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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VII Issue 34

Date: Aug 30, 2010

FCC Postpones Auction 89 (218-219 MHz and Phase II 220 MHz Licenses)

As previously reported (see Vol. VII, Issue 32), FCC Auction 89 was scheduled to begin on December 7, 2010. Last week, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau announced that Auction 89 is postponed until further notice to provide more time for bidder preparation and planning. The FCC had planned to auction 1,420 licenses in the 218-219 MHz Service, each consisting of 500 kHz of unpaired spectrum covering a total of 727 Cellular Market Areas, and 448 Phase II 220 MHz Service (220-222 MHz band) licenses, including 444 Economic Area (EA) licenses and 4 Economic Area Grouping (EAG) licenses, covering a total of 154 separate EAs and EAGs. For more information, contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178). Serious Questions Raised at FCC Regarding Practices of International Satellite Operators that Control FSS Space Segment Capacity During the past decade, the FCC and foreign administrations have approved a series of transactions and maintained policies on orbital slots and replacement satellites that have enabled Intelsat, AES and Eutelsat to control the vast majority of geosynchronous orbit satellites suitable for fixed satellite services (FSS) operations between the United States and the rest of the world. In response to the FCC's Public Notices requesting comment for both the annual report to Congress under the Orbit Act (regarding the benefits Intelsat privatization) and the 4th Annual Satellite Competition Report, satellite network services providers (SNSPs) that offer end-to-end satellite communications services, including space segment, satellite terminals, CPE, network management and hub services, and connectivity to terrestrial networks—particularly to harsh and remote regions of the world lacking terrestrial infrastructure—submitted filings raising two major concerns: (1) the limited supply and increasing costs of international FSS space segment capacity adversely impact U. S. Government and U. S.-based energy and maritime company customers dependent on satellite communications, and (2) the major satellite operators, all of which are non-US entities, are engaging in anti-competitive practices involving international space segment capacity that should be addressed by the FCC. Keller and Heckman LLP represents CapRock Communications, Inc., a U.S.-based SNSP, in these FCC proceedings. For additional information, please contact Douglas Jarrett @ 202.434.4180; Jarrett@khlaw.com. Net Neutrality Discussions Reportedly Still Ongoing Earlier this month, Google and Verizon announced an agreement on net neutrality principles that, among other matters, would have excluded wireless broadband from the scope of their proposed net neutrality principles. While seen as comprehensive, it was roundly criticized by public interest groups and numerous elected officials. There are reports that the major technology companies and network operators are in on-going discussions, possibly looking toward an agreement during the last week of September. While many Senators and Congressman maintain that the FCC should not take action, it is highly unlikely that Congress will enact such legislation this year. On the other hand, net neutrality remains the primary policy issue for the FCC. Telecom analysts are projecting a negotiated settlement will be reached. At this juncture, both the substance and form of net neutrality principles remain speculative, at best. Douglas Jarrett Presenting at UTC Region 9 Conference September 9-10, 2010 Doug Jarrett will be speaking at the UTC Region 9 Technical Conference September 9-10, 2010 in Newport, Oregon. Doug's presentation, Broadband Spectrum: Potential Sources and Challenges, focuses on spectrum options potentially available for utilities' wireless broadband requirements.

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