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

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

C-band auction: Verizon $45B; AT&T $23B; T-Mobile $9B

Verizon was the top bidder with a commitment of over $45 billion in the FCC's recent C-band auction.

Auction 107 net winning bids totaled $81,114,481,921 and gross winning bids totaled $81,168,677,645.  Twenty-one bidders won all of the available 5,684 licenses.

“It is essential to America’s economic recovery that we deliver on the promise of next-generation wireless services for everyone, everywhere,” said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.  “This auction reflects a shift in our nation’s approach to 5G toward mid-band spectrum that can support fast, reliable, and ubiquitous service that is competitive with our global peers.  Now we have to work fast to put this spectrum to use in service of the American people.  Special thanks go to our great FCC auctions team, and their colleagues in the Wireless Telecommunications and International Bureaus, among others, for this success.”

The five bidders with the largest total gross winning bid amounts from both the clock and assignments phases were as follows:


Full results are here:

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Rosenworcel proposes more mid-band spectrum for 5G

FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel is proposing 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band would be made available for auction and 5G deployment across the contiguous United States.  The Acting Chairwoman also shared with her colleagues a proposed Public Notice seeking comment on procedures for this auction (Auction 110), in which bidding would begin in early October 2021.


The proposed new rules, if adopted, would allocate the 3.45-3.55 GHz spectrum band for flexible-use service.  It would establish a framework for coordination of non-federal and federal use and establish a band plan, as well as technical, licensing, and competitive bidding rules for the band.  Lastly, it would complete the relocation of non-federal radiolocation operators to the 2.9-3.0 GHz band and the sunset of amateur use in the 3.3-3.5 GHz band.

The draft order will be considered at the FCC's March 17th Open Meeting.

“The promise of 5G means new and improved services and applications for consumers and businesses alike.  This means not only faster download speeds, but also enabling digital tools we can’t even imagine yet,” said Rosenworcel.  “We need to deliver the 5G that the American people were promised.  That means a 5G that is fast, secure, resilient, and—most importantly—available across the country.  This important auction is a crucial step toward making that a reality.  I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this proposal.”



Monday, February 22, 2021

Rosenworcel structures $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Program

FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel circulated a proposal to establigh the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, a $3.2 billion federal initiative to provide qualifying households discounts on their Internet service bills and an opportunity to receive a discount on a computer or tablet.  

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program was created by Congress in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.  Eligible households may receive a discount off the cost of broadband service (up to $50.00 per month and, on Tribal lands, the monthly discount may be up to $75.00 per month) and certain connected devices during an emergency period relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


“As we work our way through a pandemic that has upended so much in our day-to-day life, we have been asked to migrate so many of the things we do online.  From work to healthcare to education, this crisis has made it clear that without an internet connection too many households are locked out of modern life.  It’s more apparent than ever that broadband is no longer nice-to-have.  It’s need-to-have,” said Rosenworcel.  “But too many of us are struggling to afford this critical service.  Late last year Congress directed the FCC to establish a new Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to assist families struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic.  Today I’m proud to advance a proposal to my colleagues to implement this program so we can help as many eligible households as possible.  No one should have to choose between paying their internet bill or paying to put food on the table.  With the help of the Emergency Broadband Benefit, we have a new way for households to access virtual learning, for patients to connect to telehealth providers, and for those struggling in this pandemic to learn new online skills and seek their next job.” 


Sunday, February 21, 2021

FCC seeks expedited removal of Huawei and ZTE gear

Seeking to expedite the removal of equipment from Huawei and FCC from U.S. communications neteworks, the FCC is looking to modify its Secure and Trusted Network Reimbursement Program rules to align with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which appropriated $1.895 billion to remove, replace, and dispose of communications equipment and services that pose a national security threat. 

The FCC is seeking to raise the cap on eligibility for participation in the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program to providers of advanced communications service with 10 million or fewer customers.  The FCC also seeks comment on rules regarding the acceptable uses of reimbursement program disbursements, eligibility of certain equipment and services, and modifications to the prioritization scheme in the event that requests for reimbursement exceed the $1.895 billion appropriation. 


Another proposed change would allow recipients to use reimbursement funding to remove or replace Huawei or ZTE equipment and services obtained on or before June 30, 2020.

FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel writes "I am committed to working with our federal partners and the private sector to increase the security and resiliency of our nation’s communications networks.  Moreover, I am guided by the conviction that working with our allies and multilateral institutions can multiply our strength across the globe.  I believe it is time for this agency to revitalize its approach to network security because it is an essential part of our national security, our economic recovery, and our leadership in a post-pandemic world."  

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

FCC moves to 5G auction assignment, Rosenworcel appoints staff

The FCC released final guidance on the upcoming assignment phase of the 5G auction of C-band spectrum which has already generated gross proceeds exceeding $80.9 billion.  Bidders that won generic spectrum blocks in the recently concluded clock phase will have the opportunity to bid for their preferred combinations of frequency-specific license assignments, consistent with their clock phase winnings.

Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel stated “This auction has exceeded expectations, and, at this point, we are pushing forward to get this critical piece of mid-band spectrum to market quickly, where it will help American consumers tap into next generation wireless services,” said Rosenworcel.  “I thank the FCC staff who work so hard to ensure the success of our spectrum auctions.  Few things we do have as great an impact on the day-to-day lives of the American people as our work to ensure spectrum is available for wireless connectivity.”

Rosenworcel also announced the following appointments:

  • P. Michele Ellison, Acting General Counsel
  • Joel Taubenblatt, Acting Chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau  
  • Travis Litman, Acting Chief of Staff
  • Kate Black, Acting Chief Policy Advisor
  • Umair Javed, Acting Chief Counsel
  • D’wana Terry, Acting Special Advisor to the Chairwoman and Acting Director of the Office of Workplace Diversity
  • Sanford Williams, Acting Special Advisor to the Chairwoman and Director, Office of Business Communications Opportunities
  • Trent Harkrader, Acting Special Advisor to the Chairwoman and Deputy Bureau Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau
  • Holly Saurer, Acting Legal Advisor, Media:  Holly joins the office from the Media Bureau
  • David Strickland, Acting Legal Advisor, Consumer, Enforcement, and International
  • Ethan Lucarelli, Acting Legal Advisor, Wireless and Public Safety
  • Aurelle Porter, Acting Staff Assistant
  • Andi Roane, Acting Confidential Assistant
http://www.fcc.gov

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Biden names Jessica Rosenworcel as Acting Chairwoman of FCC

 President Biden named Jessica Rosenworcel to serve as acting chair or the FCC until an official chair is confirmed by the Senate.

Rosenworcel was first appointed as an FCC Commissioner by President Obama. She 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. 



Monday, January 18, 2021

3.7 GHz spectrum auction tops $80 billion

The FCC's Aution 107 for flexible‐use overlay licenses for spectrum in the 3.7–3.98 GHz band concluded with a record $80.9 billion in bids after 97 rounds.

The auction made available licenses for 280 megahertz of spectrum in the the so-called C-band.  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made the following statement:

“This historic FCC auction is already a record-breaking success.  Bidders have won all of the 5,684 spectrum blocks that were up for bid.  And gross proceeds have exceeded $80.9 billion, shattering the prior FCC auction record of $44.9 billion.  

“These results represent a strong endorsement by the private sector of the service rules and transition plan put in place by the FCC to quickly make the C-band a critical part of 5G rollout in the United States.  And they vindicate the hard choices the FCC made during the C-band proceeding—and that we made them.  The FCC confronted a host of technical, legal, practical, and political challenges in structuring this auction.  It would have been easy to delay.  But we rightly pushed ahead and overcame every one of those obstacles.  As a result, we significantly advanced United States leadership in 5G and have enabled America’s wireless consumers to more quickly benefit from 5G services.  

Winning bidders will now have the opportunity to bid for frequency-specific licenses in the assignment phase of Auction 107. 

https://www.fcc.gov/document/first-phase-record-breaking-5g-spectrum-auction-concludes

FCC considers revamping the 12 GHz Band currently used by DBS

 The FCC is seeking comment on how to maximize efficient use of the 500 megahertz of mid-band spectrum in the 12.2-12.7 GHz band.  An open question is whether terrestrial mobile wireless service could coexist with existing operations in the band without causing harmful interference to incumbent licensees. 


In the United States, the 12 GHz band is currently licensed to Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) operators, non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) satellite systems, and fixed service providers—all on a co-primary basis.  DISH Network and DirecTV, the two DBS licensees, use this spectrum to provide video programming content to millions of American consumers.  The Commission has authorized several NGSO constellations in recent years to operate using this spectrum, in coordination with one-way, fixed Multichannel Video Distribution and Data Service (MVDDS).  NGSO and MVDDS services must operate on a non-harmful interference basis with respect to DBS.

The FCC is also seeking comment on whether the public interest benefits of maintaining the current allocations and framework for the band outweigh the potential benefits of accommodating new services in the band.


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Bidding on 3.7 GHz spectrum tops $78 billion

The FCC's ongoing auction of spectrum in the 3.7–3.98 GHz band has topped $78 billion - the highest-grossing spectrum auction in American history.

Auction 107 offers flexible‐use overlay licenses for spectrum in the 3.7–3.98 GHz band (3.7 GHz Service) throughout the contiguous United States, subject to clearing requirements. A total of 57 applicants were cleared to participate in the auction. Bidding commenced on December 8.

https://auctiondata.fcc.gov/public/projects/auction107

U.S. establishes $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Connectivity fund


The FCC will implement an Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund of $3.2 billion. Eligible households may receive a discount off the cost of broadband service and certain connected devices during an emergency period relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participating providers will receive a reimbursement from the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program for the discounts provided. 

Participating providers will make available to eligible households a monthly discount off the standard rate for an Internet service offering and associated equipment, up to $50.00 per month. On Tribal lands, the monthly discount may be up to $75.00 per month.


The FCC is now seeking public comments before establishing the rules for this program.

https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-releases-2020-communications-marketplace-report



Monday, December 21, 2020

U.S. Covid-19 relief bill provides $1.9 billion to rip/replace Huawei

The $900 billion coronavirus relief package approved by the U.S. Congress contains several provisions for telecommunications, including $1.9 billion to fund the rip/replace of Huawei and ZTE equipment, $3.2 billion for Keep Americans Connected programs, $250 million for telehealth initiatives, and requirements for the FCC to begin auctioning the 3.45-3.55 GHz band by the end of 2021."


FCC Chairman Ajit Pai:

“I applaud Congress for including in the coronavirus relief and omnibus funding legislation a number of provisions that advance critical national priorities in communications policy.  I am pleased, for example, that Congress is providing the FCC with $1.9 billion to fund the program that we adopted earlier this month to ‘rip and replace’ insecure equipment in our nation’s communications networks.  This program will strengthen both network security and our national security.  In addition, this legislation gives the FCC the funding we need to implement our Digital Opportunity Data Collection; this is a critical step toward the FCC being able to implement both Phase II of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund as well as the 5G Fund for Rural America that the Commission adopted earlier this year, which together will offer over $20 billion to support high-speed broadband in rural America.  I would like to thank Chairman Wicker, in particular, for his strong leadership in securing this funding.

“Building on our successful COVID-19 Telehealth Program, I’m also pleased that Congress has provided the Commission with an additional $250 million for that program, which will allow us to approve many more applications to expand connected care throughout the country and enable patients to access necessary health care services while staying safe.  Furthermore, I am glad that Congress has responded to my call from this past June to provide funding to Keep Americans Connected during the pandemic.  The $3.2 billion contained in this legislation will leverage private efforts to ensure low-income American families and veterans are connected, and will facilitate remote learning by funding connected devices for low-income American students."

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel:

“This pandemic has demonstrated that access to broadband is no longer nice-to-have, it is need-to-have for everyone, everywhere.  So it is terrific news that Congress has before it legislation that will boost connectivity during this crisis.  Too many people in too many places are struggling without the ability to go online.  With so much of modern life now dependent on internet access, no one should have to choose between paying a broadband bill and paying rent or buying groceries.  Simply put, no matter who you are or where you live in this country, you should have access to broadband. " 


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

CenturyLink to pay $500K for Dec 2018 outage

The FCC and CenturyLink agreed to settle a case involving a multistate outage on one of CenturyLink’s transport networks that occurred on December 27-28, 2018. The outage impacted CenturyLink’s delivery of some 911 calls.

To settle this matter, CenturyLink will pay $500,000.

https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-20-1469A1.pdf



Thursday, December 10, 2020

FCC adopts rules to secure communications

The FCC adopted rules to implement the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019, aimed at protecting the security of the United States and the safety of U.S. communications networks.  

Specifically, the Second Report and Order approved today requires the Commission to publish a list of communications equipment and services determined to be a risk to national security that has been identified either by (1) executive branch interagency bodies with appropriate national security experience; (2) the Department of Commerce pursuant to its authority under Executive Order 13873; (3) Congress in the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, or (4) U.S. national security agencies.  Once Congress appropriates funding, eligible telecommunications carriers that receive universal service funding to provide service in remote areas of the country must remove such equipment or services from their networks and properly dispose of it.  


The Order also establishes and adopts rules for the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program, which will provide funds to smaller providers of advanced communications services for the removal and replacement of communications equipment and services on the list published by the Commission, conditioned on the appropriation of funds by Congress.  Commission staff have estimated the program will require at least $1.6 billion to reimburse eligible providers, based on an analysis conducted by the Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau and Office of Economics and Analytics.  

The Order further requires all providers of advanced communications services to report whether their networks include any covered communications equipment or services acquired after August 14, 2018.  Finally, the Order mandates strict reporting requirements to ensure that the Commission is kept informed about the ongoing presence of insecure equipment in U.S. communications networks.

In addition, the FCC voted to deny Huawei Technologies Co.’s application for review of a June 30, 2020 order designating the company, as well as its parents, affiliates, and subsidiaries, as posing a national security threat to the safety of communications networks and the communications supply chain. In the June order, the Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau formally designated Huawei as a covered company for purposes of the agency’s November 2019 ban on the use of support from the Commission’s Universal Service Fund to purchase equipment or services from companies posing a national security threat.

https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-adopts-rules-secure-communications-networks-and-supply-chain

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

FCC's C-Band spectrum auction gets underway

 The FCC kicked off its auction of 280 megahertz of prime mid-band spectrum in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band—a portion of the C-band.  This is the FCC’s largest mid-band 5G spectrum auction to date.

“This is a big day for American consumers and U.S. leadership in 5G,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.  “By freeing up this wide swath of critical mid-band spectrum, the FCC is paving the way for Americans to receive fast 5G wireless services.  Together with the recent success of our 3.5 GHz band auction, our work to auction the 2.5 GHz and 3.45 GHz bands in 2021, and the other ground-breaking spectrum auctions we’ve held since 2017, our 5G FAST Plan is in full swing.  American consumers and businesses will benefit from this FCC’s efforts for years to come.” 


Chairman Pai proposed and instituted a plan to repurpose the C-band quickly.  As a result, this mid-band spectrum will be available to deliver next-generation connectivity to American consumers and businesses years ahead of schedule.  The FCC successfully secured commitments from fixed satellite companies to move quickly out of the 3.7-3.98 GHz band and into the upper portion of the C-band, which will free up this crucial mid-band spectrum for 5G wireless services. 

The first round of the clock phase of the auction started on December 8th at 10 a.m. ET.  This auction will offer 5,684 new flexible-use overlay licenses based on Partial Economic Areas (PEAs) for spectrum in the 3.7–3.98 GHz band.  This spectrum holds the potential to be prime spectrum for 5G services given its combination of geographic coverage and capacity, and the FCC’s auction procedures will ensure the assignment to auction winners of contiguous spectrum blocks allowing wide channel bandwidths that support 5G deployment. 

Satellite operators currently using the C-Band have agreed to repack their operations out of the band’s lower 300 megahertz (3.7-4.0 GHz) into the upper 200 megahertz (4.0-4.2 GHz).  The first phase of this transition—the clearing of 120 megahertz of spectrum from 3.7-3.82 GHz in 46 of the nation’s top 50 PEAs—will conclude by December 5, 2021.  The second phase—clearing the lower 120 megahertz of spectrum in the remaining PEAs, plus an additional 180 megahertz from 3.82-4.0 GHz nationwide—will conclude by December 5, 2023.  


U.S. Senate confirms Nathan Simington to FCC


The U.S. Senate 49-46 to confirm Nathan Simington to a seat on the Federal Communications Commission. He takes the seat previously occupied by Republican Mike O’Rielly. With Republican Ajit Pai leaving as well, the FCC will be split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, until President-elect Biden chooses a new chairman. 

Simington currently serves at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration as a Senior Advisor in the office of Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information.


Outgoing FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stated “I congratulate Nathan on his confirmation by the U.S. Senate and look forward to welcoming him to the Commission.  It has been the greatest honor of my professional life to serve at the FCC, and I am confident that Nathan too will enjoy the challenges and rewards of the job."  

Monday, December 7, 2020

FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund phase one auction

The FCC announced the results of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction in which cable operators, electric cooperatives, incumbent telephone companies, satellite companies, and fixed wireless providers competed in bids to deliver services to specific locations. A total of 180 bidders won auction support, to be distributed over the next 10 years.

Bidders won funding to deploy high-speed broadband to over 5.2 million unserved homes and businesses, almost 99% of the locations available in the auction.  Moreover, 99.7% of these locations will be receiving broadband with speeds of at least 100/20 Mbps, with an overwhelming majority (over 85%) getting gigabit-speed broadband.  

The auction used a multi-round, descending clock auction format in which bidders indicated in each round whether they would commit to provide service to an area at a given performance tier and latency at the current round’s support amount.  The auction was technologically neutral and open to new providers, and bidding procedures prioritized bids for higher speeds and lower latency.

The auction unleashed robust price competition that resulted in more locations being awarded at less cost to Americans who pay into the Universal Service Fund.  The 5,220,833 locations assigned support in the auction had an initial reserve price of over $26 billion over the next decade; through vigorous competition among bidders, the final price tag to cover these locations is now just over $9 billion,

CCO Holdings, LLC (Charter Communications) was assigned the most locations, just over 1.05 million. 

The FCC said itsstructuring of the reverse auction yielded significant savings, as competitive bidding among over 300 providers yielded an allocation of $9.2 billion in support out of the $16 billion set aside for Phase I of the auction.  Importantly, the $6.8 billion in potential Phase I support that was not allocated will be rolled over into the future Phase II auction, which now can draw upon a budget of up to $11.2 billion in targeting partially-served areas (and the few unserved areas that did not receive funding through Phase I).

“I’m thrilled with the incredible success of this auction, which brings welcome news to millions of unconnected rural Americans who for too long have been on the wrong side of the digital divide.  They now stand to gain access to high-speed, high-quality broadband service,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.  “We structured this innovative and groundbreaking auction to be technologically neutral and to prioritize bids for high-speed, low-latency offerings.  We aimed for maximum leverage of taxpayer dollars and for networks that would meet consumers’ increasing broadband needs, and the results show that our strategy worked.  This auction was the single largest step ever taken to bridge the digital divide and is another key success for the Commission in its ongoing commitment to universal service.  I thank our staff for working so hard and so long to get this auction done on time, particularly during the pandemic.” 

The list of winning bidders is posted here:

FCC authorizes first Wi-Fi device for 6 GHz spectrum band

The FCC authorized the first Wi-Fi device for use in the 6 GHz spectrum band (5.925–7.125 GHz).  

Specifically, the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology authorized Broadcom’s application for the first 6 GHz transmitter.  

In April, the Commission adopted new rules to expand unlicensed operations in the 6 GHz band, ushering in Wi-Fi 6—the next generation of Wi-Fi—and boosting the growth of the Internet of Things.  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued the following statement on today’s news:

“Today, we get an exciting glimpse of America’s Wi-Fi future.  This is the FCC’s first authorization of a device to provide unlicensed services in the 6 GHz spectrum band under the Commission’s new rules.  The Commission cleared the way for such advances with its landmark action earlier this year, making up to 1,200 megahertz of spectrum available for higher powered unlicensed use.  Today, we are starting to see the fruits of this work, and consumers will now start to benefit in a big way.

“We expect Wi-Fi 6 to be over two-and-a-half times faster than the current standard.  This will offer better performance for American consumers at a time when homes and businesses are increasingly reliant on Wi-Fi.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all seen how Wi-Fi has enabled everything from work-at-home to telehealth to remote learning to streaming and gaming.  Wi-Fi 6 will turbocharge each of these and more, and will also complement commercial 5G networks.  Bottom line:  The American consumer’s wireless experience is about to be transformed for the better.

FCC opens 6 GHz Band to Wi-Fi

The FCC voted to open 1,200 megahertz of spectrum in the 6 GHz band (5.925–7.125 GHz) available for Wi-Fi and other unlicensed uses.  The 6 GHz band is currently populated by, among others, microwave services that are used to support utilities, public safety, and wireless backhaul.  Unlicensed devices will share this spectrum with incumbent licensed services under rules crafted to protect those licensed services and enable both unlicensed and licensed operations to thrive throughout the band.

The new rules authorize indoor low-power operations over the full 1,200 megahertz and standard-power devices in 850 megahertz in the 6 GHz band.  An automated frequency coordination system will prevent standard power access points from operating where they could cause interference to incumbent services. 

The FCC expects its new rules to accelerate the adoption of Wi-Fi 6 and play a major role in the growth of the Internet of Things.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai states: "Ultimately, I expect that 6 GHz unlicensed devices will become a part of consumers’ everyday lives.  And I predict the rules we adopt today will play a major role in the growth of the Internet of Things, connecting appliances, machines, meters, wearables, smart televisions, and other consumer electronics, as well as industrial sensors for manufacturing.  At the same time, our approach will ensure that incumbents in the 6 GHz band are protected from harmful interference.  The microwave services that already use this band are critical to the operations of utilities, public safety, and wireless backhaul operations.  And we are ensuring that those incumbents are protected by requiring the use of automated frequency coordination systems, which will only allow new standard-power operations in areas that will not cause interference to incumbent services, and by placing conservative power limits on low-power indoor operations."

“By making 6 GHz available for unlicensed use, the FCC has secured the future of Wi-Fi. 6 GHz access is a seminal development for connectivity and provides Wi-Fi more capacity to deliver groundbreaking use cases and to unlock novel new Wi-Fi applications,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO, Wi-Fi Alliance. “Today’s global climate highlights how important Wi-Fi is in connectivity and productivity, and new Wi-Fi 6E solutions will further increase Wi-Fi’s standing.”

Monday, November 30, 2020

FCC chairman Pai to step down in January


FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that he intends to leave the FCC on January 20, 2021.  Chairman Pai issued the following statement:

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve at the Federal Communications Commission, including as Chairman of the FCC over the past four years.  I am grateful to President Trump for giving me the opportunity to lead the agency in 2017, to President Obama for appointing me as a Commissioner in 2012, and to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and the Senate for twice confirming me.  To be the first Asian-American to chair the FCC has been a particular privilege.  As I often say: only in America."

http://www.fcc.gov

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.


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

FCC opens 5.9 GHz band for Wi-Fi and C-V2X


The FCC adopted new rules for the 5.9 GHz band (5.850-5.925 GHz) to make new spectrum available for unlicensed uses, such as Wi-Fi, and improve automotive safety.  Specifically, the new band plan designates the lower 45 megahertz (5.850-5.895 GHz) for unlicensed uses and the upper 30 megahertz (5.895-5.925 GHz) for enhanced automobile safety using Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology.

The FCC said the spectrum’s impact will be further amplified by the fact that it is adjacent to an existing Wi-Fi band which, when combined with the 45 megahertz made available today, will support cutting-edge broadband applications.  These high-throughput channels—up to 160 megahertz wide—will enable gigabit Wi-Fi connectivity for schools, hospitals, small businesses, and other consumers.  The Report and Order adopts technical rules to enable full-power indoor unlicensed operations in the lower 45 megahertz portion of the band immediately, as well as opportunities for outdoor unlicensed use on a coordinated basis under certain circumstances.  Under the new rules, ITS services will be required to vacate the lower 45 megahertz of the band within one year.  

The new rules also will improve automotive safety by reserving the upper 30 megahertz of the band for Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) services and designating C-V2X as the technology standard for safety-related transportation and vehicular communications.  C-V2X uses cellular protocols to provide direct communications between vehicles and obstacles like other vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, and road workers, and to receive safety information from roadside transmitters.  

https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-modernizes-59-ghz-band-improve-wi-fi-and-automotive-safety


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

FCC fines T-Mobile $200 million for Lifeline violations at Sprint

The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau imposed a $200 million fine on T-Mobile in connection with Sprint's non-compliance with rules pertaining to waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program for low-income consumers.  

The payment is the largest fixed-amount settlement the FCC has ever secured to resolve an investigation. 


Prior to its merger with T-Mobile, Sprint was claiming monthly subsidies for serving approximately 885,000 Lifeline subscribers even though those subscribers were not using the service, in potential violation of the Commission’s “non-usage” rule.  The matter initially came to light as a result of an investigation by the Oregon Public Utility Commission.  In addition to paying a $200 million civil penalty, Sprint agreed to enter into a compliance plan to help ensure future adherence to the Commission’s rules for the Lifeline program.

The Lifeline program helps make phone and broadband service more affordable for low-income consumers.  Providers participating in the program receive a $9.25 monthly subsidy for most Lifeline subscribers, which they must pass along to consumers as a discount.  For most mobile Lifeline consumers served by Sprint and many other providers, the subsidy makes the service free to the consumer.

“Lifeline is key to our commitment to bringing digital opportunity to low-income Americans, and it is especially critical that we make the best use of taxpayer dollars for this vital program,” said Chairman Ajit Pai.  “I’m pleased that we were able to resolve this investigation in a manner that sends a strong message about the importance of complying with rules designed to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program.  In addition to the great work of our Enforcement Bureau team, I would like to thank the Oregon Public Utility Commission for its efforts in this case.  States play an important role in helping low-income consumers get access to affordable communications through Lifeline and making sure the program is run efficiently.”