Friday, May 14, 2021

OSHA Set to Release New COVID Standards

 As early as today or next week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is expected to release a new COVID standard for the workplace. That’s according to Mark Lies II, a labor and employment attorney and partner with the Seyfarth Shaw LLP law firm.

He spoke during a webinar from NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association and Seyfarth Shaw on Thursday titled: “What to Expect from OSHA in 2021 and Beyond.” OSHA has previously issued guidance for masks, social distancing and sanitation during the pandemic, according to Lies. Some states — including California, Oregon, Michigan, Washington and Virginia — already have COVID workplace guidance in place, he notes. However, a national, temporary standard would be new. He advised companies to review OSHA’s website to review the new standard when it comes out. Continue Reading

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Six Hundred Australian Telecom Technicians Walk Off the Job

 Roughly 600 telecommunications technicians announced yesterday they have called a halt to working on Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) 5G rollout plans for the country. Workers say they are dealing with difficult and demanding situations while not being adequately compensated, according to ITWire.com. They claim the company is only rewarding top level executives who received US$60 million in bonuses in 2020, while the front-line workers struggled through the pandemic. 
 
“Australians will not receive NBN installations or repairs today [Wednesday] as local NBN technicians join colleagues around Australia, walking off the job as part of a National Day of Action,” the Communications Union (CEPU) said in a statement on Wednesday. Continue Reading

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Enrollment in Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Opens

 By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief Today marks the first day consumers can sign up for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program, a $3.2 billion subsidy program to help low-income households struggling with monthly broadband bills. Inside Towers reported yesterday that the FCC on Monday passed final rules to implement the EBB. On Tuesday, the FCC released an Order to implement the separate $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program that will provide devices and connectivity to schools and libraries for remote learning during the pandemic.

“This is a really big deal,” FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel told reporters yesterday. She called both programs “the largest single effort” undertaken in the U.S. to help close the homework gap. 

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), instrumental in getting the program funding passed in the Senate, said: “No student should have to sit in a strip mall to do their homework. The pandemic made the digital divide even worse.” He said many schools are opening with hybrid models, so students’ need for connectivity at home “is not going away.” Continue Reading

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Three Chinese Telecoms to be Delisted from NYSE

 UPDATE Shares of three major Chinese telecom carriers will be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange after their appeals against being dropped were rejected, reports Markets Insider.
 
China Mobile, China Unicom (Hong Kong), and China Telecom said they all expected the NYSE to request permission from the Securities and Exchange Commission to delist their American depositary receipts, according to the account. The SEC said the delisting will take effect in ten days, according to the account.  
 
In response, China Mobile stated it will continue to pay close attention to the development of “related matters and seek professional advice to protect the lawful rights of the company and its shareholders.” Continue Reading

Monday, May 10, 2021

FCC Expands 3.5 GHz Access to U.S. Territories

 The FCC has made mid-band spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band (3550-3700 MHz) available for 5G and other advanced wireless services to an array of operators. Now, the agency has taken actions to enable commercial deployments in the band in Puerto Rico, Guam, and American Samoa for the first time.

“No matter who you are or where you live, you need access to modern communications to have a fair shot at 21st century success. This is true, of course, for those living in Puerto Rico, Guam, and American Samoa too,” said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “These actions continue our efforts to bring 5G to everyone, everywhere in the country — and not create communities of 5G haves and have-nots.” She thanked the National Telecommunications and Information (NTIA) and the Department of Defense for working closely with the FCC on the effort. Continue Reading

Friday, May 7, 2021

CCA Fears “Hundreds of Millions” in RDOF Funds to be Misspent

 The Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) says in a new study shared with the FCC that errors in broadband data will soon send hundreds of millions of dollars of federal broadband subsidies to areas of the country least in need of support. Because of that, CCA asked the Commission to reconsider awarding Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I grants to wealthy, densely populated areas with broadband access, and instead direct support to genuinely unserved communities. 

Last year, the FCC’s RDOF used a reverse auction to try to direct billions of dollars of federal subsidies to areas without access to at least 25/3 Mbps in broadband services. The premise of RDOF Phase I was to target areas that the Commission “knew with certainty” were “currently unserved.” The agency used the broadband location maps it had at the time. It has since begun updating the data collection for the maps, Inside Towers reported. Continue Reading

Thursday, May 6, 2021

T-Mobile Keeps the Pedal to the Metal

 Year-over-year comparisons can be misleading. 1Q20 results were reported prior to the Sprint merger closure. Continue Reading

By John Celentano, Inside Towers Business Editor
T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) is not slowing down. With positive 1Q21 results, the company is “confident” about its performance for 2021 and over the next several years, as it continues its 5G network build and completes integration of the Sprint network.

Total 1Q21 postpaid and prepaid customers grew to 103.4 million compared to 102.1 million at year-end 2020. Service revenues for 1Q21 were $14.2 billion, essentially flat with $14.2 billion in 4Q20 and up 60 percent from $8.8 billion in 1Q20. TMUS’ capital expenditures for the quarter were $3.2 billion compared to $3.8 billion in 4Q20 and $1.8 billion in 1Q20.