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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. X Issue 6

Date: Feb 04, 2013

Lower and Upper Paging Band Auction Set for July 16

Last week, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing an auction of 5,905 paging licenses -- 4,902 licenses in the lower paging bands (unpaired spectrum in the 35, 43, 152, and 158 MHz bands and paired spectrum in the 152/157, 152/158, and 454/459 MHz bands) and 1,003 licenses in the upper paging bands (929 and 931 MHz) -- on July 16, 2013 (Auction 95). The lower paging band licenses will be auctioned by 175 geographic areas known as Economic Areas (EAs), while the upper paging band licenses will be auctioned by 51 geographic areas known as Major Economic Areas (MEAs). The lower paging bands are compatible with many Part 90 radios. The FCC's notice also seeks comment on auction procedures for potential bidders and specific rules to govern the day-to-day conduct of the auction. Comments are due by February 22, 2013 and Reply Comments are due by March 14, 2013. Please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178) for more information.

FCC to Discuss Signal Boosters at February 20 Open Meeting

Last week, the FCC announced its agenda for the next open meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, February 20. The FCC will consider a Report and Order on "Improving Wireless Coverage for Consumers Through the Use of Signal Boosters." The Order follows up on the FCC's April 2011 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (available here) proposing new technical, operational and registration requirements for signal boosters to enhance wireless coverage for consumers. The FCC will also consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to increase the amount of spectrum available for unlicensed devices in the 5 GHz band for Wi-Fi devices.

New Microwave Antenna Rules Effective April 1

The FCC has announced (Notice available here) that April 1, 2013 will be the effective date for the August 9 Order adopting new Part 101 microwave rules as part of FCC's Rural Microwave Flexibility Policy. The Policy is designed to allow longer microwave links, eliminate the need for intermediate relay stations, and cut operational expenses for operators in uncongested, rural areas. The amended rules permit smaller antennas for systems operating in the 6 GHz, 13 GHz, 18 GHz and 23 GHz bands, allow wider channels in the 6 GHz and 11 GHz bands, permit aggregation of adjacent 30 and 40 MHz channels in the 6 GHz and 11 GHz bands and relax the waiver requirements for microwave systems falling within the arc of geostationary satellites. Please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296) with questions.

Pole Attachment Fraud/Unfair Trade Claims Upheld

A federal judge in Louisiana upheld claims by Dixie Electric Membership Corp. that BellSouth had engaged in unfair trade practices and fraud by failing to accurately report the number of its attachments on the electric coop's poles. This ruling affirms two legal remedies to combat the common problem of undisclosed/unauthorized attachments by cable and telecom providers. For information about how this ruling may affect your utility, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128).

A federal judge in Louisiana upheld claims by Dixie Electric Membership Corp. that BellSouth had engaged in unfair trade practices and fraud by failing to accurately report the number of its attachments on the electric coop's poles. This ruling affirms two legal remedies to combat the common problem of undisclosed/unauthorized attachments by cable and telecom providers. For information about how this ruling may affect your utility, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128).

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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