Vol. 16, No. 36
October 5, 2020
FCC to Host Call About Access to Capital on Oct. 7
This Wednesday, October 7 at 1 p.m. EST, the FCC's Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO) will host a partnership call on “Access to Capital.” 

During this hour-long program, attendees will hear experts from the Nemours Financial Group, Operation Hope, and the National Asian American Coalition discuss what they are doing to help educate and promote women-owned, minority-owned and small businesses. 

You can join the event live by WebEx, or telephone at 1-888-858-2144, access code 3652126. Questions can be emailed to OCBOinfo@fcc.gov, with subject line: “Questions for 10/7/20 Meeting."
Concerns Raised Over Extending Safe Harbors for Call Blocking
INCOMPAS last week filed reply comments in the FCC's fourth NPRM seeking comments on efforts to implement provisions of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act that includes consideration of further safe harbors for call blocking and an affirmative obligation for voice service providers under section 201(b) of the Communications Act to manage the threat of illegal robocalls.

In its comments, INCOMPAS applauded the FCC for taking decisive action to provide voice service providers engaged in authorized robocall blocking programs with sufficient liability protection by adopting safe harbors for call blocking based on reasonable analytics that include caller ID authentication information and blocking of bad-actor providers. 

However, INCOMPAS noted that it opposes the FCC's proposal to extend its safe harbor to cover other types of blocking based on caller ID authentication information, including network-based blocking. 

FCC Extends Telehealth Purchase Deadline to December 31
The FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau issued a public notice announcing it extended the deadline for COVID-19 Telehealth program funding recipients to purchase eligible devices and implement eligible services to December 31, 2020. The Bureau said the extension will provide funding recipients additional time to purchase eligible items to provide telehealth services during the pandemic.
House Democrats Update HEROES Act
House Democratic members released an updated version of the HEROES Act legislation on September 29 that passed on a party line vote. 

The revised bill includes $12 billion to close the homework gap by providing funding for Wi-Fi hotspots and connected devices for students and library patrons, $3 billion for emergency home connectivity, $200 million for telemedicine grants and $24 million for broadband mapping. 

It prohibits broadband and telephone providers from terminating service due to a customer’s inability to pay their bill or imposing late fees because of financial hardships caused by the pandemic. Additionally, it prohibits broadband providers from employing data caps or charging customers from going over data caps and requires them to open Wi-Fi hotspots to the public at no cost during the pandemic.