I. Featured Upcoming Compliance Deadlines
The following are reminders for upcoming Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") reports and compliance requirements:
A. Revisions to November 1, 2023, Form 499-Q Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet (due December 15, 2023)
Carriers and providers of interstate and international telecommunications that seek to revise their August 1, 2023, Form 499-Q filing must do so within 45 days of the Form 499-Q filing deadline.
As a reminder, Form 499-Q filers are required to submit the form electronically through USAC's E-File system, available at https://www.usac.org/service-providers/.
B. International Telecommunications Carrier Information Collection (30 days after Office of International Affairs Public Notice)
The FCC has yet, as of the date hereof, to set the date for all Section 214 international authority holders to submit ownership information as mandated in an Order adopted at its April 2023 Open Meeting and amended by an August 22, 2023 Order (providing a limited streamlining for those Section 214 International Authorization Holders whose current reportable foreign ownership was reviewed in a substantive application reviewed by the Executive Branch agencies and granted by the FCC within the three-year period prior to the Information Collection filing deadline). We will continue to note this upcoming obligation because carriers' failure to timely comply may result in loss of their Section 214 international authority. It is expected that the deadline for affected carriers to submit the requested information will be no earlier than December 13, 2023. (Please subscribe to our blog for updates – CommLaw Monitor at https://www.kelleydrye.com/viewpoints/blogs/commlaw-monitor.)
II. Filing Deadlines in Select Rulemakings, Inquiries, and Other Proceedings
Maternal Health Data Inquiry. On October 19, 2023, the FCC adopted a Notice of Inquiry in GN Docket No. 23-309, seeking comment on methods to further develop the use of the FCC's Mapping Broadband Health in America platform to leverage digital health tools in order to improve maternal care in the U.S. Comments are due on November 20, 2023, with reply comments due on December 19, 2023.
Broadband Deployment Funding. On July 24, 2023, the FCC released a Report and Order, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ["NPRM"] and Notice of Inquiry ["NOI"] in WC Docket. No.10-90, et al. The NOI seeks comments regarding whether, and how, to redesign the USF high-cost support program over time to align with the developing broadband landscape in the U.S. Comments on the NOI were filed by October 23, 2023, with reply comments due on November 21, 2023.
5G Fund for Rural America. On September 22, 2023, the FCC released a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) in GN Docket No. 20-32, seeking comments to refresh the proceeding record, specifically on a limited set of issues deemed "critical to the 5G Fund's success..." Comments were due by October 23, 2023, with reply comments due on November 21, 2023.
Revision or Elimination of FCC Rules. On August 17, 2023, the FCC released a Public Notice in CB Docket No. 23-283 regarding its upcoming 12-month review of rules adopted in years 2007 through 2012, pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended. Public comment is sought as to whether, insofar as consistent with associated statutory objectives, these rules should be continued without change, amended, or rescinded to minimize the risk of significant economic impact upon a substantial number of small entities. A list of the rules to be reviewed is provided in the Public Notice. Comments are due on November 27, 2023.
WRC-15 Allocation Decisions. On April 21, 2023, the FCC released an Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in ET Docket No. 23-120, seeking comment on its proposal to "amend the Allocation Table and related service rules to implement certain radiofrequency allocation decisions from the Final Acts World Radiocommunication Conference 2015," specifically concerning portions of the radio spectrum between 5330.5 kHz and 29.5 GHz, other spectrum allocation changes, and related updates to the Commission's service rules. Affected frequency bands include multiple allocations for satellite, maritime on-board communications at 457/467 MHz, and broadcasting service at 700 MHz among others. Please note that the comment deadlines for this proceeding were misstated in the initial September 29, 2023, Federal Register publication. As corrected in the October 27, 2023 Federal Register, comments are due on November 28, 2023, with reply comments due on December 28, 2023.
Numbers Access. On September 21, 2023, the FCC adopted a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in WC Docket Nos. 13-97, 07-243, and 20-67 and IB Docket No. 16-155, seeking comment on additional proposals aimed at minimizing abuse of number resources by bad actors, with particular focus on interconnected VoIP providers that might collaborate in or otherwise facilitate robocalling. Following publication in the October 30, 2023, Federal Register, comments are due on November 29, 2023, with reply comments due on December 29, 2023.
Title II Classification of BIAS. On October 19, 2023, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("NPRM") in WC Docket No. 23-320, proposing to reestablish the Commission's authority over broadband internet access service ("BIAS") by classifying it as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act. Comments are due on December 14, 2023, with reply comments due on January 17, 2024.
Restoring Internet Freedom ("RIF") Remand Order. On October 19, 2023, the FCC issued a Public Notice in WC Docket Nos. 17-108, 17-287, and 11-42 requesting comments on four February, 2021, petitions for reconsideration of the 2020 RIF Remand Order, including how the issues currently being addressed in the BIAS Classification proceeding (WC Docket No. 23-320 – see preceding entry) may intersect with the consideration of these petitions. Comments are due on December 14, 2023, with reply comments due on January 17, 2024.
FTC Rulemaking on Unfair or Deceptive Fees. The Federal Trade Commission has opened a rulemaking to develop a trade regulation rule against "unfair or deceptive practices relating to fees for goods or services, specifically, misrepresenting the total costs of goods and services by omitting mandatory fees from advertised prices and misrepresenting the nature and purpose of fees." Comments are due on January 8, 2024. Filing details are available in the November 9, 2023 Federal Register.
Commercial Space Launch Spectrum. In conjunction with the Second Report and Order in ET Docket No. 13-115 adopted at the FCC's September Open Meeting, the Commission issued a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("Second FNPRM") seeking comment on the possible expansion of commercial space launch operators' access to spectrum in the 1435-1525 and 2360-2395 MHz flight test bands, and the possible use of commercial space launch spectrum for on-orbit communications. The Second FNPRM has not yet been published in the Federal Register. Consequently, the comments dates have not yet been established. The opening comments will be due 30 days after publication. Similarly, several Wireless Telecommunications Bureau public notices described in the Second Report and Order have not yet been issued, including one seeking comment on the designation of a third-party coordinator for commercial space flight operations – as well as the coordination process – in the recently adopted non-Federal 2200-2290 and 2025-2110 MHz Space Launch Service band allocations. These public notices have yet to be issued, establishing comment deadlines on the coordination issues.
III. Select Ongoing Filing Requirements
Pro Forma Assignments and Transfers
Assignments of Authorization and Transfers of Control can be filed either as pro forma applications or non-pro forma applications.
A pro forma assignment or transfer is one in which the form of ownership changes but actual control of the license remains with the same entity or person. Pro forma assignments and transfers may be approved under streamlined Forbearance procedures in the case of most telecommunications carriers (e.g., Section 214 authorization holders, wireless licensees (excluding those with installment payment or designated entity issues) and earth station licensees). These pro forma requests do not require prior FCC approval provided that the parties notify the FCC of the change within 30 days. Note that private licenses are not subject to forbearance. FCC approval generally is required for pro forma transfers and assignments of private licenses.
Change in FCC Form 499 Filer Information
Filers must update their registration information, including a DC Agent for Service of Process in accordance with these instructions to the FCC Form 499-A. Filers must file updated information within one week of the contact information change.
Filers wishing to update Preparer information, headquarters address, billing contact information, or DC Agent for Service of Process, can submit either an FCC Form 499-A or an FCC Form 499-Q or, for billing-related matters only, email USAC's billing department. Filers wishing to update any other information must submit a revised FCC Form 499-A. For more information, see https://www.usac.org/service-providers/contributing-to-the-usf/making-revisions/.
Filers that cease providing telecommunications must deactivate their Filer ID with USAC by submitting a letter with termination date and information on their successor entity to USAC. Filers must also update their CORES ID information with the Commission
Filers must file within 30 days of the date that the company ceases to provide telecommunications service or telecommunications.
Change in Robocall Mitigation Plans
A voice service provider that has not fully implemented the STIR/SHAKEN call authentication framework for all calls must submit a robocall mitigation plan pursuant to 47 CFR § 64.6305(b). Any provider that makes a change in any of the following information must submit a revised robocall mitigation plan within 10 business days of the change. See 47 CFR § 64.6305(b)(5).
- Its certification as to the implementation of STIR/SHAKEN in its network;
- The extension(s) that apply to its implementation of the STIR/SHAKEN framework;
- The specific reasonable steps the voice service provider has taken to avoid originating illegal robocall traffic as part of its robocall mitigation program;
- Its commitment to respond to all traceback requests and law enforcement requests for information on illegal robocalling; and
- The provider's business name, d/b/a name(s), former name(s), its legal address and contact information for one person within the company responsible for addressing robocall mitigation-related issues.
The link for submitting a revised robocall mitigation plan is available here.
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