FCC names PSHSB chief; will create PSAP do-not-call list
The Federal Communications Commission yesterday announced that David Turetsky is the new chief of the commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. He succeeds Jamie Barnett, who left the bureau last month to rejoin the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, an Arlington, Va.-based science and technology think tank, where he will be senior vice president. David Furth, who had been serving as the bureau’s acting chief, will return to his role of deputy chief upon Turetsky’s arrival next week.
Turetsky previously served the Department of Justice as a deputy assistant attorney general for antitrust and was a senior lawyer and officer for Teligent, a fixed-wireless telecommunications provider. Most recently he was a partner at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP.
In other news, the commission yesterday issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the creation of a public-safety answering point (PSAP) do-not-call list. The action is designed to prevent telemarketing firms that use automatic dialing systems, aka “robocall” equipment, from contacting PSAPs. The creation of the registry is required by the tax-relief legislation enacted in February that also reallocated the 700 MHz spectrum — known as the D Block — and provided $7 billion in federal funding for the creation of a nationwide broadband communications network for first responders.
Such systems randomly generate 10-digit numbers, some of which are assigned to PSAP administrative lines. The NPRM suggests monetary penalties for violating the prohibition that range from $10,000 to $100,000 per incident. Comments will be due 30 days after the item appears in the Federal Register, with reply comments due 15 days after that.
Brian Fontes, CEO of the National Emergency Number Association, said the action was a welcome step in the right direction.
“This is very good news,” Fontes said. “These calls waste a lot of valuable time in 911 centers.”
In large centers, the people who handle non-emergency, i.e., administrative, calls typically don’t field emergency calls. But in smaller centers, both types usually are handled by the same people, Fontes said. “So they tie up a line that otherwise could be used to field an emergency call, and they tie up the call-taker’s time,” he said.
Details still have to be worked out regarding what entities will be responsible for maintaining the PSAP number database in order to ensure that it is current and to ensure that telemarketers are in compliance.