Today's Regulatory Mix: FCC Reminds Providers that Form 477 Mobile Speed and Coverage Data are not Confidential, FCC Further Extends E-Rate and RHC COVID-19 Rule Waivers, FCC Revises Consent Requirements For Calls From Government Contractors
FCC Reminds Providers that Form 477 Mobile Speed and Coverage Data are not Confidential
The FCC’s Office of Economics and Analytics (Office) has reminded reminds mobile broadband service providers that their minimum advertised or expected speed data are no longer treated as confidential on FCC Form 477. As such, speed data will be included in the public releases of provider-specific coverage data, beginning with the December 2019 filing. The FCC found that the bulk of speed data that providers filed had been treated as confidential and that such treatment “unnecessarily limits the ability of consumers and policy makers to effectively analyze the data submitted.” The FCC also concluded that public release of provider-specific coverage data is “necessary to ensure that consumers can easily use the information that is disclosed to the public” because speed data are “only beneficial if consumers know where the service coverage is available:” Thus, notwithstanding the presence of the checkbox in the Form 477 on 477 filing application, these data will not be treated as confidential. The corresponding Form 477 information that was included in the December 2019 and June 2020 filings will be released no sooner than ten (10) days after Federal Register publication of the FCC’s Public Notice.
FCC Further Extends E-Rate and RHC COVID-19 Rule Waivers
The FCC extended, until June 30, 2021, its prior waivers of Rural Health Care (RHC) and E-rate rules to assist RHC and E-rate participants responding to COVID-19. Specifically, the FCC extended its waivers of the RHC and E-Rate program gift rules through June 30, 2021. All eligible RHC and E-Rate program participants must retain records documenting the services, equipment, or other things of value that they receive pursuant to the waiver, consistent with the document retention periods applicable to each program.
The gift rule waiver will permit service providers to continue to offer, and eligible RHC and E-Rate entities to continue to solicit and accept, improved capacity, Wi-Fi hotspots, networking gear, or other things of value to assist health care providers, schools and libraries, as well as doctors and patients, teachers, students, school administrators, and librarians and patrons during the coronavirus outbreak. As before, these gifts may include but are not limited to free upgrades to connections, connected devices, equipment, and other services for RHC and E-Rate program participants who provide care via telemedicine and free broadband connections, devices, or other services that support remote learning for students and teachers who will be taking classes at and providing instruction from home as a result of COVID-19. The previous waivers were set to expire December 31, 2020.
FCC Revises Consent Requirements For Calls From Government Contractors
The FCC ruled that government contractors must have consent before robocalling consumers. The Order was issued in response to a petition for reconsideration of its 2016 Order interpreting the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to allow federal contractors to robocall consumers without their prior express consent. The Order confirms that contractors working for federal, state, or local governments—along with local governments themselves—must obtain consumer consent before making robocalls. The FCC also clarified that federal and state government callers, when acting in an official capacity, are not subject to the prior consent requirements of the TCPA. The new order does not supersede the FCC’s prior emergency calls exemptions, which apply to calls like those providing critical pandemic information.
Recent Briefings from Inteserra!
- FCC Adopts Rules To Allow Blocking Of Calls Associated With One-Ring Scams
- FCC Eliminates Additional UNEs
- FCC Names Somos as Administrator of Telephone Numbers and Reassigned Numbers Database
- FCC Proposes to Revise Rules for Supporting IP-based TRS
- First Set of FCC Rules for 8YY Calls to Become Effective
- Pennsylvania Increases 2021 USF Contribution Rate
- Washington Governor Further Extends Residential Disconnection Prohibition During COVID-19