August 5, 2022
Recent News

Upcoming Action

 
  • Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Section 60104(c)), by the middle of August 2022 (270 days after the November 15th date of enactment), the FCC is required to issue a report to the Congress on the Future of the Universal Service Fund.  The FCC initiated an inquiry on December 2021 to collect comments from interested parties (WC Docket No. 21-476), which were received in January 2022.  Most recently, as the FCC works on finalizing the report, interested parties have been meeting with the FCC Commissioners and staff. 


General
 
  • On July 15, 2022, Chairwoman Rosenworcel circulated a Notice of Inquiry proposing to increase the national broadband standard to 100 megabits per second for download and 20 megabits per second for upload and to set a separate national goal of 1 Gbps/500 Mbps for the future.
 
  • On July 15, 2022, the WCB issued a Public Notice (DA 22-764) seeking comment on provided revisions to the 2023 FCC Form 499-A, Form 499-A Instructions, Form 499-Q, and Form 499-Q Instructions.  Comments are due on August 15, 2022.
 
  • On July 15, 2002 the WCB issued an Order (DA 22-757) responding to Mark Twain Telephone Company’s request for review of a USAC decision which required the carrier to charge a Subscriber Line Charge (SLC) and to contribute to the Universal Service Fund based on that interstate revenue.  The WCB concluded that the carrier was not required to charge its end-user customers an itemized SLC but must contribute to the Universal Service Fund based on the interstate-allocated portion of it local loop revenue.
 
  • On July 1, 2022, the WCB issued a Public Notice (DA 22-712) seeking comments on the June 25, 2021 interagency agreement between the FCC, USDA, and NTIA, entered into pursuant to the Broadband Interagency Coordination Act of 2020.  Comments are due August 1, 2022 and Reply Comments are due August 16, 2022.


Lifeline / Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
 
  • On July 29, 2022, the WCB announced in a Public Notice (DA 22-800) updated the minimum service standards for Lifeline supported services, with the mobile broadband minimum service standard remaining 4.5 GB until at least December 1, 2023, fixed broadband minimum service standard for data usage at 1280 GB per month, and the mobile voice telephony minimum service standard remaining 1000 minutes per month.  In addition the Notice set the Lifeline budget at $2,572,862,300 for the 2023 calendar year.
   
  • On July 18, 2022, the Commission issued a Public Notice (DA 22-56) seeking comments on ways the Commission’s Lifeline and ACP programs can support survivors of domestic and sexual violence and on how to protect the privacy of survivors’ calls and texts to hotlines and emergency help resources.  Comments are due on August 18, 2022 and Reply Comments are due on September 19, 2022.
 
  • On July 15, 2022, the WCB released an Order (DA 22-770) denying Blue Casa Telephone, LLC’s request to waive Commission requiring a biennial audit for certain Lifeline eligible telecommunications carriers.  Blue Casa argued that a third-party audit is unnecessary because its Lifeline offerings are regulated and supervised by the California Public Utilities Commission and USAC.
 
  • On July 14, 2022, the Commission initiated a Notice of Inquiry to evaluate how its programs might help survivors of domestic violence and other harmful abuse get access to connectivity services, including to determine whether the Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Programs can be modified to support the connectivity needs of survivors. Specifically, the inquiry seeks comment on whether survivors. 
 
  • On July 1, 2022, the WCB released an Order (DA 22-706) that extends the waiver pausing voice-only Lifeline support and increasing the minimum service standard for mobile broadband through December 31, 2023.
 
  • The Commission previously issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 22-44) seeking comments on proposed ACP “broadband transparency rules,” regarding the annual collection of information about the price and subscription rates of internet service offerings received by households enrolled in Program.  The Commission seeks comments on the proposed rules, including on the data to be collected, mechanism for collecting this data, and format for the data’s publication, with Comments due on July 25, 2022, and Reply Comments due on August 8, 2022.


High Cost Fund Programs
 
  • On July 22, 2022, the Commission proposed $4,353,773.87 in fines against 73 applicants in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction (Auction 904) for apparently violating Commission requirements by defaulting on their bids between July 26, 2021 and March 10, 2022.  The bid defaults were in 1,702 census block groups with 129,909 estimated locations in 36 states. 
 
  • On July 20, 2022, the WCB issued an Order (DA 22-781) designating Monster Broadband Inc. as an eligible telecommunications carrier eligible to receive support under the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) program. 
   
  • On July 18, 2022, the Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice (DA 22-776) seeking comments on Siyeh Communications’ request for waiver of the support areas for A-CAM II.  Siyeh Communications alleges that the A-CAM II offer includes support for areas incorrectly determined to be ineligible for A-CAM II support.  Comments are due on August 18, 2022 and Reply Comments are due on September 2, 2022.
 
  • On July 18, 2022, the Commission received comments on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to adopt the Enhanced ACAM Plan.  (These can be accessed in the FCC’s ECFS, WC Docket Number 10-90).  Reply Comments are due by August 1, 2022.
 
  • On July 14, 2022, the Wireline Competition Bureau authorized an additional 1,605 winning bids for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. 
 
  • On July 6, 2022, the WCB issued an Order (DA 22-719) clarifying that mobile high-cost support authorized by Stage 2 of the Brining Puerto Rico Together Fund and the Connect USVI Fund may permissible be used for indoor distributed antenna systems.
 
  • On July 1, 2022, the WCB announced in a Public Notice (DA 22-707) counties where conditional forbearance from the obligation to provide voice services applies for high-cost Lifeline eligible telecommunications carriers.


Schools and Libraries (E-Rate)/Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF)
 
  • On July 29, 2022, in the School and Libraries docket, CC Docket No. 02-6, and in the RHC Program docket, WC Docket No. 02-60, the WCB issued a Public Notice (DA 22-785) announcing the grant, dismissal, or denial of various requests (such as requests for review, requests for waivers, and petition for reconsideration) related to actions taken by the Universal Service Administrative Company.
 
  • On July 27, 2022, the WCB issued an Order (DA 22-799) granting a limited waiver for applicants who modified a first or second window recurring service funding request before the WCB had extended the applicable service delivery date to June 30, 2023.
 
  • On July 27, 2022, the Commission announced it is committing over $77 million in two new funding rounds through the Emergency Connectivity Program.  The funding includes over $2.5 million from the first and second application windows providing support in the upcoming school year for six schools and two libraries and nearly $75 million from the third application window providing support to over 150 schools, 20 libraries, and five consortia. 
 
  • On July 13, 2022, the Commission announced it is committing over $266 million in two new funding rounds through the Emergency Connectivity Program.  The funding includes over $12 million from the first and second application windows providing support in the upcoming school year for approximately 15 schools, two libraries, and one consortium and over $254 million from the third application window providing support to over 400 schools, 45 libraries, and 15 consortia. 
 
  • On July 1, 2022, fiscal year 2022 invoicing began.  After USAC has processed a recipient’s FCC Form 486, service providers can begin the process of invoicing USAC for the discounted share of the approved eligible services.


Rural Health Care (RHC)
 
  • On July 29, 2022, the Wireline Competition Bureau announced in a Public Notice (DA 22-805) an extension to the deadlines for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program Round to October 31, 2022 for recipients to purchase eligible devices and implement eligible service, and an extension of the deadline for submitting invoices for reimbursement by three months.
 
  • On July 29, 2022, in the School and Libraries docket, CC Docket No. 02-6, and in the RHC Program docket, WC Docket No. 02-60, the WCB issued a Public Notice (DA 22-785) announcing the grant, dismissal, or denial of various requests (such as requests for review, requests for waivers, and petition for reconsideration) related to actions taken by the Universal Service Administrative Company.
 
  • On July 22, 2022, the Wireline Competition Bureau announced in a Public Notice (DA 22-792) directing USAC to carry forward up to $380.50 in unused funds from prior funding years to the extent necessary to satisfy funding year 2022 RHC Program demand.
 
  • The WCB issued a Public Notice (DA 22-560) that summarizes upcoming Connected Care Pilot Program deadlines, and waives and extends the end date of the Pilot Program to conduct a full three year Pilot project.  The following Connected Care Pilot Program deadlines apply to all projects:  August 18, 2022 is the last day to post the initial FCC Form 461 to the USAC website; September 16, 2022 is the deadline to submit initial Form 461 to USAC; and December 31, 2025 is the last date for Pilot Program participants to end their project.
 
  • The OMB and WCB established via Public Notice (DA 22-582) a July 31, 2022 deadline for Round 2 COVID-19 Telehealth Program funding recipients and provide recipients with additional information for the post-program report which is due on January 31, 2024.
   
  • On July 1, 2022, the Funding Year 2023 competitive bidding began.  RHC Program applicants can submit their FCC Forms 461 and 465 to initiate competitive bidding for funding year 2023 starting July 1, 2022.
 

PODCASTS

FCC Open Meeting Recap: July 14, 2022

  • Full Spectrum’s FCC Open Meeting Recaps feature a first take and analysis following the FCC’s monthly Open Meetings, with an emphasis on the agenda items directly impacting our clients. This month, Partners Tom Cohen and Hank Kelly and Special Counsel Mike Dover discuss key actions and topics from the July 14th meeting, including the Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on an enhanced competition incentive program for wireless radio services, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking updating the Intercarrier Compensation Regime to Eliminate Access Arbitrage (7:40), and the Notice of Inquiry on supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence (16:50).
 
  • Click here to listen and subscribe for ongoing coverage of these topics and future meetings.