Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 12

Date: Mar 19, 2012

Final Chance: Telecom Practice Group Survey

If you have not completed Keller and Heckman's Telecom Survey, we would appreciate receiving your feedback to ensure the topics covered in our Telecom Business Alert address issues of interest to our readers. This is the final week we are accepting survey responses. Please take a moment to complete this short survey here and happy reading!

FCC Concludes Environmental Assessment of its ASR Program

Last week, the FCC issued a Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment ("Assessment") concluding its evaluation of the potential environmental impact of the agency's Antenna Structure Registration Program, as required by a 2008 ruling of the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit which found that communications towers may have a significant environmental effect on migratory birds. The FCC considered several alternatives to the existing ASR program. The Assessment concluded that the environmental impact of the ASR program would not be significantly different under any alternative. The Wireless Bureau intends to recommend the Commission issue a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking inviting comment on what actions, if any, the FCC should take to modify its ASR program. The Commission's interim ASR rules – which require tower owners to provide local notice and a 30-day comment period before constructing most towers – will become effective once approved by the Office of Management and Budget. Please see Vol. VIII, Issue 50 for more information about the interim rules and contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296) with questions.

FCC Workshop Focuses on Receiver Standards and Spectrum Efficiency

Last week, the Commission held a Conference on Spectrum Efficiency and Receiver Performance. The Workshop focused on the characteristics of receivers and how their performance affects the efficient use of spectrum and opportunities for the creation of new services. Receiver performance came into sharp focus in connection with LightSquared's proposed use of MSS spectrum for a terrestrial broadband network. At the Conference, LightSquared maintained that the interference concerns of the GPS industry would have been mitigated if receiver standards were in place a decade ago as GPS technology was being honed. The Workshop concluded with no clear consensus on how the Commission would proceed with respect to receiver standards. Please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178) with questions.

FCC Narrowband Deadline 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.

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