Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VII Issue 20

Date: May 24, 2010

FCC Releases Controversial Pole Attachment Order and FNPRM

On May 20, 2010, the FCC released its "Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" in the Pole Attachment proceeding (available at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-10-84A1.doc), which contains only a handful of final rules but a host of proposed new rules. Keller and Heckman LLP attorney Tom Magee has analyzed the Order and FNPRM and prepared a comprehensive 17-page summary of the Commission's decisions, proposed rules and requests for comments (available at http://www.khlaw.com/showpublication.aspx?Show=3722). Their summary shows the far-reaching and potentially damaging scope of this proceeding: the Commission has issued 5 final rules and sought comment on 32 new or revised rules as well as on an additional 163 related issues. In Tom's view, a large number of these rules would be seriously adverse to electric utilities if implemented.

For years to come, this proceeding will define how electric utilities do business with communications attachers, how utility operations personnel perform their work, and how utilities recover (or don't recover) their costs. Comments on the proposed rules and petitions for reconsideration are due 30 days after the Order and FNPRM is published in the Federal Register, with Reply Comments due only 30 days thereafter. WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE ELECTRIC UTILITIES TO VOICE THEIR CONCERNS REGARDING THE COMMISSION'S PROPOSALS, EITHER ON THEIR OWN OR AS PART OF OUR "COALITION OF CONCERNED UTILITIES." For additional information, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128).

FCC Seeks Comment on Interoperability, Out-of-Band Emissions, and Equipment Certification for Public Safety 700 MHz Broadband Systems

As reported last week (See Vol. VII, Issue 19), the FCC has granted 21 waivers to public safety agencies seeking to deploy statewide or local public safety broadband networks in the 700 MHz public safety broadband spectrum. Through a Public Notice released on May 18, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) seeks further comment on interoperability, out-of-band emissions, and equipment certification for public safety 700 MHz broadband interoperability. Comments are due by June 17. In addition, through a Public Notice released on May 21, the Bureau provided guidance to waiver recipients on the contents of the plan for achieving interoperability that recipients must submit to the Bureau (see http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-10-923A1.doc). The Bureau will issue another Public Notice announcing the opening of a 30 day window during which waiver recipients must submit their interoperability plans. FCC Makes 25 MHz of Spectrum Available for Mobile Broadband and Adopts New Rules On May 20, the FCC adopted a Report and Order and Second Report and Order to make available 25 MHz of spectrum for mobile broadband services in the 2305-2360 MHz (2.3 GHz) frequency band. This action follows a recommendation in the National Broadband Plan that the FCC make 500 MHz of spectrum available for broadband use in the next 10 years (and 300 MHz in the next five years). The FCC determined that the Wireless Communications Service (WCS) rules, which limit operations to fixed services, could be amended to allow mobile broadband services without a risk of harmful interference to adjacent operations. The FCC adopted new build-out requirements for WCS licensees and new rules governing the use of terrestrial repeaters by Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service licensees. A copy of the Report and Order is available at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-10-82A1.doc. OSHA Proposes to Overhaul Walking Surfaces and Fall Protection Standards After years of delay, OSHA has issued a revised proposal to overhaul its Walking Surfaces and Fall Protection Standards for General Industry. The 300 page proposal includes telecommunications facilities covered by 29 CFR 1910.268, the OSHA Telecommunications Standard. OSHA has proposed to delete those portions of Section 1910.268 that address walking surfaces and fall protection in the telecommunications industry, and to adopt generally applicable general industry standards, which would include modifications reflecting several unique conditions in the telecom industry OSHA has asked for comment on whether it should continue its general practice of allowing a free climb (without fall protection) to work locations on poles, towers, and similar structures covered by 1910.268 without the use of fall protection equipment, and generally require fall protection only after the employee reaches the working position. For more information, contact Keller and Heckman LLP Partner Larry Halprin (halprin@khlaw.com or 202-434-4177).

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