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Telecom Alert-27.1% USF Contribution Factor; Coalition Fight Against NCTA Pole Attachment Petition; ACHP Seeks Comment on Twilight Towers; Trump Nominates Simington to FCC; TCPA Exception COVID-19; KH Webinar 900 MHz Rebanding—Vol. XVII, Issue 38

Date: Sep 21, 2020

Q4 USF Contribution Factor of 27.1% Announced

Last week the FCC released a Public Notice announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the fourth quarter of 2020 will be 27.1 percent.  This is up from the third quarter of 2020, which was 26.5 percent.  If the Commission takes no action regarding the projections of demand and administrative expenses associated with the universal service programs within 14 days of the date of the Public Notice, then the proposed factor will be deemed approved.  For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

Coalition Continues Fight Against NCTA Pole Attachment Petition

The Coalition of Concerned Utilities (Arizona Public Service Co., Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Evergy, Eversource Energy, Exelon Corp., FirstEnergy, Minnesota Power and NorthWestern Energy) last week filed Reply Comments with the Commission explaining further that NCTA’s pole attachment petition (Vol. XVII, Issue 36) asking the FCC to require investor-owned utilities to pay the lion’s share of costs for replacing poles and to speed up those pole replacements is misguided, counterproductive and anticompetitive.  The Coalition responded to several commenters’ misunderstandings about utility practices  and noted that significant rural broadband deployments identified by attachers themselves demonstrate that the current balance of utility and attacher interests continues to enable the deployment of rural broadband.  For additional information, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128) or Tim Doughty (doughty@khlaw.com; 202-434-4271).

ACHP Seeks Comment on Twilight Tower Collocation Proposal

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) is seeking comment on an FCC proposal to establish a process for considering the effects of collocations on twilight towers.  Twilight towers are structures for which no Section 106 review was completed and were constructed between the adoption of the 2001 collocation nationwide programmatic agreement and the effective date of the 2005 wireless facilities nationwide programmatic agreement.  Comments are due by September 25, 2020.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

Trump Nominates Simington to FCC                                                                                         

On September 16 President Trump nominated National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) adviser Nathan A. Simington to fill FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly’s position, whose term expired on June 30, 2019.  Mr. Simington joined NTIA in June, and prior to his appointment to NTIA was Senior Counsel to Brightstar Corporation.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

Comment Sought on TCPA Exception for COVID-19

The FCC released a Public Notice seeking comment on a request filed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) that requested clarification of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), arguing that communications from pharmacies related to COVID-19 vaccines fall within the TCPA’s “emergency purposes” exception to the prior express consent requirement.  Comments are due September 25 and Reply Comments are due by October 2.  For more information, please contact Tim Doughty (doughty@khlaw.com; 202.434.4271).

KH Webinar - Navigating 900 MHz Rebanding

Join Keller and Heckman partners Greg Kunkle and Wes Wright for a complimentary webinar, Navigating 900 MHz Rebanding on Thursday, September 24 at 12:00pm EDT.  Mr. Kunkle and Mr. Wright will discuss the background on the 900 MHz band, the updated band plan, negotiating with Anterix, and obtaining 900 MHz broadband service.  The webinar is complimentary, but registration is required. Click here to register.

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Keller and Heckman LLP's Telecom Business Alert is a complimentary weekly electronic update created by the Telecommunications Practice Group of Keller and Heckman LLP.  All articles, videos, and quotations are on topics of general interest and do not constitute legal advice for particularized facts.  Keller and Heckman LLP's Telecom Business Alert © 2020.  All rights reserved.  Articles may be copied with attribution.  To sign up for our weekly alert, please send us an email at telecomalert@khlaw.com and provide us with your name and email.  Please follow us on twitter at @KHtelecom.