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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol VI Issue 40

Date: Oct 12, 2009

AT&T to Allow iPhone VoIP traffic on Its Network

In a letter dated October 6, 2009, AT&T advised the FCC that it has decided to allow Apple iPhone users to employ third–party Voice over Internet Protocol ("VoIP") applications that make use of AT&T's 2G and 3G wireless networks. This issue first came to light in an FCC inquiry regarding reports that AT&T and/or Apple prevented users from accessing the Google Voice application on the Apple iPhone. AT&T's letter to the FCC can be accessed online by clicking here. Also, Verizon recently announced that for the first time it plans to offer a mobile phone using Google's Android operating system. These moves may be attempts by the carriers to forestall the FCC from limiting or banning wireless device exclusivity agreements with phone manufacturers.

NPSTC Files for Stay of Narrowbanding Deadlines

The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council ("NPSTC"), recently filed a Petition requesting the FCC stay certain deadlines related to the Part 90 VHF/UHF narrowbanding requirements. Specifically, NPSTC requests a stay of three requirements that are due to go into effect on January 1, 2011: (1) licensees can no longer apply for new or modification license applications that exceed 12.5 kHz or equivalent efficiency, (2) single-mode and multi-mode transmitters that operate at an efficiency mode exceeding 12.5 kHz can no longer be manufactured in or imported into the United States, and (3) manufacturer applications for Part 90 certifications must include a spectrum efficiency standard of one voice path per 6.25 kHz of channel bandwidth. NPSTC does not request any change to the FCC's requirement that VHF and UHF licensees convert to technologies meeting a spectrum efficiency standard of one voice channel per 12.5 kHz by January 1, 2013.

FCC Seeks Comment on EWA Petition for 12.5 kHz Channels in 800 MHz Band

Last week, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking comment on a Petition for Rulemaking filed by the Enterprise Wireless Alliance ("EWA") seeking to revise the channel plan for the 800 MHz band. Specifically, EWA requests that the Commission assign new, full-power, interstitial 12.5 kHz bandwidth channels between currently authorized 25 kHz bandwidth channels in the 809-816/854-861 MHz bands. EWA asserts that the creation of new 12.5 kHz bandwidth channels will provide greater spectrum efficiency, permit the development of new analog and digital technologies, and provide a viable spectrum alternative to new entrants without compromising incumbent operations. Comments are due November 9, 2009 and Reply Comments are due November 24, 2009.

FCC Seeks Additional Comments Relating to National Broadband Plan

The FCC is continuing its efforts to develop a record regarding the implementation of a National Broadband Plan, last week releasing Public Notices seeking comment on the impact of middle and second mile access on broadband availability and deployment (Comments due by November 4, 2009), and cost estimates of providing fiber optic connectivity to anchor institutions, such as public schools and libraries, community colleges, and hospitals (Comments due by October 28, 2009).