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Wireless News Aggregation

Friday — March 27, 2015 — Issue No. 650

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Reference Papers Consulting Glossary of Terms Send an e-mail to Brad Dye

Dear Friends of Wireless Messaging,

Welcome back. I hope you enjoy this issue of The Wireless Messaging News.

Check out the new advertisement from Critical Alert Systems. This is a great company dedicated to Paging, and Nurse Call systems. They have been loyal supporters of the newsletter for a long time. I count several of their managers and staff as friends as well as colleagues. They have made significant advancements to the art of staying in touch.

Facebook Inc WhatsApp Calling Feature To Arrive On iOS In Two Weeks

WhatsApp Voice calling feature will be available on iOS in two weeks, said Brian Acton in a Facebook conference held today

Published: Mar 27, 2015 at 11:09 am EST

WhatsApp co-founder, Brian Acton said today that the highly anticipated free voice calling feature will be available on iOS within a "couple of weeks." The sensational instant messaging app, which Facebook Inc ( NASDAQ:FB ) acquired for $19 billion last year, hit 700 million active users by January, and shows no signs of declining in the foreseeable future.

Mr. Acton made the announcement at the Facebook F8 conference held this week on a panel with Instagram Co-founder, Mike Krieger and Facebook Messenger front man, David Marcus, where he backtracked on his "couple week" statement by saying it could take up to several weeks for the latest voice calling feature to roll out ( VentureBeat ). No further clarification was provided on the updated version of WhatsApp, as Mr. Acton preferred to stress the refinement and development involved in maintaining the extraordinary popularity of the messaging platform.

However, this is not the first time WhatsApp is introducing the voice calling feature, as Android was given the update last month, after a year of iterating the beta version to make the free-calling feature as smooth and clear as possible. Facebook is treading carefully to roll out the feature that is limited to an invite-only basis for the Android platform, but will open up to everyone else shortly.

The latest update will allow users to make direct phone calls to people on their contact list, which is a stark contrast to present voice messaging features that send voice messages to your contact by pressing the microphone icon. Envisioning the prospect of voice calling, the company made an announcement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last year and said that the extension means that WhatsApp will now be judged against Skype as planned.

Some servers have already found a tweak to activate the new feature on iOS, but a jailbroken iPhone is required to make it work.

Facebook is not oblivious to the work required to keep the wheels in motion for the renowned app. After launching a desktop client service called WhatsApp Web a couple of months back, Facebook will hope to translate that service on iOS devices too. The fear of a mass exodus in favor of the next best thing is the biggest risk for Facebook, but with a million users signing up to WhatsApp per day since December 2013, the company will do well not to become too complacent. Facebook shares are 0.78% up in pre-market trading. [ source ]

Now on to more news and views.

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About Us

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 Policy

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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Advertiser Index

American Messaging
Critical Alert
Critical Response Systems
Easy Solutions
Hark Technologies
Ira Wiesenfeld & Associates
Leavitt Communications
Preferred Wireless
Prism Paging
Product Support Services — (PSSI)
Paging & Wireless Network Planners LLC — (Ron Mercer)
STI Engineering
UltraTek Security Cameras
WaveWare Technologies

3/27/2015 @ 8:34 AM

FCC's Net-Neutrality Order Fails To Provide Clarity On Certain Issues

Trefis Team, Contributor

The Federal Communications Commission recently released a 400-page document which gives out the details pertaining to its highly controversial net neutrality reforms. The FCC passed the new set of rules in February which seek to regulate internet providers along the lines of the regulations imposed on traditional phone companies or other utilities. The details of the document reveal that the FCC has taken a strict stance on some issues while leaving ample room to maneuver on certain other issues. The order is ambiguous on certain issues as the FCC feels that it will need to gather more experience by dealing with these issues on a case by case basis. We try to examine a handful of such important issues which will likely decide how the Internet is regulated in the years to come, assuming the proposals survive near certain judicial review.

Ambiguity Clouds Certain Issues

Net neutrality is a principal related to the way Internet traffic should be treated. It advocates that Internet service providers (ISP’s) should treat all data traffic on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication. In keeping with this principal, the FCC has stated clearly that Internet service providers will not be able to block or slow down web content and services of content providers. They will also not be able to give preferential treatment and increased speeds to content providers in exchange for payments.

However, the FCC has avoided setting definite limits for other issues and has positioned itself to punish bad behavior related to these issues. One such issue is the authority of the commission over interconnection deals between ISP’s such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable and content providers such as Netflix . Content providers generally have deals with ISP’s in which they pay to ensure the smooth running of their services in times of high internet traffic. The FCC has stated that it will review the deals to insure they are “just and reasonable.” The commission will tackle issues related to both payments and capacity. However, “just and reasonable” is a statement open to interpretation and the commission claims the power to decide which deals violate this undefined standard on a case-by-case basis. Given this framework, it is unclear how, or why, service providers will invest in capacity to support additional traffic.

The FCC is also unclear about how it will deal with sponsored data programs. In these programs, companies such as Google pay the cost of the data and their services are provided to the end users free of cost. Such plans have been criticized in the past on the grounds that bigger companies can afford such costs which give them an unfair advantage over smaller companies and start-ups. Another issue is how the FCC tackles arrangements in which certain services can be consumed by users without being included in their monthly usage targets. Such services are termed zero rating services and were deemed as a violation of net neutrality laws in Chile. How the FCC decides to act on data services such as sponsored data programs and zero rating services will set a precedent in how the Internet will be governed in the future.

The FCC also confirmed in a recent hearing that the order gives it the ability to control prices. Even though the FCC has promised to refrain from heavy handed tactics such as directly regulating prices, critics have voiced their concerns that this order could potentially lead to the FCC deciding the tariffs charged to the end user. They also argue that such a provision risks hurting the industry as a future commission might not share the current one’s approach. While the ability to regulate prices is a very potent weapon in the FCC’s arsenal, it still remains to be seen whether the commission ever decides to use it, assuming there are no legislative or judicial reversals of this new regulation of the Internet.

Source: Forbes

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Easy Solutions provides cost effective computer and wireless solutions at affordable prices. We can help in most any situation with your communications systems. We have many years of experience and a vast network of resources to support the industry, your system and an ever changing completive landscape.

  • We treat our customers like family. We don’t just fix problems . . . We recommend and implement better cost effective solutions.
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USF High-Cost Program: Best and Realistic Timelines

    by:  Michael O’Rielly , FCC Commissioner

    March 24, 2015 - 01:27 PM

    According to the FCC's most recent  report , nearly 14 million Americans lack  any  access to fixed broadband. In an effort to remedy this, in 2011, the Commission established the Connect America Fund ( CAF ) within the USF high-cost program to provide federal universal service support to private carriers serving high-cost parts of the nation. While progress has been made to implement various parts, thanks to the great work of staff, there hasn't been a sense of urgency at the Commission due to a lack of energy and commitment to complete the hard tasks that remain. Sadly, unless something significant changes, unserved Americans will have to wait even longer to get access to broadband.

    Like many, I was pleased that, at recent Congressional hearings, Chairman Wheeler provided additional insight on the timeline for CAF reforms to Members of the House and Senate who want to see faster progress, as I have advocated for over a year. It's especially good news to hear the Chairman promise to complete a CAF not just for the larger rate-of-return (ROR) carriers but also for the  smaller  ROR carriers by the end of this year and to hold a CAF Phase II auction for price cap areas next year. I take him at his word that he intends to try to meet his commitments. The problem is that, when I mapped out the steps that would need to occur to meet these promises, it became obvious that it's extremely unlikely that the Commission will be able to adhere to that schedule. Many of the individual actions and program steps are interconnected. For instance, it seems unlikely that the Commission would set up a CAF for very small ROR carriers without knowing which carriers will opt-in to a CAF ROR model.

    Outlined below in chart form is what I believe to be the "best case" timing scenario for each CAF item, assuming that CAF is the top priority for staff in the Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) and the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) and that there is stakeholder consensus on any outstanding issues. In reality, however, WCB is focused on other complex, high-profile issues including net neutrality, mergers, special access, Lifeline, inmate calling, and forbearance, and WTB is focused on the broadcast incentive auction, among other things. While it is true that there are teams within each Bureau still dedicated to CAF, some members have been assigned to these other issues, and upper management will need to work on other projects as well. Accordingly, I've also presented a more "realistic case" scenario that acknowledges both these resource constraints, as well as a lack of consensus on certain CAF components, including the CAF Phase II auction. To provide clarity for all those interested, I do not believe that the Commission still intends to implement a CAF Phase II Mobility Fund, and so it is not an accident that it is excluded in the realistic version.

    Notably, these are just the steps needed to adopt Commission rules as presently contemplated. After the Commission acts, it will still take months for funding to flow, and it will be years before some unserved consumers can sign up for new broadband service.

    I hope to be proven wrong about the timeline. In fact, I would welcome suggestions for ways to streamline and accelerate the remaining tasks. But it is important that all stakeholders understand the process and likely timing of reforms so that we can have that discussion.

    Consequently, whenever people start to discuss reforming, modernizing or updating the current communications statute, one area that comes to my mind is the USF high-cost program. And it wouldn't necessarily take a lot of effort to generate tremendous progress. All that is needed would be to set deadlines and milestones for the Commission to act on the existing parts in a timely manner. That simple step – combined with a mandate not to increase the overall costs on American consumers – would likely have a demonstrable impact on broadband deployment in rural America.

      Best Case Realistic Case
    2Q 2015
    • Make CAF Phase II offers to price cap carriers
    • Make CAF Phase II offers to price cap carriers
    3Q 2015
    • Price cap carriers accept or decline CAF Phase II offers
    • Adopt Voluntary Path to the Model for rate-of-return carriers
    • Adopt CAF Phase II Auction Order
    • Price cap carriers accept or decline CAF Phase II offers
    4Q 2015
    • Rate-of-return carriers make election
    • Adopt CAF for non-model rate-of-return carriers
    • Adopt Voluntary Path to the Model for rate-of-return carriers
    1Q 2016
    • Adopt Mobility Fund Phase II Rules
    • Rate-of-return carriers make election
    2Q 2016
    • Adopt CAF Phase II Auction Procedures PN
    3Q 2016
    • Adopt Mobility Fund Phase II Procedures PN
    • Adopt CAF Phase II Auction Order
    4Q 2016
    • Hold CAF Phase II Auction
    • Adopt CAF for non-model rate-of-return carriers
    1Q 2017
    • Analyze CAF Phase II Auction results to determine scope of Remote Areas Fund
    • Hold Mobility Fund Phase II Auction
    • Adopt CAF Phase II Auction Procedures PN
    2Q 2017
    • Adopt Remote Areas Fund Order
    3Q 2017 
    • Hold CAF Phase II Auction
    4Q 2017 
    • Analyze CAF Phase II Auction results to determine scope of Remote Areas Fund
    1Q 2018  
    2Q 2018 
    • Adopt Remote Areas Fund Order

    Key Terms:

    Connect America Fund Phase II : will provide support in areas served by price cap carriers, either to the incumbent carriers based on modeled costs or to competitive bidding winners through a reverse auction.

    Connect America Fund for Rate-of-Return Carriers: will provide support to rate-of-return carriers. Some may elect to receive support based on modeled costs (under the "Voluntary Path to the Model"). May include a separate Alaska plan.

    Mobility Fund Phase II : intended to provide support in areas lacking 4G service.

    Remote Areas Fund : intended to provide support in areas that would be extremely costly to serve using traditional wireline technologies.

    Updated: March 26, 2015 - 03:42 PM

    Ivy Corp UltraTek Security Cameras



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    Critical Response Systems

    More than Paging.
    First Responder Solutions.

    Our patented technology notifies clinical personnel immediately, while tracking who receives and responds to each alarm. Users confirm or defer each event with a single button press, and analytic dashboards display response statistics in real time, as well as historically broken down by time, unit, room, and individual.

    Our systems not only notify your personnel quickly and reliably, but also provide actionable feedback to fine-tune your procedures, reduce unnecessary alarms, and improve patient outcomes.


    Facebook developing solar drones to deliver global web access

    by Andrew Tarantola
    March 26,2015

    There are an estimated five billion people worldwide who lack reliable internet access but Facebook is reportedly "ready to spend billions" in order to change that. The Menlo Park-based company has recently announced plans to deliver global connectivity on the backs of enormous, solar-powered UAV, dubbed project Aquila. The plan is still very much in its initial planning stages but Facebook appears to be dedicated to making it a reality. Facebook acquired UAV maker Ascenta last year as its in-house drone design team and has already set them to work developing a platform capable of spending up to three months aloft while cruising at altitudes between 60,000 to 90,000 feet. Each UAV is expected to have a wingspan rivaling Boeing 767 (about 156 feet from tip to tip) but only weigh about as much as a Kia.

    The company figures about 1,000 of these high fliers should suffice in blanketing the Earth with high-speed connectivity. Facebook is also reportedly looking at potential satellite deployments if any regions prove too remote or inhospitable for the internet drones to handle. "We want to serve every person in the world" Yael Maguire, head of Facebook's Connectivity Lab, told the New York Times . Initial test flights are already scheduled for this summer, though we're still potentially years (maybe decades) away from seeing this become an actual thing. Facebook faces competition from Google's Project Loon , which leverages high-altitude weather balloons instead of UAVs to deliver high-speed internet. But whichever system comes to market first (and even if they both do), five billion people will be better off for it.

    Source: engadget


    Specialists in sales and service of equipment from these leading manufacturers, as well as other two-way radio and paging products:

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    motorola blue Motorola SOLUTIONS

    COMmotorola red Motorola MOBILITY spacer
    Philip C. Leavitt
    Leavitt Communications
    7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
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    Web Site:
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    Skype ID:pcleavitt

    STI Engineering

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    250W VHF Paging Transmitter

    STI Engineering’s RFI-148 250 high performance paging transmitter features true DDS frequency generation that enables precise control and flexibility for a wide range of data transmission applications.

    The transmitter is particularly suitable for large simulcast POCSAG and FLEX paging networks and can be used as drop-in replacement of older and obsolete transmitters. The unit has a proven track record in large scale critical messaging systems.

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    • CE compliant version in development
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    Leavitt Communications

    its stil here

    It’s still here — the tried and true Motorola Alphamate 250. Now owned, supported, and available from Leavitt Communications. Call us for new or reconditioned units, parts, manuals, and repairs.

    We also offer refurbished Alphamate 250s, Alphamate IIs, the original Alphamate and new and refurbished pagers, pager repairs, pager parts and accessories. We are FULL SERVICE in Paging!

    E-mail Phil Leavitt ( ) for pricing and delivery information or for a list of other available paging and two-way related equipment.

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    Phil Leavitt

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    7508 N. Red Ledge Drive
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    Hark Technologies

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    Wireless Communication Solutions

    USB Paging Encoder

    paging encoder

    • Single channel up to eight zones
    • Connects to Linux computer via USB
    • Programmable timeouts and batch sizes
    • Supports 2-tone, 5/6-tone, POCSAG 512/1200/2400, GOLAY
    • Supports Tone Only, Voice, Numeric, and Alphanumeric
    • PURC or direct connect
    • Pictured version mounts in 5.25" drive bay
    • Other mounting options available
    • Available as a daughter board for our embedded Internet Paging Terminal (IPT)

    Paging Data Receiver (PDR)


    • Frequency agile—only one receiver to stock
    • USB or RS-232 interface
    • Two contact closures
    • End-user programmable w/o requiring special hardware
    • 16 capcodes
    • POCSAG
    • Eight contact closure version also available
    • Product customization available

    Other products

    Please see our web site for other products including Internet Messaging Gateways, Unified Messaging Servers, test equipment, and Paging Terminals.

    Hark Technologies
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    Tel: 843-821-6888
    Fax: 843-821-6894
    E-mail: left arrow CLICK
    Web: left arrow CLICK

    hark David George and Bill Noyes
    of Hark Technologies.

    Hark Technologies

    Preferred Wireless

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    Terminals & Controllers:
    1ASC1500 Complete, w/Spares  
    3CNET Platinum Controllers 
    2GL3100 RF Director 
    1GL3000 ES — 2 Chassis
    1GL3000L Complete w/Spares
    40SkyData 8466 B Receivers
    1Unipage—Many Unipage Cards & Chassis
    16Zetron M66 Transmitter Controllers  
    Link Transmitters:
    4Glenayre QT4201 25W Midband Link TX
    1Glenayre QT6994, 150W, 900 MHz Link TX
    3Motorola 10W, 900 MHz Link TX (C35JZB6106)
    2Eagle 900 MHz Link Transmitters, 60 & 80W
    2Motorola Q2630A, 30W, UHF Link TX
    VHF Paging Transmitters
    19 Motorola Nucleus 125W CNET
    6Motorola Nucleus 350W CNET
    12Motorola Nucleus 350W Advanced Control
    1Glenayre QT7505
    1Glenayre QT8505
    UHF Paging Transmitters:
    16Glenayre UHF GLT5340, 125W, DSP Exciter
    900 MHz Paging Transmitters:
    2Glenayre GLT8200, 25W (NEW)
    15Glenayre GLT-8500 250W
    3Glenayre GLT 8600, 500W


    Too Much To List • Call or E-Mail

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    Preferred Wireless, Inc.
    10658 St. Charles Rock Rd.
    St. Louis, MO 63074
    888-429-4171 or 314-429-3000 left arrow

    Preferred Wireless







    CVC Paging

    Switch Tech

    CVC Paging has an opening for a Glenayre Switch Technician in our Vermont location.

    For details please contact Stephan Suker at 802-775-6726 or

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    Critical Alert

    spacer cas logo

    Critical Alert Systems, Inc.

    Formed in 2010, CAS brought together the resources and capabilities of two leading critical messaging solutions providers, UCOM™ and Teletouch™ Paging, along with lntego Systems™, a pioneer in next-generation nurse call systems. The result was an organization that represented more than 40 years of combined experience serving hospitals and healthcare providers.

    CAS was created to be a single-source provider for hospitals and healthcare facilities in need of advanced nurse call and communications technologies.

    Unlike our competitors, our product development process embraced the power of software from its inception. This enables us to design hardware-agnostic solutions focused on built-in integration, flexibility and advanced performance.


    Nurse Call Solutions

    Innovation in Nurse Call

    Innovative, software-based nurse call solutions for acute and long-term care organizations.


    Paging Solutions

    The Most Reliable Paging Network

    To this day, for critical messaging, nothing beats paging. It’s simply the best way to deliver a critical message.



    © Copyright 2015 - Critical Alert Systems, Inc.

    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 UpdateVol. 18, No. 13March 25, 2015

    Last Call: Form 499-A; Accessibility Certifications Due April 1

    Wednesday, April 1 marks the filing deadline for two widely-applicable reports: the FCC Form 499-A revenue reporting form and the Accessibility Recordkeeping Certification. Carriers that are exempt from filing the 499-Q reports because their USF contribution is deemed “de minimis” must still file the 499-A.

    Clients interested in obtaining assistance with either filing should feel free to contact the firm for more information.


    Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the FCC's Open Internet Order (But Were Afraid to Ask)

    As previously reported, the FCC adopted new Open Internet rules governing retail broadband Internet access services at its February 26 open meeting (BloostonLaw Telecom Update, March 4, 2015). The FCC’s 400-page order was released on March 12, 2015.

    The Open Internet (a/k/a Net Neutrality) rules include: (a) “bright line” prohibitions against blocking, throttling ( i.e., degradation of content), and paid prioritization, subject (in the case of blocking and throttling) to exceptions for reasonable network management; (b) a catch-all, backstop prohibition against unreasonable interference with or disadvantaging of end user or edge provider use of lawful content, applications, services or devices, likewise subject to an exception for reasonable network management; and (c) enhanced transparency requirements regarding the public disclosure of network management practices, performance characteristics (including actual speeds and latency, packet loss, and specialized services), and commercial terms (including regular and promotional pricing, other fees and surcharges, and data caps and allowances).

    The Open Internet rules apply to both fixed (wired and wireless ) and mobile (terrestrial and satellite) retail broadband Internet access services, as well as to future services that the FCC finds to be their “functional equivalent.” They do not apply to enterprise service offerings, special access services, virtual private network services, hosting or data storage services, Internet backbone services, or dial-up Internet access services.

    This is the FCC’s third attempt at Open Internet rules. Its first attempt (based upon Title I ancillary authority) and second attempt (based upon Section 706 authority) were overturned, in whole or major part, by the courts. The current effort is premised upon both Section 706 and its reversal of past policy to classify retail broadband Internet access services as telecommunications services subject to common carrier regulation pursuant to Title II of the Communications Act. In addition, for mobile retail broadband Internet access services, the FCC also claims regulatory authority under the Title III wireless regulatory provisions of the Act.

    A major reason for the 400-page length of the order was the FCC’s attempt to avoid striking out for a third time during the virtually certain judicial appeals. Indeed, two Petitions for Review were filed the same day the Order was released to the public — USTelecom filed a “Protective” Petition for Review with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and Alamo Broadband filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The FCC spent many pages detailing the economic, legal and policy bases for its ruling — particularly its determinations: (a) to re-classify retail broadband access services as telecommunications services rather than information services; and (b) to subject mobile services to the same rules as fixed services rather than the former lesser standards.

    In addition to the possibility that some or all of the new Open Internet rules may be vacated or remanded on appeal, there is also a possibility that Congress will pass amendments to the Communications Act or restrictions to the FCC budget that would negate or modify portions of the FCC order. At this time, it is not clear whether any such legislation can be passed, and whether it would survive a likely Presidential veto.

    The change to Title II telecommunications service regulation has been the most controversial aspect of the Open Internet order. The FCC has attempted to generate support and reduce opposition by using the forbearance process adopted in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to fashion what it calls “light touch” Title II regulation. “Forbearance” is a unique statutory process that enables the FCC to announce, under certain conditions, that it will not enforce specified provisions of the Communications Act or the FCC’s own rules against some or all classes of telecommunications carriers. The statutes and regulations remain on the books where they can be enforced against telecommunications carriers not included within the scope of the forbearance, and where they can be revived by a future FCC order without the need for new legislation or rulemakings.

    In the Open Internet order, the FCC has clearly and explicitly refused to forbear from what it characterizes as the three basic consumer protection provisions of Title II. These are: (1) Section 201 (which prohibits unjust and unreasonable prices and practices); (2) Section 202 (which prohibits unreasonable discrimination and undue preferences); and (3) Section 208 (which governs customer complaints).

    The FCC has also declined to forbear: (a) from related enforcement provisions of Sections 206, 207, 209, 216 and 217 of the Act; (b) from Section 222 (which governs Consumer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) and related customer privacy protections); (c) from Section 224 (which governs access to poles, ducts, conduits and rights-of-way); (d) from Sections 225, 255 and 251(a)(2) (which deals with access by persons with disability), except that requirements for Telecommunications Relay Service contributions by newly Title II-regulated retail broadband Internet access service providers are forborne until the FCC completes a rulemaking regarding such contributions; (e) from Sections 254 and 214(e) (which deal with universal service), except that requirements for Universal Service Fund contributions by newly Title II-regulated retail broadband Internet access service providers are forborne until the FCC completes a rulemaking regarding such contributions and except that subsections 254(g) (regarding rate averaging by inter-exchange carriers) and 254(k) (regarding cross-subsidization of competitive services) are forborne; (f) from Section 229 (regarding Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) rulemakings and oversight; and (g) from 223 and 231 (regarding obscene and illicit content).

    Title II provisions that have been forborne with respect to newly Title II-regulated retail broadband Internet access service providers include: (1) Sections 203 and 204 (regarding tariffs); (2) Sections 205 and 212 (regarding rate prescription and interlocking directorates); (3) Sections 211, 213, 215, 218, 219 and 220 (regarding various information collection and reporting obligations); (4) Section 214 service discontinuation and transfer/assignment application requirements; (5) Sections 251, 252 and 256 (regarding interconnection); (6) Section 258 (regarding unauthorized carrier changes); and (7) the FCC’s truth-in-billing rules.

    For affected mobile retail broadband Internet access service providers, the FCC has retained its existing data roaming rule (codified in Section 20.12(e) of the Rules) and forborne from the CMRS roaming rule (codified in Section 20.12(d)), pending completion of a future rulemaking to revisit the data roaming obligations of newly re-classified mobile providers. The FCC also indicated that it anticipates addressing the applicability of mobile wireless hearing aid compatibility (HAC) requirements to mobile broadband Internet access service devices during the foreseeable future.

    The impact of the new Open Internet rules upon most rural local exchange carriers (RLECs) and their Internet service provider (ISP) affiliates does not appear to be substantial at this time. Most RLECs had previously elected Title II regulation for their broadband transmission services. Whereas Netflix and other edge providers have imposed substantial bandwidth and congestion costs upon RLECs, few RLECs have had a large enough customer base to provide the negotiating leverage necessary to obtain paid prioritization or other concessions from such edge providers. Whereas the Open Internet rules appear to restrict the ability of RLECs and ISPs to develop new revenue streams from edge providers and to restrict their finances to customer rates and universal service support, this does not appear to represent a major change.

    RLECs should note that the FCC indicates repeatedly in the order that their prior election of Title II regulation for their broadband transmission services precludes them from participation in the benefits of the FCC’s forbearance from most or all of the above-specified Title II provisions. It is not yet clear how this will affect ISP affiliates of RLECs. Unless and until the FCC rules otherwise, the best interpretation is that the applicability of forborne rules upon RLECs and their ISP affiliates remains the same. For example, with respect to the currently forborne Section 254(d) requirement for universal service contributions by newly Title II-regulated broadband Internet access service providers, the best and most reasonable interpretation is that RLECs must continue making universal service contributions on their interstate broadband transmission service revenues but that their ISP affiliates do not have to make universal service contributions on their customer revenues unless and until the FCC modifies its rules to expand the universal service contribution base to include broadband Internet access revenues.

    Small fixed and mobile providers may be adversely impacted by the FCC’s enhanced transparency requirements. Whereas the FCC’s current transparency requirements can be satisfied in most part by website disclosures, its enhanced transparency requirements appear to require substantial ongoing monitoring and updating, particularly with respect to speeds, latency, packet loss and other performance characteristics. These ongoing responsibilities can severely strain the staffing and financial resources of small companies, while providing little or no tangible benefit to customers or edge providers. Whereas the FCC temporarily exempted entities with 100,000 or fewer broadband subscribers from the additional enhanced requirements, it will soon initiate a rulemaking to determine whether such exemption (or an alternative one) will be made “permanent.”

    The FCC did not take the opportunity to address the interconnection rights and costs of small broadband Internet access service providers. By forbearing from Sections 251, 252 and 256 of the Act and by excluding special access and Internet backbone services from the scope of its Open Internet rules, the FCC has left many small fixed and mobile providers largely to the mercy of obtaining interconnection and transit from the types of large entities that increasing show little or no interest in negotiating with them. Whereas the current access and intercarrier compensation regime has allowed rural and other smaller carriers to provide reasonably comparable services to their customers, there are indications that the evolving Internet Protocol (IP) world will require smaller carriers to bear the substantial costs of bringing their traffic to and from a very limited number of locations, which may be hundreds or thousands of miles distant. Unless addressed by appropriate legislation or regulation, increased interconnection distances and costs could result in a much more expensive and less “open” Internet for the customers of rural and other small carriers.

    Finally, the relative equivalence of Open Internet regulation for both fixed and mobile broadband Internet access service providers has potential future implications for both groups. The FCC does indicate that fixed and mobile services are “separate” services in the event that the courts remand or vacate parts of the order, and also indicates that reasonable network management practices may need to be more flexible for mobile providers. However, the FCC devotes major portions of the order to describing the growth and advances of mobile broadband services (including the increasingly ubiquitous use of smart phones and tablets), and to justifying its change from the use of less stringent Open Internet rules for mobile broadband providers to the application of the same rules to both fixed and mobile providers. Whereas the FCC has heretofore (we believe correctly) treated fixed and mobile services as separate and complementary, the order takes substantial steps toward treating them as equivalent and competitive substitutes. If continued, this can have significant impacts upon local exchange carrier status, regulatory obligations, universal service mechanisms and unsubsidized competitor classifications.

    President Obama Establishes Broadband Opportunity Council

    On March 23, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum that defines the policy of the Federal Government regarding regulatory barriers to broadband deployment and establishes the Broadband Opportunity Council, an entity charged with carrying out the Federal policy.

    According to the Memorandum, the policy of the Federal Government is:

    To use all available and appropriate authorities to: identify and address regulatory barriers that may unduly impede either wired broadband deployment or the infrastructure to augment wireless broadband deployment; encourage further public and private investment in broadband networks and services; promote the adoption and meaningful use of broadband technology; and otherwise encourage or support broadband deployment, competition, and adoption in ways that promote the public interest.

    In adhering to this policy, the Memorandum directed Federal agencies to pay particular attention to “opportunities to promote broadband adoption and competition through incentives to new entrants in the market for broadband services; modernizing regulations; accurately measuring real-time broadband availability and speeds; and other possible measures, including supporting State, local, and tribal governments interested in encouraging or investing in high-speed broadband networks” and also “increasing broadband access for under-served communities, including in rural areas, and to exploring opportunities to reduce costs for potential low-income users.”

    The Council, charged with carrying out this policy, will be comprised of representatives from 25 different government agencies and will be co-chaired by Secretary Tom Vilsack and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. According to the Memorandum, the Council must “consult with State, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as telecommunications companies, utilities, trade associations, philanthropic entities, policy experts, and other interested parties to identify and assess regulatory barriers and opportunities.” However, spectrum allocation is expressly outside the work of the Council.
    The Memorandum also sets a fairly brisk initial itinerary for the Council:

    • By April 7, all participating agencies must have designated their representatives to the Council;
    • By May 22, participating agencies must submit “a comprehensive survey of Federal programs, including the allocated funding amounts, that currently support or could reasonably be modified to support broadband deployment and adoption, as well as a survey of all agency-specific policies and rules with the direct or indirect effect of facilitating or regulating investment in or deployment of wired and wireless broadband networks.”
    • By July 21, participating agencies must submit to the Council an initial list of actions that each of their agencies could take to identify and address regulatory barriers, incentivize investment, promote best practices, align funding decisions, and otherwise support wired broadband deployment and adoption.
    • By August 20, the Council must submit to the President “a coordinated and agreed prioritized list of recommendations on actions that agencies can take to support broadband deployment and adoption.”

    Law & Regulation

    House Bill Introduced to Promote FCC Collaboration

    On March 18, Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.),. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) announced the re-introduction of the “FCC Collaboration Act of 2015,” a bill intended to allow the FCC to hold nonpublic “collaborative discussions.” Specifically, under the proposed legislation, a bipartisan majority of Commissioners would be permitted to hold a nonpublic meeting to discuss official business if (a) no agency action is taken at such meeting; (b) each person present is either a Commissioner, employee thereof, a member of a joint board or conference, or the staff thereof; and (c) an attorney from the FCC’s Office of General Counsel is present. The Commission must publish disclosure of such meeting within 2 business days, similar to existing FCC ex parte notification rules.

    “The FCC has huge issues to tackle, representing some of the nation’s most pressing communications challenges, yet the current ‘Sunshine’ Rule restricts commissioners from collaborating freely and effectively,” said Eshoo. “Simple collaboration, discussion of issues, and shared expertise outside an official setting are essential in order for the Commission to keep up with the rapidly changing telecommunications landscape.”

    Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

    Rep. Walden Introduces Draft Legislation to Reauthorize the FCC Ahead of Hearing

    On March 17, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) released a draft bill aimed at reauthorizing the FCC (for the first time in 25 years). According to the official announcement of the draft bill, it would:

    • Authorize Federal Communications Commission appropriations at the current level for the next four fiscal years.
    • Authorize appropriations to the commission for spectrum auction expenses at the current level through 2022 - the last year of existing FCC auction authority.
    • Authorize $9 billion per year in appropriations — to be offset by fund contributions — for the support of Universal Service programs. This would cap the Federal Universal Service Fund at $9 billion per year, limiting the growth in the fund, and thus the amount of money the FCC extracts from consumers each year.
    • Authorize the commission to make changes to its schedule of fees to reflect changes in the composition of the commission’s work and the rate of inflation.
    • Create an independent Inspector General at the FCC, removing the ability of the Chairman to hire or fire the Inspector General.

    The draft bill was released ahead of a hearing on FCC oversight, which was prompted by concerns over the statutory basis of several recent FCC actions, the most major of which is the Open Internet Order discussed above, in which the FCC reclassified broadband Internet access as a Title II telecommunications service. Other concerns included a CPNI enforcement action, the preemption of Tennessee and North Carolina municipal broadband laws, and the mounting pile of unfinished dockets on the Commission’s backlog.

    FCC Grants AT&T Claims in Interstate Access Complaint

    On March 18, the FCC issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order granting in part a complaint filed by AT&T against Great Lakes Comnet (GLC) and Westphalia Telephone (WTC), finding that GLC billed AT&T for interstate access services under an unlawful tariff and that WTC unlawfully billed for services that GLC actually provided.

    Specifically, the FCC found that GLC was a CLEC for the purposes of Section 61.26 of the FCC’s Rules, which states that “if a CLEC provides some portion of the switched exchange access services used to send traffic to or from an end user not served by that CLEC, the rate for the access services provided may not exceed the rate charged by the competing ILEC for the same access services.” Since GLC’s tariffed rates were in excess of the rate charged by the competing ILEC, the FCC found that GLC violated Section 61.26 and that its tariff was therefore unlawful.

    AT&T is entitled to pursue an award of damages to be determined in the next phase of this proceeding.

    FCC Allows Certain Customer Notice Calls under TCPA

    The FCC has granted a request by the Cargo Airlines Association to exempt its proposed free-to-end-user package delivery notifications to consumers’ wireless phones from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) constraints on autodialed and prerecorded calls and messages to wireless telephone numbers, as long as consumers are not charged and may easily opt out of future messages. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) was enacted by Congress in 1991 with the objective of protecting consumers from unwanted telephone marketing calls and faxes, which are often considered by consumers to be intrusive and an invasion of their privacy. The law also restricts making calls or sending text messages using automatic telephone dialing systems and prerecorded voice messages (also referred to as “robocalls”) to cell phones and other mobile service devices.

    The Commission’s action will allow wireless consumers to receive package delivery notifications via their wireless phones with the following stipulations:

    1. A notification must be sent, if at all, only to the telephone number for the package recipient;
    2. Notifications must identify the name of the delivery company and include the contact information for the delivery company;
    3. Notifications must not include any telemarketing, solicitation or advertising content;
    4. Voice call and text message notifications must be concise, generally one minute or less in duration for voice calls and one message of 160 characters in length for text messages;
    5. Delivery companies shall send only one notification (whether voice call or text message) per package, except that one additional notification may be sent to a consumer for each of the following two attempts to obtain the recipient’s signature when the signatory is not available to sign for the package on the previous delivery attempt;
    6. Delivery companies relying on this exemption must offer parties the ability to opt out of receiving future delivery notification calls and messages and must honor the opt-out requests within a reasonable time from the date such request is made, not to exceed thirty days; and
    7. Each notification must include information on how to opt out of future delivery notifications; voice call notifications that could be answered by a live person must include an automated, interactive voice-and/or key press-activated opt-out mechanism that enables the called person to make an opt-out request prior to terminating the call; voice call notifications that could be answered by an answering machine or voice mail service must include a toll-free number that the consumer can call to opt out of future package delivery notifications; text notifications must include the ability for the recipient to opt out by replying “STOP.”

    The Commission’s grant of the exemption is limited to package delivery notifications to consumers’ wireless phones either by voice or text and applies so long as those calls are not charged to the consumer recipient, including not being counted against the consumers’ plan limits on minutes or texts. Our clients that engage in similar delivery notifications should be mindful of the conditions listed above and that any party who sends an autodialed or prerecorded package delivery notice to a wireless number must be in full accordance with these requirements in order to take advantage of the exemption from the TCPA restrictions.


    Report Details Increasing Broadband Speeds

    The Washington Post is reporting that, according to a recent “State of the Internet” report produced by Akamai Technologies, a cloud services provider and content delivery network operator headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, demonstrated that broadband speeds across the nation are growing.

    All but seven states saw average peak connection speeds grow between the third and fourth quarters of 2014. Delaware ranked first in the United States with average peak speeds of 75.4 megabits per second, Virginia ranked second place at 73.5 Mbps (up four spots from last year), and D.C. was third at 65.9 Mbps, followed by Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Kentucky was the state with the slowest average peak speeds (34 Mbps). Kentucky has partnered with a private company to build a $250 million to $350 million in fiber backbone throughout the state, which will hopefully improve its rank.

    Only Hong Kong (87.7) and Singapore (84) outstripped America’s top speed, though only Kuwait (33.9) was slower than America’s slowest.

    Calendar At A Glance

    Mar. 30 – Comments are due on Letter of Credit Requirements.
    Mar. 31 – FCC Form 525 (Delayed Phasedown CETC Line Counts) is due.
    Mar. 31 – FCC Form 508 (ICLS Projected Annual Common Line Requirement) is due.
    Mar. 31 – International Circuit Capacity Report is due.

    Apr. 1 – FCC Form 499-A (Annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
    Apr. 1 – Annual Accessibility Certification is due.
    Apr. 7 – Reply comments are due on 911 Outage NPRM.
    Apr. 13 – Reply comments are due on Letter of Credit Requirements.
    Apr. 14 – Deadline for reply comments on Online Public File Expansion NPRM.
    Apr. 21 – Reply Comments are due on 911 Policy NPRM.

    May 1 – FCC Form 499-Q (Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet) is due.
    May 31 – FCC Form 395 (Annual Employment Report) is due.

    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 .

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