Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VII Issue 41

Date: Oct 18, 2010

NTIA and RUS Award Final Broadband Grants

The National Telecommunications Information Administration ("NTIA") and the USDA's Rural Utilities Service ("RUS") have awarded the final broadband grants under the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Under the Act, NTIA was allocated $4.7 billion to be distributed to fund broadband deployment nationwide and RUS was tasked with distributing $2.5 billion to support broadband deployment in rural areas. The overwhelming majority of the funding went to support public entities and public-private partnerships as opposed to existing carriers. NTIA Administrator Larry Strickling acknowledged that the number of applications was far beyond what the agencies expected. As a result, both agencies struggled to choose between similar projects. For example, with respect to public safety, NTIA awarded grants to the San Francisco Bay area, Mississippi and Los Angeles to build 700 MHz networks, but denied similar requests from New York City, Washington, D.C. and Boston. Despite the challenges, Strickling declared the programs a success as grants awarded by NTIA funded the installation and upgrade of approximately 120,000 miles of broadband networks and provided middle-mile infrastructure in areas with nearly 40 million households and four million businesses.

K&H Participates in FCC's Usability Test Session for New Consolidated Licensing System

Keller and Heckman is serving as a beta tester for the FCC as the agency conducts initial usability test sessions for its Consolidated Licensing System (CLS). Keller and Heckman's FCC Licensing Specialists participated in the initial test session last week and provided recommendations to FCC staff with the goal of making CLS more user-friendly for critical infrastructure industry licensees such as oil and gas companies, electric utilities and railroads. The FCC plans to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the near future seeking comment on potential features of the CLS and proposed changes to application forms. The agency declined to provide a timeline for when CLS will be available to the public. The FCC plans to hold additional test sessions as it develops CLS, and K&H will continue to participate. For further information, contact K&H attorney Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com).

Keller and Heckman IP, Telecom and Technology Sourcing Bulletin

Keller and Heckman periodically publishes its "IP, Telecom & Technology Sourcing Bulletin." The latest edition of the Bulletin, available here, focuses on drafting and negotiating services agreements and resolving disputes arising under these agreements. For questions, or to be added to the Bulletin's distribution list, please contact K&H Partner, Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; jarrett@khlaw.com).

Spotlight: Keller and Heckman LLP's Telecommunications Practice

The Telecommunications Practice Group at Keller and Heckman LLP dates to the founding of the firm almost 50 years ago and currently consists of five partners, three associates and four FCC/FAA Licensing Specialists. The partners average more than 25 years each in the practice of telecommunications regulation and related transactional matters. Many of the partners have been practicing together at the firm for more than two decades (a rarity in Washington, D.C. law firms!). In addition to handling FCC and FAA licensing matters for a host of the country's largest companies, the telecommunications group in recent years has been instrumental in extending the Broadband Radio Service at 2.5 GHz into the Gulf of Mexico, advocating for 700 MHz Public Safety broadband allocations and arguing that the FCC's pole attachment regulations and policies unfairly benefit telecommunications and cable attachers to the detriment of electric utilities.

For a complete description of the telecommunications practice, click here.

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Keller and Heckman LLP's Telecom Business Alert is a complimentary weekly electronic update created by the Telecommunications and the Business Counseling and Transactional practice groups of Keller and Heckman LLP.

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