Legislative Activity

Senators Press FCC for Extension of Broadband Privacy Comment Period

On May 19, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) wrote a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler requesting that the FCC extend the comment period for the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on a proposed framework for the application of the privacy requirements of the Communications Act to broadband Internet access service providers (previously discussed here and here). The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau recently denied multiple requests for extensions of time to file comments and reply comments. In the letter, the senators argued that there is broad public support for extending the deadline for comments and noted that the NPRM took over a year to put together and seeks input on more than 500 questions. The senators requested an extension of not less than 45 days. In the alternative, they asked the FCC to provide a written explanation as to why the comment period cannot be extended before May 27, the deadline for comments.

911 Location Accuracy Bill Introduced in House

On May 13, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) introduced H.R.5236, the Requesting Emergency Services and Providing Origination Notification Systems Everywhere (RESPONSE) Act. The legislation would require the FCC to conclude a 2012 proceeding regarding the ability of Multi-Line Telephone Systems (MLTSs) to provide the precise location of a 911 caller. When the FCC initiated the proceeding, it noted that “MLTSs serve multiple telephone stations at a single customer site . . . [such as] an office building or a university campus,” but that when an emergency call is placed from a station within an MLTS the party receiving the call may not always be able to identify the precise location of the caller. Rep. Eshoo’s bill would require the FCC to adopt rules in the pending MLTS proceeding within 18 months of the enactment of the bill. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, May 24: The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation will hold a hearing titled “Examining the Multistakeholder Plan for Transitioning the Internet Assigned Number Authority.”

Regulatory Activity

FCC Releases Final Agenda for May 25 Open Meeting

The FCC has announced that it will consider the following items at its May 25 Open Meeting:

  • Revisions to Public Inspection File Requirements – Broadcaster Correspondence File and Cable Principal Headend Location. The FCC will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that “seeks comment on proposals to eliminate the requirement that commercial broadcast stations retain copies of letters and emails from the public in their public inspection file and the requirement that cable operators reveal the location of the cable system’s principal headend.”
  • Amendments to Part 4 of the Commission’s Rules Concerning Disruptions to Communications et al. The FCC will consider a Report and Order, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Order on Reconsideration to “update its Part 4 communications network outage reporting requirements.”
  • Connect America Fund, ETC Annual Reports and Certifications, and Rural Broadband Experiments. The FCC will consider a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking “regarding a competitive bidding process for high-cost universal service support from Phase II of the Connect America Fund.”

Chairman Wheeler posted to the FCC Blog discussing the items above on May 4. The FCC’s Open Meeting is scheduled to commence on May 25 at 10:30 a.m. in the Commission Meeting Room of the FCC’s headquarters at 445 12th Street S.W., Washington, D.C., and will be streamed live at fcc.gov/live.

FCC Releases Guidance on Open Internet Transparency Rule Requirements

The FCC’s Chief Technologist, Office of General Counsel, and Enforcement Bureau released a Public Notice (PN) on May 19 offering “guidance regarding acceptable methodologies for disclosure of network performance to satisfy the enhanced transparency requirements in the 2015 Open Internet Order.” The “Transparency Rule” adopted in the 2010 Open Internet Order requires providers of broadband Internet access service (BIAS) to make certain disclosures of “network management practices, performance, and commercial terms” of its BIAS offerings. In the 2015 Open Internet Order, the FCC “enhanced” the Transparency Rule, specifying that BIAS providers are required to disclose “expected and actual download and upload speeds, latency, and packet loss, but are no longer required to disclose the typical frequency of congestion.” The PN in principal part clarifies the specific disclosures that BIAS providers must make pursuant to the Transparency Rule.

FCC Launches Consumer Complaint Data Center

On May 18, the FCC announced that it had launched a “new online Consumer Complaint Data Center to provide greater transparency into consumer complaints” received by the FCC, according to a News Release. The News Release states that “[c]onsumer complaints are an essential resource for the [FCC’s] work,” and can be used, for example, to “inform policy decisions” and “enforce the [FCC’s] rules.” The Consumer Complaint Data Center will serve as a “comprehensive database of individual complaints” that will “allow[] users to easily track, search, sort, and download information” and “build their own visualizations, charts and graphs,” according to the FCC.