Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 47

Date: Nov 19, 2012

Comments Submitted on FirstNet

Over 130 parties submitted comments in response to the Notice of Inquiry (NOI) by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) concerning the conceptual network architecture of FirstNet, the nationwide public safety broadband network to be developed in the 700 MHz D Block. Commenters focused heavily on doubts regarding reliability of the system, concerns about devices to be deployed by FirstNet, and which parties would have access. K&H submitted comments on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Energy Telecommunications and Electrical Association (ENTELEC) urging NTIA to consider oil and gas assets (particularly in rural areas) for deployment of the 700 MHz network in exchange for industry access to a portion of the 700 MHz spectrum. 

No Vote on Cybersecurity for This Congress

Last week, the United States Senate again shot down legislation (S-3414) that proposed to set corporate cybersecurity standards and push many businesses to share information with the federal government. This action marks the last of multiple attempts to bring the cybersecurity legislation to vote during this session. Now that it is clear the Senate will not issue legislation, focus has shifted on President Obama to issue a cybersecurity executive order (EO). An EO has been in the works for quite some time and has gained support by many in the Administration. White House Officials have stressed the need for immediate action, which is leading to suspicion that the cybersecurity EO could come within the next week or so. For more information, please contact Tracy Marshall (marshall@khlaw.com; 202.434.4234).

Sandy Prompts Replacement of Damaged Copper with Fiber; AT&T Calls for All-IP Networks

Hurricane Sandy has accelerated the replacement of copper with fiber in Verizon's wireline service areas. According to trade press reports, the flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy, particularly with sea water, destroyed copper infrastructure in the Mid-Atlantic States, prompting Verizon to install miles of aerial fiber in flooded areas. On November 7, 2012, AT&T filed its self-styled "Petition to Launch a Proceeding Concerning the TDM-to-IP Transition," and announced its Project Velocity IP business plan, calling for $15 Billion in new investment in wireless and wireline infrastructure that will enable it to deliver advanced IP broadband service to 99% of its customers located in its local wireline service territories. AT&T's petition seeks regulatory relief to permit incumbent local exchange carriers to expedite the retirement of TDM infrastructure and to deploy all-IP networks, offering IP services exclusively by a date certain. AT&T's business plan and petition garnered a favorable endorsement from FCC Chairman Genachowski. For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

"The question for all-IP networks is not whether or not, but when."
–Doug Jarrett
Partner, Keller and Heckman LLP

Corporate Counsel Corner: Compliance Obligations for Shippers of Hazardous Materials

Did you know that some batteries, aerosols, lubricants, cleaning supplies, fuels, refrigerants, and other products that are often present at cell sites, many large, multi-user towers or used by telecommunications personnel in the field are regulated as hazardous materials by the U.S Department of Transportation (DOT)? Shipments of those materials must be conducted in compliance with special marking, labeling, packaging, and documentation requirements and persons who prepare such shipments must have completed DOT hazardous materials training. Failure to strictly comply with these obligations can lead to significant monetary penalties and potential tort liability for the shipper. A brief overview of the regulatory requirements is provided here. Please contact Keller and Heckman Partner Trent Doyle (doyle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4161) with questions and for more information.

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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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