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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. X Issue 2

Date: Jan 07, 2013

Unlicensed Part 15 Band at Risk – Opposition to Progeny Proposal Needed

The unlicensed, low-powered 902-928 MHz band is used for a wide variety of critical applications, including electric utility smart grids, SCADA systems that monitor and control oil and natural gas pipelines and production fields, RFID devices that track assets and supply chains, fixed broadband in rural areas, and countless consumer products such as hearing aids, home alarm systems, cordless phones and wireless headsets. Progeny LMS, LLC has asked the FCC for authority to operate high-power 30 watt transmitters as part of its location monitoring system in this band, which many believe will cause unacceptably high levels of interference to existing low-powered users. The operations of millions of unlicensed devices – all manufactured, purchased, installed, and used in reliance on the FCC's existing rules – could be jeopardized. An industry letter opposing Progeny's proposal can be found here. If your company is interested in signing onto the letter, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178) by noon, Thursday, January 10, 2013. The letter is expected to be filed with the FCC on January 11, 2013.

KH Assesses Pole Attachment Appeal in January 17 Webinar

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. Registration for the webinar is available here. For questions, please feel free to contact Tom (202.434.4128; magee@khlaw.com).

PCIA Files Tower Siting Shot Clock Brief with Supreme Court

Last month, PCIA filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in City of Arlington v FCC, supporting the FCC's 2009 Declaratory Ruling which established time periods for State and local governments to act on requests to construct wireless towers or attach communications equipment to existing structures. The "shot clock" established by the Declaratory Ruling requires State or local governments to act on requests to collocate equipment on an existing structure within 90 days and review applications for new towers within 150 days. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Declaratory Ruling earlier this year. Oral arguments are scheduled for January 16. Please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; jarrett@khlaw.com).

Narrowbanding: After the Deadline

The FCC's narrowbanding focus has shifted as the compliance deadline passed last week. Licensees failing to meet the January 1, 2013, deadline or obtain an extension could receive a Letter of Inquiry ("LOI") from the FCC's Enforcement Bureau in the next several months. An LOI represents the initiation of an enforcement investigation, poses a series of questions relating to a potential rule violation and requires a response, usually within 30 days. The result of an LOI typically is a financial penalty, either through a settlement or Notice of Apparent Liability. Non-compliant licensees may also have their licenses canceled. The FCC has confirmed that licensees operating narrowband systems and filing applications to narrowband existing systems with a certified frequency coordinator prior to December 31, 2012, will be presumed compliant with the deadline. As a result, several frequency coordinators are working through a backlog of approximately 2,000 applications received prior to the deadline. Expect the FCC's application processing time to remain elevated for the next several months. Please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com) with questions.

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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.

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