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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

FCC Applies CALEA Obligations to Facilities-Based VoIP and Broadband Carriers

At its meeting today the FCC took another step toward applying traditional wireline regulatory obligations to facilities-based interconnected VoIP and broadband providers as it adopted its Second Report and Order and Memorandum Opinon & Order (Order) relating to the implementation of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). CALEA, which was adopted in 1994, is designed to ensure that communications equipment is compatible with the ability of law enforcement agencies to utilize wiretaps and electronic surveillance.

The full order has not yet been released, but the FCC's press release gives a broad summary of the actions taken by the Commission today:
  1. The Order held that all facilities-based VoIP and broadband carriers must be in compliance with CALEA requirements by May 14, 2007;
  2. The Order requires all facilities-based VoIP and broadband carriers to sumbit interim reports to the FCC to ensure that they will be in compliance by the May 14, 2007 deadline and orders carriers implicatedin the first CALEA order to be in comliance with those rules within 90 days of the effective date of today's Order;
  3. The FCC held that it would leave standards-setting to other standards setting bodies and not promulgate its own;
  4. The FCC restricted the ability of manufacturers to obtain additional compliance deadline extensions (which to date have been routinely applied for and granted), and clarifies how carriers may obtain reimbursement for CALEA compliance costs;
  5. The Order clarifies that the FCC may take independent enforcement action to ensure compliance with its CALEA rules;
  6. The FCC declined to adopt a CALEA surcharge to allow carriers to defray implementation costs (in light of the plethora of federal state, local and other surcharges, including, no doubt, USF).

Contact us if you have any questions about the order or need any help putting together compliance reports.

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