Today’s Regulatory Mix: FCC Reaffirms $2.8 Million Fine of Drone Device Marketer, NTIA Creates First Interactive “Indicators of Broadband Need” Map, Texas Governor Signs Bill to Expand Broadband Service
FCC Reaffirms $2.8 Million Fine of Drone Device Marketer
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has denied a petition from HobbyKing asking the agency to reconsider its $2,861,128 fine for marketing drone transmitters that did not comply with FCC equipment marketing rules. An FCC investigation found that dozens of devices marketed by the company transmitted in unauthorized radio frequency bands and, in some cases, operated at excessive power levels. HobbyKing marketed devices that provide a video link between transmitters mounted on unmanned aircraft systems and users flying drones. Under FCC rules, these devices must have obtained certification through the FCC’s equipment authorization process based on their operating parameters. This certification requirement ensures that radio frequency equipment will not interfere with federal government operations, private licensed operations, and other equipment. The FCC’s investigation found that HobbyKing marketed 65 models of devices that were required to be, but were not, certified by the Commission.
NTIA Creates First Interactive “Indicators of Broadband Need” Map
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a new publicly available digital map that displays key indicators of broadband needs across the country. This is the first interactive, public map that allows users to explore different datasets about where people do not have quality Internet access.
The public “Indicators of Broadband Need” tool released today puts on one map, for the first time, data from both public and private sources. It contains data aggregated at the county, census tract, and census block level from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), M-Lab, Ookla and Microsoft. Speed-test data provided by M-Lab and Ookla help to illustrate the reality that communities experience when going online, with many parts of the country reporting speeds that fall below the FCC’s current benchmark for fixed broadband service of 25 Mbps download, 3 Mbps upload. This is the first map that allows users to graphically compare and contrast these different data sources.
Texas Governor Signs Bill to Expand Broadband Service
On June 15, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 5. Among the Bill’s most critical components is the establishment of a state broadband plan to establish long and short term goals that guide the development and investment of broadband infrastructure for all Texans.
“Thank you to Senator Nichols and Representative Ashby for their leadership on House Bill 5, which will help increase high speed internet access in Texas,” said Governor Abbott. “Broadband is no longer a luxury — it is an essential tool for education, business, and healthcare, which is why I made the expansion of broadband an emergency item this session. HB 5 will help close the digital divide throughout Texas.”
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.