ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB020 (1998)

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ARLB020 FCC changes for ULS

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ARRL Bulletin 20  ARLB020
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  March 23, 1998
To all radio amateurs

SB QST ARL ARLB020
ARLB020 FCC changes for ULS

FCC proposes changes to implement Universal Licensing System

In a sweeping Notice of Proposed Rulemaking the FCC has suggested
several rules changes that could affect Amateur Radio, including
replacement of the venerable FCC Form 610. NPRM Docket WT 98-20,
''To Facilitate the Development and Use of the Universal Licensing
System in the Wireless Telecommunications Services,'' seeks comments
on proposals to replace Form 610 with FCC Form 605, to permit
automatic reciprocal licensing of foreign hams wishing to operate in
the US; to privatize the issuance of club station licenses; and to
require applicants and licensees to supply a taxpayer identification
number (TIN) and to file electronically. The FCC also plans to
consolidate the application procedures for all Wireless
Telecommunications Services into a single set of rules. All of these
proposals are part of the FCC's efforts to implement the Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau's Universal Licensing System (ULS).

The new Form 605 would apply for Amateur Radio and other services
''not presently required to submit extensive technical data to
receive a license.'' The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau is
trying to drastically cut down the number of forms for the various
services it administers, and to include all of its services under
the ULS.  The FCC last November began initial collection of licensee
data to populate the ULS. Using the ULS, applicants and licensees
will be able to file, modify, and renew electronically. Ultimately,
the FCC intends to require all applicants, as appropriate, to file
all applications and notifications electronically.

The FCC says it's tentatively concluded that there is ''little or no
need to continue issuing the reciprocal permit'' (FCC Form 610-AL)
for alien amateur licensees because the license from any foreign
country with which the US has a reciprocal agreement would ''stand
as the proof that the foreign operator is qualified for the
reciprocal operating authority. Reciprocal operation under the new
regime would be ''by rule,'' which means no special action is
necessary on the applicant's part, and the elimination of Form
610-A.

For club station licenses, the FCC proposes to accept the services
of VEC-like organizations as volunteer club station call sign
administrators. Prospective organizations would have to complete a
pilot autogrant batch filing project before being authorized as call
sign administrators.

Under the ULS, applicants or licensees would have to supply a TIN,
usually a Social Security number, or ''its functional equivalent.''
The FCC says this is ''consistent with the requirements of the Debt
Collection Improvement Act of 1996.'' To allay fears of misuse of
TINs, the FCC says the ULS system would be designed so that TINs
will not be available to the public and ''only a small number of
Commission employees would have access to TIN information in
conjunction with their work.'' The FCC says a Privacy Act submission
would be published in the Federal Register ''to obtain the requisite
public and Congressional comment and Office of Management and Budget
approval prior to implementation of the ULS system.''

A text version of the entire rulemaking proposal is at
http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Wireless/Notices/1998/fcc98025.txt (or
see the link from the FCC home page). The proposal was released
March 20.  Comments are due to the FCC 30 days after publication in
The Federal Register. Reference WT Docket 98-20. The FCC will not
accept e-mail comments on Docket WT 98-20.
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