Showing posts with label FCC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FCC. Show all posts

Monday, October 30, 2017

FCC approves CenturyLink + Level 3 merger

After a year-long review, the FCC voted to approve the CenturyLink + Level Communications merger. The FCC ruled that the public interest would not be harmed by the transfer of necessary licenses to secure the merger and that any potential harms to competition are mitigated by the conditions set forth in the DOJ consent decree.

  • On October 3rd, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice cleared CenturyLink's pending acquisition of Level 3 Communications with certain conditions, including the divestiture of certain Level 3 metro network assets and certain dark fiber assets.

    Specifically, the combined company is required to divest Level 3 metro network assets in Albuquerque, N.M.; Boise, Idaho; and Tucson, Arizona. In addition, the combined company is required to divest 24 strands of dark fiber connecting 30 specified city-pairs across the country in the form of an Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU). CenturyLink said that because these fibers are not currently in commercial use, this divestiture will not affect any current customers or services.


CenturyLink to Acquire Level 3 for $34 Billion

CenturyLink agreed to acquire Level 3 Communications in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $34 billion, including the assumption of debt.

The deal combines CenturyLink's larger enterprise customer base with Level 3's global network footprint. The companies said this scale will enable further investment in the reach and speeds of its broadband infrastructure for small businesses and consumers. After close, CenturyLink's Glen Post will continue to serve as Chief Executive Officer and President of the combined company.  Sunit Patel, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Level 3, will serve as Chief Financial Officer of the combined company. The combined company will be headquartered in Monroe, Louisiana and will maintain a significant presence in Colorado and the Denver metropolitan area.

Under terms of the agreement, Level 3 shareholders will receive $26.50 per share in cash and a fixed exchange ratio of 1.4286 shares of CenturyLink stock for each Level 3 share they own, which implies a purchase price of $66.50 per Level 3 share (based on a CenturyLink $28.00 per share reference price) and a premium of approximately 42 percent based on Level 3's unaffected closing share price of $46.92 on October 26, 2016. Upon the closing  CenturyLink shareholders will own approximately 51 percent and Level 3 shareholders will own approximately 49 percent of the combined company.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

One Month later, 70% of cell sites still down in Puerto Rico

One month after Hurricane Maria, 70% of cell sites in Puerto Rico remain out of service. By the FCC count, 1,901 cell sites are offline out of a total 2,723 cell sites before the disaster struck.

Thanks to a roaming pact between the five carriers, approximately 61% (slightly up from 60% last week) of the population was reported to be covered by the wireless carriers in Puerto Rico.

Coverage has also improved somewhat with Satellite Cells on Light Trucks (COLTs) now stationed in ten locations. Terrestrial Cells on Wheels (COWs)/COLTs are also now in four locations.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, 52% of cell sites remain non-functional. Approximately 88% (up from 79% last week) of the population was reported to be covered by the wireless carriers in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

For its part, on October 14th, AT&T reported that it was processing more than 12 million calls and 6 million texts a day in Puerto Rico. AT&T has portable cell sites in Yabucoa, Rio Grande, Quebradillas, Arecibo, Manati, Yauco, Cayey, Isabela, Mayaguez Mesa, San German, Fajardo, Guayama, Vega Baja, Luquillio, and Coama Sur. AT&T is using portable satellite units at the base of clusters of cell towers in Utuado, Luquillio, and Rincon Pueblo. AT&T said it is working to repair hundreds of miles of damaged fiber and to restore power or bring generators to other sites. The company also cited a new wireless roaming agreement with a company called Vanu that currently has three satellite-based cell sites up and running in Puerto Rico and 30 more arrived October 11.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

FCC offers $76.9m advance to networks in Puerto Rico

The FCC will make available $76.9 million in emergency funding to help restore communications networks in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The action comes 2 weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated the islands, knocking out nearly all communications. As of October 04, 2017, 86.3% of cell sites remain out of service. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, 66.0% of cell sites are out of service, and 100% of cell sites in St. John are still out of service.

The FCC emergency funding actually draws upon funds designated for high-cost universal service support. Telecommunications carriers (ETCs) operating in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who are already eligible for these funds may now choose a single advance payment of up to seven months of high-cost support to assist with their immediate needs and
anticipated large repair costs in restoring their communications networks.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Telecom disaster continues in Puerto Rico: 88% of cell sites still down

Nearly ten days after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico,  88.3% of cell sites across the island remain out of service, according to the FCC. The figure is basically unchanged in the past few days.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, 68.9%  of cell sites remain down. All of the cell sites in St. John are still out of service.

The FCC continues to post a daily outage report but has not yet convened a public hearing into the disaster, nor has it speculated as to when the public should expect services to be restored. Claro (America Movil), AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint are the major cellular operators serving Puerto Rico.

Sandra Torres, the president of Puerto Rico's telecom regulatory authority (Junta Reglamentadora de Telecomunicaciones JRT) told local media on Sunday that the goal is to restore 50% of cell sites within 30 days. She said AT&T has installed a few COW (Cell on Wheels) units around the island, but no number was given. The JRT website remains offline.

PREPA Networks, the dominant fiber network operator across Puerto Rico and a business unit of the island's hard-hit electrical utility company, has not provided any public statements about the damage to its network since before the hurricane.

Ajit Pai confirmed for new term as FCC Chairman

The U.S. Senate voted to confirm Ajit Pai for a second term as chairman of the FCC. Ajit Varadaraj Pai was nominated for FCC Commissioner by President Obama in 2011. Pai took over the seat abandoned by Meredith Baker who left the FCC to take a job as a lobbyist for Comcast. Pai was previously a Partner in the Litigation Department of Jenner & Block LLP. Previously, Pai worked in the Office of the General Counsel at the Federal Communications Commission, where he served as Deputy General Counsel, Associate General Counsel, and Special Advisor to the General Counsel. He holds a B.A. from Harvard University and a J.D. from the University of Chicago.

Separately, Dr. Eric Burger was appointed Chief Technology Officer of the FCC. Prior to joining the Commission, Dr. Burger served as director of the Security and Software Engineering Research Center in Washington, DC. Previously, he has taught computer science at Georgetown University, George Mason University, and The George Washington University. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Illinois Institute of Technology, an MBA from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, and bachelor’s degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

FCC waives spectrum restriction in Puerto Rico to aid first responders

The FCC waived rules to facilitate use of two nationwide interoperability channels (151.1375 MHz and 154.4525 MHz) in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico) and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI). 

The waiver authorizes the use of the designated frequencies in Puerto Rico and the USVI for public safety. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

FCC: 95% of cell sites in Puerto Rico still offline

Almost two days after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, over 95% of cell sites remain offline, according to data from the FCC.

As of September 22, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT, FCC data showed that 95% of cell sites in Puerto Rico are out of service. Critically, 47 out of the 78 counties in Puerto Rico have 100% of their cell sites out of service even nearly 24 hours after the storm passed. The FCC database shows that there are 1,789 base stations in Puerto Rico and 1,707 are down. Four additional cell sites lost connectivity in the past 24 hours.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, 73% of cell sites are out of service - a 4% improvement in the last 24 hours.

With the widespread power outages in Puerto Rico it is assumed that cable Internet services are also offline for most customers, but the FCC had not received any data on the status of the networks.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

FCC: 95% of Cell Sites down in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria delivered a devastating blow to the mobile networks in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

As of September 21, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT, FCC data showed that 95% of cell sites in Puerto Rico are out of service. Critically, 48 out of the 78 counties in Puerto Rico have 100% of their cell sites out of service even nearly 24 hours after the storm passed. The FCC database shows that there are 1,789 base stations in Puerto Rico and 1,703 are down.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, 77% of cell sites are out of service.

With the widespread power outages in Puerto Rico it is assumed that cable Internet services are also offline for most customers, but the FCC had not received any data on the status of the networks.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

FCC: Cell sites being restored, wireline outages worsening

As of September 13, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT, substantial numbers of cell sites remain out of services in areas impacted by Hurricane Irma, but the situation is improving, according to data from the FCC.

  • Alabama: Less than 1% of cell sites in the disaster area are out of service
  • Florida: 18.1% (down from 24.6% yesterday) of cell sites are out of service.
  • Georgia: Overall, 5.3% (down from 10.5% yesterday) of cell sites in the disaster area are out of
  • service.
  • Puerto Rico: 10.1% (down from 14.5% yesterday) of cell sites are out of service.
  • Virgin Islands: 54.7% (up from 53.8%) of cell sites are out of service.

However, the the outage is growing for cable and fixed wireline systems.  There are at least 8,190,407 (up from 7,184,909 yesterday) subscribers out of service in the affectedareas in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.

There are a total of 1,040 (up from 819 yesterday) non-mobile switching centers out in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0913/DOC-346710A1.pdf

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

FCC: Over 3,000 Cell Sites Still Down in Florida

As of September 12, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT, there were still significant numbers of cell sites down in geographic areas impacted by Hurricane Irma, according to data from the FCC.

Alabama: Less than 1% of cell sites in the disaster area are out of service.
Florida: 24.6% (down from 27.4% yesterday) of the cell sites are out of service. There are 14,730 cell sites in this area, of which 3,618 are out of service
Georgia: 10.5% of the cell sites in the disaster area are out of service.
Puerto Rico: 14.5% (down from 19.4% yesterday) of cell sites are out of service.
U.S. Virgin Islands: 53.8% (down from 55.1%) of cell sites are out of service.

Counties with 50% or greater of cell sites out are:
Alabama: None
Florida: Collier, Hendry, Highlands, Monroe, and Union
Georgia: Wilkes (1 of 2 cell sites is out of service.)
Puerto Rico: Aguas Buenas, Juncos, and Vieques
U.S. Virgin Islands: St. John and St. Thomas

Wireline and cable outages are also significant. The FCC reported at least 7,184,909 (down from 7,597,945 yesterday) subscribers remain out of service in the affected areas in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.

There are a total of 819 (up from 390 yesterday) non-mobile switching centers out in Florida, none in Alabama and Georgia.

The FCC also reported that large percentages of consumers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are without either cable services or wireline due to ongoing power outages.

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0912/DOC-346690A1.pdf

Monday, September 11, 2017

FCC: Cell Site Outages Continue in Florida and Puerto Rico

As of September 11, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT, 27.4% of the cell sites in the disaster area in Florida are out of service. According to the FCC's latest status report, 50% or more of cell sites are out of service in the following Florida counties: Collier, Hendry, Highlands, Lee, Miami-Dade, and Monroe.

In Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands, 21.5% of cell sites are offline (an improvement from from 26.9% on Sunday).

In addition, there are at least 7,597,945 cable system or wireline subscribers in Florida out of serviceThere are a total of 390 non-mobile switching centers out in Florida.

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0911/DOC-346655A1.pdf

Sunday, September 10, 2017

FCC: 60% of Cell Sites down in U.S Virgin Islands

As of September 9, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EDT, 29.3% of cell sites are out of service in Puerto Rico, and 60.7% of cell sites are out of service in the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the FCC.

In Puerto Rico, 50% or more of cell sites are out of service in the following counties: Aguas Buenas, Barceloneta, Barranquitas, Ceiba, Ciales, Comerio, Culebra, Fajardo,
Hatillo, Jayuya, Juncos, Naguabo, San Lorenzo, and Vieques.

https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-346632A1.pdf


Thursday, August 31, 2017

FCC: More cell sites in Texas back online

Damaged cell sites in Texas are coming back online. As of August 30, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EDT, there were 296 cell sites offline in the counties impacted by the Harvey disaster, an improvement from 329 a day earlier.

According to the FCC report, there are at least 270,139 cable and wireline subscribers (slightly up from at least 267,426 yesterday) out of service in the affected area. There are 36 (down from 42 yesterday) non-mobile switching centers out of service and 38 (up from 25 yesterday) switching centers on back-up power.

In addition, the FCC received a request from FEMA to extend the disaster data collection report to nine additional counties in Texas. Forthcoming reports will now cover  19 counties in Louisiana and 36 counties in Texas.

http://www.fcc.gov

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

FCC: More cell sites restored in Texas

As of August 30, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EDT, there were 329 cell sites still down in areas of Texas and Louisiana impacted by tropical storm Harvey, according to the FCC.  This is an improvement from 24 hours earlier when 365 cell sites were down.

In addition, there were at least 267,426 cable and wireline subscribers without service, down from at least 283,593 yesterday.

There are 42(up from 21 yesterday) non-mobile switching centers out of service and 25 (down from 35 yesterday)
switching centers on back-up power. All of the additional non-mobile switches out of service are very small switches.

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0830/DOC-346445A1.pdf

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

FCC: 365 cell sites remain down in Texas

As of August 29, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EDT, only one additional cell site went offline in the last 24 hours in areas of Texas and Louisiana impacted by tropical storm Harvey.

The FCC reports that 365 cell sites remain down out of 7,803 cell sites serving the 55 counties in Texas and Louisiana impacted by the disaster. This represents an offline rate of 4.7%.

The FCC also noted that a total of 15 Public Safety Support Centers (PSSC) remain offline, an improvement of 1 in the last 24 hours.

The number of impacted wireline of cable subscribers continues at rise: at least t 283,593 subscribers (up from at least 189,487 yesterday) out of service in the affected area. This includes users who get service from cable system or wireline providers.

There are 21 (up from 19 yesterday) non-mobile switching centers out of service and 33 (up from 22 yesterday) switching
centers on back-up power.

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0829/DOC-346419A1.pdf

Monday, August 28, 2017

FCC: More cell sites down in Texas flood zone - 4.7%

The number of cell sites that gone offline is growing in flooded areas of Texas.

As of August 28, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EDT, there were 364 cell sites down out of 7,803 cell sites serving the 55 counties in Texas and Louisiana impacted by Hurrican Harvey and its aftermath. This represents an offline rate of 4.7%, or 44 additional cell site outages from a day earlier. According to the FCC report,  he counties with greater than 50% of cell sites out are Aransas, Calhoun, and Refugio in Texas.  Plaquemines is the only county in Louisiana reporting any cell sites out.

The FCC also noted that a total of 16 Public Safety Support Centers (PSSC), which handle 911 calling remain offline, an improvement of 1 in the last 24 hours.

The number of wireline of cable subscribers continues at the same level: at least 148,565 subscribers out of service in the affected area.

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0828/DOC-346381A1.pdf

Sunday, August 27, 2017

FCC: 4% of cell sites down in coastal Texas

As of August 27, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EDT,  4.1% of the cell sites were down in the coastal counties of Texas and Louisina impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Of the 55 counties in the hurricane impact zone, three were hit by outages in greater than 50% of cell sites: Aransas, Calhoun, Refugio, and San Patricio counties. Within these counties, there were 7,804 active cell sites prior to the hurricane, and of the time of the report, there were 320 cell sites down.

The FCC found there were at least 148,565 cable and wireline subscribers out of service in the affected area on Sunday morning.

There were 19 ongoing outagages or re-routing incidents involving Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).

In addition, there were 9 radio stations off the air. No TV broadcaster outages were reported.

https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-346369A1.pdf



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

FCC plans $2bn auction to support rural broadband

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the next step toward launching an auction that will provide nearly $2 billion over ten years to support the expansion of high-speed Internet access to consumers and businesses in rural areas that are currently unserved by fixed broadband service.

FCC noted that the process represents the first time it has held an auction to allocate ongoing Connect America Fund (CAF) support for fixed broadband and voice services in rural areas. The use of a market-based reverse auction mechanism is designed to enable the FCC to expand and support the provision of quality rural fixed broadband and voice services at a lower cost and to maximise its investment.

The auction is scheduled to commence in 2018. With the public announcement, the FCC is seeking comment on the proposed application and bidding procedures for the auction, including: how interested parties can qualify to participate in the auction; how bidders will submit their bids; and how the FCC will process bids to determine the winners and support amounts.

This first-of-its-kind auction of support for fixed broadband and voice service is expected to attract parties that have not previously participated in an FCC auction. Therefore, the FCC's Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force, together with the Wireline Competition Bureau and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, plan to provide detailed educational materials and hands-on practice opportunities in advance of the auction.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Full House Again at the FCC

The U.S. Senate approved the nominations of Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr to serve as FCC Commissioners. This restores the FCC as a five-person body.

Jessica Rosenworcel previously served as FCC Commissioner under the Obama administration since 2011 and was renominated in 2015 but the Senate failed to renew her posting during the 2016 election cycle. Rosenworcel replaced long-term FCC Commissioner Michael Copps when his term ended in December 2011. She previously was the Senior Communications Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Before that, she worked for Senator Jay Rockefeller IV, and at the FCC from 1999 to 2007, serving as Legal Advisor and then Senior Legal Advisor to Commissioner Michael J. Copps (2003-2007), Legal Counsel to the Bureau Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau (2002-2003), and as an Attorney-Advisor in the Policy Division of the Common Carrier Bureau (1999-2002). She holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Brendan Carr is currently the General Counsel of the Federal Communications Commission, where he serves as the chief legal advisor to the Commission and FCC staff. Previously, he was lead advisor to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai on wireless, public safety, and international issues.  Carr has also worked as an attorney at Wiley Rein LLP. He hold an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and a J.D. from Catholic University.

http://www.fcc.gov


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

FCC Chairman Moves to Reverse Net Neutrality Rules

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai circulated a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with his fellow commissioners at the FCC aimed at reversing the Title II "Net Neutrality" rules adopted in 2015.

In a published speech, Pai described the Title II rules as a regulatory mistake that slowed down telecom infrastructure spending in the United States by 5.6% percent, or $3.6 billion, between 2014 and 2016 for just the top 12 Internet service providers. He said the rules were not needed in 2015 because the Internet "was not broken" and that these 1930s era regulations were constraining the further rollouts of new infrastructure.

Key elements of Pai's proposal include (1) return the classification of broadband service from a Title II telecommunications service to a Title I information service (2) eliminate the so-called Internet conduct standard (3) seeks comment on how the FCC approach the so-called bright-line rules adopted in 2015.

The FCC will vote on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at its meeting in May.

https://www.fcc.gov/document/chairman-pai-speech-future-internet-regulation


FCC Votes 3-2 to Adopt Open Internet Rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to adopt a new set of Open Internet rules proposed by Commissioner Wheeler and backed by the Obama Administration. All of the new rules, which are based on the FCC's authority under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, would apply to fixed and mobile broadband alike, while leaving room for reasonable network management and its specific application to mobile and unlicensed WiFi networks.

Here are the key provisions and rules of the Open Internet Order as outlined by the FCC:

Bright Line Rules:  The first three rules ban practices that are known to harm the Open Internet.

  • No Blocking: broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  • No Throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  • No Paid Prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind—in other words, no “fast lanes.”   This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates. It also prohibits practices that target specific applications or classes of applications.  
A Standard for Future Conduct:  the Order establishes that ISPs cannot “unreasonably interfere with or unreasonably disadvantage” the ability of consumers to select, access, and use the lawful content, applications, services, or devices of their choosing; or of edge providers to make lawful content, applications, services, or devices available to consumers.  The FCC will have authority to address questionable practices on a case-by-case basis, and will provide guidance in the form of factors on how the Commission will apply the standard in practice.

Greater Transparency:  the Order requires that broadband providers disclose, in a
consistent format, promotional rates, fees and surcharges and data caps. Disclosures must also include packet loss as a measure of network performance, and provide notice of network management practices that can affect service.  To further consider the concerns of small ISPs, the Order adopts a temporary exemption from the transparency enhancements for fixed and mobile providers with 100,000 or fewer subscribers, and delegates authority to the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau to determine whether to retain the exception and, if so, at what level.

Reasonable Network Management:    For the purposes of the rules, other than paid prioritization, an ISP may engage in reasonable network management. The FCC's standard takes account of the particular engineering attributes of the technology involved—whether it be fiber, DSL, cable, unlicensed Wi-Fi, mobile, or another network medium. However, the network practice must be primarily used for and tailored to achieving a legitimate network management—and not business—purpose.

Broad Protection
Some data services do not go over the public Internet, and therefore are not “broadband Internet access” services (VoIP from a cable system is an example, as is a dedicated heart-monitoring service). The Order ensures that these services do not undermine the effectiveness of the Open Internet rules. Moreover, all broadband providers’ transparency disclosures will continue to cover any offering of such non-Internet access data services—ensuring that the public and the Commission can keep a close eye on any tactics that could undermine the Open Internet rules.

Interconnection: the FCC address issue that may arise in the exchange of traffic between mass-market broadband providers and other networks and services. Under the authority provided by the Order, the Commission can hear complaints and take appropriate enforcement action if it determines the interconnection activities of ISPs are not just and reasonable.

Legal Authority: the order relies on multiple sources of authority including both Title II of the Communications Act and Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.  At the same time, the Order refrains – or forbears – from enforcing 27 provisions of Title II and over 700 associated regulations that are not relevant to modern broadband service. 

See also