Dec 12, 2019 FCC Open Meeting

  • Thu Dec 12, 2019
  • 10:30 am – 12:30 pm EST
  • Room TW-C305, 445 12th Street S.W., Washington, DC
  • Link to Live Feed

The FCC is holding this Open Meeting on the subjects listed below:

  1. 988: Suicide Prevention Hotline Number
    The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would propose to designate 988 as the 3-digit number for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. WC Docket No. 18-336
  2. Promoting Innovation in the 5.9 GHz Band
    The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would take a fresh and comprehensive look at the rules for the 5.9 GHz band and propose, among other things, to make the lower 45 MHz of the band available for unlicensed operations and to permit Cellular Vehicle to Everything (C-V2X) operations in the upper 20 megahertz of the band. (ET Docket No. 19-138)
  3. Facilitating Shared Use in the 3.1-3.55 GHz Band
    The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would seek comment on removing the existing non-federal allocations in the 3.3-3.55 GHz band as a step towards potential future shared use between federal incumbents and commercial users. (WT Docket No. 19-348)
  4. VoIP Symmetry
    The Commission will consider an Order on Remand and Declaratory Ruling that would promote continued investment in IP-based networks by clarifying that a local exchange carrier partnering with a VoIP provider may assess end office switched access charges only if the carrier or its VoIP partner provides a physical connection to the last-mile facilities used to serve the end user. (WC Docket No. 10-90, CC Docket No. 01-92)
  5. Cable Service Change Notifications
    The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would seek comment on modernizing requirements for notices cable operators must provide consumers and local franchise authorities. (MB Docket Nos. 19-347, 17-105)
  6. Noncommercial and Low Power FM Station Licensing
    The Commission will consider a Report and Order that would revise the Commission’s Noncommercial Educational Broadcast Station and Low Power FM Station comparative processing and licensing rules. (MB Docket No. 19-3)

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FCC Attempts to Skirt Rational RF-EMR Exposure Analysis; Legal Challenges are Certain

Adapted from an article by Paul Kirby, Dec 4, 2019 | Reprinted with permission of TR Daily

The FCC released an item today maintaining its existing radio frequency (RF) exposure limitsdespite arguments that the RF-EMR exposure guidelines are unscientifically unsound, unsafe and need to be drastically tightened. The agency also took other actions that advocates for stricter RF standards protested.

Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel concurred in the item, which was circulated in August (TR Daily, Aug. 8), but she did not release a statement explaining why.

The FCC stated the following in an item that terminates a notice of inquiry adopted in 2013 (FCC 13-84)

“Modern communications technologies are an ever-increasingly critical part of our everyday lives and play a vital role in the execution of our businesses and daily affairs. The number and types of radiofrequency (RF) devices have proliferated, and the ways we interact with them are continuously changing. As a result, our environment is populated with RF sources, at times located in close proximity to humans. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) requires the FCC to evaluate the effects of our actions on the quality of the human environment, including human exposure to RF energy emitted by Commission-regulated transmitters and facilities,”

. . . but has the FCC credibly evaluated "the effects of our actions on the quality of the human environment, including human exposure to RF energy emitted by Commission-regulated transmitters and facilities?"

The 12/4/19 FCC item includes a second report and order, notice of proposed rulemaking, and memorandum opinion and order in ET dockets 03-137, 13-84, and 19-226. The item was adopted on Nov. 27 and released on Dec 4 — the day before the Dec 5 House oversight hearing.

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US House Hearing on FCC Accountability and Oversight

  • Date: Thursday, December 5, 2019 10:00 a.m., EST / 7:00 a.m, PST
  • Location: 2123 Rayburn House Office Building
  • Committee: House Energy and Commerce (116th Congress)
  • Link to LiveStream of the US House Hearing.

The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology of the Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a hearing on Thursday, December 5, 2019, at 10 a.m. in the John D. Dingell Room, 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, "Accountability and Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission."

  • Memorandum from Chairman Pallone to the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology

  • Testimony for the Honorable Ajit Pai , Chairman, FCC

  • Testimony for the Honorable Michael O’Rielly, Commissioner, FCC

  • Testimony for the Honorable Brendan Carr, Commissioner, FCC

  • Testimony for the Honorable Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner, FCC

  • Testimony for the Honorable Geoffrey Starks, Commissioner, FCC

Dec 4, 2019 House Energy and Commerce Committee Letter

Re: Lack of Telecommunications Network Resiliency

Original letter here
 

December 4, 2019

The Honorable Michael Doyle
Chairman
Subcommittee on Communications & Technology
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Robert Latta
Chairman, Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Communications & Technology
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 2051

Dear Mr. Chairman Doyle and Ranking Member Latta:

We write as consumer advocates, civil rights advocates, Tribal advocates and advocates for economic development of local communities and rural America deeply concerned over the continually declining state of our nation’s critical communications infrastructure. While Washington remains focused on “winning the race to 5G,” increasing numbers of Americans lack basic, reliable voice telephone service as providers allow their legacy networks to rust and degrade. Lack of maintenance and lack of emergency preparedness have contributed to lengthy outages in periods of natural disaster, where the ability to communicate with emergency services and family is most critical. Once the envy of the world, our national telephone network increasingly fails us when we need it most.

The current FCC has aggravated this situation. As one of his first items of business, Chairman Ajit Pai repealed critical safeguards put in place after Hurricane Sandy. Chairman Pai has ignored the recommendations of the FCC’s own staff reports after the botched responses by industry to natural disasters such as Hurricanes Michael, Irma and Maria. Nor has Chairman Pai responded to the repeated requests from Democratic Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks to address network reliability concerns, most recently highlighted by the California wildfires.

We therefore ask that you and other members of the subcommittee require Chairman Pai to address these concerns at your upcoming oversight hearing. Below, we provide documentation of declining quality of basic telephone service for millions of Americans, and dangerous declines in network reliability throughout the United States. We stress that these are only a few examples, and that the failure of the FCC to engage in any comprehensive investigation into national network reliability or to engage in any follow up on the impact of repeal of the post-Hurricane Sandy “Technology Transition” safeguards makes it impossible to assess the full scope of the problem. What is clear is that we are experiencing broad, systemic failure of critical communications infrastructure, while the agency that Congress created to protect the American people stands idly by.

Continue reading “Dec 4, 2019 House Energy and Commerce Committee Letter”

Macro Cell Tower Siting RF-EMR Discussions in Thousand Oaks, CA

Adapted this from a piece by Dr. Jonathan L. Kramer, Nov 19, 2019 | Original Blog post here.

On 11/18/19, the City of Thousand Oaks, CA Planning Commission heard and acted on a citizen’s appeal of a camouflaged Verizon macrocell cell site that was previously approved by the City’s Hearing Officer. The Appellant opposing the approval was Prof. Trevor G. Marshall. Applicant Verizon Wireless was represented by Kevin P. Sullivan, Esq.

The design of the proposed camouflaged cell site is as shown below (from Verizon’s design plans).

img

Click image to view larger version

Nearly 100% of the public testimony focused on pulsed, data-modulated, Radio-frequency Electromagnetic Microwave Radiation (RF-EMR) emissions. The Commission, public, and staff discussions are informative. They span negative health consequences, administrative process, duty of loyalty, and the federal government/local government relationship regarding RF-EMR emissions.

After nearly three hours of staff presentations, quite thoughtful public testimony, and post-public hearing discussions, the City’s Planning Commissioners voted to uphold the Hearing Officer’s approval of the cell site project on a 4-0 vote (one absence).

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What is Net Neutrality, and What Does it Mean for You?

By Samantha Cossick Nov 19, 2019 | Original allconnect article here.

Net neutrality is more than just a buzzword thrown around by politicians — it’s a battle for the future of the internet. But for many, there’s a lot of confusion around what net neutrality is, and what it means for individuals. We’ll help to break down this concept as well as the legal and practical implications surrounding net neutrality law.

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) should provide all online content equally without favoring or blocking specific products, websites or types of content. In short, it means that all traffic on the internet is equal and equally accessible.

Net neutrality law focuses around regulating and/or preventing three main practices:

  • Blocking: ISPs cannot block or prevent access to any lawful content on the web.
  • Paid Prioritization: Providers cannot prioritize companies or consumers who pay a premium for a “fast lane” and keep those who don’t pay in a “slow lane.”
  • Throttling: Providers cannot limit your bandwidth or slow your connection based on your internet activities.

Without net neutrality or other laws protecting equal content, ISPs could, in theory, block certain websites and favor others. For instance, your ISP could make all Bing searches free but charge you every time you want to search for something on Google.

Or, Comcast could allow their subscribers to stream Peacock content (which they own through NBCUniversal) for free, while charging subscribers for watching Netflix. With net neutrality, you would have free and equal access to both Peacock and Netflix.

Another example would be your ISP slowing your connection every time you try to game over Twitch, but speeding it back up again when you’re not gaming, a practice known as throttling.

The History of Net Neutrality

In 2003, Columbia University law professor Tim Wu first used the phrase “network neutrality” in a paper about broadband discrimination. At the time, Wu hoped to provide a “general perspective” on net neutrality stating that: “Government regulation in such contexts invariably tries to help ensure that the short-term interests of the owner do not prevent the best products or applications becoming available to end-users.”

Advocates of net neutrality argue that government regulation is necessary to prevent ISPs from operating only in their best interests and not the interest of the user.

Prior to official net neutrality law being established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), there were several cases of ISPs perhaps acting not in the interest of the user. Here’s a quick history lesson showing how the debate has evolved:

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Expert Panel Speaks on Technology Risks to Humanity

By Camilla Rees, Nov 5, 2019 | Original Businesswire Press Release here

  • Hosted at The Commonwealth Club of California, San Francisco, CA
  • Tuesday, December 3, 2019, 12:00 pm 2:30 pm

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Commonwealth Club of California will host a program, “Humanity at a Crossroads: New Insights into Technology Risks for Humans and the Planet”, on Tuesday, December 3rd from 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Check-in starts at 11:30 a.m.) The Expert Panel will cover the science on wireless technology risks, new biological and cognitive risks expected from close proximity to 4G/5G ‘small cell’ antennas, as well as the problem of technology overuse and addiction.

  • Tickets: $10 Members/$20 Non-Members/$8 Students.
  • Location: 110 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA
  • Register: with the Commonwealth Club at https://tinyurl.com/yxmqc3fn or 415-597-6705.

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Against All Common Sense, FCC Approves T-Mobile-Sprint Merger

By Karl Bode, Nov 5, 2019 | Original Motherboard article here.

40 years of US telecom history shows that mindless Telecom mergers kill jobs, worsen service, and raise prices. So why are we still doing this?

The FCC today finalized its approval of T-Mobile’s $26 billion dollar merger with Sprint, a megadeal that most objective data suggests will result in higher prices, fewer jobs, and even worse service from one of the most disliked industries in America.

In its finalized order confirming a 3-2 vote along partisan lines, the FCC insists that the deal will result in amazing benefits for American consumers, ranging from accelerated deployment of fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks, to “enhanced competition” in the wake of the deal.

FCC boss Ajit Pai said in a statement.

“It would bring the benefits of the next generation of wireless technology to American consumers and advance American leadership in 5G. It would help millions in rural America benefit from high-speed 5G mobile broadband service . . . and it would promote competition.”

History and Pai’s fellow Commissioners tell a decidedly different story.

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ISPs Lied to Congress About Encrypted DNS

By Jon Brodkin, Nov 4, 2019 | Orgiginal Ars Technica article here.

A Firefox logo is seen outside Mozilla's office in San Francisco.

ISPs lobby against DNS encryption, but Mozilla tells Congress not to trust them as they just spread confusion

Mozilla is urging Congress to reject the broadband industry’s lobbying campaign against encrypted DNS in Firefox and Chrome.

The Internet providers’ fight against this privacy feature raises questions about how they use broadband customers’ Web-browsing data, Mozilla wrote in a letter sent today to the chairs and ranking members of three House of Representatives committees. Mozilla also said that Internet providers have been giving inaccurate information to lawmakers and urged Congress to "publicly probe current ISP data collection and use policies."

DNS over HTTPS helps keep eavesdroppers from seeing what DNS lookups your browser is making. This can make it more difficult for ISPs or other third parties to monitor what websites you visit.

"Unsurprisingly, our work on DoH [DNS over HTTPS] has prompted a campaign to forestall these privacy and security protections, as demonstrated by the recent letter to Congress from major telecommunications associations. That letter contained a number of factual inaccuracies," Mozilla Senior Director of Trust and Security Marshall Erwin wrote.

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NLC, Local Allies Oppose Wireless Petitions Before FCC

By Angelina Panettieri Nov 4, 2019 | Original article here.

The National League of Cities (NLC) is continuing the fight against Telecom preemption. We have joined a number of local governments and municipal organizations throughout the country in opposition to recent proposals from the Wireless Industry Association (WIA) and the Communications Technology Industry Association (CTIA). These proposals aim to further limit local oversight of wireless towers and pole attachments.

The FCC requested feedback on the proposals and whether they should expand the scope of Section 6409 of the Middle-Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which covers existing federal regulations preempting local governance of wireless towers. If enacted, the proposals from WIA and CTIA would substantially limit current authority local governments have to manage changes made to large wireless towers in their communities, as well as further limiting the control pole owners, such as local governments or utilities, have over pole attachments.

The petitions requested of the FCC seek to expand coverage of the 2014 FCC rules to preempt local government oversight of modifications to existing wireless facilities (known as Section 6409 eligible facilities requests). Among the changes requested were:

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