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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 25

Date: Jun 18, 2012

FCC's Interim ASR Rules Take Effect Today

Earlier today, the FCC's Interim rules adopting a notification process for new towers to provide members of the public with an opportunity to comment on the environmental impact of proposed structures were published in the Federal Register. Under the Interim Rules, applicants seeking to construct a tower taller than 450 feet must prepare and file an Environmental Assessment with the Commission for the proposed structure. Applicants seeking to construct a tower that requires an Antenna Structure Registration ("ASR") number from the FCC must provide local notice of the proposed tower through publication in a local newspaper or other appropriate means and submit a partially-completed FCC Form 854 to the Commission for notification purposes. The Commission will post the partially-completed Form 854 on its website in searchable form for 30 days to permit interested parties the opportunity to comment on the proposal. If no objections are received, the FCC will grant an ASR number at the expiration of the 30-day notice period. The new rules take effect today. Please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com).

FCC Considers Critical Infrastructure in 4.9 GHz Band

Last week, the FCC issued a Fourth Report and Order and Fifth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("Order") inviting comments on whether critical infrastructure entities should be eligible to hold licenses in the 4.9 GHz band (4940-4990 MHz) on a primary basis. The band currently is allocated to public safety licensees and may be used by non-public safety entities only under a sharing arrangement for operations in support of public safety. The Commission proposes to remove these requirements and allow critical infrastructure entities to hold 4.9 GHz licenses on a primary basis. In addition, the Commission seeks comment on issues related to sharing between critical infrastructure entities and public safety users, priority access during emergencies and frequency coordination with incumbent public safety licensees. Comments are due 60 days after the Order is published in the Federal Register and Reply Comments must be filed 90 days after Federal Register publication. Please contact Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com).

NARUC Publishes Cybersecurity Primer

Last week, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners ("NARUC") released a Cybersecurity for State Regulators Primer requesting that state utility commissioners work with regulated utilities to ensure they take prudent steps to implement cybersecurity protections. The Primer includes a sample list of questions for regulated utilities, focusing on procurement strategies, implement policies and the assignment of personnel to deal with potential challenges. The Primer does not endorse any particular cybersecurity legislation pending before Congress but urges state commissions to take protective action even in the absence of federal legislation. Please contact Tracy Marshall (202.434.4234; marshall@khlaw.com) with questions.

Broadband Executive Order

Last week, the White House issued an Executive Order establishing a Working Group to develop and implement a strategy to facilitate the timely and efficient deployment of broadband facilities on Federal lands, buildings, rights of way, federally assisted highways and tribal lands. The Order promotes a "dig once" policy for broadband deployment urging the Department of Transportation to provide internet service providers with information about road construction plans to help coordinate broadband conduit construction during federal highway projects. Please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; jarrett@khlaw.com) with questions.

FAA Report Recommends Marking and Lighting Changes

A recent FAA Report recommends changing the marking and lighting of communications towers to minimize bird deaths. Among other things, the agency recommends replacing steady-burning red lights with flashing red lights or omitting red lights entirely to reduce the impact on migratory birds. The Report also promotes rapid discharge lights, such as LED lights, because these lights act as a more "attention-getting signal for illuminating obstructions compared to incandescent light fixtures." Please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com) with questions.

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