Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. X Issue 5

Date: Jan 28, 2013

DC Circuit Hears Oral Arguments in Pole Attachment Appeal

Last week, a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral arguments in the electric utility industry's appeal of the FCC's Pole Attachment Order. The utilities' arguments focused on issues of ILEC jurisdiction and the rate for telecom attachments under Section 224 of the Communications Act. The remaining issue on appeal, rate refunds, was not addressed by either side. The FCC's attorney argued that the Pole Attachment Act was ambiguous and that the agency's interpretations of the statute were reasonable and consistent with Congressional directives to promote broadband. Though it is impossible to predict with certainty the outcome of the appeal based solely on the judges' reactions during oral argument, the judges did not seem to seriously challenge the FCC's arguments and posed few probing questions. Please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202.434.4128) with questions.

Senate Introduces Cybersecurity Legislation

Last week, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced the first cybersecurity bill of the 113th Congress. The bill, entitled the "Cybersecurity and American Cyber Competitiveness Act," apparently is intended to show that comprehensive cybersecurity legislation is going to be one of the top priorities of this Congress.but proposes no new mandates. The bill sets many goals for cybersecurity legislation, including enhancing the security and resiliency of U.C. communications networks, encouraging cyber threat information sharing, and increasing the capability of the U.S. to detect and respond to cyber attacks against critical infrastructure networks. For questions or more information, please contact Tracy Marshall (202.434.4234; marshall@khlaw.com).

API Urges FCC to Clarify Verizon's Gulf Buildout Obligations

Last week, in response to a request by Verizon for clarification of license construction requirements that would be placed on Verizon if it acquires the upper 700 MHz C Block license in the Gulf of Mexico from Small Ventures USA, LP, Keller and Heckman filed comments on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute (API) supporting the FCC's efforts to consider the special nature of offshore communications services in the Gulf. Verizon requested that it be considered to have met the buildout obligation by providing service to 40 percent of the oil and gas "drilling platforms" in the license area in active service as of June 13, 2013, and 75 percent as of the end of the license term. In its comments, API noted that "drilling platforms" are a very narrow subset of the total number of offshore platforms that have communications requirements. The term "drilling platform" excludes offshore structures such as production, manifold, compression, pumping and valving platforms. API requested that the FCC instead use the total number of offshore platforms included in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's Technical Information Management System database as proxy for population in determining buildout coverage. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

FCC Form 499-Q Due February 1

Telecommunications carriers providing interstate telecommunications services, interconnected VoIP providers, providers of interstate telecommunications service for a fee on a non-common carrier basis must file the Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet 499-Q by February 1. The Worksheet projects 2nd quarter revenue from April through June. A copy of the 499-Q is available here. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

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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