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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VII Issue 24

Date: Jun 21, 2010

FCC Paging Auction Underway

On June 15, 2010, the FCC began its Lower and Upper Bands Paging Auction. The Auction features 69 qualified bidders competing for 9,603 licenses: 7,752 in the lower paging bands (35 MHz, 43 MHz), 152/158 MHz (paired) and 454/459 MHz (paired), and 1,851 in the upper paging bands (929 MHz and 931 MHz). At the close of one week of bidding, total gross bids exceeded $2.6 million. The last round of the week received 612 new bids. The Auction is likely to continue through the end of June, if not beyond. For more information about the Auction, please contact Wes Wright (202 434 4296; wright@khlaw.com).

FCC Approves Notice of Inquiry on Reclassification Plan

On June 17, 2010, in response to the recent Comcast decision, the FCC voted to approve a Notice of Inquiry seeking comment on Chairman Genachowski's proposed "Third Way" to classify broadband services. Under this approach, Internet connectivity offered as part of wired broadband Internet would be reclassified as a telecommunications service. In the Comcast case, the Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit vacated the Commission's decision to impose certain network management requirements on Comcast's high-speed Internet service after Comcast restricted subscribers' use of bandwidth intensive peer-to-peer networking applications. Initial comments on the Notice of Inquiry are due by July 15, 2010 and replies by August 12, 2010. Because of the importance of this matter to a number of FCC initiatives, FCC staff suggests a decision in this proceeding could be reached as early as October of this year. For further information, please contact Doug Jarrett (202 434 4180; Jarrett@khlaw.com).

700 MHz Broadband Interoperability Comment Period Extended

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau extended to July 19, 2010 the period for submitting comments regarding interoperability, out-of-band emissions and equipment certification for 700 MHz public safety broadband networks (763-768 MHz and 793-798 MHz). This follows the FCC's grant of 21 waivers filed by public safety agencies seeking to deploy statewide or local public safety broadband networks in the 700 MHz spectrum. NTIA is permitting public safety entities to apply by July 1, 2010 for grants under the Broadband Technologies Opportunity Program for critical expenditures related to the deployment of a 700 MHz public safety broadband network, including equipment and installation costs. Because the FCC's original June 17 comment date fell within NTIA's application period, the FCC approved an extension to provide an opportunity for entities currently seeking an NTIA grant to prepare comments.

Congress rejects Public Safety Campaign for D Block Allocation

The House Communications Subcommittee held a hearing on June 17, 2010 to discuss an auction of the 700 MHz D Block. The Subcommittee rejected the Public Safety Alliance's proposal for a direct allocation of the D Block to public safety entities because it was unclear how such a public safety network would be funded. Instead, the Subcommittee endorsed the approach of Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, under which wireless carriers would be authorized to bid on the D Block and the proceeds would be used to establish a Construction Fund to facilitate the buildout and maintenance of the public safety broadband network. Draft legislation suggests that the auction proceeds may approximate up to $5.5 Billion. All proceeds collected in excess of $5.5 Billion would be deposited in a Maintenance and Operation fund for future operations. Please contact Doug Jarrett (202 434 4180; Jarrett@khlaw.com) for further information.

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