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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol VII Issue 3

Date: Jan 19, 2010

FCC Seeking Final Round of Reply Comments in Broadband Plan Proceeding On January 13, 2010, the FCC released a Public Notice seeking to further develop the record in its efforts to create a National Broadband Plan. The Commission's latest Public Notice summarizes the efforts of the FCC in developing the National Broadband Plan, specifically identifying its initial Notice of Inquiry, more than two dozen Public Notices seeking comments on specific issues, and a series of staff workshops. In light of the substantial record, the Public Notice establishes a final round of Reply Comments by which interested parties may submit comments regarding any matter or issue raised in the National Broadband Plan proceeding. Final Reply Comments are due by January 27, 2010. The FCC's goal is to present the National Broadband Plan to Congress by March 17, 2010. FCC Prohibits Sale of Wireless Microphones in 700 MHz Band On January 15, 2010, the FCC adopted an Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking prohibiting the further distribution and sale of wireless microphones operating in the 700 MHz band. The FCC also established that anyone using a wireless microphone that operates in the 700 MHz Band will be required to cease operations by June 12, 2010. The FCC has determined that unlicensed devices cannot continue to operate in the 700 MHz band because of the risk of interference to public safety and commercial consumer devices that will be utilizing the band. The Commission has established a website -- http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/wirelessmicrophones -- by which users can identify whether their wireless microphones operate in the 700 MHz band. Senator Olympia Snowe Urges FCC Action on Spectrum Issues Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), one of the sponsors of the Radio Spectrum Inventory Act (S. 649) recently sent a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski urging Commission action regarding five wireless spectrum bands. Senator Snowe states that the FCC must "clear the table" of current spectrum-related items before exploring other avenues. Senator Snowe recommends quick action to conclude the 2.3 GHz WCS band rulemaking, license the 2155-2175 AWS band, move forward on the 700 MHz band D Block, consider reallocating the 2000-2020 and 2180-2200 Mobile Satellite MHz bands to terrestrial use and auction spectrum at 1915-1920, 1995-2000, 2020-2025, and 2175-2180 MHz. According to Senator Snowe, these actions would help to place approximately 100 MHz of unutilized or severely underutilized spectrum into use.

FCC Begins "Enforcement Advisory" Initiative

Last week, the FCC began a new effort to educate businesses regarding the requirements of the FCC's rules with the release of its first "Enforcement Advisories". Regarding the new initiative, Enforcement Bureau Chief, P. Michele Ellison, issued a statement that "[w]hile most companies and individuals take their regulatory obligations seriously, some appear unaware of what the Commission's rules require or choose not to comply. The Enforcement Bureau will continue to work proactively to bring these entities into compliance." The FCC's first two Enforcement Advisories deal with protecting customer proprietary network information (Link) and with ensuring that individuals with hearing disabilities can fully utilize wireless phone services (Link). Additional Enforcement Advisories are expected periodically.

Keller and Heckman LLP Continues Twitter Service

Receive regular updates on telecommunications law and policy developments throughout the week via Keller and Heckman LLP's Twitter account at http://twitter.com/KHTelecom.