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    July

    July 15, 2019 - REGScan

    • The FCC adopted eight items at its July 10, 2019 Open Meeting, including: a report and order on remand granting price cap carriers relief from ex ante pricing regulation of their lower speed TDM transport business data services nationwide and partially granting USTelecom’s request for forbearance from DS1 and DS3 transport unbundling obligations for price cap carriers; an NPRM proposing a connected care pilot; and an NPRM and declaratory ruling promoting facilities-based broadband deployment and competition in multiple tenant environments.  
    • The FCC issued a tentative agenda for its August 1, 2019 Open Meeting. The FCC will consider nine items, including: an NPRM proposing to establish a new Rural Digital Opportunity Fund that would distribute $20.4 billion in high-cost USF support over 10 years using a two-phase reverse auction framework; a report and order and second FNPRM that would establish a new Digital Opportunity Data Collection to collect geospatial broadband coverage data from fixed providers, adopt a “crowdsourcing” process on the accuracy of the maps, and make targeted changes to the existing Form 477 to reduce filing burdens; and a report and order that would overhaul the Rural Health Care Program by streamlining and simplifying the way health care providers apply for and calculate USF support amounts.  
    • The Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice on July 12, 2019, to provide guidance regarding calculation of final deployment obligations for A-CAM I and A-CAM II and the application of the support recovery rules in the event that a carrier does not meet its final deployment obligations.  
    • The Wireline Competition Bureau opened WC Docket No. 19-195, Digital Opportunity Data Collection.  
    • NTCA filed a letter on measures to address the potential for increasing standalone broadband conversions to reintroduce the effects of the USF budget control mechanism.  
    • WTA, NortheastTel, et al. discussed performance testing requirements for rural LECs, and said there remain a number of issues and questions regarding the design and implementation of the ultimate performance testing regime for rural LECs.  
    • The FCC held a summit on implementation of the SHAKEN/STIR caller ID authentication framework. Chairman Pai issued a statement on the summit. Pai also proposed adoption of new rules banning malicious caller ID spoofing of text messages and international calls, which will be voted on at the August Open Meeting. Carriers responded to letters from Commissioner Starks on robocalls.  
    • Fourteen Members of Congress sent a letter to the FCC Commissioners urging them not to establish an overall cap for the Universal Service Fund or combine the cap of any of the USF programs.   
    • NECA and NTCA filed a motion with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to file an amicus brief in support of the FCC in the case appealing the FCC’s Order that extended the separations freeze.. 

    July 8, 2019 - REGScan

    • The FCC released the agenda for its July 10, 2019 Open Meeting. The FCC will consider eight items, including: a Report and Order on Remand that would grant price cap carriers relief from ex ante pricing regulation of their lower speed TDM transport BDS nationwide and would partially grant USTelecom’s request for forbearance from DS1 and DS3 transport unbundling obligations for price cap carriers; an NPRM that would propose a connected care pilot; and an NPRM and Declaratory Ruling to promote facilities-based broadband deployment and competition in multiple tenant environments.  
    • The FCC placed an Order on circulation entitled “Petition of USTelecom for Forbearance Pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 160(c) to Accelerate Investment in Broadband and Next-Generation Networks.” The Wireline Competition Bureau granted USTelecom’s request to withdraw all pending requests for forbearance identified in Appendix A of its Petition, with the exception of unbundling obligations for DS1 and DS3 transport and analog voice-grade cooper loops and avoided cost resale.  
    • Comments are due July 19, 2019, on approaches to identifying and resolving apparent discrepancies between the number of model-determined funded locations that A-CAM I and II support recipients are expected to serve and the actual number of locations that support recipients can serve. Public Notice  
    • The FCC extended comment and reply dates on the NPRM proposing to establish an $11.42 billion cap on the USF. Comments are now due July 29, 2019; replies due August 26, 2019.  
    • PRA comments are due August 1, 2019, on a revision of a currently approved information collection associated with reforms to the USF support mechanisms that were adopted in the March 2016 and December 2018 RoR USF Reform Orders.  
    • NTCA and Panhandle Telephone Cooperative discussed the need for greater granularity in the reporting of broadband availability and a validation and challenge process.  
    • WTA, et al. discussed A-CAM II location issues and build-out requirements, performance testing requirements for rural telecommunications companies, broadband mapping, and the proposed overall USF cap.

    • Comments were filed on a petition for rulemaking filed by Central Texas Telephone, et al. urging the FCC to consider adopting rules that prohibit the use of USF funds for special construction of fiber networks that overbuild existing fiber networks. Replies due July 16, 2019. PN 

    July 1, 2019 - REGScan

    • Golden West Telecommunications and NTCA discussed concerns over potential FCC action to impose a new overall cap on the USF programs, stating such action could undermine the predictability finally restored by the December 2018 RoR USF Reform Order and hinder the progress in broadband investments spurred by that decision.  
    • WTA, Cambridge Telephone, et al. discussed performance testing requirements for RLECs and A-CAM II location issues and build-out requirements. They said there remain a number of questions regarding the design and implementation of the performance testing regime for rural LECs.  
    • Miller Telephone and JSI discussed the negative ramifications to Miller’s future USF support of a fixed wireless provider that has overstated and misrepresented its broadband availability on its Form 477.  
    • Vantage Point Solutions asked the FCC to clarify A-CAM II qualifying location criteria, either through a USAC directive or FCC order, before the ACAM II election deadline on July 17, 2019.  
    • The House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure held a hearing on broadband mapping.  
    • Commissioner Starks hosted a workshop on how to address the national security threats posed by insecure equipment within the communications network.

    • The FTC and its law enforcement partners announced a major crackdown on illegal robocalls on June 25, 2019, called “Operation Call it Quits,” including 94 actions targeting operations around the country