Today’s Regulatory Mix: FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for April Open Meeting, FCC’s Rosenworcel Proposes Expanding Access Via Texting to 988 to Reach Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Kentucky Bill Commits Additional Money to Broadband
FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for April Open Meeting
FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced that the items below are tentatively on the agenda for the April Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 22, 2021:
- Text-to-988 – The Commission will consider a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to increase the effectiveness of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by proposing to require covered text providers to support text messaging to 988. (WC Docket No. 18-336)
- Commercial Space Launch Operations – The Commission will consider a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would adopt a new spectrum allocation for commercial space launch operations and seek comment on additional allocations and service rules. (ET Docket No. 13-115)
- Wireless Microphones – The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes to revise the technical rules for Part 74 low-power auxiliary station (LPAS) devices to permit a recently developed, and more efficient, type of wireless microphone system. (RM-11821; ET Docket No. 21-115)
- Improving 911 Reliability – The Commission will consider a Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to promote public safety by ensuring that 911 call centers and consumers receive timely and useful notifications of disruptions to 911 service. (PS Docket Nos. 13-75, 15-80; ET Docket No. 04-35)
- Concluding the 800 MHz Band Reconfiguration – The Commission will consider an Order to conclude its 800 MHz rebanding program due to the successful fulfillment of this public safety mandate. (WT Docket No. 02-55)
- Enhancing Transparency of Foreign Government-Sponsored Programming – The Commission will consider a Report and Order to require clear disclosures for broadcast programming that is sponsored, paid for, or furnished by a foreign government or its representative. (MB Docket No. 20-299)
- Imposing Application Cap in Upcoming NCE FM Filing Window – The Commission will consider a Public Notice to impose a limit of ten applications filed by any party in the upcoming 2021 filing window for new noncommercial educational FM stations. (MB Docket No. 20-343)
- Enforcement Bureau Action – The Commission will consider an enforcement action.
The FCC publicly releases the draft text of each item expected to be considered at the next Open Commission Meeting.
FCC’s Rosenworcel Proposes Expanding Access Via Texting to 988 to Reach Suicide Prevention Lifeline
FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel proposed that the FCC consider making the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a national network that provides free, confidential support to Americans in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, reachable by text messaging to 988. The FCC previously established 988 as the 3- digit dialing code for Americans to reach the Lifeline by telephone beginning July 16, 2022. The Acting Chairwoman shared a proposal with her colleagues for their consideration at the Commission’s April 22 Open Meeting. “We have a mental health crisis in this country, especially among young people, and we need to find accessible ways to reach them when they need help,” said Rosenworcel.
“From the outset of this proceeding, I’ve thought the FCC should have a plan to make texting to 988 available as a tool for reaching the Lifeline. To truly impact at-risk communities, including our youth, we must acknowledge that texting is their primary form of communication. Today, we are taking an important step toward realizing that goal. I look forward to continuing to work with our partners at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that all Americans have easy access to suicide prevention and mental health crisis resources – whether through a phone call or a text message. In the meantime, I hope anyone in crisis will call 1-800-273-TALK for the support they need.”
Kentucky Bill Commits Additional Money to Broadband
On the last day of the regular session, the Kentucky Legislature passed an amended revenue bill (HB 382) that commits an additional $50 million from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund of the American Rescue Plan Act to rural broadband deployment. The funds are in addition to the $250 million in broadband funding that was already approved by the Legislature. The new law also permits utility cooperatives to use up to 25% of their assets as collateral for broadband projects to underserved or unserved areas with approval from the Public Service Commission.
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.