FCC Issues NPRM Eliminating the “Home Roaming” Exclusion for CMRS Providers


On April 21, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) issued the second in a series of promised Notices of Proposed Rulemakings (“NPRMs”) designed to implement its National Broadband Plan.  In its NPRM and Order, the Commission eliminated the “home roaming” exclusion, which exempts host Commercial Mobile Radios Service (“CMRS”) providers from the FCC‘s mandate to provide automatic roaming to a requesting carrier in the requesting carrier‘s home market.

While maintaining a presumption of reasonableness for requests for automatic roaming, the Commission abandoned the home roaming exclusion to encourage mobile service providers to reach reasonable commercial voice roaming agreements.  Further, the FCC reaffirmed carriers‘ responsibility to offer push-to-talk roaming.  The Commission plans to address disputes between carriers on a case-by-case basis.  The NPRM seeks comment on which roaming rules should apply to data services that do not interconnect with the Public Switched Telephone Network (“PSTN”) such as mobile broadband and Internet access services.

Client Advisory

The FCC‘s NPRM represents an additional step toward comprehensive broadband reform, particularly with respect to mobile services.  The FCC stands poised to extend certain obligations to data service providers despite their failure to interconnect with the PSTN.  While traditionally unregulated, mobile broadband and Internet access services could soon be categorized as telecommunications services or otherwise sustain certain regulatory burdens.

Clients should monitor these proceedings and are advised to review the Order and NPRM as well as additional related documents linked below. Clients interested in filing comments or with questions about the NPRM or this Advisory should contact Jonathan S. Marashlian at jsm@commlawgroup.com or (703) 714-1313.

News Release: Word | Acrobat
Order & FNPRM: Word | Acrobat
Genachowski Statement: Word | Acrobat
Copps Statement: Word | Acrobat
McDowell Statement: Word | Acrobat
Clyburn Statement: Word | Acrobat
Baker Statement: Word | Acrobat

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