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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VIII Issue 21

Date: May 23, 2011

White House, FCC Roundtable Focus on Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity has generated more attention in Washington recently. Last week, the FCC held a roundtable to promote cybersecurity for small businesses, and unveiled a website featuring tips and resources. In addition, the Obama Administration recently submitted a comprehensive cybersecurity legislative proposal to Congress to protect critical infrastructure, federal government networks and computers, and the public from attacks. The proposal includes a national data breach notification provision that is broader in scope than existing state breach notification laws and would preempt state laws.

Enforcement Alert: Failure to Notify FCC of Transaction Produces $18,000 Fine

Last Tuesday, the FCC adopted a Consent Decree imposing an $18,000 forfeiture on two North Carolina telecom providers for failing to obtain Commission approval for a merger and then failing to notify the Commission when the merger had occurred. Surry Telephone Membership Corp. acquired Piedmont Telephone Membership Corp. in 2009 but did not notify the commission until 2010, in violation of FCC rules. As a reminder, parties to a corporate merger or acquisition must secure the Commission's prior consent to transfer control of an FCC license or assign an FCC license as part of the transaction. The parties must also notify the Commission within 30 days of the closing of the transaction. Violation of these rules could result in steep fines, even if the violations are self-reported to the FCC. For more information on transfer of control issues, contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296).

Filing Dates Set for Signal Booster Proceeding

As previously discussed in the Telecom Alert, the Commission is seeking comment on the certification and deployment of wireless signal boosters. Among other matters, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposes rule amendments that would allow customers and building operators to install and operate signal boosters to extend commercial wireless coverage. The NPRM was published in the Federal Register on May 10th, with comments due June 24, 2011, and reply comments due July 25, 2011. For more information, contact K&H attorney Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

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