CommLaw Monitor https://www.kelleydrye.com/viewpoints/blogs/commlaw-monitor News and analysis from Kelley Drye’s communications practice group Tue, 11 Jun 2024 21:01:56 -0400 60 hourly 1 FCC Creates Framework to Fund 5G Deployments in Rural Areas https://www.kelleydrye.com/viewpoints/blogs/commlaw-monitor/fcc-creates-framework-to-fund-5g-deployments-in-rural-areas https://www.kelleydrye.com/viewpoints/blogs/commlaw-monitor/fcc-creates-framework-to-fund-5g-deployments-in-rural-areas Mon, 30 Nov 2020 14:57:40 -0500 The FCC recently took a major step in promoting deployment of 5G networks in rural and hard-to-serve areas by adopting a Report and Order establishing the 5G Fund for Rural America (5G Fund) support program. The program, which is effectively the wireless counterpart to the wireline-focused Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), will offer up to $9 billion over ten years to support the deployment of mobile voice and 5G broadband in these areas. It replaces Phase II of the Mobility Fund, which the FCC mothballed in 2018 after questions arose about the accuracy of wireless coverage data reported by carriers, which was meant to determine which areas are eligible for funding. Half of the 5G Fund budget also comes from repurposing the $4.53 billion that the Commission had originally allotted for 4G LTE deployments under Mobility Fund Phase II. The 5G Fund auction may not occur until 2023 because the Commission opted to wait until it can collect new data on existing deployments to identify areas eligible for support. In the meantime, recipients of legacy mobile high-cost support will be required to start using those funds for 5G networks beginning in 2021.

When the FCC proposed the 5G Fund last May, the biggest sticking point concerned when the Commission would aim to start the auction, which hinged on a decision about what data the FCC would use to identify the areas eligible for support. In the 5G Fund NPRM, the Commission set forth two options. Under the first option, the FCC would initiate Phase I of the auction in 2021 using 10-year old data – primarily census information – to determine rural areas eligible for funding by population (i.e., less than 2,500 people), and then prioritize support to those areas “unlikely” to see 5G deployment absent such investment. Under the second option, the FCC would postpone Phase I until at least 2023 so that it could develop the Digital Opportunity Data Collection (DODC) to collect more granular deployment data. Option 1 had the potential to be both over and under inclusive of eligible areas while option 2 would significantly delay the auction start date. During the proceeding, some commenters urged the Commission to use new Form 477 self-reported data from carriers, as it had tried to do for Mobility Fund Phase II. Ultimately, the Commission selected option 2, prioritizing accuracy and efficient use of funds over speed and declining to use new Form 477 data because the Commission was not convinced it could ensure the data was reliable in a shorter timeframe than using the DODC information.

The Report and Order also places a few other conditions on the selection of eligible areas. First, an area will only be eligible for Phase I of the auction if the DODC shows that there is not already at least one service provider offering unsubsidized 4G LTE or 5G broadband service. Given existing market competition, the Commission thinks that providing support to areas with unsubsidized 4G LTE service could preempt near-term 5G deployments that would already be expected in those areas. Second, the 5G Fund will exclude areas covered by the T-Mobile/Sprint merger. Since new T-Mobile committed to serve 90% of rural Americans within six years as part of the merger agreement, the Commission said providing support to those same areas would be a waste of the limited funds. As a related limitation, while T-Mobile can participate in the auction, it cannot use any 5G Fund awards to support 5G buildouts in areas where it has already committed to deploy under the merger agreement.

Other key elements of the Report and Order include:

Auction Procedures – The FCC will award the funds using a two-phase reverse auction, where the provider offering to serve an area for the least amount of funding is the winner. Phase I would provide up to $8 billion in support, with $680 million reserved for deployments on Tribal lands. Phase II would provide up to $1 billion, plus any funding remaining after Phase I, for deployments for precision agriculture and particularly hard-to-serve areas like farms and ranches. Geographic bidding areas will range from census block groups to census tracts, with the exact grouping of eligible areas to be determined during the pre-auction process. The FCC also adopted an “adjustment factor” that will assign weights and increase support for geographic areas with difficult terrain and other characteristics that make them more costly or less profitable to serve. The exact application of the adjustment factor will also be decided during the pre-auction process.

Performance Requirements – 5G Fund recipients will be required to deploy networks that meet 5G-NR (New Radio) technology standards and provide median speeds of at least 35/3 Mbps. Minimum cell edge speeds must be at least 7/1 Mbps. Round-trip latency on supported services cannot exceed 100 milliseconds. In addition, support recipients would be required to offer at least one service plan with a monthly data allowance equaling the average U.S. subscriber’s data usage. As with prior high-cost programs, support recipients will be required to offer their services at rates “reasonably comparable” to those offered in urban areas and be subject to collocation and roaming obligations.

Deployment Milestones – The FCC adopting escalating deployment milestones for 5G Fund support recipients. Specifically, support recipients will need to offer service meeting the performance requirements to 40% of their service area by the end of the third full calendar year of funding, 60% by year four, 80% by year five, and a final milestone of 85% by year six. To avoid a repeat of the Mobility Fund Phase II coverage data issues, the FCC has imposed strict reporting requirements on 5G Fund support recipients that include on-the-ground testing for each milestone.

ETC Designation and Application Requirements – Like the RDOF, service providers will be able to participate in the 5G Fund auction without first being designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC), but winning bidders will need to secure such designations in their supported service areas with 180 days to receive funding. The 5G Fund application process also mirrors the RDOF procedures, with service providers initially required to submit a short-form application that includes basic business, financial, and technical information followed by a long-form application for winning bidders with detailed network information and deployment timeframes. Winning bidders also will have to meet letter of credit requirements that are eased as providers hit deployment milestones.

Transitioning Legacy Support – All competitive ETCs receiving legacy high-cost support for 4G LTE mobile wireless service will be required to use an increasing percentage of their support toward the deployment, maintenance, and operation of 5G networks that meet 5G-NR standards. The change will be phased in, with one-third of the support required for 5G in 2021 and two-thirds in 2022. These competitive ETCs will also be required to meet the same speed, latency, data allowance, and “reasonably comparable” rate requirements as 5G Fund recipients.

While the Report and Order solidifies many aspects of the 5G Fund, the Commission will seek additional input on specific auction procedures and eligible area determinations once it starts collecting mapping data through the DODC. That could happen sooner following the change in Administration ­– the two Democratic commissioners have long advocated that the Commission make a bigger effort to get more precise deployment data and could push harder to get funding from Congress for the DODC or for reallocating existing funds toward the effort.

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FCC Proposes 5G Fund for Rural Wireless Networks, But Timing Remains Uncertain https://www.kelleydrye.com/viewpoints/blogs/commlaw-monitor/fcc-proposes-5g-fund-for-rural-wireless-networks-but-timing-remains-uncertain https://www.kelleydrye.com/viewpoints/blogs/commlaw-monitor/fcc-proposes-5g-fund-for-rural-wireless-networks-but-timing-remains-uncertain Sun, 03 May 2020 12:09:20 -0400 The FCC plans to create a new “5G Fund” offering up to $9 billion over ten years to support the deployment of wireless broadband and voice services in rural and other hard-to-serve areas. Under a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("NPRM") adopted at the FCC’s April meeting, the 5G Fund would operate as the wireless counterpart to the wireline-focused Rural Digital Opportunity Fund ("RDOF") approved earlier this year and replace Phase II of the Mobility Fund, which the FCC mothballed in 2018 after questions arose about reported coverage data. The NPRM proposes awarding funding through auction in two phases. Phase I would provide up to $8 billion in support, with $680 million reserved for deployments on Tribal lands. Phase II would provide up to $1 billion (plus any funding remaining after Phase I) for deployments for precision agriculture and particularly hard-to-serve areas like farms and ranches. The 5G Fund would exclude areas covered by the recently-approved T-Mobile/Sprint merger, which included a commitment to serve 90% of rural Americans within six years. The NPRM is just the first step towards launching the 5G Fund and presents an opportunity for all stakeholders to provide their input on the fundamental policies and procedures the will govern the new program.

The main sticking point among the Commissioners is over when Phase I should begin, and on what basis. The NPRM seeks comment on two options. Under the first option, the FCC would initiate Phase I in 2021 and use existing data sources – primarily census information – to determine rural areas eligible for funding by population (i.e., less than 2,500 people), and then prioritize support to those areas “unlikely” to see 5G deployment on their own. The FCC seeks comment on whether alternative data sources exist and whether a population density threshold may be more appropriate. The FCC plans to prioritize support to areas historically lacking 4G LTE (or even 3G) service. However, recognizing the deficiencies in existing wireless coverage data, the FCC asks for input on relevant information sources to make this historical determination. Under the second option, the FCC would postpone Phase I until at least 2023 in order to use more granular deployment data developed through its upcoming Digital Opportunity Data Collection. The NPRM asserts that the delay stems from a lack of appropriations under the recent Broadband DATA Act, which requires the FCC to significantly improve its broadband coverage maps. Without such appropriations, the FCC contends that it would need time to reallocate existing resources to broadband mapping that it would eventually use to determine rural areas lacking 5G service eligible for funding. Both options have their detractors, with critics of the first option noting that available census data already are almost ten years old as well as the importance of ensuring funding goes to areas actually lacking 5G service, and with detractors of the second option warning that funding delays would only widen the urban/rural digital divide. At the April Open Meeting, the two Democratic Commissioners dissented in part, suggesting that the NPRM presents a false choice between speed and accuracy.

Other key elements of the FCC’s 5G Fund proposal include:

  • Auction Procedures: As with the RDOF, the FCC plans to award 5G Fund support through a “reverse” auction, where the provider offering to serve an area for the least amount of funding is the winner. Auction participants would bid by census tract (or a potentially larger area) and the FCC’s proposes applying an “adjustment” factor to increase the funding available for tracts with difficult terrain and other characteristics increasing service costs. The FCC plans to issue proposed adjustment factor criteria and seek comment on such criteria at a later date.
  • Performance Requirements: The FCC proposes requiring 5G Fund support recipients to provide speeds of at least 35/3 Mbps, with potential increases over time to reflect service advancements. Support recipients would be required to provide a minimum cell-edge download speed of 7/1 Mbps, with a 90% coverage probability and 50% cell loading factor. The FCC also would cap supported service latency at 100 milliseconds per round trip. In addition, support recipients would be required to offer at least one service plan with a data allowance equaling the average U.S. subscriber’s data usage. As with prior high-cost programs, support recipients would be required to offer their services at rates “reasonably comparable” to those offered in urban areas and be subject to collocation and roaming obligations.
  • Deployment Milestones: The FCC anticipates adopting escalating deployment milestones for 5G Fund support recipients. Specifically, support recipients would be required to offer service meeting the performance requirements to 40% of their service area by the end of the third full calendar year of funding, with the deployment requirement increasing to 60% by year four, 80% by year five, and 85% by year six as the final milestone. To avoid a repeat of the Mobility Fund Phase II coverage data issues, the FCC plans to impose strict reporting requirements on 5G Fund support recipients that include significant on-the-ground testing and standardized propagation modeling.
  • Transitioning Legacy Support: The FCC seeks comment on how best to transition existing high-cost support to 5G Fund auction winners. In particular, the FCC proposes phasing down all legacy high-cost support over no more than five years, with legacy support recipients required to meet the same performance requirements as 5G Fund auction winners on an accelerated schedule to receive transition funding.
  • ETC Designation and Application Requirements: Like the RDOF, the FCC plans to permit service providers to participate in the 5G Fund auction without first being designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier ("ETC"). However, winning bidders would be required to obtain an ETC designation in their supported service areas before receiving any funding. The 5G Fund application process also would mirror RDOF procedures, with service providers initially submitting a short-form application including basic information on their identity, ownership, and financial/technical qualifications followed by a long-form application for winning bidders providing detailed network information and deployment timeframes. Winning bidders also would be required to meet letter of credit requirements, which could be eased as the providers hit deployment milestones.
As with the RDOF, the FCC’s 5G Fund proceeding is sure to generate significant comment, with stakeholders already divided over the appropriate timeframes, performance requirements, and legacy transition procedures. With its 10-year budget term, the 5G Fund has the potential to significantly reshape the rural wireless competitive landscape and warrants close attention. Even at this early stage, the FCC’s 5G Fund proposals are complex and contain potential pitfalls for the unwary. As a result, advance preparation and sound counsel will be critical to the success of 5G Fund applicants.

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FCC Plans to Open Up 6 GHz Band for Unlicensed Use, Propose $9 Billion Rural Mobility Fund, and Address Orbital Debris at April Meeting https://www.kelleydrye.com/viewpoints/blogs/commlaw-monitor/fcc-plans-to-open-up-6-ghz-band-for-unlicensed-use-propose-9-billion-rural-mobility-fund-and-address-orbital-debris-at-april-meeting https://www.kelleydrye.com/viewpoints/blogs/commlaw-monitor/fcc-plans-to-open-up-6-ghz-band-for-unlicensed-use-propose-9-billion-rural-mobility-fund-and-address-orbital-debris-at-april-meeting Tue, 07 Apr 2020 16:50:00 -0400 As the flurry of coronavirus-related actions continues, the FCC plans to return to “bread and butter” policy areas of spectrum and rural 5G deployment at its next meeting scheduled for April 23, 2020. First, the FCC plans to move forward on its proposal to open up 6 GHz band spectrum (5.925-7.125 GHz) for unlicensed use by smartphones, IoT devices, and other technologies. The FCC would allow standard-power unlicensed operations in certain band segments, subject to controls designed to avoid interference with incumbent microwave, cable, and satellite operators. The FCC also would permit lower-power unlicensed operations across the entire band, but only for indoor uses. Second, the FCC would consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to seek public input on a “5G Fund” offering up to $9 billion over ten years through an auction to support deployment of wireless broadband and voice services in rural and other hard-to-serve areas. The 5G Fund would represent the wireless counterpart to the wireline-focused Rural Digital Opportunity Fund adopted earlier this year and replace Phase II of the Mobility Fund, which the FCC mothballed after questions arose about reported coverage data. Finally, the FCC would update its orbital debris mitigation requirements to mandate additional disclosures and incorporate new inter-agency standards.

Running the gamut from rural networks to outer space, the FCC’s April agenda will impact service providers across the industry. Consequently, stakeholders should closely examine the deployment and funding opportunities presented in the FCC’s proposals. You will find more information on the key April meeting items after the break:

Unlicensed Use of 6 GHz Band: The draft Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would authorize two types of unlicensed operations in the 6 GHz band. First, the FCC would permit unlicensed operations in the 5.925-6.425 GHz and 6.525-6.875 GHz sub-bands at standard power levels used in nearby bands (i.e., 23 dBm/MHz), provided such operations use an automated frequency control (AFC) system. The AFC would determine the frequencies available for use without causing harmful interference to incumbent operators and make only those frequencies available for unlicensed operations. Second, the FCC would permit unlicensed operations across the entire 1,200 megahertz of the 6 GHz band at a lower power (i.e., 5 dBm/MHz) without an AFC system, but restrict such operations to indoor uses. The FCC would seek comment on allowing a higher power level (i.e., up to 8 dBm/MHz) for indoor unlicensed operations. The agency also plans to ask whether it should permit very low power unlicensed operations without an AFC system both indoors and outdoors and, if so, what that power level should be.

5G Fund: The draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order would seek comment on establishing a 5G Fund to provide up to $9 billon to support the deployment of 5G mobile broadband and voice networks in rural and other hard-to-serve areas over ten years. The 5G Fund would support deployments in areas left uncovered by the recently-approved T-Mobile/Sprint merger, which included a commitment to serve 90% of rural Americans within six years. Under the FCC’s proposal, funding would be awarded through competitive bidding in two phases. Phase I would provide up to $8 billion in support, including $680 million in funding reserved for deployments on Tribal lands. The FCC would request input on two options for the Phase I timeframe. Under the first option, the FCC would initiate Phase I in 2021 using existing wireless deployment data to determine eligible areas and prioritize support for areas historically lacking 4G LTE (or even 3G) service. Under the second option, the FCC would hold off on Phase I until at least 2023 in order to use more granular deployment data developed through its upcoming Digital Opportunity Data Collection. Phase II would take place after the completion of Phase I, targeting especially hard-to-serve areas and reserving at least $1 billion to support networks used for precision agriculture. In addition, the FCC would seek comment on 5G Fund auction procedures as well as the appropriate eligibility, application, and performance requirements for auction participants.

Orbital Debris Mitigation: The draft Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would mark the FCC’s first major update to its orbital debris mitigation requirements in over 15 years and incorporate a number of recommendations developed by the agency with NASA, the Defense Department, and other federal agencies. The FCC would require all satellites to be able to perform collision avoidance maneuvers any time they are in orbit above the International Space Station (approximately 400 kilometers altitude). The FCC also would update its disclosure requirements to include new information related to satellite collision risk, protecting inhabitable spacecraft, maneuverability, and how operators plan to share information related to space situational awareness. In addition, the FCC would codify requirements for geostationary-orbit satellite license extensions and limit such extensions to five years. The FCC further plans to ask whether it should impose a bond requirement for geostationary and non-geostationary space stations contingent on successful post-mission station disposal.

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COVID-19: What Communications Service Providers Need to Know https://www.kelleydrye.com/viewpoints/blogs/commlaw-monitor/covid-19-what-communications-service-providers-need-to-know https://www.kelleydrye.com/viewpoints/blogs/commlaw-monitor/covid-19-what-communications-service-providers-need-to-know Mon, 23 Mar 2020 18:29:16 -0400 As COVID-19 has reached pandemic levels, the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") has been active to keep communications services available through various waivers and actions. Kelley Drye’s Communications practice group is tracking these actions and what they mean for communications service providers. CommLaw Monitor will provide regular updates to its analysis of the latest regulatory and legislative actions impacting your business. Subscribe to receive these alerts.

If you have any questions, please contact your usual Kelley Drye attorney or any member of the Communications Practice Group. For more information on labor, advertising, and other issues, visit Kelley Drye’s COVID-19 Response Resource Center.

Chairman Pai Unveils ‘Keep Americans Connected’ Pledge

On March 13, 2020, Chairman Ajit Pai called on broadband and telephone service providers to forgo service terminations due to inability to pay, waive late fees, and open Wi-Fi hotspots for those who need them for the next 60 days. The March 13, March 16, and March 19 releases each included lists of participating providers, and the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected page lists 475 participating service providers and 10 trade associations. The providers that have taken the pledge have agreed to, for the next 60 days: (1) not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic; (2) waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and (3) open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them. The list of participating providers includes major carriers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Comcast, Charter and RCN.

Chairman Pai also asked providers to expand or implement programs for low-income Americans, and to relax data cap policies in appropriate circumstances. Several carriers have already rolled out modified service offerings aimed at providing Internet access for free or at a reduced cost to low-income individuals and households, as well as K-12 households. Providers that have not yet taken the pledge should seriously consider whether they can do so, or if they can in some other way make their services more accessible, available or affordable to their customers.

FCC Temporarily Grants Wireless Carriers Access to Additional Spectrum

On March 15, 2020, the FCC began granting Special Temporary Authority to several U.S. carriers, allowing them access to additional spectrum for the next 60 days in order to handle the increase in network traffic because of social distancing and stay-at-home orders issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. T-Mobile, Verizon (also here), U.S. Cellular, and AT&T have all received permission to utilize additional spectrum. Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, in a tweet, questioned whether U.S. networks can handle increased traffic and called on the FCC to utilize the disaster reporting system for COVID-19 and expand reporting requirements beyond telephone service to reflect the “broadband age.”

FCC Grants Waivers to Permit Schools, Libraries and Rural Healthcare Providers to Accept Free or Discounted Services

On March 18, 2020, the Wireline Competition Bureau released an order (DA 20-290) waiving gift rules in the Rural Health Care and E-Rate programs to “enable service providers to offer, and RHC and E-Rate program participants to solicit and accept, improved broadband connections or equipment for telehealth or remote learning.” The order is intended to allow schools, libraries and rural healthcare providers to meet anticipated short-term demands outside of the restrictions of the programs. By waiving the gift rules, applicants are free to accept – and service providers are free to offer – arrangements that would otherwise qualify as gifts. For example, a service provider might make significantly discounted service available, might waive data caps or might provide free (or loaner) equipment to meet additional demand, all of which might have disqualified the service provider from future E-Rate or RHC bidding. Under the order, the gift rules (47 C.F.R. sections 54.503(d)(1), 54.603(b), 54.611(b)(2), 54.622(h)(1), 54.623(a)(1)(vi), 54.627(c)(3)(ii)(H), and 54.627(d)(1)(ii)(F)) will be waived through September 30, 2020.

FCC Clarifies that Hospital, Healthcare Provider and Government COVID-Related Communications Fall Within “Emergency Purposes” Exception to the TCPA

On March 20, 2020, the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau released a Declaratory Ruling (DA 20-318) regarding the TCPA’s “Emergency Purposes” exception to the consent requirement. The Bureau order declares that COVID-19 constitutes an emergency under the TCPA’s exception, thus allowing communications (voice calls and texts) related to the emergency without consent. The order specifically permits calls/texts where (1) the communication is made by a hospital, healthcare official, state, local or federal government official or a person or entity acting on their behalf; and (2) the communication is informational, directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic and related to the imminent health or safety risk of the pandemic. The order provides several non-exhaustive examples of communications that would fall within the emergency purposes exception. The Bureau made clear, however, that marketing messages may not be included in the communications.

It is important to note that this clarification applies to both voice calls and text messages that are sent by the designated entities (so long as the content related to the COVID-19 crisis). The order is designed to ensure that time-sensitive messages are delivered promptly and are not impeded by the TCPA’s consent requirements. For entities not identified in the Bureau’s clarification, we recommend that you obtain the advice of counsel to determine how the TCPA applies to the proposed call or message.

FCC Waives Lifeline Reverification and Recertification De-Enrollments for 60 Days, But Fails to Address De-Enrollments Due to Non-Usage

On March 17, 2020, the Wireline Competition Bureau issued an order (DA 20-285) waiving the Lifeline program’s recertification and reverification requirements (sections 54.405(e)(4) and 54.410(f) of the Commission’s rules) until May 16, 2020. This FCC order follows several state orders and decisions prohibiting or discouraging public utilities from disconnecting consumer’s communications services. The FCC order also postpones the March 26, 2020 effective date of the requirement under section 54.406(a) of the Commission’s rules that eligible telecommunications carriers must require their enrollment representatives to register with USAC to May 25, 2020. However, the order does not waive the de-enrollment requirement for non-usage of the Lifeline service, setting up a conflict with at least one state public utility commission non-disconnection order.

In addition, the FCC took the following actions in response to the pandemic:

  • On March 19, 2020 the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued an order (DA 20-291) waiving the Commission’s rules requiring licensees to transition their part 90 operations to part 96 operations in the 3650-3700 MHz band. This applies to licensees that would have had to transition between April 17, 2020 and October 17, 2020, and the new deadline is October 17, 2020. The Commission did not want the customers of the part 90 licensees to lose any broadband and essential services during the declared state of emergency and recognized the difficulties with implementing transition plans during this time. Moreover, in the order, the Bureau suspends acceptance and processing of new site registrations for all part 90 wireless broadband licensees in the 3650-3700 MHz band effective with applications received on or after March 19, 2020.
  • On March 16, 2020, the Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau issued an order (DA 20-281) waiving several telecommunications relay services ("TRS") rules and at-home Video Relay Service ("VRS") pilot program requirements in response to increased demand for communications assistants ("CAs") and an anticipated reduction in the number of CAs able to work from call centers. Under the order, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 152, 154(i), 154(j), 225, and sections 0.141, 0.361, and 1.3 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR §§ 0.141, 0.361, 1.3, the provisions of sections 64.604 and 64.606 of the Commission’s rules are waived through May 15, 2020.
  • On March 17, 2020 the FCC issued a public notice (DA 20-282) directing any television station scheduled to complete phase 9 of the post-incentive auction transition to submit a waiver request if they are delayed in meeting the May, 1, 2020 deadline due to COVID-19.
  • On March 20, 2020, the FCC issued a public advisory and launched a webpage in response to consumer and news reports that scammers are using the COVID-19 outbreak to spread misinformation and conduct fraudulent activity using robocalls and text messages.
  • On March 13, 2020, the Wireline Competition Bureau issued a public notice (DA 20-273) directing USAC to extend the deadline for E-Rate applicants to submit their Funding Year 2020 FCC Form 471 applications to April 29, 2020. Additionally, the public notice directed USAC to automatically provide all applicants with a 14-day extension for any Program Integrity Assurance ("PIA") requests.

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