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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VII Issue 25

Date: Jun 28, 2010

President Obama Issues Memorandum Proposing Broadband Plan

Tracking closely to the FCC's National Broadband Plan, President Obama issued a Memorandum today committing the Federal government to making 500 MHz of Federal and commercial spectrum available over the next 10 years. The President proposed a four point plan which includes, among other things, a request for NTIA and FCC to identify available spectrum as early as October 1, 2010 to be used within five years. The Administration also indicated the majority of the spectrum made available will be auctioned for licensed mobile broadband with a portion being made available for unlicensed use by small businesses and other newcomers to the communications and technologies markets. A copy of the Memorandum is available here.

Meeting Held to Discuss Update to the Telecom Act

According to trade press reports, an informal joint meeting of over 30 industry representatives as well as both House and Senate Commerce Committees staff was held Friday, June 25, 2010 to discuss proposed revisions to the Telecom Act, focusing on the overhaul the Universal Service Fund (USF). The FCC was not represented at the meeting. The meeting followed a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on June 24th that proposed modification to the USF. While it is unclear whether the meeting and hearings will lead to a comprehensive Communications Act reform bill, the FCC's plans to reclassify Internet services to include a regulated telecommunications service component is among the motivations for the discussions. A second meeting is tentatively scheduled for July 2. For further information, please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; Jarrett@khlaw.com).

Senate Committee Signs Off on Cybersecurity Bill

On June 25, 2010, the Senate Homeland Security Committee approved a bill providing for a comprehensive Cybersecurity defense system. The system includes establishing a White House Office for Cyberspace Policy and a National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications to work with private US companies to create cybersecurity requirements for the electrical grid, telecommunications networks and other critical infrastructure. Senator Lieberman, sponsor of the bill, stated the goal of the legislation is to create a unified system to protect against a cyber attack which has the potential to take down or harm significantly the Nation's electrical grid and other critical infrastructure facilities. In the event of such a threat, the bill would authorize the Administration to require critical infrastructure operators to implement emergency response procedures (that would be promulgated by regulation). The Administration's authority to exercise control over telecommunications facilities and portions of the Internet in the event of such emergency continues to be contested. For further information, please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; Jarrett@khlaw.com).

FCC Sets Tentative Agenda for July 15th Open Meeting

On June 24, 2010, the FCC announced the tentative agenda for the Open Meeting on July 15, 2010. Topics include: a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("NPRM") to reform the Universal Service Rural Health Care Fund; an NPRM and Notice of Inquiry seeking comment on promoting investment in terrestrial mobile broadband services; and an NPRM seeking comment on streamlining the tariff process to reduce administrative burdens and promote efficient flow of information. The official agenda will be released in early July. The expanded use of the mobile satellite spectrum is part of the FCC's strategy to make more spectrum available for wireless broadband systems.

Keller and Heckman LLP Offers FCC Licensing Audit

Keller and Heckman LLP's Licensing Specialists handle FCC and FAA licensing matters for some of the country's largest, most prominent companies as well as smaller, less well-known clients. Typical licensing matters include confirming license expiration dates, narrowbanding requirements, identifying station construction notifications and ensuring compliance with other FCC and FAA regulations. To promote compliance with the rules, private licensees are urged to review periodically their physical facilities and compare them with all authorized licenses. Any discrepancy between actual and licensed operations should be quickly corrected. Please contact K&H Attorney Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com) if you would be interested in scheduling an audit of your company's license assets.

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