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Table of Contents - November 1, 2019

Tentative Agenda for FCC Meeting Includes 911 Vertical Location, Supply Chain, Unbundling Items

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has circulated a draft order to his fellow Commissioners that would bar recipients of Universal Service Fund support from purchasing equipment and services from vendors deemed to present a national security threat, that would create a mechanism for designating prohibited vendors, and that would make the Chinese companies Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. the first companies to receive such a designation, subject to a response and review period.

The draft order, which follows a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) adopted last year (TR, April 27, 2018), is accompanied by a draft further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM) that would seek input on a "remove and replace" proposal for equipment supplied by newly prohibited vendors that is already installed in the networks of eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) and a draft information collection that would seek data from carriers about the extent to which Huawei and ZTE equipment is already in their networks and how much it would cost to remove and replace it.

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FCC Finds Charter Faces Effective Competition From AT&T TV Now

The most controversial item adopted at the FCC's Oct. 25 meeting - garnering concurrences from the two Democratic Commissioners, who expressed concern about the effect on consumer prices for video programming - found that Charter Communications, Inc., faces effective competition from AT&T TV Now and thus is entitled to relief from basic programming rate regulation in the last two areas of the country where a cable TV provider still faced such regulation, in parts of Massachusetts and Hawaii.

Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks acknowledged that the AT&T's DirecTV Now streaming service, which has been rebranded as AT&T TV Now, qualifies as effective under the statutory "LEC test" because it is provided by an affiliate of a local exchange carrier (LEC) in Charter's franchise area directly to subscribers, even though AT&T does not offer LEC services in Charter's franchise area, and the service is an over-the-top (OTT) streaming service, rather than a service offered over the LEC's facilities.

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