Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VIII Issue 5

Date: Jan 31, 2011

FCC Order and Rulemaking on Public Safety May Present Spectrum Options for CIIs

On January 26, 2011, the FCC released a Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) concerning public safety operations in the 700 MHz band, but non-public safety entities should note the NPRM asks about sharing spectrum between public safety providers and utilities as a way to reduce buildout costs and promote spectrum efficiency. This sharing option may be a viable opportunity for some utilities and other critical infrastructure industries (CII) not located in urban areas where public safety demand likely will tie-up most of the available spectrum. Utilities and CIIs, especially those not concentrated in major metropolitan areas, should strongly consider filing comments in this proceeding in support of maximum shared use with public safety. 

LightSquared Waiver Signals Major Spectrum Realignment

Last week, the FCC granted LightSquared's application for modification of its Mobile Satellite Service 1.5/1.6 GHz L-Band authorization, waiving the ancillary terrestrial component ("ATC") requirement for a substantial portion of the licensee's L-Band spectrum. Consistent with the Commission's decision last year in the SkyTerra/Harbinger Order, LightSquared is now positioned to offer terrestrial mobile broadband service on a standalone basis.

"White Space" Database Managers Named

The FCC took a major step last week in moving forward with its plans for allocating television "white space" spectrum by releasing an Order naming nine entities as TV bands device database administrators. The databases are intended for users of fixed and personal portable unlicensed devices to identify unused channels that are available at their geographic locations; these databases represent another significant phase in the Commission's ongoing spectrum realignment plans. For additional information, contact Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com).

Commission Cracks Down on Frequency Jammers

Multiple enforcement actions released by the FCC this week focused on the marketing of unauthorized communications equipment. The companies cited were all advertising cell phone jammers – devices that block the distribution of certain frequencies for cellular communications. The actions serve as an important reminder that the Commission's rules bar any device for which the main purpose is to interfere with radio communications. For additional information, contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com).

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