Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VIII Issue 13

Date: Mar 28, 2011

Pole Attachment Debate Intensifies at the FCC

The past two weeks saw nearly 60 ex parte filings in the FCC's pole attachment docket. EEI, UTC, the Coalition of Concerned Utilities (9 IOUs represented by K&H), and others are expressing strong concerns regarding electric utility safety, reliability, and rates, while attachers press for lower rates, make-ready deadlines, and mandatory pole top access for wireless antennas. This spike in activity likely will continue until debate is cut off Thursday in advance of the Commission's April 7 decision. Keller and Heckman LLP attorney Tom Magee will conduct a complimentary one-hour conference call from 1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern Time on April 8 to analyze the decision with Coalition members and other clients and friends who are not already represented by outside counsel in this proceeding. 

Proposed Rules Represent Major Changes to Antenna Registration Process

A Public Notice released by the Commission on March 25th invited comment on proposed rules and procedures regarding the environmental effects of proposed towers. The proposed rules, a response to the 2008 decision by the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in American Bird Conservancy v. FCC, would significantly extend the process for filing an antenna structure registration (or "ASR") with the Commission. Significant changes include opening ASRs up to a public comment period upon filing, requiring environmental assessments prior to filing structure registration, and mandating environmental assessments for all proposed towers 450 feet tall or higher. Comments will be due 30 days after the proposed rules appear in the Federal Register, which should happen sometime in the coming weeks. To view the Public Notice, click here. If you have questions or would like further information, please contact Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com).

Construction Deadline Extended for EBS Licensees

On Tuesday, March 22nd, the Commission released a Public Notice extending the deadline for Educational Broadband Service (or "EBS") licensees to demonstrate substantial service. The deadline was previously scheduled for May 1, 2011, but in light of the compressed timeframe for EBS construction and the forthcoming end of the school year, which can be a busy time for educators, the Commission extended the deadline for substantial service to November 1, 2011. To view the Public Notice, click here.

K&H/NRTC Narrowbanding Webinar

On Tuesday, April 12, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern, Greg Kunkle of Keller and Heckman LLP will be joining his client, the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative ("NRTC"), to present a Webinar on the FCC's upcoming Narrowbanding requirements. The Webinar will outline regulatory requirements, timelines and other considerations necessary for compliance with the new rules. To register, click here.

K&H Video Minute: Wes Wright and Tim Doughty on FAA Licensing

The K&H Video Minute has previously shared an overview of FCC licensing and looked at transactional licensing at the Commission. Continuing in that series, this week's Video Minute, featuring associate Wes Wright and licensing specialist Tim Doughty, tackles an important issue for tower owners: licensing procedures at the Federal Aviation Administration. Wes and Tim discuss the FAA's determination system for potentially hazardous towers and talk about the interaction between the FAA and the FCC in the tower registration process. For this week's Video Minute, click here: http://www.khlaw.com/shownews.aspx?show=4392

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In an attempt to address in our weekly Telecom Business Alert the issues of most importance to the clients and friends of Keller and Heckman LLP, we invite you to submit suggestions on topics of interest to you. To make suggestions, please send an e-mail to TelecomAlert@khlaw.com.

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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