Congress Wants Hawaii Alerting Probe Update

UPDATE The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s telecom panel plans to hold a hearing with the FCC on public safety following the false emergency alert sent in Hawaii over the weekend, warning of an incoming missile. The false message was sent to cell phones as a Wireless Emergency Alert and over TV, cable and radio over the Emergency Alert System. The committee said the event will take place “sometime in the coming weeks,” according to lawmakers. Continue reading

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Replacement Poles Can Now Skirt Historic Review

Pole attachments for small cell wireless infrastructure just got easier. The FCC’s rule change to exempt some poles from historic preservation review took effect yesterday, January 16. Federal Register publication triggered the effective date.

Specifically, the telecom provider is exempt from the review when a pole is replaced with a substantially identical pole, the original pole is not historic and the replacement does not disturb new ground. The replacement must be consistent with other size, location, and appearance restrictions. The changes also take into account when a wooden pole is replaced with metal. Continue reading

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Hawaii Can Now Quickly Retract False WEA, EAS Alerts

UPDATE Hawaii now has a way to notify the public that an alert was sent in error. There was no protocol in place to take back an alert at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HEMA) on Saturday, reported The Washington Post.

That’s when a state employee mistakenly chose the real, live “missile alert” alert option from a drop-down menu for what was supposed to be an internal test. An actual cell phone text was sent as a Wireless Emergency Alert and transmitted over TV, radio and cable over the Emergency Alert System. The message told the public a missile threat to the state was imminent and to seek shelter, causing panic.
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Support For Early Move for Hurricane-Devastated TV Stations in PR, USVI

A total of twenty television stations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria can build their new transmission facilities so they can change channels earlier than their official repack schedule. The FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force and Media Bureau okayed the request last week. T-Mobile and Electronics Research Inc. support the action.

Chairman Ajit Pai said the move is important to expedite the restoration of communications services on the islands. Continue reading

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WEA, Broadband Funding Dominate FCC’s January Docket

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai continues his aggressive voting schedule into the New Year. No less than seven items have been teed up for the January 30 monthly meeting; that compares to a general number of five items per meeting for his predecessor Tom Wheeler.

Last year, the FCC adopted rules for “Connect America Fund Phase II” and authorized investment of up to $2 billion over the next decade to bring fixed broadband service to rural America. Continue reading

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And, Yea, They Shall Turn Their Wind Turbines Into Cell Towers

A wind turbine at Falmouth’s wastewater treatment plant may become a cell tower, according to the Cape Cod Times.  The structure, one of two wind towers on the property, was ordered to be shut down by a superior court judge over nuisance complaints and zoning violations from area residents.

If the giant blades were removed and only the pole remained, it would no longer be classified as a wind turbine, Frank Duffy, the town’s attorney told the Times. Continue reading

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Crown to Tackle 25,000 Small Cell Build Backlog

Citi 2018 Global TMT West Conference

Crown Castle’s priorities for 2018 include being able to meet increasing demand for both macro and small cells; the company has to build approximately 25,000 small cells, according to company CFO Dan Schlanger.

Meeting carrier demand for more data means more infrastructure investments, he told attendees of the Citi 2018 Global TMT West Conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday. The company plans to increase new tower leasing this year, he said, adding that macro towers are a great business “that needs to be augmented by the densification effort.”   Continue reading

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Trump Inks Orders to Speed Rural Broadband Infrastructure Deployment

President Donald Trump signed two president orders on Monday to streamline and expedite rural broadband deployment. In a speech before the American Farm Bureau annual convention in Nashville, the president said a task force aimed at improving rural life “heard from farmers that broadband internet is an issue.” The orders, he said, “will provide broader, faster, better internet coverage.” Continue reading

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Small Carriers Need More Time for WEA Geo-Targeting

Small wireless carriers will need extra time to deploy geo-targeting of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), the Competitive Carriers Association tells the FCC.

CCA agrees with large carrier association CTIA that integration of new WEA geo-targeting capabilities into networks and devices will take at least 36 months from the effective date of new rules. Smaller wireless carriers will need an additional 12 to 24 months because they don’t “have the same access to the latest devices on the same timeline as the largest carriers, if at all,” CCA EVP/General Counsel Rebecca Murphy Thompson recently told the agency’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. Continue reading

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MD Think Tank Exposes Muni Broadband ‘Hypocrisy’ Over Net Neutrality

Maryland conservative think tank Free State Foundation called out mayors this week who oppose the FCC’s recent vote to roll-back Net Neutrality rules, yet appear to restrict internet use on municipal broadband networks with service terms that prohibit certain types of content.

Free State Foundation Board member Enrique Armijo, a law professor at Elon University and also a fellow at Yale’s law school, wrote in a policy paper about the “hypocrisy” of many local and state governments that claim what the FCC recently voted on is unlawful. “The mayors of more than 50 cities, many of which own or operate their own municipal broadband networks or are exploring ways to do so, want the FCC to preserve the restrictions on private ISPs” set out in the previous 2015 order. Continue reading

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