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July 27, 2004, Alert No. 946.
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Summary of VOIP Related Bills

7/22. There are three major bills pending in the Congress that address the subject of regulation and taxation of voice over internet protocol (VOIP) applications.

First, there is S 2281, the "VOIP Regulatory Freedom Act of 2004", introduced by Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) on April 5, 2004. Moreover, there are now two vastly different versions of this bill -- the bill as introduced, and the bill as approved on July 22, 2004 by the Senate Commerce Committee (SCC).

Second, there is HR 4129, also titled the "VOIP Regulatory Freedom Act of 2004", introduced by Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS) on April 2, 2004. HR 4129 and S 2281, as introduced, were similar, but contained several differences in the section dealing with FCC authority to regulate connected VOIP applications.

Third, there is HR 4757, the "Advanced Internet Communications Services Act of 2004" introduced by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) on July 6, 2004.

Definitions. S 2281 (Sununu) and HR 4129 (Pickering) provide key definitions of VOIP application and connected VOIP application. These are important, in part, because some of the authorities to tax and/or regulate apply only to connected VOIP applications, while others apply to any VOIP application.

S 2281, as approved by the SCC, defines "Voice-over-Internet-protocol application" as "the use of software, hardware, or network equipment for real-time 2-way or multidirectional voice communications over the public Internet or a private network utilizing Internet protocol, or any successor protocol, in whole or part, to connect users notwithstanding -- (i) the underlying transmission technology used to transmit the communications; (ii) whether the packetizing and depacketizing of the communications occurs at the customer premise or network level; or (iii) the software, hardware, or network equipment used to connect users." It also provides that VOIP applications "do not include an application that is used solely for voice communications that both originate and terminate on the public switched telephone network". These provisions are the same in S 2281 as introduced and HR 4129.

S 2281, as approved, then defines a connected VOIP application as "a VOIP application that is capable of receiving voice communications from, or sending voice communications to, the public switched telephone network." This is slightly varied from S 2281 as introduced and the same as HR 4129.

S 2281, as introduced, and HR 4129 also contain definitions of other terms, such as "regulate", "customer", and "universal service". These are not in S 2281 as approved.

HR 4757 (Stearns/Boucher) contains two key definitions First, it creates the class of "advanced Internet communications service", or AICS. It defines this as "an IP network and the associated capabilities and functionalities, services, and applications provided over an Internet protocol platform or for which an Internet protocol capability is an integral component, and services and applications that enable an end user to send or receive a communication in Internet protocol format, regardless of whether the communication is voice, data, video, or any other form."

Second, it creates the subclass of "advanced Internet communications voice service", or AICVS. It defines this as "an advanced Internet communications service that is offered to the public for a fee, and that provides real-time voice communications, and in which that voice component is the primary function of the service."

Limitation of State Authority. S 2281 as introduced, HR 4129 (Pickering), and HR 4757 (Stearns/Boucher) largely remove the states from regulating and taxing VOIP applications (including connected VOIP applications) and AICS (including AICVS). S 2281 as approved maintains the basic limitation on state authority, but then proceeds to create numerous exceptions that swallow the rule.

S 2281 as introduced and HR 4129 contain three key provisions. First, they provide that "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, responsibility and authority to regulate the offering or provision of a voice-over-Internet-protocol application is reserved solely to the Federal Government." (See, Section 2(a).)

Second, they provide that "No State or political subdivision thereof may enact or enforce any law, rule, regulation, standard, or other provision having the force or effect of law that regulates, or has the effect of regulating, the offering or provision of a VOIP application." (See, Section 2(b).)

Third, they provide that "Any responsibility or authority to regulate the offering or provision of a VOIP application that, pursuant to subsection (a), is reserved by the Federal Government may not be delegated, by any Federal agency or officer, to any State or political subdivision thereof." This clause is important because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a history of delegating authority to the states in the absence of a Congressional mandate, or authority, to do so. For example, earlier this year the U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) overturned key provisions of the FCC's triennial review order's provisions on the unbundling requirements of incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) on the grounds that they constituted impermissible delegation of rulemaking authority to state public utilities commissions. (See, Section 2(c).)

HR 4757 provides that an AICS (including an AICVS) "shall be considered an interstate service". This would have the effect of prevented states from regulating these services. HR 4757 also provides that an AICS "shall be considered neither a telecommunications service nor an information service for purposes of the Communications Act of 1934". Telecommunications services and information services are existing regulatory categories that are addressed in the Communications Act, FCC orders, and court opinions. The effect of this bill would be to remove an AICS from these regulatory categories.

HR 2281 and HR 4129 also contain a ban on state taxation of VOIP applications. (See, Section 7.)

Exceptions to Limitations on State Authority. S 2281 as approved maintains two of the basic limitations on state authority -- that VOIP application regulation is reserved to the federal government, and that states are prohibited from regulating VOIP applications. It deletes the ban of delegation of federal authority to the states by federal agencies.

S 2281, as approved by the SCC, added six major exceptions to the general provisions limiting state authority. First, it allows states to regulate and tax connected VOIP applications with respect to 911 and E-911 services.

It provides that "nothing in this Act limits (1) State jurisdiction of 9-1-1 or enhanced 9-1-1 services, including State jurisdiction over connected VOIP applications with respect to 9-1-1 and enhanced 9-1-1 services; or (2) the ability of State and local governments to require providers of all connected VOIP applications to collect fees to support the provision of 9-1-1 or enhanced 9-1-1 services." This language was added on July 22 in an amendment offered by Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT). Sen. Burns has led the effort in the Senate on E-911 implementation. (See, Section 2(d).)

Second, S 2281 as approved allows states to tax and regulate VOIP application providers with respect to intercarrier compensation. It provides that "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to exempt providers of a VOIP application from requirements imposed by a State commission on all providers of telecommunications services ... to pay appropriate compensation for the transmission of a VOIP application over the facilities and equipment of another provider". (See, Section 2(e)(1).)

Third, S 2281 as approved allows states to tax and regulate VOIP application providers with respect to subsidization of other service providers, which is also referred to as universal service. It provides that "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to exempt providers of a VOIP application from requirements imposed by a State commission on all providers of telecommunications services ... to contribute on an equitable and nondiscriminatory basis to the preservation and advancement of universal service." (See, Section 2(e)(2).)

Sen. Byron DorganThese second and third exceptions were included in an amendment offered by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) (at right).

It is important to note the Sen. Burns' amendment regarding 911 and E-911 applies only to connected VOIP applications, while Sen. Dorgan's amendment regarding intercarrier compensation and universal service apply to any VOIP service. Any VOIP service includes free software applications that enable consumers, among other thing, to use their computers to engage in voice communications. That is, the Dorgan amendment allows states to tax service providers who are providing free services. It would also force providers to collect and maintain information about users. This would have the consequence, among other things, of either forcing the service providers to charge (to enable them to pay the taxes), cease providing the service, or go or remain offshore.

Finally, S 2281 as approved states to regulate any VOIP application if the statute or regulation is a criminal prohibition, a consumer protection measure, or an unfair or deceptive trade practices. It provides that "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect the authority of a State to enact or enforce criminal laws or regulations of general applicability regarding doing business in that State, consumer protection, or unfair or deceptive trade practices." (See, Section 2(c).)

These are broad categories. The ability of states to engage in a wide range of regulatory activities would be limited only by the creativity of state legislative draftsmen in characterizing their bills.

Limitations on FCC Authority. S 2281, as introduced, and HR 4129, having reserved VOIP application regulation to the federal government, then provide that the FCC cannot promulgate any rules, except in three cases involving connected VOIP applications.

These bills, as introduced, provide that "Except as specifically provided in this Act and notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Commission shall not impose any rule or regulation on, or otherwise regulate, the offering or provision of a VoIP application." Both bills enumerate three powers: universal service, interprovider compensation, and law enforcement surveillance, although they differ significantly in the specifics.

Neither bill gives the FCC authority to extend E911 rules to VOIP applications. And, neither bill gives the FCC authority to extend disability rules to VOIP applications. However, both bills provide that the FCC shall appoint a body of industry representatives for purposes of developing "consensus guidelines, protocols, or performance requirements" pertaining to E911, "improving use by the disabled community", "improving reliability", and "ensuring appropriate security".

S 2281, as approved, removes that ban on FCC rulemaking, as well as the section containing the three exceptions for universal service, interprovider compensation, and law enforcement surveillance. It replaces these sections with a single section requiring the FCC to conduct an E-911 rulemaking proceeding. It provides that "Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall conclude a proceeding establishing a transition period at the end of which all providers of connected VOIP applications are required to provide, to the extent technically feasible and not economically unreasonable, 9-1-1 and enhanced 9-1-1 services comparable to those provided by other telecommunications carriers."

Finally, both S 2281, as introduced, and HR 4129 maintain the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) authority to regulate unfair and deceptive trade practices, but give no new rule making authority to the FTC. S 2281 as approved deletes this provision.

HR 4757 (Stearns/Boucher) provides that, except as provided in the bill, neither the FCC nor any state "may regulate the rates, charges, terms, or conditions for, or entry into, or exit from, the provision of, any advanced Internet communications service." It then limits the regulation of an AICS to four areas -- E911 services, disabilities access, universal service taxation, and providing "just and reasonable compensation for use of the public switched telephone network", that is, intercarrier compensation.

CALEA. There is currently much debate regarding the modification of communications technologies to facilitate surveillance by law enforcement entities, as required by the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). The FCC currently has an open proceeding (RM 10865). The VOIP related bills take vastly different approaches.

HR 2218 as introduced provides that the FCC "shall require a provider of a connected VOIP application to provide access to necessary information to law enforcement agencies not less than that required of information service providers."

This should be read in the context of the language of the CALEA, which imposes requirements upon "telecommunications carriers". The CALEA provides that "telecommunications carriers" does not include "persons or entities insofar as they are engaged in providing information services".

HR 4129 (Pickering) is more supportive of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It  contains a long and complex subsection creating statutory requirements for providers of "connected VOIP applications" to "ensure that its equipment, facilities, or services are capable of ... enabling the government to intercept communications transmitted using such application ... delivering such intercepted communications and call-identifying information to the government".

HR 4129 does not expand the CALEA to include connected VOIP applications. Rather, it creates a new requirement, with a separate statutory basis. But, in the end, it makes the requirements imposed on providers of connected VOIP applications similar to the requirements imposed by the CALEA upon telecommunications carriers.

HR 4129 states that the requirements for connected VOIP applications must be "for the same purposes, to a similar extent, and subject to similar limitations and protections" as are required under the CALEA.

HR 2218, as approved, deletes the provision giving the FCC authority with respect to the CALEA. It delays consideration of the issue while the General Accounting Office (GAO) conducts a study.

This is a significant provision. The bill spells out in detail the topics that must be covered by the GAO report. Also, it is important that the bill assigns responsibility to the GAO rather than the DOJ or FCC. This may reflect an understanding on the part of some members of Congress that the FCC, which has rulemaking authority under the original CALEA, has implemented the Act in a manner that expands the obligations and costs imposed upon communications carriers beyond those required by the Act.

Moreover, a GAO report would include considerable detail about, among other things, the "technical capability to intercept and analyze communications over the public Internet or using the Internet protocol" and "problems, if any, law enforcement has encountered in intercepting or analyzing communications over the public Internet or using the Internet protocol".

The DOJ is required to prepare annual reports on Title 18 wiretaps and Title 50 FISA surveillance. These reports are almost devoid of detail. The DOJ and FBI have submitted letters, comments, and petitions to the FCC regarding CALEA and VOIP. However, these could not be described as open, candid or objective. In contrast, a GAO report could provide the most detailed and objective document that is available to the public that addresses government surveillance of new internet based communications technologies.

HR 4757, in its enumerated list of powers, omits reference CALEA. Rep. Boucher has long be a critic of the FCC's and the Department of Justice's implementation of the CALEA, particularly in the context of new internet based technologies.

Verizon and Skype Announce New VOIP Services

7/23. On July 22, the same day the Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) amended and approved S 2281, the "VOIP Regulatory Freedom Act of 2004", Verizon announced the availability of a residential VOIP service that it calls VoiceWing. Verizon stated in a release that this service will provide unlimited calls within the United States (but not to outside of the U.S.) for a fixed monthly rate. Verizon stated that it will charge $34.95 a month for its own DSL subscribers, and $39.95 per month subscribers to other DSL services and cable modem service subscribers.

On July 23, Skype Technologies announced "agreements with COLT, iBasis, Level 3, and Teleglobe to provide call termination services worldwide. The agreements are in place in preparation for SkypeOut, a soon-to-be-launched pre-pay service that allows people to call any telephone number in the world from anywhere in the world using the Skype software."

To date, Skype has provided a free service that enables people to use their computers and broadband connections to communicate via internet protocol with other Skype users. Skype developed the peer to peer VOIP application, which it allows users to download for free. There is no charge for any amount of calls, anywhere in the world. Its reach, however, is limited to other Skype users.

The new SkypeOut service will enable Skype users to communicate with people not on the Skype network. However, Skype did not disclose the pricing of its SkypeOut service. See also, Level 3 release.

People and Appointments

7/26. Kyle Dixon will join the Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) in August. He will direct the PFF's Federal Institute for Regulatory Law and Economics. He is currently Deputy Chief of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Media Bureau and Special Counsel for Broadband Policy to FCC Chairman Michael Powell. See, FCC release [PDF] of July 16, 2002. He joined the FCC as an attorney-advisor in the Policy Division of the Common Carrier Bureau. He later became a legal advisor to Commissioner Powell. Before that he worked in the Washington DC office of the law firm of Hogan & Hartson. See, PFF release.

7/26. George Dillon was named Assistant Bureau Chief of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Enforcement Bureau (EB). He is currently the EB's Engineering Advisor. He also is a member of, and will continue on, the FCC's Spectrum Policy Task Force (SPTF). He has worked for the FCC since 1977. Before that, he worked for the NASA as a control system engineer on the Apollo and Apollo-Soyuz launch vehicles. Finally, while the FCC is dominated by lawyers, Dillon has a degree in electronics engineering. See, FCC release.

7/26. President Bush announced his intent to name Kenneth Rapuano to be Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. See, White House release.

7/16. Kevin Rollins was named P/CEO of Dell, replacing Michael Dell, who founded the company, and remains Chairman of the Board of Directors. The company stated in a release that "As they have for more than seven years, Messrs. Rollins and Dell continue to run the company with a distinctive shared-leadership structure".

7/15. Pamela Patsley was elected to the Board of Directors of Texas Instruments. She is a Senior Executive Vice President of First Data Corporation, and the President of its subsidiary, First Data International. See, TI release.

7/15. Julie St. John joined the Board of Directors of 3Com Corporation. She will also serve on the audit and finance committee. See, 3Com release.

More News

7/26. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has published in its web site a section titled "Federal Rights-Of-Way For Telecommunications Projects".

7/23. The Council on Competitiveness released a report [27 pages in PDF] titled "Innovate America: Thriving in a World of Challenge and Change". This report states that "hundreds of leaders and scholars from universities, corporations, professional societies, industry associations and government agencies have joined to form the National Innovation Initiative (NII)." The present report is merely an interim report. It adds that "In December, the National Innovation Agenda will lay out this strategy with clear recommendations and identify how the different stakeholders private sector, academia, labor and government -- can participate." This interim report argues that "we must embrace a new strategy to sustain and strengthen our national innovation ecosystem", but does not define the term "national innovation ecosystem". Nevertheless, the report describes innovation as something that is organized "at a societal level", and involves collaboration between large corporations, research universities, and certain government agencies.

7/22. The European Commission (EC) released a report [12 pages in PDF] titled "First Annual Report on Radio Spectrum Policy in the European Union; State of Implementation and Outlook". See also, EC release.

Senate Commerce Committee Passes VOIP Regulation Bill

7/22. The Senate Commerce Committee (SCC) amended and approved S 2281, the "VOIP Regulatory Freedom Act of 2004". See, bill as approved. This bill began as an attempt to restrict regulation of voice over internet protocol (VOIP) applications. It would have removed states from the regulatory process, and limited the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) authority to impose regulations. The bill as amended by the SCC now includes numerous opportunities for states to tax and regulate VOIP applications. The bill's title now misrepresents its content.

Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) introduced S 2281 in the Senate on April 5, 2004. Also, Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS) introduced HR 4129, also titled the "VOIP Regulatory Freedom Act of 2004", in the House on April 2, 2004. The two bills, as introduced, were very similar, but contained several differences in the section dealing with FCC's authority to regulate connected VOIP applications. The version just approved by the SCC contains additional differences.

See, story titled "Sununu and Pickering Introduce VOIP Regulatory Freedom Bills" and story titled "Summary of VOIP Regulatory Freedom Bills", both published in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 872, April 8, 2004.

Also, on July 6, 2004, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) introduced HR 4757, the "Advanced Internet Communications Services Act of 2004". See, story titled "Rep. Stearns and Rep. Boucher Introduce VOIP and Internet Regulation Bill" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 935, July 12, 2004.

Bill Summary. S 2281, as introduced, provides that regulation of VOIP is an exclusively federal matter, that states cannot regulate or tax the offering or provision of a VOIP application, and that the FCC has regulatory authority only over enumerated topics: interprovider compensation, universal service contributions, and law enforcement surveillance.

The SCC approved an amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by Sen. Sununu, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), as amended by an amendment offered by Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), and an amendment offered by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND).

The bill provides two key definitions. A VOIP application is "software, hardware, or network equipment for real-time 2-way or multidirectional voice communications over the public Internet or a private network utilizing Internet protocol", while a connected VOIP application is "a VOIP application that is capable of receiving voice communications from, or sending voice communications to, the public switched telephone network".

The bill as approved by the SCC maintains the general provisions that the regulation of a VOIP application is reserved to the federal government, and that state regulation of VOIP applications is prohibited.

The original bill also included a non-delegation provision, which the bill as approved deleted.

The bill as approved added six major exceptions to the general limitations on state regulation. First, it allows states to regulate and tax connected VOIP applications with respect to 911 and E-911 services. This exception was in the Burns amendment.

Second, it allows states to tax and regulate VOIP application providers with respect to intercarrier compensation. Third, it allows states to tax and regulate VOIP application providers with respect to subsidization of service providers, which is also referred to as universal service. These second and third exceptions were in the Dorgan amendment.

Fourth, it allows states to regulate any VOIP application if the statute is labeled as a criminal prohibition. Fifth, it allows states to regulate any VOIP application if the statute is drafted as a consumer protection measure. Six, it allows states to regulate any VOIP application if the statute is drafted as a unfair or deceptive trade practices.

The original bill also contained a separate ban on state taxation of VOIP applications, which the bill as approved deleted.

The original bill also contained a section barring the FCC from writing rules that regulate any VOIP applications. However, the original bill also contained a section that allowed FCC regulation and taxation of connected VOIP applications in three areas -- intercarrier compensation, universal service taxes and subsidies, and extension of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). Although, the CALEA authority was limited.

The bill as approved deletes the general ban on FCC rulemaking. It also deletes the provision regarding FCC authority with respect to intercarrier compensation and universal service taxation. It gives the states authority with respect to intercarrier compensation and universal service taxation, but does not preclude FCC rulemaking in these areas.

The bill as approved also deletes the provision regarding FCC authority with respect to CALEA, and instead delays Congressional consideration of this issue while the Congress' General Accounting Office (GAO) conducts a major study.

The bill as approved maintains a section requiring the FCC to write rules regarding 911 and E-911 obligations of connected VOIP application providers.

Thus, the bill as approved does nothing to limit FCC rulemaking authority with respect to VOIP applications or connected VOIP applications. Moreover, it creates a broad array of state and local powers, most of which apply to any VOIP application, not just connected VOIP applications.

The bill as approved maintains the title "VOIP Regulatory Freedom Act of 2004". The bill does nothing to provide freedom from federal regulation. The bill does maintain the general provision that VOIP regulation is a federal issue. And, it provides no express exceptions for price regulation, disability regulation, reliability regulation, or security regulation. Although, state authority with respect to crimes, consumer protection and trade practices would enable some regulation in these areas.

See also, following story titled "Summary of VOIP Related Bills".

rightFurther Consideration. Sen. Sununu (at right) stated in a release on July 22 that "I will continue to work with my colleague Congressman Chip Pickering (R-MS) to complete similar VOIP legislation in the House and pursue final passage of a bill this year."

Neither the House Commerce Committee, nor its Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, has approved either S 2281 (Sununu), HR 4129 (Pickering), or HR 4757 (Stearns/Boucher). HR 4129 has also been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Sununu also stated that "This is an important step forward, and a small victory in the effort to establish a clear and limited regulatory framework for IP services like VOIP. Despite the addition of two amendments, the basic message is clear: Congress does not want states implementing new regulations that will inhibit this emerging technology."

Nevertheless, the Congress has recessed for political conventions and its usual August and Labor Day vacations. Since this is an election year, little substantive legislation other than critical bills will be passed before the election.

Thus, there is little chance that S 2281 or any other VOIP related bill will become law this year. Rather, the SCC markup of S 2281 is likely just one step in a legislative process that will play out over multiple years.

Reaction. Russell Frisby, the CEO of CompTel/ASCENT, stated in a release that "we are disappointed in the success of efforts to impose inappropriate obligations on this nascent technology. While CompTel/ASCENT fully believes that thorny issues such as universal service and the historic access charge regime need to undergo a complete overhaul to better address current marketplace realities, we fear that premature assessment of fees and taxes will undermine the potential of new technologies that will revolutionize the way Americans communicate."

Walter McCormick, P/CEO of the U.S. Telecom Association (USTA) stated in a release that "this bill creates more questions than answers. With dramatic changes in technology, Congress must address all of the critical issues facing the industry in a comprehensive way. By fast-tracking the needs of just one application in a diverse and rapidly innovating marketplace, we deepen existing regulatory disparities rather than lead to the true free marketplace in telecommunications that consumers deserve today. USTA will continue to work with Congress toward comprehensive reform that is pro-innovation rather than simply pro-VoIP."

Peter Davidson, SVP for Federal Government Relations at Verizon, stated that "While there are still issues to be addressed in this area, we support Sen. Sununu's effort, endorsed by the Senate Commerce Committee, to set a national policy that will allow VoIP to flourish in an environment of robust competition. This legislation would ensure that the development of VoIP is not encumbered by a patchwork of potentially inconsistent state rules."

Davidson added that "Specifically, this bill calls for a three-year moratorium on state regulation of this broadband service until Congress can address the disconnect between advances in technology and obsolete telecom laws and regulations. For the sake of consumers, students, health care patients and the national economy, let's hope Congress doesn't take the whole three years."

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Tuesday, July 27

The House and Senate will not meet from July 26 through September 6.

The Democratic National Convention will be held in Boston, Massachusetts on July 26 through July 30.

10:00 AM - 3:00 PM. The Department of Commerce's (DOC) Technology Administration and the U.S. Department of Education will host an event titled "Assistive Technology Exhibit and Policy Forum". Former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) will speak. See, notice. Location: DOC, 14th Street between Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues, Main Lobby and Auditorium.

Wednesday, July 28

9:00 AM - 1:30 PM. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will hold a public meeting on Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). Location: Room 4830, Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW. See, NTIA notice July 20, 2004, and notice in the Federal Register, July 15, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 135, at Page 42422.

10:00 AM - 3:00 PM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Technological Advisory Council will meet. See, FCC notice [PDF] and notice in the Federal Register, July 6, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 128, at Pages 40638. Location: FCC, 445 12th St., SW., Room TW-C305.

2:00 - 4:00 PM. There will be a meeting of the WRC-07 Advisory Committee, Informal Working Group 3: IMT-2000 and 2.5 GHz Sharing Issues. See, FCC notice [PDF]. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Room 7-B516 (South Conference Room 7th Floor), Washington DC.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Auction No. 56 is scheduled to begin. This pertains to licenses in the 24 GHz Service in the 24.25-24.45 GHz and 25.05-25.25 GHz bands. See, notice in the Federal Register, April 20, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 76, at Pages 21099 - 21110.

Deadline to submit nominations to the Department of Commerce for consideration for the 2005 Medal of Technology awards. See, notice.

Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding unlicensed use of the 3650-3700 MHz band. The FCC adopted this NPRM on April 15, 2004. This item is FCC 04-100 in ET Docket Nos. 04-151, 02-380 and 98-237. See, notice in the Federal Register, May 14, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 94, at Pages 26790 - 26803. See also, story titled "FCC Announces NPRM Regarding Unlicensed Use in the 3650-3700 MHz Band" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 878, April 16, 2004.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding changes to the FCC Form 477 local competition and broadband data gathering program. This NPRM is FCC 04-81 in WC Docket No. 04-141. See, notice in the Federal Register, May 27, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 103, at Pages 30252 - 30277.

2:00 - 4:00 PM. The American Bankers Association (ABA) will host an event titled "Phishing: Keeping Your Customers From Getting Caught". The speakers will include Wayne Abernathy (Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions at the Treasury Department), William Henley (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), Dan Larkin ( Chief of the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center's Cyber Division), and Mark Mendelsohn (Department of Justice, Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section). The event will be webcast and telecast. See, notice and registration page. Location: 1120 Connecticut Avenue, NW.

Thursday, July 29

9:00 AM - 4:30 PM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Media Bureau will sponsor a symposium titled "A La Carte MVPD Pricing". Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Room TW-C305 (Commission Meeting Room).

9:00 AM - 4:30 PM. The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Judges Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award will hold a partially closed meeting. See, notice in the Federal Register, June 28, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 123, at Pages 36063 - 36064. Location: 222, Red Training Room, Gaithersburg, MD.

Extended deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding its proceeding titled "In the Matter of Review of the Commission's Broadcast and Cable Equal Employment Opportunity Rules and Policies". This is MM Docket No. 98-204. See, notice of extension [PDF].

Friday, July 30

9:30 AM - 1:00 PM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Internet Policy Working Group (IPWG) will host an event that it describes as "a roundtable discussion to address international issues associated with the migration of communications services and applications to IP-based technologies". See, FCC notice [PDF]. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Commission Meeting Room.

Extended deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Public Notice (DA 04-1454) regarding a la carte and themed programming and pricing options for programming distribution on cable TV and direct broadcast satellite systems. This is MB Docket No. 04-207. See, notice of extension [PDF].

Monday, August 2

Deadline to submit applications to the Department of Commerce's (DOC) Technology Administration (TA) to join the TA's business development mission to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This delegation will include U.S. based senior executives representing the information and communications technology sector. See, notice in the Federal Register, May 26, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 102, at Pages 29928 - 29930.

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