Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Announcements by dbz18459

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									                                                                                    October 26, 2009


Welcome to this week's edition of Arent Fox's This Week in Telecom, our weekly newsletter
designed to keep you apprised of recent developments in telecommunications policy,
legislation and litigation.


Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Announcements


      FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has announced the following new Senior Staff:
      Mindel De La Torre, Chief of the International Bureau, and Yul Kwon, Deputy Chief
      of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau.


      Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker has announced her new Staff. The Legal Advisor
      for Media issues will be Brad Gillen who starts November 9, 2009. The Legal Advisor for
      Wireless, International, and Public Safety issues will be Charles Mathias. Christi
      Shewman, who previously was an Acting Legal Advisor, has been named Legal Advisor
      for Wireline issues. Millie Kerr will serve as Confidential Assistant and Staff Attorney to
      the Commissioner.


      The next Quarterly Board Meeting of the Universal Service Administrative Company will
      be held on October 27, 2009, at USAC's Washington, DC office located at 2000 L
      Street NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC. The meeting is open to the public. (DA 09-
      2098, CC Docket Nos. 96-45, 97-21)


FCC Commences Child Safety Proceeding


      On October 23, 2009, the FCC released a Notice of Inquiry commencing a new Media
      Bureau docket entitled Empowering Parents and Protecting Children in an Evolving
      Media Landscape, MB Docket No. 09-194. The NOI seeks comment on child safety and
      literacy in the various electronic media. Comments will be due 60 days from the date of
      publication in the Federal Register. Please contact Ross Buntrock, Alan Fishel, Jeff
      Rummel, or Stephanie Joyce (contact information below) for further information or
      for assistance in filing comments.


Developments in Intercarrier Compensation


      The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) is seeking comments on proposed amendments to its
      rules to address so-called High Volume Access Service (HVAS) traffic. The proposed
      amendments consist of four separate items: (1) defining an HVAS situation as one in
      which a Local Exchange Carrier's (LEC) traffic increases by 100 percent in less than six
      months; (2) prohibiting association tariffs from applying association tariff rates to HVAS
      traffic; (3) requiring LECs to notify Interexchange Carriers (IXCs) of their plans to add
      an HVAS customer and prohibiting a LEC from charging IXCs for terminating HVAS
      traffic until the IUB approves that LEC’s separate HVAS tariff; and (4) authorizing the
      IUB to revoke a LEC’s certificate of public convenience and necessity if it does not
      comply with the IUB’s HVAS rules. Comments on the IUB’s proposed rules are currently
      due tomorrow, October 27, 2009. Please contact Ross Buntrock, Jon Canis,
      Michael Hazzard, or Stephanie Joyce (contact information below) for further
      information regarding this proceedings or for assistance with filing comments. (Docket
     No. RMU-2009-0009).


     Free Conferencing Corporation (Free Conferencing), a client of Arent Fox’s
     Telecommunications Practice Group, recently filed an Ex Parte with the Commission to
     present its side of the story in the ongoing dispute over whether the Commission should
     address access rates for high volume services. Free Conferencing explained that,
     despite the IXCs’ efforts to turn this dispute into a debate about adult chat-lines, it has
     never offered such services and has clients entities such as Obama for America, the
     Salvation Army, and the Kidney Cancer Association. Free Conferencing further argued
     that it was not its services that were driving an increase in traffic, but rather the IXCs’
     unlimited long distance plans, which paradoxically attract the customers who talk the
     most while desensitizing such customers from the cost of making any particular call.
     (WC Docket Nos. 07-135 and 07-52).


Stimulus This Week


     The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee has scheduled a
     hearing for October 27, 2009, regarding oversight of the broadband stimulus
     programs under American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The hearing is scheduled to
     start at 2:30 PM EST in Room 253 of the Russell Senate Office Building.


     The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Rural
     Utilities Service (RUS) have unveiled their List of Public Filings database in order to
     allow the public to comment on applications filed in the first round of funding under the
     NTIA's Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program (BTOP) and RUS's Broadband
     Initiatives Program (BIP). Commenters have until October 28, 2009 to file comments.
     Existing providers are not required to file comments on projects in their service areas
     unless they want their existing services to be included in the evaluation if an area is
     underserved or unserved under the Notice of Funds Availability Guidelines. All
     comments must be filed electronically as NTIA and RUS will not accept paper fillings.
     Please click here for the Web site.


     The Governors of Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Virginia, and Washington have each filed
     letters of with NTIA and RUS for the funding of various broadband deployment projects
     proposed for funding under NTIA's BTOP and BIP Programs. NTIA and RUS requested
     that the governors prioritize each proposed project in each of their respective states in
     order to assist NTIA and RUS in evaluating each project and awarding grants.


     The US Telecom Association, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the
     Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications
     Companies, the American Cable Association, the Independent Telephone &
     Telecommunications Alliance, and the Western Telecommunications Alliance filed a joint
     letter requesting that NTIA and RUS simplify the process by which incumbent carriers
     challenge the eligibility of an application's proposed service area as 'underserved' or
     'unserved'. Currently, the incumbent carriers are required to use the agencies' mapping
     tool to review an area and “wait for the system to calculate the census block areas
     covered by the manually drawn map and then make adjustments.” The incumbent
     carriers are asking that they be allowed to access the service area data directly from
     the applications themselves and match it to their own internal databases in order to
     respond to NTIA and RUS more quickly and efficiently. There is no indication whether
     NTIA and RUS will grant such a request. However, it is widely believed that a request
     for information will be issued by NTIA and RUS before the end of the month, and that
     this request will focus in part on how to improve the second round of funding in order to
     develop the second Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA). The second NOFA is expected
     late this year or early next with applications for the next round of funding under both
     BTOP and BIP due in approximately February 2010.


Please contact Ross Buntrock, Jonathan Canis, Alan Fishel or Jeffrey Rummel (contact
information below) for further information regarding stimulus funding.


FCC Wireless Notice of Inquiry


     EXTENSION OF TIME GRANTED: Reply Comments on the FCC Notice of Inquiry
     regarding innovation in the wireless industry are now due on on November 5, 2009
     (Docket Nos. GN; 09-51, 09-157) pursuant to a 21-day extension granted by the FCC
     on the motion of CTIA and Public Knowledge (DA 09-2206). Please contact Alan Fishel,
     Michael Hazzard or Jeffrey Rummel (contact information below) for further
     information regarding this proceeding or for assistance with filing comments.


In the Courts


     On Wednesday, November 4, 2009, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
     will hear argument in AT&T's appeal of the Connecticut District Court's decision that
     AT&T's “U-Verse” IPTV video offering is a “cable service” within the meaning of the
     Cable Act, and that it is therefore a “cable operator” under the Act. AT&T's principal
     argument on appeal is that the district court's opinion should be vacated as moot by
     virtue of a subsequent Connecticut state court decision regarding Connecticut's
     franchising law. Office of Consumer Counsel v. Southern New England Tel. Co. (Case
     No. 09-0116-cv).


     The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit will hear oral argument in Council Tree
     Communications, Inc. v. FCC (Case No. 08-2036) on December 1, 2009, a case in
     which the petitioners seek review of the FCC's 2006 revisions to its “designated entity”
     eligibility rules and its decision to apply those revised rules to the Advanced Wireless
     Services license spectrum auction.


Compliance Notes


     The Universal Service Fund contribution rate for the fourth quarter of 2009 is 12.3
     percent. (DA 09-2042, CC Docket 96-45) Completed Form 499-Qs are due November
     1, 2009. Filers that are assessed $10,000 or more each year are required to file Form
     499-Q. Please contact Ross Buntrock, Jonathan Canis or Michael Hazzard (contact
     information below) for further information.


Broadband News


     On October 20, 2009, the FCC held a full-day workshop as part of the development of
     the National Broadband Plan, GN Docket Nos. 09-47, 09-51, 09-137, on “Broadband
     Accessibility for People with Disabilities: Barriers, Opportunities, and Policy
     Recommendations.” At the workshop Commissioner Michael Copps emphasized that
     broadband access technology available to persons with disabilities is 10-20 years
     behind the norm, thus putting those persons at a disadvantage in the digital world.
     Several panelists cited the costs of deploying broadband and communication devices
     accessible as major obstacles to wider adoption. Panelists also disagreed over the
     extent to which government regulation is necessary to encourage accessibility for, and
noted that service providers seek to avoid specific government regulations.


On October 2, 2009, the FCC requested comments in GN Docket Nos. 09-47, 09-51,
09-137 on whether the FCC or a non-governmental entity should establish a broadband
clearinghouse for easy access to broadband best practices. The FCC is seeking
comment on who should create such a clearinghouse, what would be the most useful
content, and who would most benefit from the clearinghouse, among other items.
Comments are due November 16, 2009. Please contact Ross Buntrock, Jon Canis,
Alan Fishel, Michael Hazzard or Jeffrey Rummel (contact information below) for
further information or for assistance in filing comments.


On Wednesday, October 14, 2009, the FCC established a pleading cycle in GN Docket
Nos. 09-47, 09-51, and 09-137 seeking comments on a draft study the FCC had
commissioned from Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society as
part of the development of the National Broadband Plan. The Center had conducted “an
expert review of existing literature and studies about broadband deployment and usage
throughout the world” and the FCC seeks comment on draft study's usefulness and
whether similar studies would be helpful. Comments are due November 16, 2009.
The study is available here.


On October 19, 2009, the FCC corrected a prior public notice in GN Docket No. 09-29
that had announced a report on rural broadband, but had not attached the report
entitled “Bringing Broadband to Rural America: Report on a Rural Broadband Strategy.”
The report can be found here.


On October 22, 2009, the FCC established a pleading cycle seeking comments in WC
Docket No. 09-193 regarding a petition filed by the National Association of Regulatory
Utility Commissioners (NARUC) that sought clarification on whether any FCC order or
regulation “limits State authority to collect any data from any broadband infrastructure
or service provider.” The FCC invited comment on what if any FCC order or regulation
preempted state broadband information filing requirements. Comment are due
November 2, 2009, and replies are due November 9, 2009. Please contact Ross
Buntrock, Jon Canis, Alan Fishel, Michael Hazzard or Jeffrey Rummel (contact
information below) for further information or for assistance in filing comments


Reply Comments in the Spectrum for Broadband proceeding (GN Docket Nos. 09-47,
09-51, 09-137) are due November 13, 2009. The FCC is seeking comment on the
sufficiency of current spectrum allocations, including but not limited to the prime
spectrum bands below 3.7 GHz. This proceeding arose from comments made at FCC
broadband workshops indicating that sufficient spectrum may not be available in the
future. Please contact Ross Buntrock, Jon Canis, Alan Fishel, Michael Hazzard or
Jeffrey Rummel (contact information below) for further information or for assistance
in filing comments.


On September 25, 2009, the FCC established a pleading cycle in GN Docket Nos. 09-47,
09-51, 09-137 seeking comment on the “Contribution of Federal, State, Tribal and Local
Government to Broadband.” The FCC is seeking comment on how governments can
promote the adoption of broadband and “how digital technologies and broadband
deployment can improve civic engagement, government at all levels, and the lives and
welfare of residents and businesses.” Specifically, the comments seek to information on
e-government, government broadband initiatives, and use of government assets,
among other items. Comments are due November 6, 2009. Please contact Ross
Buntrock, Jon Canis, Alan Fishel, Michael Hazzard or Jeffrey Rummel (contact
     information below) for further information or for assistance in filing comments.


     The FCC is also seeking comment on “Broadband Deployment and Adoption on Tribal
     Lands” (GN Docket Nos. 09-47, 09-51, 09-137). As part of the National Broadband
     Plan, the FCC is seeking comment on more specific areas, here broadband in Indian
     lands. Specifically, the proceeding seeks comment on identifying and remedying
     barriers to broadband deployment and adoption on Tribal land, whether prior
     deployment of telephone lines offers any guidance to broadband deployment, and how
     the FCC, Tribes, and private carriers can facilitate deployment, among other items.
     Comments are due on November 9, 2009, and reply comments are due December 9,
     2009. Please contact Ross Buntrock, Jon Canis, Alan Fishel, Michael Hazzard or
     Jeffrey Rummel (contact information below) for further information or for assistance
     in filing comments.


Legislative Outlook


     Two new surveillance bills were introduced on October 20, 2009, by House Judiciary
     Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., HR 3485, the “USA PATRIOT Amendment
     Act of 2009,” would extend the sunset on the USA PATRIOT Improvement and
     Reauthorization Act of 2005 to December 31, 2013 as well as toughen the standard for
     for issuing surveillance orders and affording subpoenaed carriers the right to challenge
     the legality of orders. HR 3486, the “FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act]
     Amendments Act of 2009,” most notably would repeal the retroactive immunity given to
     telecommunications carriers that complied with the improper warrants issued under the
     Bush Administration.


     On October 22, 2009, the House Communications Subcommittee held a hearing entitled
     “Video Competition in a Digital Age.” Witnesses included Benjamin Pyne, President for
     Global Distribution of Disney Media Networks, Terrence K. Denson, Vice President of
     Corporate Marketing for Verizon, and Adam Thierer, President of the Progress and
     Freedom Foundation. House Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif.,
     opened the hearing with a statement noting that “the market for distribution of video
     programming is changing,” but that “the advantages of historic incumbency can be
     difficult for new entrants to overcome absent government intervention.” Mr. Denson
     highlighted the reach and features of its FiOS product as having spurred innovation
     from cable providers but noted that Verizon continues to face “a variety of regulations
     that do not apply to the cable incumbents with whom we compete.” He cited “win back”
     regulations as an example. Mr. Thierer of PFF stated that “there's more competition for
     our eyes than ever before” and that, if anything, “citizens suffer from 'information
     overload,' not information scarcity.”


     On October 22, 2009, Chairman Waxman and Senate Commerce Committee John
     Rockefeller, D-W.Va., issued a letter to FCC Chairman Genachowski on the Net
     Neutrality Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued that day by the FCC. The one-page
     letter stated simply that the Chairmen support the FCC's efforts, particularly its efforts
     “to conduct this rulemaking in an open and transparent manner that is fair to all
     parties.”


     The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow, October 27, 2009, at
     2:30 pm Eastern (SR-253), on Oversight of the Broadband Stimulus Programs of the
     American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Scheduled witnesses are Larry Strickling
     (NTIA), Jonathan Adelstein (RUS Administrator), and Dr. Mark Goldstein (Director of
     Government Accountability Office).
      HEARING RESCHEDULED: The Senate Commerce Committee has rescheduled its
      hearing titled “Combating Distracted Driving: Managing Behavioral and Technological
      Risks” from October 14, 2009, as previously announced, to Wednesday, October 28,
      2009, at 2:30 pm EST in Room SR-253. Scheduled witnesses include FCC Chairman
      Julius Genachowski and US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.


Upcoming Events


      Today, October 26, 2009, Arent Fox Partner Jeffrey Rummel will speak at the Next
      Generation Radio Communications & Spectrum Technologies Conference in Las Vegas,
      NV, sponsored by the Association of Naval Aviation (ANA). His speech is titled “FCC
      Regulation of the Manufacture, Development & Testing of Military Communications
      Systems; Defense Contractor Strategies for Effective and Streamlined Licensing of
      Experimental Systems.”


      On November 3, 2009, Jeffrey Rummel will speak on FCC licensing requirements at
      the Annual Symposium for the Antenna Measurement Techniques Association (AMTA) in
      Salt Lake City, Utah. Jeff is Co-Chair of AMTA's Committee on FCC Compliance and
      Licensing, and has spoken before the organization at several prior events. Attendees
      will include defense contractors and antenna and telecom manufacturers from around
      the world.


For further information, please contact any of our attorneys in the Arent Fox
Telecommunications Group, including:


Ross A. Buntrock
buntrock.ross@arentfox.com
202.775.5734


Jonathan E. Canis
canis.jonathan@arentfox.com
202.775.5738


Alan G. Fishel
fishel.alan@arentfox.com
202.857.6450


Michael B. Hazzard
hazzard.michael@arentfox.com
202.857.6029


Stephanie A. Joyce
joyce.stephanie@arentfox.com
202.857.6081


Jeffrey E. Rummel
rummel.jeffrey@arentfox.com
202.715.8479
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