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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VII Issue 39

Date: Oct 04, 2010

Net Neutrality Bill Reportedly Dead in Congress Last week, U.S. Congressional Representative Henry Waxman (D-California) declared that his Net Neutrality bill had failed to receive the votes to advance and was effectively dead. The bill would have prevented Internet, cable and phone companies from slowing or blocking traffic to legal web sites, protocols and services and included a prohibition on wireless Internet providers blocking access to lawful Internet websites, subject to reasonable network management. In light of the development, Rep. Waxman urged the FCC to move forward with its own net neutrality rules, which would require some form of reclassification of broadband services under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. Legislation could also be reintroduced this year (which is unlikely) or in the next Congress in 2011. Congressional inaction puts the ball squarely in the FCC's court and begs the question of whether the FCC will act and adopt net neutrality rules.

FCC Extends 800 MHz Rebanding Negotiation Periods

Last week, the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau extended until January 3, 2011, the mandatory negotiation periods for Wave 4 National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) (Stage 2) and non-NPSPAC (Stage 1) licensees in the U.S.-Mexico border region. The beginning of the mediation period was postponed until January 4, 2011. The Bureau also extended the filing freeze on new applications in the U.S.-Mexico border region until February 15, 2011, except for administrative updates, assignments/transfers, and renewal-only applications and other applications that do not change an 800 MHz frequency or expand an 800 MHz station's existing coverage area. The Commission continues to negotiate an agreement with Mexico regarding use of the 800 MHz band in the border region.

Pole Attachment Workshop At FCC

On September 28, 2010, six states that have asserted their right to regulate Pole Attachments (Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Utah and Vermont) participated in a Workshop at the FCC to discuss their various experiences in regulating pole attachments within their respective jurisdictions. A video recording of the Workshop is available at http://reboot.fcc.gov/live/

Is Sprint Preparing to Move Away from iDEN?

Sprint Nextel recently reported that it will make substantial changes to its wireless network over the next 7 to 10 years, eliminating as many as 20,000 of its total 66,000 base stations. Bob Azzi, senior vice president of networks at Sprint, said that the new "network architecture gives the flexibility to adapt and change as we need to, as the marketplace and our strategic choices dictate." Included in the plans for the new network is CDMA push-to-talk services. Although Sprint has stated that it will not force current iDEN customers to migrate to new services, several news organizations are speculating that Sprint's eventual goal will be to discontinue iDEN service on its 800 MHz network.

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