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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 43

Date: Oct 22, 2012

FCC Denies Construction Extensions for LMDS Licensees

The FCC issued several Memorandum Opinion and Orders (MO&O) last week (two available here and here) denying requests for extension of time to demonstrate "substantial service" sufficient to satisfy the construction requirements for Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS) licenses acquired in Auction 17. In 2008, the FCC initially granted 4-year extensions to a large number of LMDS licensees recognizing market factors, such as inability to obtain adequate equipment, beyond their control. In the recent MO&O, the FCC dismissed the requests for extension and terminated the licenses finding that LMDS licensees have had ample time and equipment options to construct their systems. For additional information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

Enforcement Bureau Issues Advisory on Jammers

Last week, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau released an Enforcement Advisory warning consumers it is illegal to operate, sell, or advertise to sell devices designed to block, jam or otherwise interfere with cell phone, GPS and other authorized radio signals. These devices are prohibited because they cannot discriminate between wanted and unwanted communications and can block critical public safety communications. In connection with the Advisory, the Enforcement Bureau also launched a public jammer tip line (855-55-NOJAM) to report violations. The Bureau reminded consumers that monetary penalties can exceed $100,000 for a single occurrence. 

Consolidation Among Domestic Wireless Carriers

Consolidation within the domestic wireless industry continues as MetroPCS Communications, Inc. and T-Mobile USA, Inc., a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG, have agreed to a transaction under which T-Mobile will acquire MetroPCS. Similarly, Sprint Nextel announced it has agreed to a deal with Softbank, a Japan-based wireless carrier, in which Softbank will acquire a controlling 70 percent equity interest in Sprint. Both transactions are subject to FCC approval and review by either the Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission. Because AT&T and Verizon Wireless, collectively, have such a strong position in the US Wireless market, the transactions are expected to be viewed positively by the FCC, as promoting competition for wireless voice and data services. Please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180) for more information.

Corporate Counsel Corner: Cybersecurity Fight Continues on Capitol Hill

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced his intention to revisit cybersecurity legislation (S-3414) after the November election following testimony from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano that the White House is prepared to issue an Executive Order (EO) if Congress fails to take action. The Senate failed to vote on S-3414 in last legislative session. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also spoke in support of the White House EO, stating that immediate action is necessary to protect networks from potential attacks. Senator Reid's announcement offers Congress another opportunity for compromise on cybersecurity legislation. If Congress does not reach an agreement and President Obama wins reelection, look for the White House to issue a cybersecurity EO following the November session. For more information on this and other data security and privacy matters, please contact K&H partner Sheila Millar (202.434.4143; millar@khlaw.com). Ms. Millar is the head of K&H's privacy, data security and digital media practice and has assisted clients in developing policies and procedures to manage their privacy and data concerns.

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Keller and Heckman LLP's Telecom Business Alert is a complimentary weekly electronic update created by the Telecommunications and the Business Counseling and Transactional practice groups of Keller and Heckman LLP.

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