Vol. 18, No. 5
January 31, 2022
FCC Announces February Open Meeting Tentative Agenda
FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel released a tentative agenda and related draft items the FCC will consider at its Feb. 18, 2022 open meeting. The FCC will consider an item directing Aureon Network Services to submit data to enable the FCC to calculate refunds it owes customers who paid unlawfully high interstate phone rates in Iowa from 2018 to 2019. Rosenworcel said the FCC will also consider changes to improve the efficiency of the Rural Health Care Program’s administration and make sure its investments are better targeted to maximize their impact; an item finalizing the FCC’s broadcast radio rules to reduce any potential confusion, alleviate unnecessary burdens and ensure they reflect the latest technical requirements; and an Enforcement Bureau item.
NPRM Adopted to Require Broadband Transparency Labels
The FCC proposed new rules and adopted an NPRM at its January 27 open meeting that would require broadband internet access service providers to display easy-to-understand labels to allow consumers to comparison shop for broadband services. The proposal would require broadband providers to display, at the point of sale, labels that show prices, including introductory rates, as well as speeds, data allowances, network management practices, and other critical broadband service information. Comments and reply comments will be due 30 days and 45 days, respectively, upon the NPRM’s publication in the Federal Register.
FCC Releases Report and Order, and
FNPRM on Affordable Connectivity Program
The FCC issued a report and order and FNPRM adopting final rules for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which builds upon the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to offer eligible low-income households discounts off the cost of broadband service and connected devices. The order established the requirements and processes of the ACP as required by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The FCC also seeks comment on other aspects of the infrastructure act and proposals for increasing awareness of and participation in the ACP, including: structuring an outreach grant program; implementing a mechanism for determining the application of the enhanced benefit for those serving high-cost areas, as to be determined by the NTIA; and a potential pilot program focused on increasing the awareness and enrollment of eligible households participating in Federal Public Housing Assistance Programs in the ACP. Comments are due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register; replies are due 60 days after Federal Register publication.
FCC Adds Funding for Emergency Connectivity, Telehealth
The FCC announced that it committed $240 million in additional Emergency Connectivity Fund support, bringing total program commitments to over $4.4 billion. The FCC said the program has committed to supporting 10,500 schools, 860 libraries and nearly 120 consortia to date, which are approved to receive more than 9.6 million connected devices and more than 4.9 million broadband connections.

The FCC Wireline Competition Bureau also approved a sixth and final group of funding commitments under round 2 of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, committing $47.9 million in funding to 100 healthcare providers. A list of the funding awardees is in Appendix A of the public notice. To date, 447 awardees have received funding commitments totaling more than $256 million.
Feb. 24: Effective Date for Shortening STIR/SHAKEN Deadline
The fourth report and order shortening the STIR/SHAKEN implementation deadline for certain providers was published in the Federal Register on January 25, 2022. The order shortened by one year the deadline to implement STIR/SHAKEN for non-facilities based small voice providers from June 30, 2023, to June 30, 2022. The rules are effective February 24, 2022.
Senate Commerce to Consider Sohn FCC Nomination
The Senate Commerce Committee will vote on the nomination of Gigi Sohn to serve on the Federal Communications Commission during an executive session scheduled for next Wednesday, February 2, at 10 a.m. ET. If voted and confirmed by the Senate, Sohn would give Democrats a majority at the FCC. The committee also plans to consider other nominees during this session including Alvaro Bedoya to be a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission.
Feb. 3 Hearing Scheduled on 5G and Aviation Safety
Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), Chair of the Subcommittee on Aviation, announced that the subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “Finding the Right Frequency: 5G Deployment & Aviation Safety” for next Thursday, February 3 at 11 a.m. EST.

During this hearing, members will have an opportunity to discuss the impact that deployment of 5G technologies has on the aviation industry with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Stephen Dickson and aviation and telecommunications stakeholders, who are scheduled to participate virtually. Additional details, including written testimony and a livestream, can be found here once available. The hearing will be livestreamed through the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s YouTube channel.
U.S. Appeals Court Upholds California Net Neutrality Law
A U.S. Court of Appeals upheld California's net neutrality law, saying a 2017 decision by the Federal Communications Commission to reverse federal internet protections could not bar state action. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 3-0 ruling, rejected a challenge from telecom and broadband industry groups, saying that since the FCC reclassified internet services as more lightly regulated information services, the commission "no longer has the authority to regulate in the same manner that it had when these services were classified as telecommunications services."