Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 17

Date: Apr 23, 2012

FCC Announces T-Band Freeze, Narrowbanding Waiver

Last week, the FCC announced it will be implementing a licensing freeze in the T-Band (470-512 MHz) in the next few weeks in light of the recently enacted Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which calls for the T-Band to be reclaimed and auctioned within the next nine years. The band currently is used by public safety and critical infrastructure entities in several major metropolitan areas. Licensees of systems currently operating in the T-Band will not be required to narrowband their systems. The extent to which existing T-Band licensees will be able to make modifications to their existing systems after the freeze is implemented is unclear at this point. We will provide more information once the Commission releases a Public Notice outlining these changes. Please contact Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com) with questions.

FCC Priorities Include Spectrum Act and Narrowbanding

At the Land Mobile Communications Council ("LMCC") meeting last week, the FCC staff reported that it currently is focusing its efforts on implementing the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 ("Spectrum Act"), conducting narrowbanding outreach and implementing proposed changes to its construction/renewal rules. The Spectrum Act allocates the 700 MHz D Block to FirstNet, empowers the Commission to hold incentive auctions and auction the T-Band. (Vol. IX, Issue 9). The construction/renewal standard rule changes would require licensees to certify that land mobile and microwave licenses are operating and satisfying other requirements at the time of license renewal. (Vol VIII, Issue 17). Please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com) with questions.

Verizon Wireless May Sell Some of its 700 MHz Spectrum

Last week, Verizon Wireless said it will sell a portion of the 700 MHz spectrum it purchased at auction in 2008 if the FCC approves the company's proposed acquisition of advanced wireless service (AWS) spectrum from SpectrumCo and Cox. The company said it will offer for sale the 700 MHz A and B block licenses it bought in 2008 but retain its 700 MHz C Block spectrum. This announcement comes on the heels of an FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to promote interoperability in the lower 700 MHz band. Critics of Verizon's announcement point out that the company seems to have warehoused this spectrum without investing in deployment and likely will sell it for a profit while avoiding the construction and interoperability requirements. Please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180) with questions.

Keller and Heckman at ENTELEC 2012 Conference and Expo

Keller and Heckman LLP attorneys Doug Jarrett, Greg Kunkle, Tracy Marshall and Wes Wright will be attending the ENTELEC 2012 Conference and Expo in Houston, TX, May 15-17. Keller and Heckman is sponsoring a Continental Breakfast at 8 AM on Thursday, May 17, immediately followed by the annual Washington Report by Mr. Jarrett, Mr. Kunkle and Ms. Marshall, moderated by Keller and Heckman. As part of the Washington Report, Keller and Heckman's attorneys will discuss, in "Q&A" format, the latest telecom legislation and FCC activities. 

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