Telecom Alert: 5.9 GHz Band Order Upheld; $146M in Tribal Broadband Grants; APCO Releases NG911 Guide; ECF Funding [Vol. XIX, Issue 33]

5.9 GHz Band Order Upheld

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously upheld the FCC’s 5.9 GHZ band order on Friday, stating that the Commission acted within its authority in reallocating the band for Wi-Fi use (Vol. XVIII, Issue 19).  In November 2020, the FCC adopted 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 automobile safety using Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything technology.  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 the Commission failed to explain its decision. The three-judge panel disagreed.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) announced over $146 million in broadband grants to five tribal entities in New Mexico through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program.  The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 allocated $980 million for broadband deployment, digital inclusion, workforce development, telehealth, and distance learning for tribal entities.  The recently passed bipartisan infrastructure law added an additional $1 billion to the Program.  NTIA has now made 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 next-generation 911 (“NG911”) deployment.  The guide addresses 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, and operational impacts and legal implications.  It also includes various handouts for stakeholders and sample templates.  

$68 Million in ECF Funding

Last week, the FCC announced that it is committing nearly $68 million in two new funding rounds through the Emergency Connectivity Fund (“ECF” or the “Program”).  This funding includes over $24 million from the first and second application windows, and nearly $44 million for the third application window.  These commitments will support over 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.

© 2024 Keller and Heckman LLP
National Law Review, Volumess XII, Number 227