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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. X Issue 4

Date: Jan 22, 2013

Progeny Contests Interference Concerns

Last week, Progeny responded to concerns that the company's multilateration Location and Monitoring Service (M-LMS) network will cause harmful interference to unlicensed devices in the 902-928 MHz band. Progeny contends that its test results demonstrate that its M-LMS system will not cause unacceptable interference and argued that the concerns failed to consider Progeny's "effective mitigation strategies." Last week, more than 60 electric utilities, oil and gas companies, equipment manufacturers, associations and others filed a letter with the FCC opposing Progeny's proposal. The letter referenced field tests showing that Progeny's system will cause unacceptably high levels of interference to millions of lower-powered unlicensed industrial and consumer devices, 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. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

California PUC Issues Pole Maintenance Report

The Consumer Protection Safety Division ("CPSD") of the California Public Utilities Commission issued its final report on January 11 on its investigation of a powerful wind storm that hit southern California on November 30, 2011. The storm affected 248 wood poles and 1,064 overhead conductors. More than 440,000 customers lost power. The CPSD's report blames the pole maintenance failures on the electric utility but also on communications providers, including AT&T, Charter Communications, Sunesys, Time Warner Cable, tw telecom and Verizon. The PUC may consider financial penalties against the utility and communications providers. For questions or more information, please contact Tom Magee (202.434.4128; magee@khlaw.com).

FCC Still Working Through Narrowbanding Issues

Last week, the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC) met with the FCC to discuss how to handle licenses in the VHF (150-174 MHz) and UHF (450-470 MHz) bands that did not comply with the FCC's January 1, 2013, narrowbanding deadline. FCC staff expressed concerns about a proposal submitted by frequency coordinators last spring that would allow the coordinators to ignore non-compliant wideband systems (effectively 25 kHz analog voice systems) in the VHF and UHF bands (Vol. IX, Issue 22). The FCC instructed coordinators to treat these non-compliant wideband systems as analog compliant narrowband systems for coordination purposes. Additional narrowbanding issues remain at the FCC. For example, Commission staff is still receiving requests to waive the narrowbanding deadline and reviewing a backlog of narrowband applications while the frequency coordinators have more than 1,000 narrowband applications awaiting submission to the FCC. The Commission expects to complete its review of all narrowband applications and waivers by the end of March and will consider an audit of non-compliant licenses at that time. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296).

KH to Host Complimentary Webinar on Telecom Issues in the Oil & Gas Industry

On Wednesday, February 20, at noon Eastern Time, Keller and Heckman attorneys will host a complimentary webinar to discuss key telecom issues facing the oil and gas industry. Topics will include an overview of wireless spectrum requirements and options for the industry, FCC licensing and enforcement trends, network services developments and an update on cybersecurity issues. 

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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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