Reminder: Federal Communications Commission – September and October Filings

Each month, Kelley Drye’s Communications Group offers this reminder of upcoming filing deadlines that may affect our clients and friends. Please review the deadlines below and contact us if you would like assistance or have any questions.

I. Featured Upcoming Compliance Deadlines

II. Filing Deadlines in Select Rulemakings, Inquiries, and Other Proceedings

III. Select Ongoing Filing Requirements

The following are reminders for upcoming Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) reports and compliance requirements:

A. Revisions to August 1, 2023, Form 499-Q Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet (due September 15, 2023)

Carriers and providers of interstate and international telecommunications that seek to revise their August 1, 2023, Form 499-Q filing must do so within 45 days of the Form 499-Q filing deadline.

B. The Modernized Form 477 (Broadband Data Collection) Report – EXTENDED DEADLINE (due September 15, 2023)

The successor to the Form 477 Local Competition and Broadband Report, containing data as of June 30, 2023, is due by September 15, 2023, (on extension from its usual due date of September 1). 2020 Census geography codes must be used when creating and filing your data. To ease revisions, filings of data as of June 30, 2021, and before, will continue to rely on 2010 Census codes.

The report requires the submission of information regarding broadband connections in service to end user locations, wired and wireless local telephone services, and interconnected VoIP services in all states and territories as well as Washington, D.C.

Who Must File:

(1) Facilities-based providers of one or more broadband (i.e., faster than 200 kbps, in at least one direction) connections (including wired facilities-based lines and wireless channels where the provider holds the license) to end users;

(2) Incumbent local exchange carriers (“ILECs”) or competitive local exchange carriers (“CLECs”) that provide wired or fixed wireless local exchange service to one or more end user customers;

(3) interconnected VoIP service providers with one or more revenue-generating end user customer of interconnected VoIP service; and

(4) facilities-based providers of mobile telephony services that serve one or more mobile telephony subscribers.

Filing Process:

For data as of June 30, 2023, the Form 477 Report must now be submitted electronically using the Broadband Data Collection (“BDC”) System. (The prior Form 477 Filing Interface will remain open for revisions for data as of June 30, 2022, and earlier.) Filers will need to use their Federal Registration Number (“FRN”) and associated password to access this new BDC system. The Form 477 submission must include in the Filer Identification information the name of the company official that certifies he/she examined the information contained in this Form 477 and that, to the best of his/her knowledge, information and belief, all statements of fact contained in this Form 477 are true and correct.

Note that with the change from use of the Form 477 interface to the BDC system, the FCC issued a new instruction guide and posted an updated Form 477 Resources page for submission of this report.

C. Annual FCC Regulatory Fees (due September 20, 2023)

The FCC collects annual regulatory fees from most federal licensees and other regulated entities to offset costs associated with the FCC’s enforcement, public service, policy, and rulemaking activities. Fees vary by type of licensee or operating entity and are to be paid no later than September 20, 2023. Information regarding the fee schedule for providers of interstate and international telecommunications and telecommunications services, radio frequency spectrum licensees, broadcast licensees, satellite and earth station licensees, and submarine cable operators, among others, as well as the payment process is provided in the Public Notice. The 2023 Fee Schedule is set out in Appendix C to the Regulatory Fees Order. All regulatory fees are to be paid electronically through CORES.

  • The FCC will not issue bills for the regulatory fees and it is the licensee’s responsibility to pay the fees owed (regardless of the amount posted in the CORES system).
  • Failure to meet the regulatory fee payment deadline (once established) will result in the assessment of late payment penalties, set by statute at 25%. The FCC does not ordinarily waive late payment penalties.
D. 911 Annual Reliability Certifications (due October 16, 2023)

Covered 911 service providers (as defined in Commission Rule 9.19(a)(4)) must certify annually regarding their compliance with the requirement to take reasonable measures to provide reliable 911 service with respect to: (i) 911 circuit diversity; (ii) central office backup power; and (iii) diverse network monitoring. Certifications shall be filed through the Commission’s online portal at https://​app​s2​.fcc​.gov/​r​c​s911/. Instructions regarding how to file the report and how to register new users in the portal are provided in the Public Notice.

II. Filing Deadlines in Select Rulemakings, Inquiries, and Other Proceedings

Broadband Deployment Funding. On July 24, 2023, the FCC released a Report and Order, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [“NPRM”] and Notice of Inquiry [“NOI”] in WC Docket. No.10-90, et al. The NPRM seeks seek comment how to revise legacy rate-of-return mechanisms to comport with current strategies for broadband deployment and support. The NOI seeks comments regarding whether, and how, to redesign the USF high-cost support program over time to align with the developing broadband landscape in the U.S. Comments on the NPRM are due by September 18, 2023 with reply comments due no later than October 2, 2023. Comments on the NOI are due by October 23, 2023 with reply comments due no later than November 21, 2023.

Incarcerated People’s Communications Services (“IPCS”): On August 3, 2023, the FCC issued a Public Notice in WC Docket Nos. 23-62 and 12-375, requesting comment on proposed revisions to IPCS providers’ reporting and certification requirements, including revisions to implement the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act of 2022. As announced in an August 9, 2023, FCC notice, comments were due September 8, 2023, with reply comments due by September 25, 2023.

Tribal E-Rate Participation: On July 20, 2023, the FCC adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) in CC Docket Nos. 02-6, 96-45, and 97-21 seeking comment on methods by which to improve the application process for all applicants. Following publication in the August 9, 2023, Federal Register, comments are due by September 25, 2023, with reply comments due by October 23, 2023.

Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Labelling. On August 10, 2023, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on its proposal for a voluntary program of IoT cybersecurity labelling to better inform consumers regarding the security of IoT devices and products. Comments are due by September 25, 2023 with reply comments due no later than October 10, 2023.

HSR Premerger Notifications: the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice seek comment by September 27, 2023, (extended from August 28, 2023), on proposed changes to compliance with Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, specifically to the premerger notification form, associated instructions, and notification rules. Further information and filing instructions are available in the June 29, 2023, Federal Register publication.

42 GHz Proceeding: On June 8, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) in WT Docket No. 23-158 and GN Docket No. 14-177 regarding potential shared licensing of the 42.0-42.5 gigahertz band. Following its publication in the July 31, 2023, Federal Register, comments were due by August 30, 2023, with reply comments due by September 29, 2023.

International Section 214 Authority and Applications: On April 25, 2023, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), in IB Docket No. 23-119 and MD Docket No. 23-134 seeking comment on proposed changes to the regulatory framework governing FCC authorizations for the provision of international telecommunications services under Section 214 of the Communications Act of 1934. As we have discussed in a related blog, the FCC’s rulemaking is considering changes to almost every aspect of the authorization lifecycle that would create new and increased burdens which may complicate investment and transactional strategies. Following publication in the August 1, 2023, Federal Register, comments on the proposed rules were due on August 31, 2023, and reply comments are due by October 2, 2023.

  • FURTHER NOTE: International Telecommunications Carrier Information Collection: the FCC has yet, as of the date hereof, to set the date for all Section 214 international authority holders to submit ownership information as mandated in an Order adopted at its April Open Meeting. It is expected that the deadline for affected carriers to submit the requested information will be no earlier than October 8, 2023.

Non-Federal Spectrum Usage. On August 4, 2023, the FCC released a Notice of Inquiry in WT Docket​.No. 23-232, seeking comment regarding use of new methods and technologies to more effectively compile information on non-Federal spectrum usage. Comments are due by October 3, 2023 with reply comments due no later than November 2, 2023.

Videoconferencing Accessibility: On June 8, 2023, the FCC adopted a Report and Order, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”), and Order in CG Docket Nos. 23–161, 10–213, and 03–123. The NPRM seeks comment on proposals to improve videoconferencing accessibility for persons with disabilities. Following publication in the August 7, 2023, Federal Register, comments were due by September 6, 2023, with reply comments due by October 6, 2023.

III. Select Ongoing Filing Requirements

Pro Forma Assignments and Transfer

Assignments of Authorization and Transfers of Control can be filed either as pro forma applications or non-pro forma applications.

A pro forma assignment or transfer is one in which the form of ownership changes but actual control of the license remains with the same entity or person. Pro forma assignments and transfers may be approved under streamlined Forbearance procedures in the case of most telecommunications carriers (e.g., Section 214 authorization holders, wireless licensees (excluding those with installment payment or designated entity issues) and earth station licensees). These pro forma requests do not require prior FCC approval provided that the parties notify the FCC of the change within 30 days. Note that private licenses are not subject to forbearance. FCC approval generally is required for pro forma transfers and assignments of private licenses.

Change in FCC Form 499 Filer Information

Filers must update their registration information, including a DC Agent for Service of Process in accordance with these instructions to the FCC Form 499-A. Filers must file updated information within one week of the contact information change.

Filers wishing to update Preparer information, headquarters address, billing contact information, or DC Agent for Service of Process, can submit either an FCC Form 499-A or an FCC Form 499-Q or, for billing-related matters only, email USAC’s billing department. Filers wishing to update any other information must submit a revised FCC Form 499-A. For more information, see https://​www​.usac​.org/​s​e​r​v​i​c​e​-​p​r​o​v​i​d​e​r​s​/​c​o​n​t​r​i​b​u​t​i​n​g​-​t​o​-​t​h​e​-​u​s​f​/​m​a​k​i​n​g​-​r​e​v​i​s​ions/.

Filers that cease providing telecommunications must deactivate their Filer ID with USAC by submitting a letter with termination date and information on their successor entity to USAC. Filers must also update their CORES ID information with the Commission.

Filers must file within 30 days of the date that the company ceases to provide telecommunications service or telecommunications.

FCC: https://​apps​.fcc​.gov/​c​o​r​e​s​/​u​s​e​r​L​o​g​

USAC: www​.usac​.org/​s​e​r​v​i​c​e​-​p​r​o​v​i​d​e​r​s​/​c​o​n​t​r​i​b​u​t​i​n​g​-​t​o​-​t​h​e​-​u​s​f​/​m​a​n​a​g​e​-​y​o​u​r​-​4​99-id

Change in Robocall Mitigation Plans

A voice service provider that has not fully implemented the STIR/SHAKEN call authentication framework for all calls must submit a robocall mitigation plan pursuant to 47 CFR § 64.6305(b). Any provider that makes a change in any of the following information must submit a revised robocall mitigation plan within 10 business days of the change. See 47 CFR § 64.6305(b)(5).

  • Its certification as to the implementation of STIR/SHAKEN in its network;
  • The extension(s) that apply to its implementation of the STIR/SHAKEN framework;
  • The specific reasonable steps the voice service provider has taken to avoid originating illegal robocall traffic as part of its robocall mitigation program;
  • Its commitment to respond to all traceback requests and law enforcement requests for information on illegal robocalling; and
  • The provider’s business name, d/b/a name(s), former name(s), its legal address and contact information for one person within the company responsible for addressing robocall mitigation-related issues.

The link for submitting a revised robocall mitigation plan is available here.

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Attorneys in Kelley Drye’s Communications Practice Group are experienced in addressing a full range of communications business and regulatory issues, including radiofrequency spectrum allocations, radio system licensing, radio service operating and technical rules, coordination agreements between users, and interference resolution. For more information, please contact your current Kelley Drye attorney or any member of the Communications Practice Group.