Today's Regulatory Mix: FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for August Open Meeting, FCC to Modernize Service Priority Rules, FCC Announces Agreement on Wireless Infrastructure Builds
FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for August Open Meeting
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the tentative agenda for the FCC’s August 6, 2020, Open Meeting. It includes the following items:
- Inmate Calling Services – A Report and Order on Remand and a Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would respond to remands by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and propose to comprehensively reform rates and charges for the inmate calling services within the Commission’s jurisdiction.
- Telecommunications Relay Service – A Report and Order to repeal certain TRS rules that are no longer needed in light of changes in technology and voice communications services.
- C-band Auction Procedures – A Public Notice that would adopt procedures for the auction of new flexible-use overlay licenses in the 3.7–3.98 GHz band (Auction 107) for 5G, the Internet of Things, and other advanced wireless services.
- Radio Duplication Rules – A Report and Order that would eliminate the radio duplication rule with regard to AM stations and retain the rule for FM stations.
- Common Antenna Siting Rules – A Report and Order that would eliminate the common antenna siting rules for FM and TV broadcaster applicants and licensees.
FCC to Modernize Service Priority Rules
At is Open Meeting last week, the FCC voted to start a rulemaking to modernize and improve its rules for programs that help first responders and other emergency personnel communicate during disasters. The proposed updates would help ensure that these programs meet the needs of emergency personnel now and in the future, as technology advances. Specifically, the FCC proposes to: (1) modernize its priority services rules to cover priority treatment of voice, data, and video services for emergency personnel; (2) streamline its rules by removing outdated requirements that may impede the use of Internet Protocol (IP)-based technologies; and (3) amend the rules to reflect current administrative responsibilities for the priority services programs while eliminating burdensome and unnecessary administrative requirements.
FCC Announces Agreement on Wireless Infrastructure Builds
The FCC announced that the FCC, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) have reached an agreement that will support wireless infrastructure builds while continuing to protect historic properties. Specifically, the agreement amends the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for the Collocation of Wireless Antennas (Collocation NPA) that the FCC, ACHP, and NCSHPO entered into in 2001.
The Collocation NPA establishes streamlined reviews for infrastructure projects covered by that agreement and provided that a collocation on an existing tower would be excluded from Section 106 review unless it involves one of the enumerated circumstances, which include a substantial increase in the size of the tower. A “substantial increase in the size of the tower” was defined to include, among other factors, any excavation outside the current tower site. That conflicted with the streamlined review process set forth in the Nationwide Programmatic Agreement Regarding the Section 106 National Historic Preservation Act Review Process (Wireless Facilities NPA) that applies when providers are taking down and replacing a wireless structure—a process that allows for deployment and excavation up to 30 feet outside of the existing site. Today’s amendment resolves that inconsistency by bringing the Collocation NPA into conformance with the Wireless Facilities NPA. This amendment will be effective upon publication in the Federal Register.
In announcing the signing of the agreement, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said: “This is a vitally important agreement to ensure our infrastructure policies can meet the challenges and opportunities of 5G. It represents a commonsense approach to encouraging collocations where tower replacements are not necessary. The FCC team and our partners at ACHP and NCSHPO worked closely, and I want to extend my thanks and appreciation for the time and good-faith efforts that enabled us to reach this agreement.”
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.