Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 9

Date: Feb 27, 2012


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Spectrum Legislation Provides for Shared Access to 700 MHz Band

The Payroll Tax Cut passed by Congress and signed by President Obama last week (Vol. IX Issue 8) includes spectrum provisions permitting the use of the 700 MHz public safety spectrum for non-public safety services on a secondary basis. The legislation also permits unlicensed use of spectrum in the 5350-5470 MHz band and guard bands. Lease and network user fees will apply to critical infrastructure entities operating on the public safety network and must cover, but not exceed, the administrative costs. The public safety network will be managed by the newly-created "First Responder Network Authority" ("FirstNet"), which is part of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178) with questions.

D.C. Circuit Court Rejects Gulf Power Pole Attachment Appeal

Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied an appeal by Gulf Power Company of an FCC Order rejecting Gulf Power's claims for pole attachment rates above the maximum FCC rate because the poles were at full capacity. The Court agreed with the FCC that a pole is not at full capacity if existing attachments can be relocated on the pole to accommodate new attachments. The Court also rejected Gulf Power's argument that the FCC ruling was an unconstitutional "taking" because its sister company Alabama Power already had made and lost that argument at the 11th Circuit. Please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202.434.4128) with questions.

"When the court hears the FCC's April 7 Pole Attachment Order, we expect a more comprehensive review of utility concerns."

-Tom Magee

Partner, Keller and Heckman LLP


FCC Approves Several Waivers of Narrowband Deadline

Last week, the FCC issued an Order conditionally granting narrowband waiver requests filed by four public safety entities in Missouri. The waiver sought a one-year extension to comply with the Commission's January 1, 2013, narrowbanding deadline. Also last week, the Commission released a Public Notice providing guidance to licensees that may seek waivers of the narrowbanding deadline. The Commission's guidance spells out that future waiver requests should include a list of frequencies for which a waiver is sought, a list of frequencies that will be relinquished (ex. if the licensee intends to migrate to alternative channels) and representations that the licensee has committed to take any actions that form the basis for the waiver justification. More information about the narrowbanding requirements is available here. Please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296) with questions.

CPNI Filing Deadline Approaching

All telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers must file their Customer Proprietary Network Information (or "CPNI") compliance report with the FCC by March 1, 2012. Earlier this month, the Commission's Enforcement Bureau issued an Enforcement Advisory reminding companies of their CPNI obligations. In the past, the Commission has taken enforcement action against companies failing to file their CPNI certifications with the Commission. The FCC has indicated it intends to continue strict enforcement of the CPNI requirements. For additional information, contact Tracy Marshall (marshall@khlaw.com; 202.434.4234).

White House Privacy Report and App Actions May Change Privacy Landscape

We witnessed major developments in the U.S. privacy legal landscape this month. Most significantly, on February 23, 2012, the White House released its long-awaited report on consumer data privacy. A week earlier, the Federal Trade Commission released a staff report on privacy issues relating to mobile apps, and just days later, the California Attorney General entered into an agreement with the six primary app platform providers to increase consumer awareness of their privacy policies. These developments will have a significant impact on companies' advertising and marketing practices and raise complex legal issues. Click here for a summary of these developments prepared by Keller and Heckman LLP Partners Sheila Millar and Tracy Marshall.

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