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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 14

Date: Apr 02, 2012

NTIA: Repurposing 95 MHz of Spectrum for Commercial Broadband

Last week, NTIA released its Assessment of the Viability of Accommodating Wireless Broadband in the 1755-1850 MHz Band. The Assessment concludes that the 1755-1850 MHz band could be reallocated for commercial wireless broadband use, but it would take 10 years and cost $18 billion to relocate more than 20 federal agencies currently operating on 3,100 individual frequency assignments in the band. Given the high cost, the Assessment concludes it may be necessary for the incumbent federal licensees to share the spectrum with commercial licensees as opposed to vacating the spectrum entirely. Many commercial providers are particularly interested in the 1755-1780 MHz portion of the band. The National Broadband Plan recommended that this portion of the band be paired with the Advanced Wireless Services (AWS)-3 band (2155-2175 MHz) and auctioned. The Assessment suggests it might be possible for federal users to vacate the 1755-1780 MHz portion of the band within five years. Please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178) with questions.

FCC Issues FNPRM Addressing Level Probing Radars

Last week, the FCC released a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("FNPRM") regarding the operation of unlicensed level probing radars ("LPR"). LPR devices are used by many critical infrastructure entities for process control and to measure the amount of a substance – liquid or coal – in an enclosed area, typically inside a metal or concrete tank or rail car. The FNPRM proposes amendments to the Commission's rules to allow LPR devices to operate in the frequency bands 5.925-7.250 GHz, 24.05-29.00 GHz and 75-85 GHz. Comments must be filed 30 days after the FNPRM is published in the Federal Register and Reply Comments are due 30 days later. 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. 

Universal Service Filing Due Today

The Commission's annual USF Form must be filed by the end of the day. The Commission released a revised Form 499A worksheet last week. The revised Form has several revisions for 2012, largely relating to non-interconnected VoIP service providers and calculating and reporting base revenue for the Telecommunications Relay Services Fund contribution. Please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180) with questions.

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