Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 4

Date: Jan 23, 2012

Coalition of Concerned Utilities Challenges Pole Attachment Order in Court

While its Petition for Reconsideration of the FCC's make-ready rulings remains pending at the Commission, last week the Coalition of Concerned Utilities (Consumers Energy, Detroit Edison, FirstEnergy, Hawaiian Electric, NSTAR, Pepco and Xcel, represented by Keller and Heckman LLP) attacked the FCC Pole Attachment Order before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In support of the Utility Petitioners (AEP et al), the Coalition's Intervenors' Brief seeks to overturn two key aspects of the FCC's decision: the assertion of jurisdiction for the first time over ILEC attachments and the dramatic reduction of the Telecom Rate down to the Cable Rate. Please contact Tom Magee (202.434.4128; magee@khlaw.com) with questions.

"To us, the FCC's Order ignored not only electric utility concerns but Congressional directives as well. I'm betting the court agrees."
Partner, Keller and Heckman LLP

"The court should be much less fanatical than the FCC about broadband deployment and much more objective about statutory requirements."
- Tom Magee
Partner, Keller and Heckman LLP

Testing Concludes LightSquared Causes Harmful Interference to GPS Receivers


Last week, FCC Wireless Competition Bureau Chief Rick Kaplan said the Commission will withhold final approval of LightSquared's network until all testing is completed and NTIA issues its conclusions. Testing was conducted by the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Executive Committee ("Committee"). Earlier this month, the Committee sent a letter to NTIA finding that "LightSquared's original and modified plans for its proposed mobile network would cause harmful interference to GPS receivers." The letter also cited an analysis by the FAA finding LightSquared's proposed operations are not compatible with GPS-dependent aircraft safety-of-flight systems, concluded that there are no mitigations that would permit LightSquared to operate a broadband system without significant interference and recommended no additional testing be done at this time. LightSquared has claimed the tests were rigged by GPS manufacturers and the government. Please contact Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com) with questions.

Corporate Counsel Corner: FCC Fines Licensee $85,000 for Transfer of Control Violations

Last week, the FCC issued an Order adopting a Consent Decree with BASF Corporation requiring the company to pay $85,000 to the U.S. Treasury and implement a Compliance Plan to promote future compliance with the FCC's rules. The Consent Decree was entered into after BASF voluntarily disclosed that it neglected to secure the FCC's prior consent to assign 51 FCC licenses as part of 14 different corporate transactions. This Consent Decree serves as the latest reminder that Section 310 (d) of the Communications Act requires entities involved in a corporate transaction to secure the FCC's prior consent to assign or transfer an FCC license as part of the deal. Failure to comply with the FCC's rules may result in substantial fines and other penalties. For more information about the FCC's assignment and transfer procedures, please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com).

Keller and Heckman at Industry Events


On January 24, 2012, Keller and Heckman LLP Partners Doug Jarrett and Greg Kunkle will present Wireless Spectrum Availability for Smart Grid Applications in Room 213 AB at the DistribuTECH Conference and Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas. DistribuTECH is an annual conference and exhibition addressing the latest smart grid trends. Please contact Doug (202.434.4180; jarrett@khlaw.com) or Greg (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com) with questions or if you would like additional information.

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