Legislative and Regulatory Activity
The World Wide Consortium (W3C), which has led the multistakeholder effort to establish a universal Do Not Track (DNT) standard, will reach its last call deadline next Monday, July 1. In an email to members of the working group last week, W3C co-chairs Peter Swire and Matthias Schunter pledged to complete a proposal before the Monday, July 1 deadline, even if the group must extend the length of their regular meetings or schedule additional calls. In particular, the co-chairs mentioned that the group must still resolve the issue of deidentification.
In a Friday, June 14 Presidential Memorandum, federal agencies and offices were directed to accelerate their efforts to facilitate spectrum in order to increase the amount of spectrum available for wireless broadband. The memorandum contained a number of steps to accelerate spectrum sharing, including: establishing a Spectrum Policy Team that will work with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to implement the memorandum; directing NTIA to continue facilitating discussions on spectrum sharing between government and non-government entities; and requiring NTIA to include in its next interim report a plan that directs federal agencies to quantify their actual use of spectrum in bands previously identified as having the greatest potential for spectrum sharing with commercial users. The Memorandum strongly encourages the FCC, in collaboration with NTIA, to expedite the repurposing of spectrum and to enable innovative commercial use of spectrum as rapidly as possible.
Sources confirm that the House Energy & Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday, June 27 to discuss potential private sector use of federal spectrum. A formal announcement, including an agenda and list of speakers, should be available soon.
The FCC announced comment deadlines for its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing rules to implement Sections 204 and 205 of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), which require that user interfaces on digital apparatus and navigation devices used to view video programming be accessible to and usable by individuals who are blind or visually impaired. The NPRM seeks comments on a number of issues, including whether to interpret Section 205 to apply to navigation devices supplied by multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs). Comments and reply comments are due by July 15 and August 7, respectively.
Contraband Wireless Devices in Jails
The FCC seeks comment on the use of technological solutions (such as managed access, detection, and radio signal jamming) to curtail the use of contraband wireless devices in correctional facilities. Comments and reply comments are due by July 18 and August 2, respectively.
FCC Chairman Nominee Wheeler Hearing
On Tuesday, June 18, the Senate Commerce Committee conducted a nominating hearing during which FCC Chairman nominee Tom Wheeler stated his chairmanship would be guided by three policies: consumer protection, competition and predictability. Specific questions from Committee members solicited Wheeler’s views on merger review, Universal Service Fund (USF) reform, E-rate modernization, federal spectrum sharing, incentive auction rules, retransmission consent, and net neutrality. Michael O’Rielly, an aide to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), is the current front-runner for the FCC Commissioner seat vacated by Republican Commissioner Robert McDowell.
This Week’s Hearings:
- Wednesday, June 26: The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a hearing titled “From the Lab Bench to the Courtroom: Advancing the Science and Standards of Forensics.”
- Wednesday, June 26 – Thursday, June 27: The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) will hold a Regional Consultation Workshop in Memphis, TN.
- Thursday, June 27: The FCC will hold an Open Meeting.
- Thursday, June 27: The House Energy & Commerce Committee will hold a spectrum hearing.