Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 49

Date: Dec 03, 2012

K&H Webinar Assesses Pole Attachment Appeal

The FCC's April 2011 Order created a host of new regulations governing attachments to poles owned by electric utilities. Core decisions by the FCC have been challenged by utilities at the Commission and in the Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit, and Oral Argument has been scheduled for January 23, 2013. Keller and Heckman LLP represents the "Coalition of Concerned Utilities," a group of ten utilities that requested reconsideration at the FCC and has intervened in the court case. On Thursday, January 17 from 2:00-3:00 Eastern Time, Partner Tom Magee will assess the issues on reconsideration and appeal and discuss what utilities might expect during a one-hour webinar for utility personnel. The cost is $100 per telephone line. To register, click here. For questions, please feel free to contact Tom (202.434.4128; magee@khlaw.com).

800 MHz Rebanding Completed for 11 NPSPAC Regions

Last week, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing completion of the 800 MHz Rebanding process for 11 National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) regions. The remaining channels in these regions recently vacated by SprintNextel are available exclusively to Public Safety licensees for three years, effective January 17, 2013, and to critical infrastructure entities for two years thereafter. The FCC also announced that channels in the Expansion and Guard Bands are available for licensing in these regions effective January 17, 2013. Additionally, the freeze on new applications for the 900 MHz band for these regions will be lifted effective May 28, 2013. In other regions where the rebanding process is still ongoing, the FCC continues to release channels recently vacated by SprintNextel. In the recent Public Notice, the FCC announced the release of the remained vacated interleaved band channels in 16 NPSPAC regions, including Northern California, Central and Northeast Texas, metropolitan NYC, and Eastern Pennsylvania. These channels will be available exclusively to public safety licenses from January 17, 2013 to January 17, 2016, and subsequently to critical infrastructure entities effective January 17, 2016. For more information, please contract Greg Kunkle (Kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

"Although there's still more waiting to do, the FCC's Public Notice is a light of the end of the tunnel for companies waiting for 800 MHz and 900 MHz spectrum to be released."

–Greg Kunkle
Partner, Keller and Heckman LLP

FCC Issues Reminder of Narrowbanding Deadline

The FCC's Wireless Bureau released a Public Notice last week reminding Private Land Mobile radio Licensees operating in the 150-174 MHz (VHF) and 421-470 MHz (UHF) bands that they are in the final month to bring their systems into compliance with the narrowband mandate by the January 1, 2013 deadline. Effective February 1, 2013, the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC), which includes all FCC certified frequency coordinators, has indicated coordinators will treat all non-compliant 25 kHz systems as 12.5 kHz narrowbanded systems for purposes of frequency assignments and coordination review. Licensees requiring a waiver of the deadline are encouraged to file as soon as possible and, though the FCC has taken a flexible approach to waiver requests, licensees should expect that late-filed waivers will be granted for a shorter time frame. For assistance in filing the required narrowband applications or waiver request, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296).

Manufacturers Seek Delay of FCC's VHF/UHF Equipment Requirements

Last week, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking comment on a Petition from Ritron, Inc. seeking to delay indefinitely implementation of the FCC's rules prohibiting submission of new applications after January 1, 2011 for equipment in the 150-174 MHz and 450-512 MHz bands that cannot operate in a 6.25 kHz mode or with equivalent efficiency. The FCC temporary waived this requirement until January 1, 2013 to assist companies in the transition to narrowband operations. Ritron argues that standards for 6.25 kHz technology are not yet in place and that, in the Industrial/Business sector, two incompatible and proprietary technologies have emerged justifying a further extension of implementation. The Commission seeks comment by December 10, 2012 on whether the public interest would be served in further delaying implementation of this requirement. In a separate Order on Reconsideration, the FCC also granted a request by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) to continue certification of new wideband equipment for operation in the 470-512 MHz Band ("T-Band"). For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (Kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

Government Officials Push Electricity "Maturity" Model for Cybersecurity Solutions

Last week, Keller and Heckman attended a panel discussion on the role of public-private partnerships in protecting critical infrastructure from potential cyber-attacks. Collaboration between the Federal government and private sector focuses on the Electricity Subsector Cybersecurity Capability Maturity Model (ES-C2M2 – available here), a joint effort by the White House, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Energy (DOE) and private industry. The ES-C2M2 provides a framework for identifying cybersecurity strengths and weaknesses and provides best practices and priorities for utility companies and electric grid operators. A self-assessment questionnaire is available through DOE to help companies evaluate their current risks and address solutions. 

Send Us Your Feedback

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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