Today's Regulatory Mix: FCC Announces Tentative Agenda For November Open Meeting, FTC Releases 2020 Do Not Call Data Book, USDA Announces Additional Broadband Funding
FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for November Open Meeting
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai released the tentative agenda for the FCC’s November 18, 2020, Open Meeting. The items are as follows:
- Expanding the Contribution Base for Accessible Communications Services: A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would propose expansion of the Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Fund contribution base for supporting Video Relay Service (VRS) and Internet Protocol Relay Service (IP Relay) to include intrastate telecommunications revenue, as a way of strengthening the funding base for these forms of TRS and making it more equitable without increasing the size of the Fund itself.
- Modernizing the 5.9 GHz Band – A First Report and Order, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Order of Proposed Modification that would adopt rules to repurpose 45 megahertz of spectrum in the 5.850-5.895 GHz band for unlicensed operations, retain 30 megahertz of spectrum in the 5.895-5.925 GHz band for the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) service, and require the transition of the ITS radio service standard from Dedicated Short-Range Communications technology to Cellular Vehicle-to- Everything technology.
- Further Streamlining of Satellite Regulations – A Report and Order that would streamline its satellite licensing rules by creating an optional framework for authorizing space stations and blanket-licensed earth stations through a unified license.
- Facilitating Next Generation Fixed-Satellite Services in the 17 GHz Band – A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would propose to add a new allocation in the 17.3-17.8 GHz band for Fixed-Satellite Service space-to-Earth downlinks and to adopt associated technical rules.
- Revising Rules for Resolution of Program Carriage Complaints –A Report and Order that would modify the Commission’s rules governing the resolution of program carriage disputes between video programming vendors and multichannel video programming distributors.
FTC Releases 2020 Do Not Call Data Book
The Federal Trade Commission issued the National Do Not Call Registry Data Book for Fiscal Year 2020. The Data Book contains information about the DNC Registry for FY 2020 (from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020). It also provides the most recent fiscal year information available on robocall complaints, the types of calls consumers reported to the FTC, and a complete state-by-state analysis. To make the information in the FY 2020 Data Book more accessible for the public, updated and interactive DNC data dashboard visualizations are available at ftc.gov/exploredata.
The data show that the number of active registrations on the DNC Registry increased by two million over the past year, while the total number of consumer complaints decreased for the third year in a row. Specifically, at the end of FY 2020, the DNC Registry contained 241.5 million actively registered phone numbers, up from 239.5 million at the end of FY 2019. The number of consumer complaints about unwanted telemarketing calls decreased, from 5.4 million in FY 2019 to nearly four million in FY 2020. Of those complaints, 71% were about robocalls, roughly the same percentage as last year, and 24% were about live telemarketing.
In FY 2020, the FTC 2.8 million complaints about robocalls, down from 3.79 million in FY 2019. However, for every month in the fiscal year, robocalls—defined under FTC regulations as calls delivering a prerecorded message—made up the majority of consumer complaints about DNC violations, with the most, 332,000, coming in September of this year.
The FTC also reported that imposters were the topic of the robocalls consumers reported the most, with more than 423,000 complaints received. Warranties and protection plans comprised the second-most commonly reported topic, with consumers filing more than 237,000 robocall complaints. Calls about supposed debt-reduction made up the third-most commonly reported topic, followed by complaints about medical and prescription issues, and computers and technical support.
New Hampshire continues to top the nation in active DNC registrations per capita (93,791). The states reporting the most complaints per 100,000 population changed in FY 2020: the top five states were Arizona (1,770 per 100k population), Virginia (1,668 per 100k population), Maryland (1,644 per 100k population), Delaware (1,608 per 100k population), and Colorado (1,504 per 100k population).
USDA Announces Additional Broadband Funding
The USDA announced additional broadband funding grants in Iowa and Kentucky.
- Osage Municipal Utilities will use a $368,000 ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 397 people, 27 farms, 14 businesses and a post office to high-speed broadband internet in Mitchell County, Iowa.
- C-M-L Telephone Cooperative Association will use a $744,000 ReConnect grant to deploy a last-mile, fiber-to-the-premises network, which will connect three farms left out of past middle-mile deployment efforts in Cherokee County, Iowa.
- Citizens Mutual Telephone Cooperative will use a $731,500 ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 941 people, 40 farms and seven businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Wapello County, Iowa.
Peoples Telecom LLC will use a $2.4 million ReConnect grant and a $2.4 million ReConnect loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 1,618 people, 25 businesses, two farms, a public school, a post office and a fire station to high-speed broadband internet in Rockcastle, Perry, Breathitt and Lee counties in Kentucky.
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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.