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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VII Issue 6

Date: Feb 16, 2010

FCC Seeks Comment On Tank-Level Monitors

The FCC recently released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order in which it proposes to modify its rules to allow tank level probing radar devices to operate in the 77-81 GHz band on an unlicensed basis under Part 15 of the Commission's rules. The FCC proposes to allow the devices to be used in closed storage tanks and vessels made of metal, concrete, or material with similar attenuating characteristics, at fixed locations at petroleum and chemical production and storage facilities, and similar commercial and industrial sites. The FCC also granted a temporary waiver of its rules to allow for the manufacture, certification, and marketing of tank level monitors so that the technology can be used in the near term while the FCC conducts its rulemaking. Comments are due 90 days after publication in the Federal Register, which has not yet occurred. Application Window Opens Today for Second Round of Broadband Funding The National Telecommunications and Information Administration ("NTIA") has announced that the electronic portal for submitting Round Two applications for Broadband Technology Opportunities Program ("BTOP") funding will open on February 16, 2010 and close on March 15, 2010. Funded at $4.7 billion, BTOP was established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to provide grants supporting the deployment of broadband infrastructure, to enhance broadband capacity at public computer centers, and to encourage adoption of broadband service. Approximately $2.6 billion in BTOP funds remains available. Awards will be announced on a rolling basis beginning in June 2010. All awards must be made by September 30, 2010. Rural Broadband Initiative Act of 2010 Introduced Last week, Congressman Scott Murphy (D-NY) introduced a bill entitled the "Rural Broadband Initiative Act of 2010", which would authorize $20 million per year to fund experimental and pilot rural broadband projects and applications, including WiFi, WIMAX, DSL, cable, satellite, fiber, and broadband over power lines. The Bill would create a new Office of Rural Broadband Initiatives within the Department of Agriculture, the head of which would be required to develop a comprehensive rural broadband strategy within 180 days. Related legislation was introduced in the Senate. Sprint Nextel Requests Waiver of 800 MHz Rebanding Deadline Sprint Nextel recently requested that the Commission waive, in 21 of 55 NPSPAC Regions, the March 31, 2010 deadline by which the company must make its remaining 800 MHz Interleaved Band spectrum (809-815MHz/854-860 MHz) available for relicensing to public safety users. In October 2008, the Commission granted Sprint Nextel a waiver to allow it to remain on Interleaved Band, Expansion Band (815-816 MHz/860-861 MHz), and Guard Band 800 MHz channels (816-817 MHz/861-862 MHz) in nonborder regions after June 26, 2008 but required Sprint to make available for Commission relicensing, by March 31, 2010, all of its non-border area 800 MHz Interleaved Band spectrum below 815/860 MHz, regardless of the state of reconfiguration. Sprint Nextel claims that significant progress has been made towards completing 800 MHz Band reconfiguration and that additional time will allow Sprint Nextel and public safety incumbents to continue their retuning progress. Also, on February 5, the Commission extended for six months (i.e., until August 9, 2010) the deadline by which Sprint Nextel is required to complete the transition of the broadcast auxiliary service (BAS) to frequencies above 2025 MHz in 28 markets. Sprint Nextel committed to the relocation of BAS incumbents in the 1990-2025 MHz band as part of the 800 MHz rebanding proceeding. FCC Reopens for Business Succumbing to record breaking back-to-back snow storms (totals up to 40") last week in the Nation's Capital, the FCC closed for four consecutive days, which appears to be a record. The Commission re-opened last Friday and is now back in business although burdened with work that backed-up during the storm.

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