• Telecom Business Alert - Open Internet and Municipal Broadband Orders, Rural Call Completion Reporting, FirstNet Activities, K&H Attorneys to speak at IWCE Conference, Webinar Audios Available - Vol XII, Issue 11
  • March 27, 2015 | Authors: C. Douglas Jarrett; Gregory E. Kunkle; Thomas B. Magee; Tracy P. Marshall
  • Law Firm: Keller and Heckman LLP - Washington Office
  • Open Internet

    Last week, the FCC released its Open Internet Order (Order) adopted on February 26, 2015. Under the Order, a broadband Internet access service provider may not block lawful content, applications, services, or the attachment of non-harmful devices. Further, it may not “impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of Internet content, application or service,” and it may not directly or indirectly favor some traffic over others in exchange for money, to benefit an affiliated entity, or for any other consideration. The most controversial aspect of the Order is the FCC’s reclassification of broadband Internet access service as a telecommunications service, which is therefore subject to Title II of the Communications Act. In an effort to limit potential regulatory burdens, the FCC decided to forbear from applying 30 statutory provisions and more than 700 rules that would otherwise apply under Title II. Republican Commissioners Pai and O’Reilly issued strong Dissenting Statements. The Order becomes effective 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register, which has not yet occurred.

    Municipal Broadband

    Last week, the FCC released its Municipal Broadband Order (Order), which was also adopted on February 26, 2015 during the Commission’s February Open Meeting. In the Order, the Commission preempted certain provisions of Tennessee and North Carolina law limiting expansion of municipal broadband networks beyond their service territories. The Commission found that preemption of these laws would promote competition and provide consumers with additional choices and lower prices. Again, Republican Commissioners Pai and O’Reilly issued strong Dissenting Statements.

    Rural Call Completion Reporting

    The Wireline Competition Bureau announced that “covered providers” of long distance voice must record and retain data pertaining to the completion of long distance calls in rural areas beginning April 1, 2015. This data must be submitted to the FCC on a quarterly basis on Form 480. The data from April 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015 will be due to the FCC by August 1, 2015. Long distance service providers with more than 100,000 subscribers that do not otherwise qualify as a “covered provider” must submit a one-time letter to the Commission in WC Docket No. 13-39 by April 1, 2015.

    FirstNet Activities

    As reported by Keller and Heckman last week, FirstNet released its Second Notice and Request for Comments (Second Notice). The Second Notice was published in the Federal Register on March 13, 2015 and provides interpretations of the FirstNet enabling legislation including end-user equipment requirements and provisions pertaining to a State that decides to assume responsibility for the construction and operation of its own Radio Access Network (i.e. an Opt-Out State). Comments are due by April 13, 2015. Additionally, on March 11, 2015, federal agency representatives and first responders testified before the Senate regarding the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network. Many Senators were concerned with rural build-out and also took an interest in the early pilot projects.

    Webinar Audios Available

    Pole Attachments. On March 10, 2015 K&H attorneys Tom Magee and Jack Richards hosted a webinar discussing the recent decision from the FCC clarifying rates for ILECs attaching to joint use poles, as well as the impact of the FCC’s “Net Neutrality” decision on pole attachment rights and obligations.

    Utilities and National Security. On March 12, 2015, K&H attorney, Al Catalano, hosted a webinar featuring Rear Admiral Ronald Hewitt, USCG (Ret.), Director, Office of Emergency Communications, DHS discussing the National Emergency Communications Plan and the critical role of the nation’s utilities in national security. A recording of this webinar is available upon request.