Nevada Telecommunications Association Monthly Newsletter
August 2015, Volume 155 Serving the Industry for over 57 Years Editor: Mike Eifert
This months NTA Associate of the Month is KLW Co.!
2015 NTA Convention is August 17th through the 19th at Harvey's Resort South Lake Tahoe.
FCC Releases Order Granting AT&T-DIRECTV Merger
The FCC issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order on July 28, 2015, granting, with conditions, the transfer of control of licenses and authorizations from DIRECTV to AT&T. The approval will allow AT&T to acquire DIRECTV and merge the two companies into one combined entity. AT&T-DIRECTV will be required to expand its deployment of high-speed, fiber optic broadband Internet access service to 12.5 million customer locations as well as to E-rate eligible schools and libraries; is prohibited from using discriminatory practices to disadvantage online video distribution services; and will submit its Internet interconnection agreements for Commission review. AT&T-DIRECTV has also agreed to offer broadband services to low-income consumers at discounted rates. The FCC found the combined AT&T-DIRECTV will increase competition for bundles of video and broadband, which, in turn, will stimulate lower prices, not only for the Applicants' bundles, but also for competitors' bundled products - benefiting consumers and serving the public interest. [Source: Washington Watch, 07/29/2015]
White House Announces Launch of ConnectHome Pilot Program
The White House issued a Fact Sheet on July 15, 2015, announcing that the ConnectHome pilot program is launching in twenty-seven cities and one tribal nation, and will offer over 275,000 low-income households the support they need to access the Internet at home. The White House said ConnectHome will focus on building regional partnerships while collaborating with both public and private sectors to offer broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs and devices for residents in assisted housing units. [Source: Washington Watch, 07/16/2015]
State Attorneys General Urge Companies to Offer Call Blocking Technology to Customers
Forty-five state attorneys general sent a letter to AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and CenturyLink on July 22, 2015, urging them to take advantage of the recent FCC rule clarification and offer call-blocking technology to their customers. They said this clarification, which states federal law does not prohibit telecommunications service providers from offering, upon a customer's request, services intended to block unwanted calls, should remove any doubt about their legal authority to empower consumers by providing call-blocking technology to help stop robocalls, scam text messages and unwanted telemarketing calls. [Source: Washington Watch, 07/23/2015]
Commissioner Pai Issues Statement on Rural Broadband Deployment
Commissioner Pai issued a statement on July 1, 2015, on the need to extend broadband in rural areas, and detailed his recent visit to Diller, Nebraska and Baldwin City, Kansas. Commissioner Pai said he was told the rising level of regulatory uncertainty coming from D.C. was a major barrier to infrastructure investment and noted one company recently stopped laying fiber entirely because it could not predict the rules of the digital road, leaving many residential customers with degraded copper lines and less bandwidth. He said he was grateful to hear numerous companies from each state were supportive of his recent proposal for extending federal USF support to rate-of-return companies that offer stand-alone broadband service. [Source: Washington Watch, 07/02/2015]
Commissioner Clyburn Discusses New Lifeline Program to Close Digital Divide
Commissioner Clyburn spoke at the National Action Network's Legislative and Policy Conference on July 8, 2015, to discuss access to the Internet. She said digital literacy and broadband access are essential, and said over 90 percent of households making $75,000 a year have access to the Internet, but for families making under $30,000 a year, only half can access the Web at home. She said the Lifeline program has been stuck in a time warp, virtually ignored for decades and still funds voice-only access. She suggested designing an entirely new program to be known as iBridge Now, which could help close the digital divide and opportunity gap by supporting 21st century advanced communications services. [Source: Washington Watch, 07/09/2015]
Vantage Point Details Results of Alternative Cost Model Study
Vantage Point filed the results on July 13, 2015, of two studies it conducted comparing the A-CAM cost-to-serve module results to engineering cost data from wire-center-wide FTTP projects. The first study compared A-CAM results to engineering cost data of 144 wire centers across the country, and found that while the A-CAM seems to somewhat accurately estimate overall deployment costs, on a wire center-by-wire center basis the A-CAM capex results for almost a third of the wire centers differs by more than 30 percent from the engineering data for that wire center. Vantage Point's second study reviewed engineering cost data for three wire-center-wide FTTP networks that have been constructed, and concluded in all twelve nodes analyzed the A-CAM misses the wire-center-specific engineering data by more than 40 percent. Vantage Point said it brings these model deficiencies to the attention of the FCC so that it can work to improve the A-CAM. [Source: Washington Watch, 07/14/2015]
FCC Commissioner 'Outraged' At What CBS4 Investigation Revealed About Free Phone Program
By Brian Maass
House Subcommittee to Hold Hearings on Broadband Investment, FCC Oversight
House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) announced on July 8, 2015, the subcommittee will hold a hearing on July 14, 2015, to discuss ways to improve the environment for investment in both fixed and mobile broadband. Rep. Walden also announced the subcommittee will hold a hearing on July 28, 2015, on FCC oversight, and will hear from Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner Pai. [Source: Washington Watch, 07/09/2015]
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