Legislative News from AICC, July 20th

HOUSE EYES FIGHT TO MANAGE AMERICA’S AIRWAVES — The House Science Committee will today dive into the thorny issue of how much wireless spectrum is needed for earth and space sciences. But the session is likely to raise tougher underlying questions — how the U.S. governs its airwaves and steps that the Biden administration and Congress should take to fix what’s increasingly proven a messy system.

— Spectrum wars among U.S. agencies dominated the Trump era , partly a consequence of competing demands for a limited resource. Spectrum is needed not only for feeding data-ravenous wireless demand — you can thank 5G and the rise of Wi-Fi — but also for satellites, intelligent transportation, GPS and other critical infrastructure needs. These disagreements have pitted the FCC, which regulates commercial airwaves, against federal agencies including the Commerce, Defense and Transportation departments.

— The Biden administration, however, has yet to name leaders to spearhead the management of this resource at two critical agencies — the FCC as well as the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which manages government-held spectrum on behalf of the executive branch.

— Witnesses will sound the alarm about the state of spectrum affairs: One witness is the author of a Government Accountability Office report, released Monday, that makes 11 recommendations for improving the United States’ chaotic management. It notes “protracted interagency disagreements” that create confusion over what global telecom positions the U.S. even holds.

And EchoStar Senior Vice President Jennifer Manner will urge lawmakers to have the FCC and NTIA meet more frequently, according to written testimony shared with MT. She’ll also lament that U.S. representation in global telecom standards bodies “is often outnumbered by our Chinese competitors.”

— GAO “makes clear that a number of federal agencies have a lot of work to do to improve the process,” committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson(D-Texas) will say in her opening statement. “This Committee will be asking for accountability from both federal science agencies and the FCC as we all learn to live in a more crowded spectrum neighborhood.” Her panel had requested the GAO review following concerns over whether commercial 5G in the 24 GHz band would disrupt weather forecasting.

— Although the administration has said it wants a comprehensive spectrum strategy (as the prior one did), it has yet to unveil anything. “NTIA needs to drive the bus on coming up with that whole-of-government strategy,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told Congress more than two months ago. We’ve already seen the lack of Biden nominees snarl Senate-side efforts to reform U.S. airwaves management.

Industry Heavyweights Back US 6G Research Project

Source: Mobile World Live, provided courtesy of AICC

AT&T, Nvidia, Samsung America, Qualcomm and InterDigital threw their weight behind a 6G research project in the US, as the global battle to lead in wireless technology beyond 5G continues to heat up.

The center at the University of Texas will go under the name of 6G@UT and aims to establish the groundwork for the new technology.

Each of the founding companies will sponsor at least two specific three-year projects, alongside working with academics on the development of advanced technologies. These include new sensing methods, wireless-specific machine learning algorithms and networking innovations.

Announcing the launch of the project, the University of Texas wireless networking and communications group noted the facility had been founded as an effort to “cement its leadership in wireless innovation” with new technologies including self-driving cars, flying taxis and holographic conferencing on the horizon.

It also noted part of the research would cover use of terahertz bands, which it expects will “allow carriers to better monitor the quality of their networks in different places, from office towers to busy downtown areas to far-flung rural locales”.

Next generation networks “will be loaded with radar, vision, audio, lidar, thermal, seismic and broadband software-defined radio sensors that will provide unprecedented situational awareness to applications and devices running on the network”, the university added.

The project is the latest move in the race to 6G with alliances of major corporations, governments and research facilities vying to lead on development of the new network technology, get a head start on developing use cases and shape the latest wireless technology.

Notable moves include US collaboration The Next G Alliance, an operator supported RISE-6G research project in the European Union and various state-backed R&D efforts in China.

Reassigned Numbers Database Available for Beta Testing, 7/1

A public notice came out last week announcing a beta test of the Reassigned Numbers Database from July 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. Callers can use the database free of charge during this time. If your company does telemarketing, you may want to test it.

Please contact Salvatore Taillefer <sta@bloostonlaw.com> for more information.

PUBLIC NOTICE

TMA Welcomes its 89th ECC to ASAP Service

The Mecklenburg County VA Emergency Communications Center is the 89th ECC in the United States and the 17th ECC in the state of Virginia to implement the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP). Mecklenburg County went live on Monday, June 21st with Rapid Response Monitoring, Vector Security, Richmond Alarm, Stanley Security, Guardian Protection, Affiliated Monitoring, Tyco (Johnson Controls), Vivint, National Monitoring Center, Brinks Home Security, Protection One, CPI Security, Security Central, and ADT. Those companies will be followed by Securitas at a later date.

Director Ben Duncan stated “ASAP to PSAP is a fantastic new addition to our Dispatch Center. We are constantly seeking innovative ways to get the calls for assistance out to our responders in a timely and efficient manner. The ASAP interface gives us the ability to dispatch alarms that took minutes in the past to seconds now.”

FCC Votes to Create Online Portal for Robocall, ID Spoofing Complaints

The Federal Communications Commission has voted in an amendment Thursday to make it easier for people to submit complaints about suspected robocalls and call spoofing directly to the agency’s enforcement bureau.

Section 10(a) of the Traced Act, which is the agency’s tool to fight unlawful robocalls and spoofed caller ID, was enacted in a vote by the FCC and creates an online portal on the FCC website for individuals to submit information suspicious calls and texts.

The FCC will ask the complainant to provide information as to what ID information is displayed, the phone number, date, time, the complainant’s service provider and description of call or text.

“The new online portal will allow such entitles to alert agency investigators of concerning incidents, including floods of robocalls like those that have been known to clog up hospital lines,” according to an FCC news release.

The portal requires approval from the Office of Management and Budget before it takes effect, which is expected within 30 days.

Congress ordered the agency to develop a streamlined process for private entities about unlawful spoof calling and robocalls.

Commentators suggested that the FCC consolidate the new portal and existing complaint process to better distinguish the two.

With these concerns, the FCC has decided to adopt the SAFE Credit Union’s suggestion to include language that explains its use and helps distinguish the portal from the existing informal consumer complaint process.

The FCC stated in a report that timely and thorough information from private entities is crucial to mitigate robocall incidents and help bring swift enforcement.

AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile settle with FCC over location data standoff

By John Hendel  POLITICO

AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile will each pay $100,000 to settle FCC investigations into the wireless carriers’ noncompliance with 2015 rules mandating they supply more granular customer 911 location data in the country’s 25 largest markets by this past April, the agency announced on Thursday.

Looking up: The FCC had demanded carriers provide more specific information to 911 call centers about how high up a caller might be, which can be vital context when a person calling 911 is in a tall building.

All three carriers had sought to waive this year’s April deadline, however, citing technical struggles during the pandemic and obstacles involving third parties like handset manufacturers and operating system developers. The wireless industry has also argued that 911 call centers aren’t yet fully equipped with technology to receive such data.

These arguments didn’t seem to persuade acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, who in April complained of “little progress” over the last few years and launched an inquiry.

The settlements announced Thursdayresolve those probes and deliver what the agency calls “life-saving commitments” from the carriers to now make available such vital consumer information within the next few days.

What the settlements require: The carriers now have to begin providing the best available customer location information, including how high up a caller might be, to 911 call centers nationwide within seven days of the settlements’ Thursday release. The companies also have to designate a compliance officer within the next 30 days and develop and implement a compliance plan.

The date by which carriers must “fully comply” with all 2015 location data requirements is now April 3, 2022, a year after the original deadline, according to the settlements. Carriers must certify such compliance with the FCC by June 2, 2022.

What Rosenworcel is saying now: “These settlements accomplish what has evaded the agency for too long: They ensure that the FCC, public safety and wireless carriers work together to immediately start delivering this information to first responders without further delay,” the acting chair said. “They also ensure that we are improving our 911 location accuracy capabilities everywhere in the country and not just in the top 25 markets. “

sunset, sea, horizon

Just Announced – Verizon to Delay 3G Sunset until Jan. 1, 2023

AICC Chair Lou Fiore shared recently released news from Verizon of their delayed 3G Sunset target date today. In an article written by Mike Dano, Editorial Director for Light Reading, Verizon spokesperson Kevin King stated, “that’s the “absolute last possible date” for the shutdown.” Dano wrote, “Verizon continues to work to move customers off its […]

10-digit Dialing Guidelines – Set to take effect 10/24/21

There are 82 area codes currently permit 7-digit dialing and also use 988 as a central office code. Starting on October 24, anyone that attempts to call a local number in those area codes by using only seven digits will instead be connected to a recording that tells them to hang up and redial using the area code. This change impacts all landline phones, cell phones and VOIP calling systems.

 

Ten-digit dialing will soon be necessary to make sure that calls to 988 get directed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The 988 hotline was established by the FCC in July 2020 to make it faster for people to connect to crisis counselors and get help without having to remember a longer toll-free number.

 

If someone has a seven-digit number that starts with 988, the phone switch will not know whether this call needs to go to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline or to the seven-digit number. By requiring 10-digit dialing, the North American Numbering Plan Administrator is able prevent any confusion to the system.

 

We wanted to make sure that our members with clients in those areas are aware of this upcoming change.


Additional Resource:

Area Code Overlay Approved for the Virginia 757 Area Code (PDF)

AICC Submits Petition to Postpone 3G Sunset

The AICC’s Petition for Emergency Relief regarding the 3G Sunset was submitted to the FCC on May 10th.

A special note of appreciation to those TMA member companies who contributed to the petition.

Look for future updates.

READ PETITION

Georgia Joins List of States Banning Fines for Alarm Companies When Customers Generate a False Alarm

Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp has signed a bill that bans counties or municipal corporations from fining alarm companies for false alarms generated by a customer and through no fault of the alarm system’s contractor.

“We appreciate the support of Governor Kemp and lawmakers in supporting our industry and the millions of citizens and businesses we protect,” said John Loud, Vice President of Electronic Security Association (ESA) and President of LOUD Security Systems. “Lawmakers recognized that our industry has worked diligently with law enforcement leaders to develop and implement a Model Alarm Ordinance that significantly reduces the demand on police resources by penalizing individuals or businesses that cause false alarms primarily through user error.”

The introduction of the legislation follows a bitter three-year fight after the City of Sandy Springs passed a punitive ordinance that fined alarm companies. The city’s success in defending the legislation in court caused the legislature to act. Only one other Georgia city, Brookhaven, followed Sandy Springs’ lead.

A number of other states have passed bills similar to the Georgia bill in recent years including California, Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Tennessee and Iowa.

“The model ordinance, which fines alarm users, obtains an average 60% reduction in false dispatches and impacts those causing most of the problems. In fact, 85% of alarm systems generate no calls to the police in any given year,” Said Stan Martin, Executive Director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC).

Under the law companies are responsible for false alarms they cause due to faulty equipment or installation or failure to use a mandated system requiring two calls to an alarm site before notifying police.

“Common sense prevailed,” said Loud. “Our industry stands ready to work with any community that wishes to reduce unnecessary dispatches with a proven model and experts ready to assist.”