Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VIII Issue 47

Date: Nov 21, 2011

House Introduces Bill To Delay Narrowbanding Deadline By Two Years


Last week, Rep. Steven Rothman (R-NJ) introduced H.R. 3430 that, if enacted, will extend the narrowband deadline for all private land mobile licensees to January 1, 2015. The FCC's current rules require, by January 1, 2013, Industrial/Business and Public Safety Radio Pool licensees in the VHF (150-174 MHz) and UHF (421-512 MHz) bands to be operating on 12.5 kHz or narrower voice channels or employ a technology that achieves the narrowband equivalent of 4800 bits per second per 6.25 kHz of channel bandwidth for data systems. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com).

"We believe it is unlikely this bill will pass and encourage Public Safety and Critical Infrastructure licensees to assume the FCC's current narrowbanding deadlines will stick."
-Wes Wright
Attorney, Keller and Heckman LLP

Court Sets Briefing Schedule In Pole Attachment Appeal

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an Order establishing a briefing schedule in the appeal of the FCC's April 7 Pole Attachment Order. The Coalition of Concerned Utilities (which includes Consumers Energy, Detroit Edison, FirstEnergy Corp., Hawaiian Electric, NSTAR, Pepco Holdings, Inc. and Xcel Energy) is represented by Keller and Heckman and must file its initial Brief with the Court by January 18, 2012 and Reply Brief by March 19, 2012. Consistent with the utility petitioners, the Coalition plans to ask the Court to overturn the FCC's decisions to assert jurisdiction over ILEC attachments and lower the Telecom attachment rate. The date for oral argument has not yet been set. For an update on this proceeding, please contact Tom Magee (<a title="mailto:magee@khlaw.com blocked::mailto:magee@khlaw.com" href="mailto:magee@khlaw.com">magee@khlaw.com).

GPS Industry Continues Raising LightSquared Interference Concerns

Coalition to Save our GPS sent a letter to the FCC reiterating concerns that LightSquared's plan to deploy terrestrial wireless broadband service in the lower 10 MHz of the L-Band will cause interference to nearby GPS users. The letter also urged the FCC prohibit to LightSquared from high-powered terrestrial operations in the upper portion of the band. Earlier this year, the FCC issued a Public Notice requiring LightSquared to conduct additional tests to ensure the company's operations would not cause harmful interference to GPS operations. The tests are ongoing and LightSquared met with the FCC recently to discuss the testing of filters and devices designed to permit the coexistence of GPS systems with LightSquared's proposed operations in the lower portion of the L-band. Last week, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan) introduced an amendment to the Financial Services and Government Affairs Appropriations Bill that would prohibit the FCC from using any appropriated funds to allow LightSquared to build out its network until the agency proves the operations will not interfere with GPS technology. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com).

FCC Licensing Tip of the Week

Many communications towers require registration with the FAA and FCC. In general, any new structure greater than 200 feet in height or that fails the glide slope test must be approved by the FAA and registered with the FCC. It typically takes the FAA 30 to 45 days to study a proposed tower and issue a Determination of No Hazard to Air Navigation. Upon receipt of this Determination, the structure owner may register the tower with the FCC to receive an Antenna Structure Registration ("ASR") number. Structure owners should also confirm no additional state or local requirements must be met before beginning construction. Please contact Tim Doughty (202.434.4271; doughty@khlaw.com) with questions.

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