Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VIII Issue 42

Date: Oct 17, 2011

Committee Looking at Spectrum Policies to Reduce Federal Deficit

In a letter sent to President Obama earlier this month, four members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction requested a review of federal spectrum that could be reallocated to support consumer wireless broadband deployment. The Committee is tasked with cutting $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit and views the reallocation of federal spectrum and incentive auctions as ways to generate revenue and reduce the deficit. If the Committee adopts the FCC's current proposal, broadcasters would be permitted to sell their spectrum in a voluntary, incentive auction in return for a reallocation to the lower portion of the TV band. As a result, TV white spaces spectrum available for use by critical infrastructure companies and others may be reduced. Earlier this month, the Wireless Innovation Alliance sent a letter urging the Committee to preserve TV white spaces spectrum for unlicensed use. Last week, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) sent a letter to the Committee urging it to approve incentive auctions and also to reallocate the 700 MHz D-block to public safety entities. The Committee is scheduled to vote on a deficit reduction proposal by November 23. For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; jarrett@khlaw.com).

FCC Seeks Job-Creation Figures from AT&T

Last Thursday, the FCC's Wireless Bureau sent a letter to AT&T seeking documents demonstrating that the company's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile would result in a net increase in domestic jobs. The companies have said the merger would create as many as 96,000 jobs. AT&T announced in March that it had agreed to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion. In August, the Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block the deal asserting that the proposed transaction would substantially lessen competition for mobile wireless services across the United States, resulting in higher prices, poorer quality services, fewer choices and fewer innovative products for consumers. .

FCC Narrowband Migration Deadlines Reminder

By January 1, 2013, Industrial/Business and Public Safety Radio Pool licensees in the VHF (150-174 MHz) and UHF (421-512 MHz) bands must operate on 12.5 kHz or narrower channels or employ a technology that achieves the narrowband equivalent of one channel per 12.5 kHz of channel bandwidth (voice) or 4800 bits per second per 6.25 kHz (data). Many public safety and private land mobile licenses in the VHF and UHF bands still require narrowbanding. Licensees that do not meet the January 1, 2013 narrowband requirements likely will be subject to enforcement action, including monetary forfeitures and/or license cancellation. For assistance in filing the required narrowband applications, please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com).

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