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Communications Issues


FCC Rules on Scam Texting

The FCC adopted (March 17) a set of rules that requires mobile wireless providers to block robotext messages that are likely to be illegal.

In establishing the rules, the FCC said that complaints about robotexts have increased substantially in recent years––a more than 500% increase from 2015 to 2022––and that robotexts pose a “unique threat to consumers,” because they are hard to ignore, are difficult to hang-up, and “are nearly always read by the recipient.”

Under the new rules, companies will be required to block text messages that appear to come from phone numbers that are unlikely to transmit text messages––such as invalid, unallocated, or unused numbers––and numbers that the subscriber to the number has self-identified as never sending text messages.

In addition, providers must establish a point of contact for text senders, or have providers require their aggregator partners or blocking contractors to establish such a point of contact, which senders can use to inquire about blocked texts.

(posted: 3-17-23)


Starlink Funding for Rural Service Rejected

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced (August 10th) that it is rescinding an $886 million 2020 grant award to Starlink to provide rural broadband service.

The FCC stated that it determined that Starlink “failed to demonstrate” that it could deliver promised service and that it would not be the best use of limited resources to bring broadband to unserved areas across the United States. While “Starlink’s technology has real promise,” the FCC questioned if it was appropriate to publicly finance through 2032 “still developing technology” for broadband which requires users to purchase a $600 dish.

(updated: 8-12-22)


Mobile 5G and Aviation

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a status update on actions to address the safety of passengers and aircraft related to the deployment of 5G communication upgrades near airports. The most significant update is that aircraft with altimeters “most susceptible to interference” will upgrade those altimeters with radio frequency filters by the end of this year (2022).

The FAA also says that both the retrofitting of filters and also replacing altimeter units outright should be “largely completed” by July 2023, and by that time wireless companies will be able to operate upgraded 5G networks in urban areas with “minimal restrictions.” Wireless companies have therefore agreed to voluntarily extend current deployment restrictions another year from the current deadline of July 5, 2022.

5G deployment was restricted voluntarily when both Verizon and AT&T announced (January) an agreement with the FAA that they would limit 5G service near (within 2 miles) 50 airports while the FAA assessed the impact on airline altimeters (T-Mobile 5G service is not expected until later in 2023). Post the agreement, the FAA claimed that 90% of U.S. aircraft were nevertheless approved for landing in low-visibility situations (when altimeters are vital) where 5G service is in place outside of the airport buffer zones.

5G is the 5th generation mobile network that is meant to deliver high data speeds, ultra low latency, high reliability, and increased network capacity and availability. Airlines and other aviation interests had been concerned about the growing use of midband/"C-band" spectrum, which the industry believes has the most potential to interfere with aviation, and that the industry will be forced to disrupt the aviation system to ensure safety. The communications industry had previously argued that safety had already been proven with 5G use in the C-band in other countries.

(updated: 6-21-22)


Broadband Nutrition Label

The Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) agreed to move forward (January 27, 2022) on a 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. The labels would be modeled after easy-to-read-and-understand nutrition labels required by the Food and Drug Administration. The FCC is taking public comments on the proposal during February 2022.

(updated: 2-2-22)


Infrastructure Act - High-Speed Internet/Broadband Expansion

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:

  • Authorizes an over $42 billion formula grant program to States and localities to increase broadband internet service.

  • Creates a permanent internet service subsidy program providing a $30 per month voucher for low-income families to use toward any internet service plan of their choosing. The Administration announced (February 14, 2022 ) that 10 million households had signed up for this program so far.

  • Authorizes a $2.75 billion combined formula-based and competitive grant program encompassed within the "Digital Equity Act", which is intended to promote digital inclusion and equity for communities that lack the skills, technologies and support needed to take advantage of broadband connections.

(updated: 2-2-22)


Connected Policies


No Results Found

Competition in the American Economy / EO
Competition in the American Economy / EO

This Executive Order (14036) is an amalgam of policy positions under a "competition" policy umbrella. For the most part, these policies are proposed in that they "encourage", "suggest", or instruct/direct agencies to do something related to each policy request.

Status: this EO was published on July 14, 2021.

Landlords and Internet Service / Competition EO
Landlords and Internet Service / Competition EO

Executive Order (14036), the Biden Administration EO on "Competition" includes a provision " encouraging" the FCC to prevent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from making deals with landlords that limit tenants’ choices.

Status: this EO was published on July 14, 2021.


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