July 14, 2021
By Jessica Rosenworcel | Acting Chairwoman

Today and tomorrow, the Commission is hosting a showcase of new technologies that will enable greater innovation in equipment for our 5G networks. This open and interoperable technology will mean lower costs and, perhaps most significantly, increased security for 5G. The Commission’s August open meeting will feature an item to jump-start innovation in this technology, in addition to several other items to tackle challenges like unwanted robocalls. Here’s what we’ve got lined up.

  • We are enabling cutting-edge research and development to extend our 5G leadership. Research and development are the cornerstone of the innovation process. The Commission will vote on a proposal to designate two new innovation zones that would enable greater experimentation with advanced wireless technologies—one in Boston and the other in Raleigh, North Carolina. In addition, our proposal would expand the geographic area of an existing innovation zone in New York City. By creating opportunities to integrate open radio access network technologies, our action will help spur the development of more secure 5G alternatives, too. Think of these Innovation Zones as seeds that will grow technologies we can harvest for our 5G future.
  • We are making life harder for malicious robocallers. Widely available VoIP software can allow bad actors to make spoofed robocalls with minimal technical experience and cost. The FCC will consider a proposal to modernize our rules regarding direct access to numbers by providers of VoIP services. The changes would safeguard our finite numbering resources while seeking to curb robocalls and reduce the opportunity for regulatory arbitrage.
  • We are strengthening our regime for authenticating calls and blocking unwanted ones. Caller ID technology known as STIR/SHAKEN promises to authenticate phone numbers and make it easier to block fraudulent calls before they ever reach your phone—helping combat the consumer plague of unwanted robocalls. FCC rules require voice service providers to implement and participate in the STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication framework. To ensure due process and promote trust in this system, the Commission will vote to establish a process for voice providers to appeal decisions by the private group that oversees STIR/SHAKEN if providers are rendered noncompliant with our rules to combat robocalls.
  • We are making sure communications tools are there for individuals with hearing or speech disabilities. Internet Protocol (IP) Relay allows an individual with a hearing or speech disability to communicate with voice telephone users by transmitting text via the Internet. The Commission will consider a proposal to change the compensation methodology for IP Relay providers, which would help ensure that financial support is sufficient to sustain a functionally equivalent telephone service for eligible consumers.
  • We are updating our political programming and recordkeeping rules. The FCC has political programming and recordkeeping rules for broadcast licensees, cable operators, and satellite providers, but we have not formally reviewed these rules since 1991. We will consider two updates to these rules that are designed to comply with statutory requirements and account for modern campaign practices.
  • We are making it easier to use low-power radio services. The Commission will vote on an order to resolve three long-pending petitions regarding our personal radio services rules. Specifically, we would permit FM as an optional modulation scheme in the CB Radio Service; allow automatic or periodic location and data transmissions on General Mobile Service and Family Radio Service frequencies; and correct inadvertent modifications to our rules for medical device communications.