3-5/2017 Regulatory Updates


At the May 18 Open Commission Meeting the FCC adopted several items including the following:

  • Regulating the Internet: An NPRM (WC Docket No. 17-108) to rescind the net neutrality structure previously adopted under the Obama administration and return to a light-touch regulatory framework. The changes are to promote infrastructure investment, innovation, and choice by ending utility-style regulation of broadband Internet access service.
  • An NPRM (IB Docket No. 17-95) to streamline, consolidate, and harmonize the rules for Earth Stations on Vessels (ESVs), Vehicle Mounted Earth Stations (VMESs), and Earth Stations Aboard Aircraft (ESAAs), now collectively termed, “Earth Stations in Motion (ESIMs)”. The proposed changes are to simplify the regulatory approval process for ESIMs, reduce the burden on applicants, and increase efficiency in processing applications.

Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction

  • On April 13, 2017, the FCC released the “Incentive Auction Closing and Channel Reassignment Public Notice”, marking the end of the TV Incentive Auction.
    • Reverse Auction and Forward Auction results announced
    • Final television band channel assignments announced
    • Post-auction deadlines announced
  • TV channel repacking to occur over the next 39 months

Spectrum Frontiers – Above 24 GHz Proceeding (GN Docket No. 14-177)

  • Numerous Ex Parte arguments continue to be filed by satellite interests and Upper Microwave Flexible Use Service (UMFUS) proponents on the satellite/terrestrial sharing framework, particularly in the 28 and 38 GHz bands.
  • Awaiting a Second Report and Order to address the issues raised in the FNPRM including potential additional bands for UMFUS: 24, 32, 42, 47, 50, 70/80, and above 95 GHz.

Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), 3550-3700 MHz Band

  • The FCC is accepting “second wave” proposals from prospective Spectrum Access System (SAS) and Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) providers with a deadline of May 31, 2017.
  • Previously, the Commission conditionally approved seven SAS proposals, including one from Comsearch, on December 21, 2016.

Higher Ground LLC application for consumer-based text messaging/light email and Internet of Things communications using a cell phone attachment and via geostationary C-band satellites.

  • Applications for Review of the grant of the Higher Ground application were filed by Fixed Wireless Communications Coalition on February 10, 2017, and Enterprise Wireless Alliance, Utilities Technology Council, and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials – International, Inc. on February 17, 2017. Then, several additional comments have been filed to date as parties argue for review of the license grant.

Mobile Now Act reintroduced in the US Senate 1/3/ 2017. Among other provisions, would:

  • Make available 500 MHz of federal and non-federal spectrum below 6000 MHz for wireless broadband by 2020.
  • Study feasibility of allowing commercial wireless services in 3100-3500 and 3700-4200 MHz bands.