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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VIII Issue 40

Date: Oct 03, 2011

FCC Wireless Microwave Backhaul Rules To Take Effect October 27th

 

The FCC's new rules freeing-up to 650 MHz of spectrum in the 7 GHz (6875-7125 MHz) and 13 GHz (12,700-13,100 MHz) bands for fixed service wireless microwave backhaul in certain largely rural areas will become effective on October 27. (Vol VIII, Issue 33). These bands previously were used exclusively by cable TV relay (CARS) and broadcast auxiliary services (BAS) licensees for TV pickup stations primarily in urban areas. The new rules protect these TV licensees and make the 7 GHz and 13 GHz bands available to private licensees in areas covering approximately one-half of the land mass of the United States but only 10 percent of the population. The rules also eliminate the "final link" rule, which prohibited broadcasters from using fixed service stations as the final radiofrequency link in the chain of distribution of program material to broadcast stations, which will provide broadcasters with greater access to microwave spectrum nationwide. Finally, the rules allow microwave licensees to operate on wider channels, with smaller antennas and to use adaptive modulation. Please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com) with questions.

FCC Net Neutrality Rules Published in Federal Register

 

The FCC's Net Neutrality rules were recently published in the Federal Register and are scheduled to take effect on November 20. In general, the rules require transparency and prohibit providers from blocking or discriminating against lawful content. Among other things, the rules require broadband providers to disclose network management practices, performance characteristics and terms and conditions of their broadband service. Last week, Verizon filed a Petition for Review of the rules in the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit referencing the court's April 2010 rejection of the FCC's authority to regulate broadband Internet access service. Free Press and the Media Access Project also challenged the Net Neutrality rules on various grounds in the Courts of Appeals for the 1st, 3rd and 4th Circuits. While the appeals were long anticipated, at least two threshold matters remain: First, whether any appellants will pursue a stay of the Net Neutrality rules pending the outcome of the appeal. Second, which Courts of Appeal will hear the appeal. Verizon and other network operators are advocating for the D.C. Circuit. Several years ago, the D.C. Circuit struck down the FCC's Comcast/BitTorrent decision, calling into question the FCC's authority to regulate Internet access service. For more information on the Net Neutrality rules, please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; jarrett@khlaw.com).

Corporate Counsel Corner: Federal and State Agencies Focus on Fracking

 

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," involves pumping water, chemicals and sand underground to free natural gas from shale basins. The procedure has been criticized by environmental groups and some lawmakers out of concern that the chemicals used may contaminate air and groundwater. Keller and Heckman LLP has a team of scientists and attorneys with extensive environmental backgrounds who can assist companies on fracking and other environmental matters. For more information, see this week's Video Minute with our Environmental Litigation attorney Eric Gotting. Please contact Eric (202.4269; gotting@khlaw.com) for further details.

 

Pole Attachment Webinar Tomorrow

After years of rulemaking, the FCC dramatically revised decades of Pole Attachment regulations earlier this year. Attaching entities are now making aggressive demands, and utilities are facing significant challenges. Tomorrow (10/4) from 2:00-3:30 p.m. EASTERN, Keller and Heckman Partner Tom Magee will host a Webinar titled, "Pole Attachment Strategies for Electric Utilities." Tom will share their experience and expertise to help utilities negotiate and operate successfully in the new Pole Attachment environment. Attendance is limited to representatives of electric utilities (operating personnel, in-house counsel, etc.). Register today at: (http://www.khlaw.com/showevent.aspx?Show=4855).

Don't forget to visit the Beyond Telecom Law Blog! http://www.beyondtelecomlawblog.com

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