Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 32

Date: Aug 06, 2012

FCC Releases Broadband Backhaul Report and Order

Last week, the Commission issued a Second Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("Second R&O") amending portions of Part 101 of the FCC's rules to promote wireless backhaul for broadband use. The Second R&O permits smaller antennas for systems operating in the 6 GHz, 18 GHz and 23 GHz bands, allows wider channels in the 6 GHz and 11 GHz bands, permits aggregation of adjacent 30 and 40 MHz channels in the 6 GHz and 11 GHz bands and relaxes the waiver requirements for microwave systems falling within the arc of geostationary satellites. The Second R&O also seeks comment on whether the Commission should permit smaller antennas in the 13 GHz band and seeks to undertake a comprehensive review of antenna standards. The new rules will take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Please contact Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com) with questions.

FCC Terminates Public Safety 700 MHz Waivers

The FCC issued an Order last week terminating waivers that permitted public safety agencies to deploy statewide or local public safety broadband networks on the 700 MHz public safety broadband spectrum (763-768 MHz and 793-798 MHz) ("Public Safety Spectrum"). The termination date is set for September 2, 2012, which is date on which the majority of the waiver recipients' spectrum leases with the Public Safety Spectrum Trust expire. The Order is related to the recently enacted Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 requiring the 700 MHz D Block (758-763 MHz and 788-793 MHz) and the adjacent Public Safety 700 MHz broadband spectrum be allocated to FirstNet to establish a nationwide public safety broadband network. The FCC determined that terminating the waivers, as opposed to transitioning the existing leases to FirstNet, is the preferred approach for reallocating the Public Safety broadband spectrum to FirstNet. Please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180) with questions.

Comment Dates Set for 4.9 GHz Band Proceeding

Last week, the FCC's Fourth Report and Order and Fifth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("Order") proposing the extension of primary operations in the 4.9 GHz band (4940-4990 MHz) to critical infrastructure entities was published in the Federal Register. The 4.9 GHz band currently is allocated to public safety licensees. Non-public safety entities may operate in the band only through a sharing arrangement for operations in support of public safety. The Further Notice proposes to remove these requirements and allow critical infrastructure entities to hold 4.9 GHz licenses on a primary basis. The Commission also 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 by October 1 and Reply Comments are due by October 31. Please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com) with questions.

Senate Unlikely to Vote on Cybersecurity Act of 2012

The Senate defeated the motion to end debate and proceed to vote on the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S. 3414) last week. Last minute attempts by legislators to reach an agreement focused on creating a framework for the Federal government and private sector to share information while maintaining individual privacy protection as well as determining whether certain critical infrastructure sectors should be subject to additional cybersecurity requirements. It is unlikely the Senate will vote on the Act before the upcoming elections. Please contact Tracy Marshall (marshall@khlaw.com; 202.434.4234) for more information.

Annual FCC Regulatory Fees due September 4th


Last week, the FCC announced that regulatory fees for the fiscal year 2012 are due by September 4, 2012. Licensees of certain facilities, such as Satellite Earth Stations, are required to make annual regulatory fee payments. For many licensed facilities, like microwave and land mobile systems, the regulatory fees are paid as part of an application fee charged at the time an application for new authority or application for renewal are submitted to the Commission. 

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