Telecommunications

Weekly Telecommunications Industry Update August 15

5.9 GHz band order maintained

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Friday unanimously upheld the FCC’s order on the 5.9 GHz band, saying the Commission acted within its authority in reassigning the band for the use of Wi-Fi (vol. XVIII, number 19). In November 2020, the FCC passed a report and order that designated the lower 45 MHz of the 5.9 GHz band for unlicensed use and the upper 30 MHz for enhanced automotive safety using Cellular Vehicle technology -to-Everything. ITS America, AASHTO, and the Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network challenged the FCC’s authority to do so, arguing that it violated the Transportation Equity Act and that the Commission failed to explain its decision. The three-judge panel disagreed.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) announced more than $146 million in broadband grants to five New Mexico tribal entities under the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 allocated $980 million for broadband deployment, digital inclusion, workforce development, telehealth and distance learning for tribal entities . The recently passed bipartisan Infrastructure Act added another $1 billion to the program. The NTIA has now completed more than $290 million in funding through the program.

APCO releases NG911 guide

Last week, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (“APCO”) released a definitive guide to deploying Next Generation 911 (“NG911”). The guide discusses what emergency communications centers and professional staff need to make informed decisions now and in the future to deploy comprehensive NG911 technologies. It educates readers on key concepts and definitions, technical aspects of call flow, project management, operational impacts, and legal implications. It also includes various documents for stakeholders and sample templates.

$68 million in ECF funding

Last week, the FCC announced that it was committing nearly $68 million in two new rounds of funding through the Emergency Connectivity Fund (“ECF” or the “Program”). This funding includes more than $24 million from the first and second application windows, and nearly $44 million from the third application window. These commitments will support more than 100,000 students across the country, including California, Florida, North Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Casey Lide, Thomas Magee, Tracy Marshall, Kathleen Slattery Thompson, Sean Stokes and Wesley Wright also contributed to this article.