Today’s Regulatory Mix: FCC Proposes $5Million Robocalling Fine, NTIA’s Broadband Infrastructure Program Receives Over 230 Applications; Reports Award Process will be Highly Competitive, Second ECF Filing Window Announced
FCC Proposes $5 Million Robocalling Fine
The released a statement proposing a $5,134,500 fine against John M. Burkman, Jacob Alexander Wohl, and J.M. Burkman & Associates LLC for purportedly making 1,141 unlawful robocalls to wireless phones without prior express consent in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
According to the statement, this is the first case brought under the TRACED Act’s TCPA revisions and is the largest fine ever proposed by the FCC. It is also the first action where the FCC was not required to warn robocallers before robocall violations could be counted toward a proposed fine, pursuant to Congress’s recent amendment of the TCPA. The release indicates the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau investigation found that the calls in this case, allegedly made on August 26 and September 14, 2020, were prerecorded messages telling potential voters that, if they vote by mail, their “personal information will be part of a public database that will be used by police departments to track down old warrants and be used by credit card companies to collect outstanding debts.”
NTIA’s Broadband Infrastructure Program Receives Over 230 Applications; Reports Award Process will be Highly Competitive
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that it has received more than 230 applications for the Broadband Infrastructure Program, for a total of more than $2.5 billion in funding requests across 49 states and U.S. territories. They have begun reviewing the applications as part of the $288 million grant program, which was funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the Act). Grants will be awarded to covered partnerships between a state, or political subdivisions of a state, and providers of fixed broadband service. The program’s 90-day application window closed on Tuesday, August 17.
NTIA reports that due to the high volume of applications, the award process will be highly competitive. As outlined in the Act, priority will be given to applications with proposed projects that:
- Provide broadband service to the greatest number of households in an eligible service area;
- Provide broadband service to rural areas;
- Are most cost-effective in providing broadband service; or
- Provide broadband service with a download speed of at least 100 Mbps and an upload speed of at least 20 Mbps.
Second ECF Filing Window Announced
The FCC announced that requests from schools and libraries for support from the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund submitted during the program’s first filing window, which closed Aug. 13, totaled $5.137 billion. “In view of outstanding demand and the recent spike in coronavirus cases, the FCC will open a second application filing window for schools and libraries to request funding for connected devices and broadband connections for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons for the current 2021-22 school year,” the Commission said. The second filing window will be September 28 to October 13, 2021.
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.