Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 6

Date: Feb 06, 2012

Additional 800 MHz Spectrum Available to Critical Infrastructure Licensees

On January 28, the FCC began allowing critical infrastructure entities (oil and gas companies, electric utilities and railroads) to file applications for some 800 MHz spectrum relinquished by Sprint Nextel as a result of rebanding. In 2008, the FCC released a Public Notice making these relinquished 800 MHz channels exclusively available to Public Safety licensees for three years. From January 28, 2012, through January 27, 2014, these channels will be available to Public Safety licensees and Critical Infrastructure entities. After January 28, 2014, any unlicensed spectrum reverts to the general licensing pool. The Public Notice identifies the geographic areas where 800 MHz channels may be available for licensing. Please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com) with questions.

"Critical Infrastructure licensees may wish to consider the 800 MHz band as a licensing option while keeping in mind that 800 MHz channels will not be available in all areas."

– Wes Wright

 Attorney, Keller and Heckman LLP


FCC Seeks Comment on LightSquared Petition for Declaratory Ruling


On January 27, the FCC released a Public Notice establishing a pleading cycle for a Petition for Declaratory Ruling by LightSquared seeking a ruling from the FCC that GPS devices operating in the Radionavigation Satellite Service band (1559-1610 MHz) are not entitled to interference protection from LightSquared's terrestrial wireless network operating in the adjacent Mobile Satellite Service band (1525-1559 MHz). The Petition also seeks a ruling that LightSquared is not responsible for the costs of ensuring GPS devices can operate without interference. Comments must be filed by February 27 and Reply Comments are due March 13. In the meantime, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the FCC is awaiting NTIA's recommendations based on interference testing before deciding how to proceed with respect to LightSquared. Please contact Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com) with questions.

House and Senate Negotiating Spectrum Bills


The House of Representatives and Senate are negotiating two spectrum bills. In December 2011, the House passed the Jumpstarting Opportunity with Broadband Spectrum Act of 2011 ("JOBS Act") and the Senate Commerce Committee passed the SPECTRUM Act. Both bills would authorize the FCC to conduct incentive auctions whereby broadcasters could voluntarily relinquish spectrum to the FCC to be auctioned and share in the auction proceeds. The JOBS Act would require the FCC to auction the 700 MHz D Block and would prohibit the Commission from designating the spectrum for unlicensed use.. The D Block currently is allocated for public safety use. 

Corporate Counsel Corner: Telecommunications Services Agreements


A series of three entries analyzing telecommunications services agreements will be featured on Keller and Heckman's Beyond Telecom Law Blog over the next several weeks. The first entry, available here, highlights the structure and basic components of telecommunications services agreements. The second entry ("Revenue Assurance") will focus on the carriers' interest of locking-in projected revenues. The third entry ("Risk Mitigation") will take a closer look at carriers' views on damages, termination rights and customer indemnities. Please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; jarrett@khlaw.com) with questions or comments.


 Keller and Heckman at Industry Events


On February 22-23, 2012, Keller and Heckman LLP Partners Doug Jarrett and Greg Kunkle and FCC Licensing Specialist Tim Doughty will be attending the International Wireless Communications Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. Doug will be moderating a panel on Broadband Spectrum Options for Critical Infrastructure Industries and Greg will be presenting on spectrum available for Positive Train Control Technology. Please attend these speaking sessions and stop by Keller and Heckman's booth (#3100) at IWCE.

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