Preparing for Emergency Broadband Benefit Roll Out. On February 26, 2021, the FCC released a Report and Order establishing the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, a $3.2 billion federal initiative that will provide temporary relief to households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic. UPDATE: As of May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to enroll in the program to receive a monthly discount off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider. Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider or by visiting GetEmergencyBroadband.org. (Posted 03/15/21; updated 05/04/21)
FCC Seeks Comment on How to Facilitate Voluntary Adoption of Best Practices to Help Combat Robocalls to Hospitals. On January 11, 2021, the FCC released a Public Notice seeking comments on how to facilitate the voluntary adoption of best practices issued on December 14, 2020 by the Hospital Robocall Protection Group to help combat unlawful robocalls to hospitals. Complete text of the HRPG Best Practices PN and related materials can be found here. (Posted 01/14/21)
FCC Seeks Comment on Ways to Deter the Diversion of 911 Fees to Non-911 Purposes. On October 2, 2020, the FCC released a Notice of Inquiry seeking comments on options for preventing states and other jurisdictions from diverting 911 system fees, paid by consumers on their phone bills, to non-911 purposes. Complete text of the 911 Fee Diversion NOI and related materials can be found here. (Posted 10/14/20)
FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Issues Report on 2019 Nationwide Emergency Alert System Test. On May 12, 2020, the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) issued a report on the August 7, 2019 nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The report found that a large majority of EAS Participants successfully received the alert and retransmitted it to other participants. The test also revealed impediments to some EAS Participants’ ability to receive and/or retransmit the alert. (Posted 07/17/20)
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase 1 Auction Webinar for State, Local, and Tribal Government Officials. On Wednesday, May 20, 2020 the FCC Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA), Office of Native Affairs and Policy (ONAP), and Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force (RBATF) held a webinar for state, local, and Tribal government officials on the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction (Auction 904). (Posted 05/05/20)
FCC Proposes Information Sharing to Promote Public Safety by Amendments to Part 4 of the Commission's Rules Concerning Disruptions to Communication - Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) . On February 28, the Federal Communications Commission proposed a framework for sharing detailed communications outage and infrastructure status information with state and other federal agencies to improve situational awareness, enhance their ability to respond more quickly to outages affecting their communities, and help save lives, while also preserving the confidentiality of this data. (Posted 04/30/20)
Implementing the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Auction. The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is the Commission’s next step in bridging the digital divide to efficiently fund the deployment of broadband networks in rural America. Through a two-phase reverse auction mechanism, the FCC will direct up to $20.4 billion over ten years to finance up to gigabit speed broadband networks in unserved rural areas, connecting millions of American homes and businesses to digital opportunity. (Posted 03/04/20)
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Seeks Input for Report on Call Blocking. On December 20, 2019, the Bureau released a Public Notice in which it sought input for the First Staff Report on Call Blocking. The Public Notice was published in the Federal Register on December 30, 2019. Initial comments were due January 29, 2020; reply comments are due on February 28, 2020. Comments can be filed in CG Docket No. 17-59 and WC Docket No. 17-97, using the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). (Posted 02/18/20)
FCC Seeks Applicants for Vacancies in the Membership of its Intergovernmental Advisory Committee - The mission of the Intergovernmental Advisory Committee (IAC) is to provide advice to the Commission on the many telecommunications issues affecting local, state and Tribal governments that are within the jurisdiction of the FCC. (Posted 11/21/19)
New Network Reliability Webpage for State and Local Governments - The reliability and resiliency of communications networks, including 911 calling, are especially critical during disasters and other emergencies, and state and local governments have a role in helping to ensure reliable communications for their communities. Therefore, the Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has launched a new webpage containing network reliability resources particularly relevant to state and local governments, which provides links to a variety of sites relating to public safety and emergency communications. Here is a link to the new webpage: www.fcc.gov/network-reliability-resources-state-and-local-governments. For more information contact Guy Benson, FCC Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau Cybersecurity & Communications Reliability Division, firstname.lastname@example.org. (Posted 10/23/18)
Lifeline Program Update - The FCC’s Lifeline program helps make voice and broadband services more affordable for qualifying low-income consumers by providing a discount on voice and broadband services to ensure that all Americans have the opportunities and security that voice and broadband services bring, including being able to connect to jobs, family and emergency services. Lifeline is part of the Universal Service Fund administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) and is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands. (Posted 9/7/18)
Political Campaign Robocalls & Robotexts - The FCC's rules apply to political campaign-related calls or texts. (Updated 10/13/20)
State and Local Governments Have Opportunity Through Challenge Process to Help Determine Currently Unserved Locations Eligible for Mobile Wireless Buildout Funding - The Commission announced the procedures for the challenge process in which governmental entities and other interested parties will have an opportunity to challenge an initial determination that an area is ineligible for MF-II support. (Posted 3/28/18)
FCC Unveils Updated and Modernized National Broadband Map - On February 22,2018, the FCC unveiled a new and improved National Broadband Map providing consumers, policymakers, and other interested stakeholders better access to enhanced, and frequently updated, fixed broadband deployment information.
FCC Seeks Applicants for Vacancies in the Membership of its Intergovernmental Advisory Committee - The mission of the Intergovernmental Advisory Committee (IAC) is to provide advice to the Commission on the many telecommunications issues affecting local, state and Tribal governments that are within the jurisdiction of the FCC.
FCC Streamlines Review Process for Replacement Utility Poles to Advance Wireless Infrastructure Deployment - On November 16, 2017, the FCC adopted an order eliminating historic preservation review requirements for the deployment of replacement utility poles that are substantially identical to the ones they replace.
Robocalls by Schools and School Systems - On August 4, 2016, the FCC released an order in response to a petition by Blackboard, Inc. allowing school callers to lawfully make robocalls and send automated texts to student family wireless phones pursuant to an “emergency purpose” exception of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) or with prior express consent. (Posted 9/1/16)
Modernizing Telecommunications Networks - What Government Officials Need to Know - Many telecom companies have begun technology transitions. One such transition involves retiring copper networks to replace them with more modern technology (fiber optic cable, wireless, etc.). (Posted 9/1/16)
Robocalls by Utility Companies - On August 4, 2016, the FCC released an order in response to petitions by Edison Electric Institute and the American Gas Association allowing utility companies to make robocalls and send automated texts, concerning matters closely related to the utility service, to customers who provide their telephone numbers. (Posted 9/1/16)