Both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Commerce (DOC) are responsible for implementing federal policy on issues related to technological competitiveness and communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. Following are links to recent agency regulatory activities that may impact cities and towns.
On February 17, NLC joined the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, the National Association of Counties, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in filing reply comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in support of a proposal advanced by several public interest groups recommending that the agency impose interconnection obligations on Universal Service Fund (USF) recipients to help community and local networks provide better broadband services to their residents.
In the comments, the groups expressed support for the establishment of a funding mechanism that could be used by community and local networks to upgrade and build-out their broadband systems under USF reform, particularly in unserved areas of the country.
On February 9, NLC filed Reply Comments with the the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) concerning Next Generation 911 (NG911) applications and deployment (PS Docket Nos. 11-153 and 10-255).
The comments were filed jointly with NLC's local government partners, the National Association of Counties and the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors. The comments state that any proposed enhancements and improvements to NG911 must be balanced against available funding and strained local government budgets. Additionally, the comments assert that a robust public education initiative must be undertaken to educate the public about the availability, and limitations of, 911 text messaging.
On April 7, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding barriers to broadband deployment, including the management of public rights-of-way by local governments and the collection of compensation for the use of public rights-of-way. The NOI was officially published in the Federal Register on May 17.
The deadline to submit initial comments was July 18 and reply comments were due by August 30. See below for comments filed by NLC and its colleagues at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, the International Municipal Lawyers Association, the American Public Works Association, and the Government Finance Officers Association urging the FCC to preserve local rights-of-way authority and compensation.