Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 31

Date: Jul 30, 2012

Senate Debates Cybersecurity Act of 2012

Substantive debate over the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S. 3414) begins in the Senate this week. The Act is favored by many Democrats and would create a new National Cybersecurity Council responsible for conducting an assessment of cyber risks to critical infrastructure entities. The White House issued a policy statement last week supporting the revised bill. Many Republicans oppose the Act and favor the SECURE IT Act, which would promote voluntary information sharing between the private sector and government on cyber threats, but would not alter the current regulatory regime. It is expected that several amendments to the Cybersecurity Act will be considered, including proposals that could decrease the authority of the Department of Homeland Security and add a five-year sunset provision. Please contact Tracy Marshall (marshall@khlaw.com; 202.434.4234) for more information.

Sprint Nextel Tells FCC its Microwave Licensing Rules are OK

In comments filed last week, Sprint Nextel Corporation told the Commission that its current microwave coordination procedures are adequate and there is no need for changes. The Comments were filed in response to the Commission's June 20 Public Notice seeking comment on the rate of rejection for common carrier applications to license spectrum in the 11 GHz, 18 GHz and 23 GHz bands ("Microwave Bands"). The Public Notice is related to a provision in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 requiring the Commission to determine whether the Microwave Bands are being used efficiently. Sprint told the FCC that the current rules have maximized spectrum efficiency because the company has been able to successfully coordinate and obtain licenses in the Microwave Bands throughout the country.

Report Recommends Changes to Unlicensed Operations

Last week, the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee approved a report recommending fundamental changes to how unlicensed devices, particularly consumer devices, are viewed and regulated. The Committee recommended that NTIA and the FCC adopt regulations "reducing reliance on post-hoc regulatory enforcement of interference by turning to technology-based solutions for ‘connected devices.'" The Report also urged the agencies to educate policymakers on the secondary status of unlicensed devices in shared bands and the obligation of consumers and manufacturers to accept interference. The Committee recommended the FCC address interference concerns quickly through a "shot clock" of some kind. Please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178) with questions.

FCC Approves Another Narrowbanding Waiver

Last week, the FCC approved a one-year waiver for the Arizona Water Company to comply with the Commission's mandatory narrowbanding requirement for VHF (150-174 MHz) and UHF (421-470 MHz) licenses. The Commission issued a Public Notice last year indicating it would subject narrowbanding waiver requests to a high level of scrutiny and that any waiver request should demonstrate (i) that the licensee worked diligently and in good faith to narrowband its system expeditiously, (ii) that circumstances warrant a temporary extension of the deadline, and (iii) the amount of time for which a waiver is requested is no more than is reasonably necessary to complete the narrowbanding process. The Commission believed the company had diligently prepared for the narrowband transition and committed most of the necessary funds to implement narrowband technology. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com).

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