FCC Streamlines Public-Safety, Enterprise Interference Complaint Process
Tuesday, October 08, 2019 | Comments

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau launched a new interference complaint intake portal for public-safety and enterprise service providers.

The new portal is intended for use by public-safety and industry complaints. Consumers experiencing difficulties with a range of communications services, including wireless interference problems, should continue to use the commission’s existing consumer complaint center.

In the past, most interference complaints from public-safety and enterprise service providers were not routinely filed with the FCC’s consumer complaint center. Mot public-safety complaints were instead made directly either to the Enforcement Bureau or to the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau’s operations center. The operations center then referred those complaints to the relevant Enforcement Bureau field office.

Similarly, most enterprise service issues, like wireless carrier interference complaints, were filed through the Enforcement Bureau’s telephone interference complaint webpage. Those complaints were automatically forwarded to the closest Enforcement Bureau field office. Generally, other industry, enterprise and government service interference complainants contact the Enforcement Bureau field office directly or filed through the FCC’s websites.

As of October 7, the FCC has streamlined the complaint intake process by creating the interference portal to create a single intake point for public-safety and enterprise service interference complaints. To use the new intake portal, enterprise users should go to the new Radio Frequency Service Interference Complaint Portal landing page. From there, complainants will be able to identify the type of complaint: public safety, enterprise or consumer.

In addition to providing a centralized interference complaint mechanism, the new interference complaint intake portal also implements other features described in an earlier Enforcement Bureau public notice on enterprise and public-safety complaints. These features include:
• Categorization and prioritization of complaints. The new system will route all actionable public-safety interference complaints to the commission’s operations center for preliminary review and assignment to the appropriate Enforcement Bureau field office. Based on the contents of an enterprise interference complaint, the system will also automatically route the complaint to the appropriate EB field office.
• Confirmation of receipt and complaint tracking. Complainants will automatically receive an email confirmation that their complaint has been received by the system. In addition to providing a unique complaint number, this e-mail will also state the relevant time period within which the complainant should expect to receive an initial response from a field agent.
• Initial response timelines. Field offices will contact complainants raising high-priority, including public safety, interference issues within one calendar day of filing with the FCC. For medium-priority interference complaints, the field office will contact the complainant within two business days of filing, and low priority interference complaints will receive an initial response within five business days of filing. Initial responses may be made by email or telephone and may seek additional information from the complainant.

As noted in the Enforcement Bureau’s prior public notice, the commission has historically encouraged both industry licensees and public-safety spectrum users and licensees to first exhaust their own efforts before submitting interference complaints. These efforts include, for example, using industry-specific interference reporting sites, such as that used by 800 MHz licensees. The new portal will prompt members of these stakeholder communities to first report interference problems through these mechanisms. When such interference issues cannot be resolved privately, the new portal will serve as a backstop.

The new intake portal for public safety and enterprise interference complaints will improve complainants’ ability to stay informed of the status of their complaint and will also enable stakeholders to develop mutually beneficial relationships with the Enforcement Bureau field agents in their area. By streamlining interference complaint intake and response, this process will help serve the commission’s overall efficiency and resource management goals and result in more effective enforcement against interference that affects a high volume of end users or potentially threatens human life or safety.

The public notice on the new portal is here.

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