Following up on a proposal from the National Telecommunicatiuons and Information Administration (NTIA) requesting that the FCC modify its application process for certain international facilities, the Commission has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice) seeking comment on rule changes that are being proposed to address NTIA’s concerns. NTIA, on behalf of the Executive Branch, has asked the FCC to require applicants seeking international section 214 authorizations (and transfers thereof), section 310 foreign ownership rulings, submarine cable landing licenses, and satellite earth station authorizations to: (1) provide information on ownership, network operations, and related matters as part of the FCC applications; and (2) certify compliance with certain law enforcement assistance requirements. The first requirement would apply to each applicant with reportable foreign ownership and the second requirement would apply to all applications.
As requested by NTIA, the Notice proposes to require applicants with reportable foreign ownership to provide information on ownership, network operations, and related matters at the time they file their applications. Significantly, the Notice also proposes that this information submission would replace the current practice of the Executive Branch seeking such threshold information directly from the applicants after the Commission refers the applications for Executive Branch review. The Notice also proposes to add a certification requirement to the rules. The Commission seeks comment on NTIA’s proposal that all applicants, with or without foreign ownership, certify to certain mitigation provisions when they file their applications, which the Executive Branch says will expedite its review. Finally, the Notice proposes to adopt a 90-day time frame for Executive Branch review, with an additional one-time 90-day extension in rare circumstances provided the Executive Branch provides a status update every 30 days.
Comments will be due 30 days following publication of the Notice in the Federal Register, which has not yet occurred. Reply comments will be due 15 days later.