FCC Plans Action on FirstNet, Blue Alerts This Week

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The FCC has been voting up a storm at its public meetings since the administration change and Pai’s appointment to Chairman; the meeting this week is no exception. The agency will consider six telecom-related issues on Thursday. Two items are emergency-related. One is a proposal to add a Blue Alert code to EAS to deliver actionable information when a law enforcement officer is in trouble. Blue Alerts can be transmitted to cell phones and wireless devices, broadcast stations, overhead highway message signs, and other secondary alerting mechanisms – in the same way that Amber Alerts are commonly issued. While the Commission is initially proposing to add such alerts to EAS, it’s considering whether to add the code to Wireless Emergency Alerts too.

The other concerns FirstNet, the first nationwide wireless safety network for first responders. Commissioners will vote on establishing procedures the agency will use to review alternative plans submitted by states that chose to opt out of FirstNet and build their own Radio Access Networks that are interoperable with FirstNet.

How can broadband be more widely deployed in apartments, condos and other multi-tenant buildings like malls? The Commission will take action on this, seek comment on the state of broadband competition in these areas and consider whether the agency should reduce or eliminate barriers for broadband providers in these locations. The FCC will consider whether to grant OneWeb’s request to access the U.S. market using its proposed global non-geostationary satellite constellation to provide broadband communication services here.

And finally, commissions will vote on a proposal to eliminate the requirement that carriers that complete payphone calls conduct an annual audit of their payphone call tracking systems and file an associated annual audit report with the Commission; the item also waives upcoming annual audit and associated reporting requirements.  

June 19, 2017     

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