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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VII Issue 27

Date: Jul 12, 2010

FCC Paging Auction Winding Down

The FCC's Lower and Upper Bands Paging Auction appears to be winding down, as only 14 bids totaling $2,020 were submitted in the final round last week. The Auction, which began on June 15, 2010, includes 69 qualified bidders competing for 7,752 licenses in the lower paging bands (35 MHz, 43 MHz), 152/158 MHz (paired) and 454/459 MHz (paired), and 1,851 licenses in the upper paging bands (929 MHz and 931 MHz). At the close of four weeks of bidding, total gross bids were approximately $5.75 million. For more information about the Auction, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296).

Proposed Rules on License Renewal, Discontinuance, Construction Could Minimize Speculation in Future Auctions and Benefit CII and Public Safety Entities

 

On July 7, 2010, the FCC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("NPRM") seeking to replace the varied license renewal, discontinuance of service and construction obligations was published in the Federal Register. The proposed rules would add a "substantial service" requirement, analogous to the current requirement for recently auctioned 700 MHz band licensees, for renewal of most geographic-area wireless radio service licenses including in the Multiple Address Systems, Narrowband PCS, Paging and Radiotelephone Service and Automated Maritime Telecommunications Systems services. The substantial service requirement would apply to existing licenses in these specified services once the rules take effect. This will impact Public Safety and CII entities that are looking to secure area wide licenses through auctions or acquiring auctioned spectrum. It may also minimize participation in auctions by spectrum speculators. Site-based licensees would be required to certify in renewal applications that they continue to operate as licensed in order to be eligible for renewal. The Commission's proposal would make explicit the requirement that each party to a geographic partitioning or spectrum disaggregation arrangement to independently satisfy construction obligations post-transaction. Comments are due August 6, 2010 and replies must be filed by August 23, 2010. The Federal Register NPRM is available here. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

Coalition of Concerned Utilities Remains Active in FCC's Pole Attachment Proceeding

Keller and Heckman LLP continues to represent the "Coalition of Concerned Utilities" in the FCC's comprehensive Pole Attachment proceeding, which proposes a host of new rules that would be adverse to electric utility pole owners (available here), The Coalition as of today includes Allegheny Power, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., Dayton Power and Light Co., , National Grid, NSTAR, PPL Electric Utilities, South Dakota Electric Utilities Companies, Inc., and the Wisconsin Public Service Company. For years to come, this proceeding will define how electric utilities do business with communications attachers, how utility personnel perform their work, and how utilities recover (or don't recover) their costs. For information about joining the Coalition, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128).

 

FCC Open Meeting Scheduled for July 15, 2010

The FCC's next Open Meeting is scheduled for July 15, 2010. At the meeting, the FCC will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("NPRM") initiating reforms to the Universal Service Rural Health Care Fund to expand the reach and use of broadband connectivity by health care providers throughout the nation. The FCC will also consider a NPRM and Notice of Inquiry to encourage investment in terrestrial broadband services within spectrum allocated to mobile satellite services, and a NPRM on streamlining the tariff filing and formatting process by transitioning from paper to electronic filing. The agenda is available here.

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