FCC to Consider C-Band, EAS, Cellular, Number Portability Items

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said today that he plans to ask his colleagues to consider six items at their July 12 meeting that deal with the 3.7–4.2 gigahertz C-band, the Emergency Alert System (EAS), the 800 megahertz band, nationwide number portability, formal complaint proceedings, and children’s programming rules.

The FCC plans to release a tentative agenda for the meeting and the draft text of the items tomorrow.

In a blog posting today, Mr. Pai said that “[i]n response to a Notice of Inquiry we initiated last summer [TR Daily, Aug. 3, 2017], stakeholders have come up with a number of creative ideas for making better use of 3.7 to 4.2 GHz.  And next month, we’ll vote on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks more detailed feedback on those ideas that merit further exploration.  That Notice of Inquiry also sought comment on new uses in the 6 GHz band.  I’m pleased to say that we plan to move forward with a rulemaking on that spectrum this fall.”

Mr. Pai also said that “[a]nother area in which the FCC has made substantial progress but must not stand still is emergency alerting. The false missile alert issued in Hawaii earlier this year [TR Daily, Jan. 16] exposed problems with the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts system. The Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau launched an investigation to identify what went wrong in Hawaii and how to prevent or mitigate similar problems in the future. Building on the Bureau’s recommendations, we will vote on July 12 on an order and proposed rules designed to stop and correct false emergency alerts. The order would enable state and local officials to conduct more effective Emergency Alert System testing and public outreach, which can better prepare officials and their communities for actual emergencies. And the proposal would invite public input on specific ways to help guard against and address false emergency alerts and to help ensure the reliable delivery of wireless emergency alerts to subscribers’ phones.”

Mr. Pai noted that last year (TR Daily, March 23, 2017), “the Commission voted to reform our rules governing commercial cellular service, which were first adopted in 1981. These changes enabled the use of 800 MHz Cellular spectrum for mobile broadband services, such as LTE.  At our July meeting, we’ll follow up with further streamlining and modernization of our rules for that spectrum band and for certain other wireless licensees.”

Mr. Pai also said the FCC will vote on a nationwide number portability item. “Giving consumers the power to keep their phone numbers when they switch carriers has been great for consumers and businesses alike. It’s also helped foster a competitive marketplace.  But while you can keep your number when changing service providers and moving locally, you can’t necessarily keep your number when you move farther away,” he said. “Fixing this problem isn’t simple, but we’ll vote on July 12 on preliminary steps to achieving nationwide number portability. These changes are pretty technical. Among other things, the FCC would give carriers greater flexibility in how they route calls and would forbear from applying outdated dialing parity rules to competitive carriers.  But they’re the first steps on the road toward the important destination of nationwide number portability.”

The Chairman also announced consideration of “an order that would create a uniform set of procedural rules for formal complaint proceedings administered by our Enforcement Bureau. This item would streamline and consolidate rules for processing complaints regarding pole attachments, disability access, and other topics. And as a good-government measure, we would apply a shot clock for Commission action on all formal complaints. This would ensure that these complaints are resolved in a reasonable amount of time.”

Mr. Pai also said the FCC will launch a review of its children’s programming rules, the latest item in the agency’s modernization of media regulations initiative. —Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily