FCC Establishes New Digital Opportunity Data Collection
At its Open Meeting yesterday, the FCC voted to initiate a new process for collecting fixed broadband data to better pinpoint where broadband service is lacking. The FCC concluded that there is a compelling and immediate need to develop more granular broadband deployment data to meet this goal, and accordingly, created the new Digital Opportunity Data Collection. This new data collection that will collect geospatial broadband coverage maps from fixed broadband Internet service providers of areas where they make fixed service available. The data will facilitate development of granular, high-quality fixed broadband deployment maps, which should improve the FCC’s ability to target support for broadband expansion through the federal Universal Service Fund programs.
The FCC also:
- Adopted a process to collect public input on the accuracy of service providers’ broadband maps, facilitated by a crowd-sourcing portal that will gather input from consumers as well as from state, local, and Tribal governments.
- Makes targeted changes to the existing Form 477 data collection to reduce reporting burdens for all filers and incorporate new technologies. Makes targeted changes to the existing Form 477 data collection to reduce reporting burdens for all filers and incorporate new technologies.
- The Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks comment on additional issues, including:
- Possible additional technical standards for fixed broadband providers that could ensure greater precision for the Digital Opportunity Data Collection deployment reporting and ways the Commission can incorporate location-specific fixed broadband deployment data in this new data collection;
- Collection of more accurate, reliable mobile wireless voice and broadband coverage data and incorporation of this information into the Digital Opportunity Data Collection; and
- Sunsetting the Form 477 broadband deployment collection following the full implementation of the Digital Opportunity Data Collection.
The Regulatory Mix Today: FCC Establishes New Digital Opportunity Data Collection, FCC Improves Access to 911 from MLTS, FCC Bans Malicious Foreign Robocalls and Text Messages, FCC Sets Bidding Date for 833 Toll Free Auction
FCC Improves Access to 911 from MLTS
At its Open Meeting, the FCC also voted to adopt rules to ensure that people who call 911 from multi-line telephone systems - which commonly serve hotels, office buildings, and campuses—can reach 911 and be quickly located by first responders. The new rules will also improve emergency response for people who call 911 from other calling platforms.
First, the FCC took action to implement Kari’s Law, which requires multi-line telephone systems to enable users to dial 911 directly, without having to dial a prefix (such as a “9”) to reach an outside line. Kari’s Law also requires multi-line telephone systems to provide notification, such as to a front desk or security office, when a 911 call is made to facilitate building entry by first responders.
Second, Section 506 of RAY BAUM’S Act requires the FCC to consider adopting rules to ensure that “dispatchable location” information, such as the street address, floor level, and room number of a 911 caller, is conveyed with 911 calls, regardless of the technological platform used, so that first responders can be quickly dispatched to the caller’s location. The new rules apply dispatchable location requirements to multi-line telephone systems, fixed telephone service, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, Telecommunications Relay Services, and mobile texting services. Mobile wireless services are already required to provide either dispatchable or coordinate-based location information with 911 calls.
The FCC also consolidated its 911 rules from multiple rule parts into a single rule part.
FCC Bans Malicious Foreign Robocalls and Text Messages
The FCC also voted to adopt rules banning malicious caller ID spoofing of text messages and foreign calls. These new rules will close a loophole in the law that prevented the FCC from pursuing scammers sending spoofed text messages and international fraudsters making spoofed calls to Americans. The Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009 prohibits anyone from causing a caller ID service to knowingly transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information (“spoofing”) with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongly obtain anything of value. However, until passage of the RAY BAUM’S Act last year, the Truth in Caller ID Act did not extend to text messages or international calls. The new rules extend these prohibitions to text messages, calls originating from outside the United States to recipients within the US, and additional types of voice calls such as one-way VoIP calls.
The new rules allow the FCC to bring enforcement actions against bad actors who spoof text messages and those who seek out victims in this country from overseas.
FCC Sets Bidding Date for 833 Toll Free Auction
The FCC voted to adopt a Public Notice setting December 17 as the date for bidding in its experimental auction of certain sought-after toll free numbers in the 833 code. For the first time, the FCC is using an auction mechanism to assign toll free numbers. The auction will include approximately 17,000 numbers in the 833 toll free code for which there have been multiple, competing requests. Many of these numbers are easy to remember, such as 833-LAWYERS or 833-333-3333.
In addition to setting the date for the auction, the Public Notice establishes other key dates and deadlines for those interested in participating, and sets procedures for the auction, including the following:
- Application requirements, including disclosures and certifications, as well as prohibitions and restrictions on applicants, which will promote auction integrity.
- Bidding procedures, including upfront payments, bidding format and period, and payments due in case of default.
- Post-auction procedures, including payment deadlines and toll free number reservation requirements.
- The auction will be conducted by the Toll Free Numbering Administrator, Somos. Inc.
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.