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Telecom Alert: FCC Approves 6 GHz AFC Systems; Buy America Waiver; Cybersecurity Labeling Program Vote; CPNI Certification Filings [Vol. XXI Issue 9]
Monday, February 26, 2024

FCC Approves 6 GHz AFC Systems

Last week, the FCC announced the approval of seven 6 GHz band Automated Frequency Coordination (“AFC”) systems, which include offerings from Qualcomm Incorporated, Federated Wireless, Inc., Sony Group Corporation, Comsearch, the Wi-Fi Alliance Services Corporation, the Wireless Broadband Alliance, Inc., and Broadcom Inc. The AFC system operators are permitted to manage access to spectrum in the 5.925-6.425 and 6.525-6.875 GHz portions of the 6 GHz band. All seven systems were approved after lab testing and a public trial to prove compliance with the Commission’s 6 GHz unlicensed rules, which are designed to prevent harmful interference from standard power access devices and fixed client devices to incumbent, licensed microwave systems. 

Buy America Waiver Announced

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) released a Notice of Final Waiver, which establishes a limited, general applicability, nonavailability waiver of the Buy America Preference for certain materials. The Buy America Preference is established by the Build America, Buy America Act (“BABA”), as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“IIJA”). The Buy America Preference includes domestic procurement requirements for Federal financial assistance projects for infrastructure. The waiver applies to non-optic-glass inputs and all electronics in Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (“BEAD”) projects, subject to limitations. 

Vote Scheduled for Cybersecurity Labeling Program

FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel announced that the FCC will vote at its Open Meeting scheduled for March 14, 2024, on the creation of a voluntary cybersecurity labeling program for wireless Internet of Things (“IoT”) products (Vol. XX, Issue 38). Under the program, IoT products that meet cybersecurity standards would be eligible to bear a label that informs consumers of compliance with such standards. The label would also include a QR code that can be scanned to gather more information about the security of the product. Compliance testing would be completed by accredited labs, and the FCC expects the program to be a public-private partnership where third-party administrators handle product application evaluations and consumer education. 

CPNI Compliance Certification Filings

As a reminder to telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers, annual certifications confirming compliance with the FCC’s Customer Proprietary Network Information (“CPNI”) rules are due by March 1, 2024 (Vol. XXI, Issue 8). The CPNI rules require providers to protect CPNI from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. Certification filings can be made in the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (“ECFS”) or the FCC’s web-based application. Providers are reminded that failure to file could result in monetary forfeitures of up to $244,958 for each violation. 

Thomas B. Magee, Tracy P. Marshall, Sean A. Stokes, and Wesley K. Wright contributed to this article.

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