
Craig M. Jorgensen is president of Quantum Telecommunications, a consulting firm for the public-safety community. He served as the project manager, co-chairman, for Project 25 (P25) from 1994 to 2011.
Charles Kirmuss is founder of Kirmuss & Associates/Infinity, which provides GPS, homeland security and other products through OEM partners.
Robert A. Lopez was senior vice president, RCC Consultants, which is now part of Black & Veatch.
Carole J. Perry is a retired middle school educator and writer of the curriculum for “Introduction to Amateur Radio.”
|Source:||Radio Resource / Mission Critical Communications|
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ARRL Again Complains to FCC about Illegal Marketing of Electronic Lighting Ballasts
The ARRL has again complained to the FCC to allege illegal marketing of electronic RF lighting ballasts, operating under Part 18 of the Commission’s rules, on the part of two major retailers. Letters went out this week to the FCC Enforcement Bureau and its Office of Engineering and Technology claiming Part 18 marketing regulations violations by Lowe’s and by Walmart stores. At issue is the sale of non-consumer RF lighting ballasts to consumers who, in several instances, were told by store personnel that it was okay to install these in a residential setting. In addition, non-consumer and residential-class ballasts are intermixed in store displays with inadequate signage to direct consumers to the correct choice. Both letters asked the FCC to investigate and commence enforcement proceedings with respect to the two stores’ marketing and retail sale of RF lighting devices in the US.
“ARRL purports to show that the [retailer] is . . . marketing and selling to consumers (by retail sale) non-consumer Part 18 RF lighting devices which are not intended for residential deployment, to consumers who have specifically noted their intention to deploy the devices in residential applications,” ARRL Chief Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, said in similar complaint letters to the Commission on December 28 and December 29 (attached below). Part 18 emissions limits for consumer devices are far lower than those allowed for non-consumer devices.
“ARRL has received numerous complaints from Amateur Radio operators of significant noise in the medium (MF) and high frequency (HF) bands between 1.8 MHz and 30 MHz from ‘grow lights’ and other Part 15 and part 18 RF lighting devices,” Imlay continued. “These devices are easily capable of emitting RF noise sufficient to preclude Amateur Radio MF and HF communications (and, as well, AM broadcast station reception) throughout entire communities.”
Supporting both complaints are extensive and detailed reports by ARRL Laboratory EMC Specialist Mike Gruber, W1MG. The reports recount incidents of actual purchases of Part 18 RF lighting devices intended for commercial use to consumers who made clear to store personnel that they intended to use the devices at home. Gruber’s report includes multiple photographs that depict in-store displays of the products in question and showing signage that does not adequately explain which devices may be sold to whom.
The ARRL has asked that all non-consumer devices be removed from retail sale and marketing at the stores and to track and recall non-consumer devices already sold to consumers.
In his report, Gruber concluded that retailers should require purchasers of non-consumer Part 18 RF lighting devices to provide a valid contractor’s number. He also advised that the stores improve display signage to make it clear that non-consumer Part 18 devices may not be used in residential settings.
Earlier this year, the ARRL sent similar complaint letters to the FCC regarding the marketing of Part 18 RF lighting devices by The Home Depot. The League also has complained about specific RF lighting “grow light” devices that it has alleged exceed Part 18 emission limits.
ARRL Complaint Letter re Lowe's (991.9 kB)
ARRL Complaint Letter re Walmart (608.3 kB)
Non-emergency use of firefighters' paging system hot issue at meeting
Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 7:14 am
A discussion about an ambulance service making non-emergency pages over a paging system used by the Pittsburg County Firefighters Association flared up during a meeting of the Pittsburg County Emergency Services Board.
Danny Choat, who is president of the Pittsburg County Firefighters Association, brought up the issue during the Emergency Services board’s quarterly meeting held Monday at the county commissioners’ office at the Pittsburg County Courthouse.
Choat said members of the Pittsburg County Firefighters Association are concerned about the firefighters’ paging system being used by Pafford Emergency Medical Services. The ambulance service currently has offices in McAlester and Alderson, and is based in Hope, Arkansas.
Members of the Firefighters Association checked with other entities before adopting the paging system, according to Choat.
“We understood the paging system would be for emergency calls only,” Choat said.
“Pafford is using our paging system, out of Arkansas, for paging transfers” — so not all of the calls are emergencies, Choat said. He contended it’s possible for a non-emergency page from Pafford to override an emergency page to firefighters.
“Right now, we are not doing what ISO requires,” Choat said, referring to the Insurance Service Organization rankings used by many insurance companies to set fire insurance rates. Choat contended the firefighters’ paging system should be used for emergency calls only.
All of the participating fire departments in the Pittsburg County Firefighters Association put up $4,200 each to use the current paging system, according to Choat. He said that Pafford, a private ambulance company, is using the firefighters’ paging system.
“Can we allow a private company to use our paging system that was paid for by taxpayer dollars?” Choat asked, adding he didn’t know the answer.
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BlackBerry Priv will land on Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile
BlackBerry CEO confirms its exclusivity deal with AT&T has expired and that every major US carrier will sell the Android-powered phone.
7 January 2016 — 6:23 am AEDT
BlackBerry's Android-powered Priv phone will soon be a lot easier to buy.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen on Wednesday confirmed that Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint will sell its flagship phone. He declined to specify timing, preferring to leave it up to the carriers.
The Priv, which launched in November, was previously exclusive to AT&T in the US.
The added distribution means that BlackBerry fans — the few of you who have clung on to the idea that physical keyboards on phones are still superior to touch-screens — will have more ways to buy the Priv.
He teased that T-Mobile CEO John Legere, who once feuded with Chen, would make his announcement on Twitter. Legere told CNET in November that he thought BlackBerry was on a "comeback."
With the partners in place, Chen expressed his optimism over the phone business.
"We can make money in devices, and I think we're close," Chen said at a small, but packed press conference room at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
There has been a lot of talk about whether the Canadian company, which once towered over the smartphone world, would even stay in the business, with Chen previously saying he would dump it if it didn't make money. He defended the comment, noting that he would sound crazy if he insisted on staying in the business no matter what.
It's easy to see why you would be skeptical. BlackBerry sold a total of 700,000 handsets in the last reported quarter, about half the number from a year ago. BlackBerry 10 phones haven't sold well.
The Priv was BlackBerry's way of addressing the lack of apps available on the company's BlackBerry 10 software. By using Google's Android software, it had access to the same huge library of programs and games as phones from the likes of Samsung and LG.
T-Mobile said it will start selling Priv on January 26. Verizon and Sprint did not immediately respond to requests for Priv selling dates.
Virginia Tech team advancing use of amateur radio in emergency communications
Published Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015, 12:02 pm
Virginia Tech team advancing use of amateur radio in emergency communications
Researchers at the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology are preparing to send an amateur radio transponder into a geosynchronous orbit in 2017.
“Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, a new ham band will be available for the Americas,” said Robert McGwier, a research professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Hume Center’s director of research. “It will allow rapid deployment to disaster areas and support long-haul communications for first responders.”
This would be the first amateur or “ham” radio payload in a geosynchronous orbit, and would significantly enhance communications capabilities for amateur radio operators, in particular following natural disasters or other emergency situations. The Hume Center team met with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate in September to discuss the project.
There are more than 2 million amateur radio operators around the world, and the community has a long history of assisting with emergency communications when traditional communications networks collapse, because they typically rely on cell towers and the Internet. Ham radio signals require only compact, mobile equipment that can be easily transported to an emergency site.
“Hams show up at every disaster, no matter what,” said McGwier, referring to amateur radio operators. After events like Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami, “for days, the only way that people communicated out of those communities was amateur radio.”
In fact, the Federal Emergency Management Agency signed an agreement in 2014 with the American Radio Relay League, also known as ARRL, that describes how the two organizations will work together to provide disaster relief, and the Federal Communications Commission has specific regulations authorizing the use of amateur radio in situations which threaten life or property.
But even amateur radio isn’t always available.
Currently, most amateur radio operators communicate by bouncing their signals off the ionosphere. Solar flares, geomagnetic storms, and other events that change the condition of the ionosphere can affect the efficiency of radio signal propagation, making it unpredictable.
Sending radio signals to a satellite, instead, would be much more dependable, allowing radio operators to help emergency personnel reliably access supplies, logistical support, and medical assistance. They key is to ensure that the satellite would always be accessible to the radio operators — which is why the geosynchronous orbit is critical.
A geosynchronous orbit has the same period as the Earth’s rotation — just under 24 hours. A satellite in such an orbit is easy to locate and access. In this case, the satellite will always be within a band of longitudes over the Americas, continually accessible to any amateur radio operator there, including the students and researchers at the Virginia Tech Ground Station.
The satellite itself will be operated by Millennium Space Systems on behalf of the United States Air Force; the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, also known as AMSAT, will operate the radio, which will be designed and built by Virginia Tech students — making this project a unique collaboration among the university, nonprofit organizations, private companies, and the federal government.
The Hume Center team is also engineering a ground terminal that emergency personnel could use to relay their own existing communications channels through the satellite. This setup could be deployed through the American Radio Relay League and the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation as a key part of a robust national emergency response system, allowing trained operators to reliably mobilize to disaster areas in the first critical hours after a devastating event.
|Source:||Agusta Free Press|
Taking a Closer Look at Samsung’s $5,000 Smart Fridge
By Brian Heater, Tech Times | January 6, 2:52 PM
What if I told you the big hit of Samsung's 2016 CES was a refrigerator? You'd probably say something along the lines of, "yeah, I know, I was paying attention at the company's mostly lackluster event yesterday." Then I would probably tell you that you were being rude and we'd move along to talking about what makes the thing so interesting.
The biggie, of course, is that display. That's a 21.5-incher located on the right door where you usually post up your shopping lists and kids' report cards. You can still do that, of course, but now, like every other aspect of your life in the early 21st century, it's fully digital.
Users can put up a rotating slideshow of photos, artwork, Instagram images and the like. The screen also, naturally taps into the company's SmartThings IoT ecosystem, so you can use your fridge to control your other connected appliances, effectively making the big icebox the boss of your home electronics, so don't make the thing angry or the washing machine might not play ball when you try to do a gentle cycle.
Oh, and there's also a small speaker array just above the screen, so you can listen to music from the door of your refrigerator, just as artists who recorded it no doubt intended.
Otherwise, the Family Hub looks like a pretty standard stainless steel refrigerator, complete with an ice maker on the other door. Open it up and you'll find an array of cameras that shoot photos of the fridge's contents each time you close the door — something I could have used that one week I ended up buying like five cartons of almond milk.
The appliance is still in prototype mode, so Samsung strictly forbid taking close up pictures, but hopefully we'll be seeing a fully working unit in the not too distant future.
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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.
HAC Report Deadline Approaching – January 15, 2016
The next Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) reporting deadline for digital commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) providers (including carriers that provide service using AWS-1 spectrum and resellers of cellular, broadband PCS and/or AWS services) is Friday, January 15, 2016. ALL SERVICE PROVIDERS SUBJECT TO THE COMMISSION’S HAC RULES — INCLUDING COMPANIES THAT QUALIFY FOR THE DE MINIMIS EXCEPTION — MUST PARTICIPATE IN ANNUAL HAC REPORTING. To the extent that your company is a provider of broadband PCS, cellular and/or interconnected SMR services, if you are a CMRS reseller and/or if you have plans to provide CMRS using newly licensed (or partitioned) AWS or 700 MHz spectrum, you and your company will need to be familiar with the Commission’s revised rules.
All ISPs Should Take Notice: Jury Finds Cox Guilty of Willful Copyright Infringement for Not Terminating Infringing Customers, Awards BMG $25 Million
On December 17, 2015, a six-person jury found Cox Communications, Inc. liable for willful contributory infringement of some 1,300 copyrighted works belonging to BMG Rights Management, LLC. According to the information available, Cox failed to act on several copyright infringement warnings about which it was aware, and particularly failed to actively disconnect repeat offenders, costing the company its protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s safe-harbor clause.
The case began in late 2014 when BMG and Round Hill Music, who control the publishing rights for artists like Katy Perry, David Bowie, and others, sued Cox for failing to terminate the accounts of repeated copyright infringers. Although transcripts and a final order are not yet available, one critical finding made by Judge O’Grady in an order granting partial summary judgment may have an impact on all ISPs. Specifically, Judge O’Grady held that Cox was not able to avail itself of the safe-harbor defense under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act since he found “there is no genuine issue of material fact as to whether defendants reasonably implemented a repeat-infringer policy” as is required under the DMCA. It is possible that the Judge’s rationale for this finding, which should appear in the final order, will become a critical test for whether a provider is able to avail itself of the DMCA’s safe-harbor.
The DMCA’s safe-harbor provision essentially exempts ISPs from liability for acts of their users (as secondary infringers of copyright), provided that they adopt and reasonably implement a policy of addressing and terminating accounts of users who are found to be repeat infringers (among other things). Cox does have a policy to disconnect accounts of pirating subscribers, using a twist on the popular “Six Strikes” scheme in which many other large ISPs participate. Under the Cox policy, repeat infringers are subject to escalating restrictions, and disconnection is considered an option after ten or more strikes are received against a single account, though it is unclear whether the company actively disconnected anyone meeting those criteria.
Therefore, when the dust finally settles (it is likely Cox will appeal), this case could very well become a critical test for the availability of DMCA safe-harbor protection for ISPs. Companies interested in obtaining more information on copyright liability and steps they can take to protect themselves should contact the firm for more information.
FCC Grants Full or Partial Forbearance for ILECS for Many Requirements
On December 28, the FCC released its Memorandum Opinion and Order (MO&O) on a Petition for Forbearance filed by USTelecom, seeking forbearance from six categories of rules applicable to incumbent local exchange carriers. In the MO&O, the FCC granted full or partial forbearance from the majority of requirements covered by the petition, as follows:
FCC Takes Steps to Preserve LPTV, Translators Post-Incentive Auction
On December 17, the FCC unanimously adopted several measures to help low power television (LPTV) and TV translator stations to continue serving their viewers following next year’s Incentive Auction. Specifically, the FCC’s Report and Order:
The Commission also adopted a Fourth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that tentatively proposes to allow channel sharing between primary (full power and Class A) and secondary (LPTV) stations. All of the above measures, if implemented properly, may help carriers that win 600 MHz licenses in the upcoming Broadcast Incentive Auction to implement their operations with fewer interference issues.
Law & Regulation
FCC Enters Into Consent Decree with NYC Department of Education
On December 22, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau entered into a Consent Decree with the Board of Education of the City School District of the City of New York (NYC DOE), resolving its investigation into whether the NYC DOE violated the rules of the E-Rate program. NYC DOE is the largest recipient of E-rate funds, and has received approximately $1.3 billion in E-rate program disbursements since 1998.
After the release in April of report by the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District (SCI) concluding that Willard “Ross” Lanham (Lanham), a consultant who served as the Project Manager for Project Connect, had orchestrated a massive fraud from 2002–2008, the Enforcement Bureau’s Universal Service Fund Strike Force conducted an extensive investigation into NYC DOE’s compliance with the Commission’s rules.
As the result of the investigation NYC DOE will implement a Final Compliance Plan (FCP) that includes the appointment of internal and external monitors and an E-rate compliance officer. The FCP also requires NYC DOE to provide extensive training to personnel on E-rate program rules and to be subject to yearly audits. NYC DOE will also withdraw and cancel all funding requests for Funding Years 2011-2013, and will surrender all rights and claims, including, but not limited to, claims to undisbursed funding associated with approved funding requests for Funding Years 2002-2010, and will pay a settlement amount to the United States Treasury in the sum of $3,000,000.
According to the reports, Lanham created a subcontracting scheme under two of the primary vendors NYC DOE used on Project Connect, through which Lanham was able to use a company (Lanham Enterprises) that he owned to misappropriate money from NYC DOE, without NYC DOE’s knowledge or agreement. Lanham was later ordered to pay NYC DOE $1.7 million in restitution. A portion of the funds that Lanham misappropriated were distributed from the Universal Service Fund (USF). Lanham was charged in a criminal complaint by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and arrested.
FCC Fines Purple Communications $12 Million for TRS Violations
On December 16, the FCC imposed a penalty of $11,937,549 against Purple Communications, Inc. for failing to submit accurate data to the Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Administrator and failing to use a reasonable process to verify the registration information of thousands of TRS users, in violation of the FCC’s rules and orders. According to the Forfeiture Order, Purple not only failed to follow the Commission’s rules and orders but also requested and received millions of dollars from the TRS Fund that it was not eligible to receive.
Specifically, Purple violated the Commission’s rules and orders by:
In fining Purple, the FCC held that no reduction or cancellation of the forfeiture was warranted.
Aluminum Manufacturer Agrees to Pay $135,000 Penalty for License Glitches
Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood, LLC, a manufacturer of rolled aluminum products, agreed to a consent decree that requires payment of $135,000, as a means to avoid the originally proposed fine that was more than double that amount. The violations involved were failure to renew certain private, internal use licenses, and operation on the authorized frequencies after the licenses lapsed, by Constellium’s predecessor company; and the acquisition of that company by Constellium without prior FCC approval. All of these actions are violations that companies can easily fall into, especially if they hold FCC licenses incidental to their main operations (such as manufacturing), and are not focused on FCC compliance matters. The FCC also took issue with Constellium’s slowness in responding to Commission inquiries.
With fines reaching such significant levels for what the business world would likely to consider understandable and inadvertent violations, it is more important than ever for licensees to have a system in place (such as Blooston’s license retainer arrangement) to track and renew their licenses, and otherwise stay apprised of FCC compliance requirements.
FCC Releases Fifth Broadband Report
On December 30, the FCC issued its fifth “Measuring Broadband America” report, which contains the results of the FCC’s ongoing nationwide performance study of consumers’ fixed broadband Internet access service. According to a press release, this year’s report shows that broadband speed offerings continue to increase at a rapid pace, and broadband service providers generally are delivering actual speeds that meet or exceed advertised speeds. However, the report also finds a growing disparity in advertised download speeds between many DSL-based broadband services and most cable- and fiber-based broadband services.
Specific findings made in the report include:
The complete report is available here .
FCC Asks Major ISPs for Plan Details
According to multiple news sources, on December 17, 2015 the FCC sent letters to AT&T Inc., Comcast Corp and T-Mobile Inc. regarding their implementations of so-called "zero-rating," a practice that exempts certain types of content from customers' data caps. The FCC is particularly concerned with how the practice measures up under its Open Internet Order, which prohibits discrimination of types of Internet traffic.
AT&T’s “Sponsored Data Program” charges third parties (usually advertisers) for the right to deliver traffic without counting against consumers’ mobile data caps; Comcast exempts its own “Stream TV” service from its data caps; and T-Mobile exempts certain music and video services from its data limits if they meet certain technical requirements or are delivered at lower streaming quality.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told reporters that "this is not an investigation. This is not any enforcement. This is to help us stay informed as to what the practices are, as we said we would do in the Open Internet Order." The carriers have until January 15 to respond to the FCC’s inquiries.
JANUARY 15: HAC REPORTING DEADLINE. The next Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) reporting deadline for digital commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) providers (including carriers that provide service using AWS-1 spectrum and resellers of cellular, broadband PCS and/or AWS services) is Friday, January 15, 2016. Non-Tier I service providers must offer to consumers at least 50 percent of the handset models per air interface, or a minimum of ten handset models per air interface, that meet or exceed the M3 rating, and at least one-third of the handset models per air interface, or a minimum of ten handset models per air interface, that meet or exceed the T3 rating. Month-to-month handset offering information provided in annual reports must be current through the end of 2015. With many of our clients adjusting their handset offerings and making new devices available to customers throughout the year, it is very easy for even the most diligent carriers to stumble unknowingly into a non-compliance situation, resulting in fines starting at $15,000 for each HAC-enabled handset they are deficient. Following the T-Mobile USA Notice of Apparent Liability (FCC 12-39), the Commission’s enforcement policy calls for multiplying the $15,000 per-handset fine by the number of months of the deficiency, creating the potential for very steep fines. It is therefore crucial that our clients pay close attention to their HAC regulatory compliance, and monthly checks are strongly recommended. In this regard, we have prepared a HAC reporting template to assist our clients in keeping track of their HAC handset offerings, and other regulatory compliance efforts. ALL SERVICE PROVIDERS SUBJECT TO THE COMMISSION’S HAC RULES — INCLUDING COMPANIES THAT QUALIFY FOR THE DE MINIMIS EXCEPTION — MUST PARTICIPATE IN ANNUAL HAC REPORTING. To the extent that your company is a provider of broadband PCS, cellular and/or interconnected SMR services, if you are a CMRS reseller and/or if you have plans to provide CMRS using newly licensed (or partitioned) AWS or 700 MHz spectrum, you and your company will need to be familiar with the Commission’s revised rules.
FEBRUARY 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 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 499-A that is due April 1.
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.
MARCH 1: COPYRIGHT STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT FORM FOR CABLE COMPANIES. This form, plus royalty payment for the second half of calendar year 2011, is due March 1. The form covers the period July 1 to December 31, 2012, and is due to be mailed directly to cable TV operators by the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office. If you do not receive the form, please contact Gerry Duffy.
MARCH 1: CPNI ANNUAL CERTIFICATION. Carriers should modify (as necessary) and complete their “Annual Certification of CPNI Compliance” for 2012. The certification must be filed with the FCC by March 1. Note that the annual certification should include the following three required Exhibits: (a) a detailed Statement Explaining How The Company’s Operating Procedures Ensure Compliance With The FCC’S CPNI Rules to reflect the Company’s policies and information; (b) a Statement of Actions Taken Against Data Brokers; and (c) a Summary of Customer Complaints Regarding Unauthorized Release of CPNI. A company officer with personal knowledge that the company has established operating procedures adequate to ensure compliance with the rules must execute the Certification, place a copy of the Certification and accompanying Exhibits in the Company’s CPNI Compliance Records, and file the certification with the FCC in the correct fashion. Our clients can forward the original to BloostonLaw in time for the firm to make the filing with the FCC by March 1, if desired. BloostonLaw is prepared to help our clients meet this requirement, which we expect will be strictly enforced, by assisting with preparation of their certification filing; reviewing the filing to make sure that the required showings are made; filing the certification with the FCC, and obtaining a proof-of-filing copy for your records. Clients interested in obtaining BloostonLaw's CPNI compliance manual should contact Gerry Duffy (202-828-5528) or Mary Sisak (202-828-5554). Note: If you file the CPNI certification, you must also file the FCC Form 499-A Telecom Reporting Worksheet by April 1.
MARCH 1: FCC FORM 477, LOCAL COMPETITION & BROADBAND REPORTING FORM. This annual form is due March 1 and September 1 annually. The FCC requires facilities-based wired, terrestrial fixed wireless, and satellite broadband service providers to report on FCC Form 477 the number of broadband subscribers they have in each census tract they serve. The Census Bureau changed the boundaries of some census tracts as part of the 2010 Census.
Specifically, three types of entities must file this form:
MARCH 31: INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT CAPACITY REPORT. No later than March 31, 2015, all U.S. international carriers that owned or leased bare capacity on a submarine cable between the United States and any foreign point on December 31, 2014 and any person or entity that held a submarine cable landing license on December 31, 2014 must file a Circuit Capacity Report to provide information about the submarine cable capacity it holds. Additionally, cable landing licensees must file information on the Circuit Capacity Report about the amount of available and planned capacity on the submarine cable for which they have a license. Any U.S. International Carrier that owned or leased bare capacity on a terrestrial or satellite facility as of December 31, 2014 must file a Circuit Capacity Report showing its active common carrier circuits for the provision of service to an end-user or resale carrier, including active circuits used by itself or its affiliates. Any satellite licensee that is not a U.S. International Carrier and that owns circuits between the United States and any foreign point as of December 31, 2014 of the reporting period must file a Circuit Capacity Report showing its active circuits sold or leased to any customer, including itself or its affiliates, other than a carrier authorized by the Commission to provide U.S. international common carrier services.
|This newsletter is not intended to provide legal advice. Those interested in more information should contact the firm. For additional information, please contact Hal Mordkofsky at 202-828-5520 or email@example.com .|
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“There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of the mind.”
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|Source:||NBC News||Mel Evans/AP|
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