Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 44

Date: Oct 31, 2012

FCC Provides 24/7 Contact Information in Advance of Hurricane Sandy

As Hurricane Sandy approached the east coast last week, the FCC issued a Public Notice providing contact information where licensees could address emergency communications needs throughout the weekend. Companies were reminded to contact the FCC's Operations Center for assistance in initiating, resuming or maintaining communications during the storm. During past natural disasters, the Commission has accommodated licensees by issuing licenses for Special Temporary Authority to address critical communications needs. For more information, please Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

Iowa Proposes to Regulate Pole Attachments

The Iowa Utilities Board proposed pole attachment regulations last week that would enable Iowa to join 20 other states and Washington, D.C. in regulating pole attachments. The proposed rules would lower pole attachment rates but give electric utility pole owners new tools to police attacher safety violations, including timelines for the correction of violations. Other issues remain to be worked out during the rulemaking proceeding but may be left for case-by-case adjudication. The proposal covers attachments to investor-owned utilities, not co-ops or munis. For more information, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202.434.4128).

House Commerce Committee Releases FCC Emails Related to LightSquared

Earlier this month, the House Commerce Committee released internal emails and a confidential memorandum from the FCC discussing LightSquared's request to operate a wireless broadband network in the L-Band. The internal documents show the Commission weighed several factors when considering LightSquared's request. For example, the FCC considered potential interference caused by LightSquared's proposed operations to existing satellite licensees and GPS systems. In addition, the Commission weighed the efficiency gain of increased spectrum utilization against potential equity considerations of providing a "windfall" to LightSquared since it did not acquire the spectrum at auction. Last year, LightSquared received conditional authority from the FCC to test a wireless broadband network in the L-band. The conditional authority was revoked earlier this year and LightSquared filed for bankruptcy protection in May. The company has indicated it is still interested in deploying a nationwide 4G wireless broadband network. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296).

Corporate Counsel Corner: Narrowbanding Raises Issues on Proper Disposal of Unusable Legacy RF Equipment

By January 1, 2013, Industrial/Business and Public Safety Radio Pool licensees in the VHF (150-174 MHz) and UHF (421-470 MHz) bands must operate on 12.5 kHz or narrower channels or employ a technology that achieves the narrowband equivalent of one channel per 12.5 kHz of channel bandwidth (voice) or 4800 bits per second per 6.25 kHz (data). Many licensees must now manage wideband equipment that cannot be modified to meet the narrowband emission standards. In doing so, licensees must consider Federal and state regulations that govern how certain components of some legacy radio equipment must be disposed. For example, nickel cadmium and lithium ion batteries are considered hazardous waste and must be disposed of accordingly. 

Keller and Heckman at Industry Events

Keller and Heckman Partner Greg Kunkle will be speaking at the Oil Comm show in Houston, Texas on November 8. Mr. Kunkle will be part of a panel discussing Designing and Deploying of Communications in Today's Hot Spots. For additional information, please contact Mr. Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

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In an attempt to address in our weekly Telecom Business Alert the issues of most importance to the clients and friends of Keller and Heckman LLP, we invite you to submit suggestions on topics of interest to you. To make suggestions, please send an e-mail to TelecomAlert@khlaw.com.

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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