Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VIII Issue 16

Date: Apr 18, 2011

Critical Infrastructure Industry Access to the 700 MHz Band

The Utilities Telecom Council, Harris Corporation, the Edison Electric Institute and others filed comments last week at the FCC arguing that the critical infrastructure industry ( "CII") should have access to Public Safety spectrum in the 700 MHz band. Section 337(f) of the Communications Act establishes a definition for "public safety services," which may be broad enough to encompass utilities and other CII entities, making them eligible to access the spectrum along with other public safety entities. For more information, contact K&H Partner Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

AT&T/T-Mobile Merger


On Thursday, the FCC began its formal review of AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile USA by opening a new docket on the $39 billion deal. The Commission will first determine whether the acquisition violates either the Communications Act or the FCC's rules or is otherwise not "in the public interest." The docket will be governed by "permit-but-disclose" ex parte rules, which allow oral ex parte presentations to the Commission if accompanied by a formal report in the docket. Although the FCC has stated its goal that merger reviews should be completed within 180 days, no timeframe has been set for this review, which is expected to be complex and lengthy.

Tower Monitoring Failure Costs Georgia Company $12,000


An FCC decision last week proposed a fine of $12,000 against Miller Communications, LLC for failure to maintain lighting and failure to observe at least once every 24 hours the lights on an antenna structure. The FCC's rules require daily monitoring of towers for lighting outages, either visually or by automated means. The tower's owner, who was living in New Jersey but operating towers in Georgia, apparently was not aware of the rules or the FAA's Notice to Airmen process for reporting lighting outages until he was contacted by the FCC. The Commission noted that not knowing the rules is no excuse for failing to abide by them.

Pole Attachment Order Still Awaiting Publication

As of press time, last week's Order in the FCC's pole attachment proceeding still awaits publication in the Federal Register, which will start the clock running on appeals and petitions for reconsideration For more information, please contact K&H PartnerTom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202.434.4128). 

K&H Video Minute: Greg Kunkle on Changes To Intrinsically Safe Standards

For public safety entities and industries that work in potentially hazardous environments, intrinsically safe radio equipment is crucial to maintaining safe communications. Potential changes to standards for intrinsically safe radio equipment could result in a significant impact to communications coverage and require replacement of infrastructure and equipment. Keller and Heckman attorney Greg Kunkle is here to talk about the changes and efforts underway to develop new standards that will allow current equipment to be retained. For this week's Video Minute, click here: http://www.khlaw.com/shownews.aspx?show=4431

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