ARTICLE
19 April 2024

Reminder: Federal Communications Commission – April And May Filings

KD
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

Contributor

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP is an AmLaw 200, Chambers ranked, full-service law firm of more than 350 attorneys and other professionals. For more than 180 years, Kelley Drye has provided legal counsel carefully connected to our client’s business strategies and has measured success by the real value we create.
Each month, Kelley Drye's Communications Group offers this reminder of upcoming filing deadlines that may affect our clients and friends.
United States Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment
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Each month, Kelley Drye's Communications Group offers this reminder of upcoming filing deadlines that may affect our clients and friends. Please review the deadlines below and contact us if you would like assistance or have any questions.

I. FEATURED UPCOMING COMPLIANCE DEADLINES

A. Form 499-Q Quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet (due May 1, 2024)

Carriers and providers of interstate and international telecommunications, including, but not limited to, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol providers, providers offering interstate telecommunications for a fee on a non-common carrier basis, and payphone providers that are aggregators, are required to file the FCC Form 499-Q on a quarterly basis. Carriers and providers must report their actual and projected end user and carrier's carrier interstate and international revenues for each calendar quarter by filing the Form 499-Q.

The Form 499-Q filing reporting historical revenue for January 1 through March 31 of 2024 and projected revenues for July 1 through September 30 of 2024 is due to the Universal Service Administrative Company on or before May 1, 2024.

Carriers and providers do not have to submit the Form 499-Q provided they are not required to contribute directly to the universal service support mechanisms, including but not limited to carriers and providers whose annual interstate and international revenues will be de minimis or which are international-only carriers and providers.

Note: Post-filing revisions to this Form 499-Q filing, if any, must be filed within 45 days after May 1, 2024; i.e., by Monday, June 17, 2024 (because the 45th day falls on a Saturday).

As a reminder, Form 499-Q filers are required to submit the form electronically through USAC's E-File system, available at https://www.usac.org/service-providers/.

B. Section 64.1900 Geographic Rate Averaging Certification (due May 1, 2024)

Each non-dominant provider of de-tariffed interstate, domestic, interexchange services must certify that it provides such service in compliance with its geographic rate average and rate integration obligations pursuant to section 254(g) of the Communications Act. The Certification must be signed by an officer of the company and is due to the FCC by May 1, 2024.

II. FILING DEADLINES IN SELECT RULEMAKINGS, INQUIRIES, AND OTHER PROCEEDINGS:

Space/Earth Station Regulatory Fees. On March 13, 2024, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in MD Dkt Nos. 24-85 and 24-86, seeking comment on proposed revisions to regulatory fees for space and earth stations. Following publication in the March 25, 2024, Federal Register, comments are due on April 12, 2024, with reply comments due on April 29, 2024.

FM Digital Broadcast Stations. On February 2, 2024, the National Association of Broadcasters and Xperi, Inc. (together, "Petitioners") filed a Petition for Rulemaking Addendum—Request for Clarification in MB Docket No. 22–405, a rulemaking proposing to change the methodology to determine whether an FM digital broadcast station can increase its digital power, and to allow asymmetric sideband operation. Petitioners identify within the record for the proceeding an "important ambiguity that requires clarification regarding the maximum allowable operating power of a digital FM signal" and propose the addition of clarifying text to the August 1, 2023, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("NPRM") as well as changes to the proposed new section 73.404(e) of the FCC Rules. In a February 21, 2024, Public Notice, the FCC seeks further comment regarding the Petitioners' proposals and supplemental comments on other issues raised in the proceeding. Following publication in the February 29, 2024, Federal Register, comments were due on April 1, 2024, with reply comments due on April 15, 2024.

Closed Captioning Display Accessibility. On March 19, 2024, the Media Bureau of the FCC issued a Public Notice in MB Dkt. No. 12-108, seeking comment on a Joint Proposal (submitted by NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, Communications Service for the Deaf, the Hearing Loss Association of America, the National Association of the Deaf and TDIforAccess, Inc.) regarding the FCC's method for establishing whether specific closed captioning display settings are readily accessible. Following publication in the March 26, 2024, Federal Register and an FCC Public Notice, comments are due on April 15, 2024, with reply comments due on April 25, 2024.

Video Relay Service (VRS) Compensation. On September 22, 2023, the FCC adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("FNPRM") in CG Dkt. Nos. 03-123 and 10-51, seeking comment on proposed amendments to the FCC's rules governing compensation from the Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Fund, to enable support (or additional support) for various methods of communication with eligible TRS users. Following publication in the March 14, 2024 Federal Register, comments are due on April 15, 2024, with reply comments due on April 29, 2024.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act Implementation. On February 16, 2024, the FCC released aReport and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking("FNPRM") in CG Docket No. 02-278. The FNPRM seekscomment on "whether the TCPA applies to robocalls and robotexts from wireless providers to their own subscribers and whether to require an automated opt-out mechanism on every call that contains an artificial or prerecorded voice." Following publication in theMarch 5, 2024, Federal Register, comments were due on April 4, 2024, with reply comments due on April 19, 2024. Paperwork Reduction Act comments on the proposed information collection requirements are due on May 6, 2024.

Internet of Things ("IoT") Product Cybersecurity Labeling. On March 14, 2024, the FCC adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in PS Dkt. No. 23-239, seeking comment, among other things, on proposed rules on additional national security declarations for manufacturers choosing to participate in the voluntary IoT labeling program. The FCC asks whether participating manufacturers should be required to disclose to the FCC and/or to consumers any or all of the following: (i) the development or deployment of software/firmware or updates in or from a "high-risk" country" ("foreign adversary country" as defined by the Dept. of Commerce in 15 C.F.R. §7.4); (ii) whether data collected on each affected IoT product is stored in, or transits, a high-risk country; and (iii) whether to require manufacturers to include declarations regarding these points in their application to use the FCC IoT Label. Following publication in the March 25, 2024, Federal Register and an FCC Public Notice, comments are due on April 24, 2024, with reply comments due on May 24, 2024. Paperwork Reduction Act comments on the proposed information collection requirements also are due on May 24, 2024.

Very Low Power ("VLP") Unlicensed Devices. On November 1, 2023, the FCC released a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in ET Docket No. 18-295 and GN Docket No. 17-183, seeking comment on (i) "permitting higher power VLP devices under a two-tiered system where those higher powered devices would be permitted to operate only in locations where the potential for causing harmful interference to incumbent operations remains insignificant," and (ii) "VLP device requirements and limits for operation in the U–NII–6 (6.425–6.525 GHz) and U–NII–8 (6.875–7.125 GHz) bands." Following publication in the February 26, 2024, Federal Register, comments were due on March 27, 2024, with reply comments due on April 26, 2024.

Space Station Licensing. On February 15, 2024, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in IB Docket Nos. 22-271 and 22-272, seeking comment on a proposed "new framework" to license in-space servicing, assembly, and manufacturing, or "ISAM" space stations. Following publication in the March 15, 2024, Federal Register, comments are due on April 29, 2024, with reply comments due on May 29, 2024 .

Form 395-A Data Collection on MVPD Workforce Composition . On February 7, 2024, in connection with the adoption of a Fourth Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration In MB Docket No. 98-204, the FCC adopted a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("2nd FNPRM") in the same proceeding, which seeks to refresh the record with respect to "the statutorily mandated collection of Form 395-A data" and the tentative conclusion that annual collection of Form 395-A data concerning workforce composition data regarding multichannel video programming distributors ("MVPDs") should be resumed and made available to the public. Following publication in the March 28, 2024, Federal Register, comments are due on April 29, 2024, with reply comments due on May 13, 2024.

Disaster and Network Outage Reporting. On January 25, 2024, the FCC adopted a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("2nd FNPRM") in PS Dkt. Nos. 21-346 and 15-80; ET Dkt. No. 04-35, to develop the record concerning the appropriate extent of reporting requirements for the Disaster Information Reporting System ("DIRS") and Network Outage Reporting ("NORS"). The proposals potentially affect a wide range of providers, including television and radio broadcasters, satellite providers, and mobile/fixed Broadband internet access service providers, as well as the First Responder Network (aka FirstNet). Additional proposals consider whether to adopt a requirement that service providers provide location information for their mobile recovery assets during a disaster recovery. Following publication in the March 29, 2024, Federal Register and an FCC Public Notice, comments are due on April 29, 2024, with reply comments due on May 28, 2024. Paperwork Reduction Act comments on the proposed information collection requirements also are due on May 28, 2024.

Pole Attachments -- PRA Comments on Disputes. On December 15, 2023, the FCC released a Fourth Report and Order, Declaratory Ruling, and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("FNPRM") in WC Dkt. No. 17-84 addressing a number of pole attachment issues. The Fourth Report and Order revised FCC Rule 1.1411 (timeline for access to utility poles) and adopted a new Rule 1.1415 (dispute resolution procedures). Following publication in the February 27, 2024, Federal Register, Paperwork Act Reduction comments on these changes are due April 29, 2024.

900 Megahertz Band Broadband Spectrum Availability. On April 2, 2024, the FCC issued a Public Notice in WT Dkt. No. 24-99, RM-11977, seeking comment on a February 28, 2024, Petition for Rulemaking that requests an option for expanded 5/5 megahertz broadband networks in the 900 MHz band. Comments are due on May 2, 2024, with reply comments due on May 18, 2024.

Emergency Alert System. On February 16, 2024, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("NPRM") in PS Docket No. 15–94, proposing to implement a multilingual alert processing model for the Emergency Alert System ("EAS"). The NPRM seeks comment on this proposal as well as "a wide range of specific technical, operational, cost and implementation timing issues related to the template alert distribution model." Following publication in the March 7, 2024, Federal Register, comments were due on April 8, 2024, with reply comments due on May 6, 2024.

Mitigation of Orbital Debris Information Collection Extension. The FCC is seeking Office of Management and Budget approval for extension of a currently approved information collection arising from the April 24, 2020, Report and Order in IB Dkt. No. 18–313 ("Mitigation of Orbital Debris in the New Space Age"). The 2020 Report and Order adopted new or modified information collection requirements applicable to (i) applicants seeking experimental licenses for satellite operations under part 5 of the Commission's rules; and (ii) license grantees under part 97 submitting notifications to the Commission prior to launch of a satellite amateur station. (See 47 CFR 5.64 and 47 CFR 97.207.) Following publication in the March 8, 2024, Federal Register, Paperwork Reduction Act comments on this request are due on May 7, 2024. (See also the Mitigation of Orbital Debris entry below regarding the FCC's request for approval of a new information collection.)

New Information Collection re Mitigation of Orbital Debris. On April 24, 2020, the FCC released a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in IB Dkt. No. 18–313 ("Mitigation of Orbital Debris in the New Space Age"). As detailed in the March 20, 2024, Federal Register, the FCC now seeks Office of Management and Budget approval for a new information collection applicable to (i) non-streamlined space station applicants submitting orbital debris mitigation plans under part 25 of the Commission's rules; (ii) space station applicants qualifying for small satellite streamlined processing under part 25 of the Commission's rules; and (iii) applicants requesting a modification of an existing GSO space station licensee to extend the space station license term under part 25 of the Commission's rules. Paperwork Reduction Act comments are due on May 20, 2024.

III. SELECT ONGOING FILING REQUIREMENTS

Pro Forma Assignments and Transfers

Assignments of Authorization and Transfers of Control can be filed either as pro forma applications or non-pro forma applications.

A pro forma assignment or transfer is one in which the form of ownership changes but actual control of the license remains with the same entity or person. Most pro forma assignments and transfers may be approved under streamlined Forbearance procedures in the case of most telecommunications carriers (e.g., Section 214 authorization holders, wireless licensees (excluding those with installment payment or designated entity issues) and earth station licensees). Unlike non-pro forma assignments and transfers of control, where there is a substantial change in direct or indirect ownership or control, i.e.., a de jure or de facto change introducing a new party or person with a controlling interest, requests regarding pro forma changes where the ultimate control and ownership remains the same do not require prior FCC approval provided that the parties notify the FCC of the change within 30 days. Note that private licenses are not subject to forbearance such that FCC advance approval generally is required for pro forma transfers and assignments of private licenses.

Change in FCC Form 499 Filer Information

Filers must update their registration information, including a DC Agent for Service of Process in accordance with these instructions to the FCC Form 499-A. Filers must file updated information within one week of the contact information change. Filers wishing to update Preparer information, headquarters address, billing contact information, or DC Agent for Service of Process, can submit either an FCC Form 499-A or an FCC Form 499-Q or, for billing-related matters only, email USAC's billing department. Filers wishing to update any other information must submit a revised FCC Form 499-A. For more information, see https://www.usac.org/service-providers/contributing-to-the-usf/making-revisions/.

Filers that cease providing telecommunications must deactivate their Filer ID with USAC by submitting a letter with termination date and information on their successor entity to USAC. Filers must also update their CORES ID information with the Commission

Filers must file within 30 days of the date that the company ceases to provide telecommunications service or telecommunications.

FCC: https://apps.fcc.gov/cores/userLogin.do

USAC: www.usac.org/service-providers/contributing-to-the-usf/manage-your-499-id

Change in Robocall Mitigation Plans

A voice service provider that has not fully implemented the STIR/SHAKEN call authentication framework for all calls must submit a robocall mitigation plan pursuant to 47 CFR § 64.6305(b). Any provider that makes a change in any of the following information must submit a revised robocall mitigation plan within 10 business days of the change. See 47 CFR § 64.6305(b)(5).

  • Its certification as to the implementation of STIR/SHAKEN in its network;
  • The extension(s) that apply to its implementation of the STIR/SHAKEN framework;
  • The specific reasonable steps the voice service provider has taken to avoid originating illegal robocall traffic as part of its robocall mitigation program;
  • Its commitment to respond to all traceback requests and law enforcement requests for information on illegal robocalling; and
  • The provider's business name, d/b/a name(s), former name(s), its legal address and contact information for one person within the company responsible for addressing robocall mitigation-related issues.

The link for submitting a revised robocall mitigation plan is available here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

ARTICLE
19 April 2024

Reminder: Federal Communications Commission – April And May Filings

United States Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment

Contributor

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP is an AmLaw 200, Chambers ranked, full-service law firm of more than 350 attorneys and other professionals. For more than 180 years, Kelley Drye has provided legal counsel carefully connected to our client’s business strategies and has measured success by the real value we create.
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