Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 41

Date: Oct 09, 2012

NTIA Seeks Comment on FirstNet Network

The Notice of Inquiry (NOI) by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), seeking comment on the optimum design of the 700 MHz FirstNet Nationwide Network (FNN), was published in the Federal Register on October 4. To reach operational capacity quickly and minimize capital expenditures, FNN proposes to leverage existing commercial wireless infrastructure. Among other issues, the NOI invites comment on network designs, network security requirements and business plans. The NOI also asks commenters to submit alternative network design proposals outlining how FirstNet can achieve a single nationwide architecture capable of evolving with technical advancements. Comments must be filed by November 1. Please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296) for more information.

FCC Initiates Comprehensive Review of Rules Governing Satellite Services

Last week, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) beginning a comprehensive review of its rules governing the licensing and operation of satellite earth stations and space stations. The NPRM proposes to simplify application filing requirements and eliminate unnecessary technical rules with an eye toward accommodating new and evolving technologies. Consistent with the NPRM, the FCC also issued a Report and Order making several other changes to the Part 25 rules designed to simplify license applications for earth and space stations. Comments on the NPRM are due 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. Please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180) with questions.

FCC Approves Incentive Auction for Broadcast Spectrum

Last week, the FCC voted to initiate its first incentive auction to repurpose the broadcast television spectrum for mobile broadband use. The proposed incentive auction will include a "reverse auction" in which broadcast television licensees submit bids to voluntarily relinquish spectrum usage rights in exchange for payment. The UHF broadcast television bands will be "repacked" to free up frequencies for other uses. The FCC also announced a "forward auction" of the newly available spectrum. The FCC has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on the auction design, a new band plan for the 600 MHz broadcast television spectrum, and the proposal to allocate substantial spectrum for unlicensed operations. The Commission's goal is to start the incentive auction by June 30, 2014. Comments for the NPRM are due on December 21 and Reply Comments are due February 19, 2013. Please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178) with any questions.

FCC to Review Mobile Spectrum Holding Policies

The FCC has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to review its mobile spectrum holding policies in light of the changes in technology, spectrum availability and recent developments in the mobile marketplace. The Commission last reviewed these policies more than a decade ago. The Commission will review options for assessing the impact of spectrum holdings of the major wireless carriers in order to develop benchmarks and guidelines on permissible spectrum holdings in connection with transactions and auctions. In addition, the FCC will review related rules and policies. Comments on the NPRM are due 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (Wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296).

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