The latest broadband telecommunications updates

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The 2.5 GHz band auction will start in July

Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, ​​Spain, last week, FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel announced that the auction of the 2.5 GHz band (“Auction 108”) ( Vol. XVIII, Number 3) will begin in July. Auction 108 will offer approximately 8,300 in-band geographic overlay licenses across three blocks of spectrum – 49.5 MHz, 50.5 MHz and 16.5 MHz. The Commission has already issued more than 270 licenses in the 2.5 GHz band to tribal communities during the Tribal Priority window.

Groups Defend VoIP Common Carrier Designation

Last week, Public Knowledge and several other groups filed a petition for a declaratory ruling with the FCC urging the Commission to designate Voice over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”) service as a Title II common carrier telecommunications service. The petition argues that interconnected VoIP services are virtually indistinguishable from other forms of telephone service and that the lack of classification can lead to technical and legal authority issues. Groups joining Public Knowledge include the Communications Workers of America, the Center for Rural Strategies, the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates, Next Century Cities, the Public Utility Law Project of New York, and the Utility Reform Network.

Broadband Data Collection Specifications

Last week, the FCC’s Broadband Data Task Force (“Task Force”) issued a public notice announcing the release of data specifications related to the semi-annual submission of subscription, availability and Support for Broadband Data Collection (Vol. XVI, Number 28). The specifications provide guidance to submitters on how to prepare and format availability and other related data for submission. Broadband service providers required to file in the BDC system should carefully review the specifications before the filing window opens on June 30, 2022.

IIJA Broadband Programs Webinars

Last week, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) announced that it would be hosting a series of Pre-Notice of Funding Opportunity (“NOFO”) technical assistance webinars from March through May 2022 as part of of the five new broadband subsidy programs authorized by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“IIJA”) (see Keller and Heckman’s in-depth analysis of these programs here). The webinars are designed to help potential applicants understand the programs and prepare grant applications. The first webinar will take place on March 9, 2022, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST.

Forfeiture of $16,000 for unauthorized transfers

The FCC’s Office of Enforcement issued a Notice of Apparent Liability last week finding that Alliance Global Networks, LLC (“Alliance”) violated the Commission’s rules regarding transfer of ownership. In January 2020, 100% ownership in Alliance, including its domestic and international FCC licenses, was transferred to Velocity, A Managed Services Company, Inc. (“Velocity”) without obtaining prior FCC approval. Alliance and Velocity filed a joint transfer of control petition in March 2021. The Enforcement Office is proposing a $16,000 forfeiture against Alliance for its violations.

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