FCC proposes to revamp equipment authorization rules

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/Tempura)

Among the FCC’s many functions is one known to a small community of technical experts – the equipment authorization program. These procedures seek to ensure that devices capable of emitting radio-frequency energy comply with the FCC’s requirements as to frequency, power, and other technical properties.

The program is essential to harmony in the radio spectrum. Take...

By Francisco Montero, 03 August 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Industry, Regulation, Spectrum.

FCC raises the curtain on the Citizens Broadband Radio Service

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/akit)

In a move described by FCC commissioners as a “significant step forward” (Chairman Wheeler), history-making (Commissioner Rosenworcel), and “exciting” (Commissioner O’Rielly), the FCC has opened up the 3.5 GHz (3550-3700 MHz) band for a wide variety of new uses.

The band will now be home to the new Citizens...

By Francisco Montero, 07 May 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Broadcast, Government, Industry, Regulation, Spectrum.

FCC re-whacks TV Max

If you’ve been wondering whatever happened to TV Max, wonder no more. As you may recall, TV Max is the MVPD in the Houston area that – in the FCC’s view – broke the television carriage rules by retransmitting over-the-air stations without getting their permission to do so. If that doesn’t ring a bell, how about $2.25 million, which is the amount of the fine the Commission proposed to dump on TV Max in a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture...

By Francisco Montero, 09 July 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Government, Industry, Licensing, Piracy.

Court dismisses TCPA charges brought against telecommunications provider

Federal judge: Telecom carriers (1) not routinely liable for telemarketing violations committed by customers and (2) not subject to private suit for alleged violations of Truth in Caller ID Act.

Increasingly, telephone carriers may find themselves unexpectedly on the wrong end of lawsuits alleging violations of the telemarketing laws. Fortunately, at least one federal judge has recognized that such suits are off the mark.

Unsolicited marketing calls are like weeds – nobody likes them, they seldom do any good, and...

By Francisco Montero, 12 May 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Industry.

JSAs on the FCC's Hit List

Everybody knows that, back on March 31, the Commission significantly altered the playing field for television broadcasters. In two separate items adopted that day the FCC (a) barred non-commonly-owned Top 4 network affiliates in a given market from engaging in joint retransmission consent negotiations, and (b) changed its approach to ownership attribution of joint sales agreements...

By Francisco Montero, 22 April 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Government, Industry.

FCC responds to AM Code Blue

With AM industry debilitated by numerous factors, the Commission is looking to treat some obvious symptoms.

Amplitude Modulation radio (AM to its friends) is old and by all accounts pretty sick . . . so the FCC’s wheeling in the crash cart, gelling up the defibrillator paddles and hoping to shock the patient back to vitality. Will it be enough? Will it be in...

By Francisco Montero, 08 November 2013, 0 comments. Categories: Broadcast, Industry, Infrastructure.

Raisin Defenses at the FCC

A Supreme Court case offers a possible route to appealing a forfeiture without having to pay it first.

A pair of California raisin farmers might have made it easier to challenge an FCC forfeiture.

A party dinged with a forfeiture that it thinks is unfair now has two options under the Communications Act. One is to challenge the forfeiture order directly in the Court of Appeals. The problem...

By Francisco Montero, 17 June 2013, 0 comments. Categories: Government, Industry, Licensing.

LoPo TV warning: White Space devices are coming

Special CDBS website unveiled as FCC tries to help rebroadcasting low power stations secure the protection to which they’re entitled.

If you’re the licensee of an LPTV or a TV Translator or a Class A TV station – collectively for our purposes here, “low power stations” – that rebroadcasts the over-the-air signal of another station, the FCC’s trying to help...

By Francisco Montero, 31 May 2013, 0 comments. Categories: Broadcast, Devices, Industry, Infrastructure, Operators, Wireless.

Closing gavel comes down in auction 94

It’s a buyer’s market when it comes to FM construction permits.

[WARNING! While Auction 94 has closed, strict federal anti-collusion rules remain in effect for several more weeks. Parties who were involved in any way in the auction – including folks who filed applications but then elected not to participate in the auction – should refrain from discussing any aspect of the auction with anyone who...

By Francisco Montero, 07 May 2013, 0 comments. Categories: Broadcast, Industry, Infrastructure, Licensing, Telematics.

FCC proposes rule changes for obtaining telephone numbers

Interconnected VoIP providers may soon have direct access to numbering resources, and the significance of area codes could become a thing of the past.

Have you ever wondered where telephone numbers come from? Well, kids, there’s this bird called a stork that delivers the numbers to your phone company which is very happy to receive them…

If only it were that simple.


By Francisco Montero, 24 April 2013, 0 comments. Categories: Cabling, Industry, Infrastructure, N America.

Outraged FCC takes strong action, shakes finger at robocallers

Barred by law from imposing fines on first offenders, the agency can only issue threats.

Your cell phone rings. You pause the movie, untangle from your significant other, and stride across the room to answer it. “Hello there!” says the cheerful recorded voice. “We’re calling about your credit card! Are you paying too much interest?”

You stab at the hang-up button and head back to...

By Francisco Montero, 28 March 2013, 0 comments. Categories: Government, Infrastructure, N America.

Why it's suddenly illegal to "unlock" your new cellphone

White House, FCC gang up on Librarian of Congress, seek reversal of recent rule.

If you buy something, it’s yours, to do with as you want. Right?

Don’t be silly.

We first encountered the concept of limited ownership with purchases that lacked any physical existence, like e-books and online music. If I buy an online movie from Amazon, I can watch it on my...

By Francisco Montero, 06 March 2013, 0 comments. Categories: Smartphones, Wireless.

FCC bars non-emergency robocalls to PSAP numbers

New rules impose new obligations, hefty potential penalties, on politicians and non-profits (including NCE broadcasters) who use automatic phone dialing gear for public outreach.

By Peter TannenwaldUnwanted marketing telephone calls are merely annoying for most of us, but in some cases they’re actually dangerous. A marketing call that goes to a number in a 911 service centre can block...

By Francisco Montero, 11 December 2012, 0 comments. Categories: Government, Licensing.

The FCC wants to know: How much spectrum is too much spectrum?

FCC opens inquiry into whether, and how, and how much, wireless spectrum holdings should be limited.

By Donald EvansIt’s undeniable that a small handful of carriers control an overwhelming amount of mobile spectrum in the U.S. 

Many observers of the communications landscape believe that that intense concentration has reached alarming proportions. Unfortunately, to date federal...

By Francisco Montero, 12 November 2012, 0 comments. Categories: Mobile, Operators, Wireless.

AT&T is fined for not having an unobtainable licence

FCC action follows interference to airport weather radar.

The FCC has confirmed a fine of $25,000 against AT&T for operating a Wi-Fi-type device that caused interference to a weather radar at a Puerto Rico airport. 

Yes, it appears that AT&T slipped up. But we think the FCC fined it for the wrong offence.

The problem stems – as do many FCC...

By Francisco Montero, 12 October 2012, 0 comments. Categories: Government, Licensing, WiFi, Wireless.

Copyright Office: Making a List, Checking It Twice

CO seeks comments on latest “specialty station” list

Like Santa Claus, Oskar Schindler, David Letterman and Joe McCarthy, the Copyright Office (CO) has a list. The CO’s list consists of TV stations which claim to be “specialty” stations, a desirable status for some in the copyright world (more on that below). The CO is in the process of updating its list, and

By Francisco Montero, 12 November 2011, 0 comments. Categories: Broadcast, Licensing, N America, Operators.