Telecom Business Alert -- Vol VI Issue 44

Date: Nov 09, 2009

Broadband Radio Service Auction 86 Closes

The FCC's 2.5 GHz Broadband Radio Service Auction (Auction 86) concluded after 24 rounds on October 30, 2009. More than $20 million in bids were submitted for the 78 licenses in the 2.5 GHz band, each containing up to 76.5 MHz of spectrum. At the request of our client the American Petroleum Institute, Auction 86 included three licenses in the Gulf of Mexico. These three Gulf licenses were among the most popular in the entire auction, garnering winning bids of $1,053,000, $908,000 and $655,000, respectively. Final results of the auction are available here.

Department of Energy Awards $3.4 Billion in Smart Grid Funds

Last month, the Department of Energy awarded to 100 private companies, utilities, manufacturers and cities a total of $3.4 billion to aid in the deployment of smart grid systems and technology. The grants were distributed to entities in 49 states and the District of Columbia. A list of recipients by State is available here. The Smart Grid Investment Grant program was part of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which included 7.2 billion for broadband deployment being administered by The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the USDA's Rural Utilities Service (RUS).

FCC Public Hearing to Focus on Using Broadband to Improve Public Safety Communications

On November 12, 2009, the Commission will host a field hearing to examine how broadband can improve public safety communications and emergency response. The hearing will focus on the specific broadband requirements for America's first responders and emergency medical personnel, particular technologies and applications to maximize broadband use, and the cost of implementing such technologies.

FCC Issues Special Access Public Notice

The Democratic-controlled Commission is reopening the long dormant review of interstate special access rates. User groups, competitive interexchange carriers, and wireless carriers—principally Sprint and T-Mobile—have maintained for more than 10 years that the rates paid for DS-1 and DS-3 special access services offered by the "price cap LECs," principally AT&T, Verizon and Qwest, are not subject to meaningful competition and that the rates for these services are well in excess of competitive "market" rates. Comments are due 45 days after publication in the Federal Register, which will likely occur in the next few weeks. For additional information, please contact K&H partner Doug Jarrett (202 434 4180; Jarrett@khlaw.com).

FTC Delays Enforcement of Red Flags Rule

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced that, at the request of Members of Congress, it will again delay enforcement of the "Red Flags" Rule until June 1, 2010. The enforcement date was previously extended to November 1, 2009. As previously reported (see Vol. VI, Issue 32), the Rule requires that "financial institutions" and "creditors" with "covered accounts" have in place written identity theft prevention programs. The term "creditors" is broadly defined to include utility companies, telecommunications companies, and other entities that regularly extend, renew, or continue credit, arrange for the extension, renewal, or continuation of credit, or defer payment for goods or services or bill customers later.

Keller and Heckman LLP Announces New Twitter Service

Receive regular updates on telecommunications law and policy developments throughout the week via Keller and Heckman LLP's new Twitter account at http://twitter.com/KHTelecom. Recent posts have discussed the FCC's pending pole attachment rulemaking, highlighted enforcement actions taken against tower owners, and updated readers on the Commission's narrowbanding requirements and development of the National Broadband Plan.