FCC Denies 214 Authority to China-Owned Company
As expected, the FCC voted to deny China Mobile USA’s application to provide telecommunications services between the US and foreign destinations. This is the first instance in which Executive Branch agencies have recommended that the FCC deny a section 214 application due to national security and law enforcement concerns. The FCC found that due to several factors related to China Mobile USA’s ownership and control by the Chinese government, grant of the application would raise substantial and serious national security and law enforcement risks that could not be addressed through a mitigation agreement between China Mobile and the federal government.
China Mobile USA is a Delaware corporation that is ultimately owned and controlled by the People’s Republic of China. In 2011, it requested authority to provide international facilities-based and resale services between the United States and foreign destinations. In 2018, after a lengthy review of the application, discussions with the applicant, and consultation with the U.S. intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s NTIA filed a recommendation on behalf of Executive Branch agencies to deny China Mobile USA’s application.
The Regulatory Mix Today: FCC Denies 214 Authority to China-Owned Company, FCC Toll-Free Number Auction, FCC Makes Additional Spectrum Available for Mobile Service, California to Hold Hearing on Future of Communications Grid
FCC Toll Free Number Auction
At is May 9 Open Meeting, the FCC voted to move forward with the to structure the first-ever U.S. auction to distribute approximately 17,000 numbers in the new 833 toll free code for which there have been competing requests. Many of these numbers are easy to remember, such as 833-LAWYERS or 833-333-3333. The auction will serve as an experiment in using competitive bidding—rather than a first come, first-served system—to assign toll free numbers and ensure that sought-after numbers are awarded to the parties that value them most.
The Public Notice will seek comment on specific proposed application requirements and procedures for parties interested in bidding in the auction. The proposals are similar to many of the requirements that apply in FCC spectrum and universal service support auctions. After reviewing the public comments received, the FCC will announce final auction procedures, including the application and bidding dates.
FCC Makes Additional Spectrum Available for Mobile Service
The FCC proposed reallocating spectrum in the 1675-1680 MHz band for shared use between incumbent federal users and new, non-federal flexible-use wireless operations.
The 1675-1680 MHz band currently is used for weather forecasting services for several years budget proposals have called for this band to be auctioned for flexible use, subject to sharing arrangements with federal weather satellites. The FCC now takes the first step toward accomplishing that task by proposing to reallocate the 1675-1680 MHz band on a co-primary basis for terrestrial fixed and mobile (except aeronautical mobile) use on a shared basis with existing federal users and seeking comment on appropriate service and technical rules for the band. Other areas for comment include: how to implement a sharing framework that would create opportunities for commercial operations in this band while also protecting incumbent federal users; and alternative methods of providing access to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather data to other non-federal users that currently receive such data via earth stations they operate in this band.
California to Hold Hearing on Future of Communications Grid
The California PUC announced hosting an En Banc on the future of California’s communications grid to address how the state’s processes and regulations will need to evolve to stay relevant to Californians. The hearing will be held May 20, 2019 in Sacramento.
This En Banc is the first in a series of stakeholder engagement opportunities envisioned by the CPUC’s Communications Division to address how the state's processes and regulations will need to evolve to stay relevant to Californians. The public is invited to this En Banc to hear from stakeholders in business, education, government and non-profit sectors examining the state’s communications grid, challenges, and future work relating to network resiliency, reliability, affordability, and consumer protection. Importantly, a quorum of Commissioners and/or their staff may attend, no official action will be taken.
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.