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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 18

Date: Apr 30, 2012

FCC Public Notice Announces T-Band Licensing Freeze, Narrowbanding Waiver

Last week, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing that it was suspending the acceptance and processing of applications for licenses operating in the T-Band (470-512 MHz). The freeze was implemented because the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 calls for public safety T-Band spectrum to be reclaimed and auctioned within the next nine years. Though the Act discusses only public safety licenses in the T-Band, the Commission's licensing freeze includes all land mobile T-Band licenses and the FCC is expected to reclaim and auction the entire T-Band. The FCC will no longer accept or process applications for new T-Band licenses or applications seeking to modify existing T-Band licenses by adding or changing frequencies or locations or changing technical parameters in a manner that expands the station's spectral or geographic footprint. The FCC will continue to process applications to renew existing T-Band licenses, delete frequencies or locations and increase the number of mobile units. The Commission also released an Order last week waiving the January 1, 2013 deadline for private land mobile radio licenses in the T-Band to migrate to narrowband (12.5 kHz or narrower) technology. The waiver applies only to Industrial/Business and Public Safety Radio Pool licensees in the T-Band. Land Mobile licensees with VHF (150-174 MHz) and UHF (450-470 MHz) licenses are still required to narrowband prior to January 1, 2013. Please contact Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com) with questions.

FCC Announces Connect America Fund Phase I Funding

Last week, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the funding amounts for the Connect America Fund (Phase I), which seeks to provide broadband service to areas currently lacking broadband service. The funding resulted from reforms made by the Commission to legacy support mechanisms for rate-of-return carriers to begin transitioning to more incentive-based funding for broadband deployment. By July 24, 2012, Carriers must notify the FCC whether they will accept the Phase I funding set forth in the Public Notice. The Wireline Competition Bureau currently is working on developing a forward-looking broadband cost model that, when finalized, will aid the Commission in awarding funds under Phase II of the Connect America Fund. 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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