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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. X Issue 9

Date: Feb 25, 2013

FCC Releases T-Band Public Notice

Last year, the FCC suspended the acceptance and processing of applications for licenses in the T-Band (470-512 MHz). (Vol IX, Issue 18). Earlier this month, the FCC released a Public Notice seeking comment on its process for reclaiming and auctioning this spectrum. The Commission asks a host of questions relating to the T-Band, including how existing licensees use their systems, whether non-public safety entities should be relocated to another band or permitted to stay in the T-Band, and which alternative spectrum band(s) the FCC should consider if it relocates T-Band licensees. Comments must be filed by May 11 and Reply Comments are due June 11. Please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296) with questions.

FCC Adopts Signal Booster Rules

Last week, the FCC released a Report and Order adopting rules for signal boosters to extend wireless networks. The new rules include stringent technical requirements and divide the devices into two categories: consumer boosters and industrial boosters. The FCC focused on more sophisticated technical standards for consumer-grade boosters to mitigate interference to wireless networks by poorly designed equipment and to facilitate deployment of compliant consumer grade boosters. Compliant consumer boosters are intended to work "out of the box" and must be registered with the carrier prior to use. As to the industrial boosters, the FCC deferred to the wireless carriers that, as licensees, the wireless carriers must either install or provide their consent to facility operators or contractors to construct and operate industrial boosters retransmitting on licensed frequencies. Signal boosters operating on Part 90 land mobile channels also were classified as "industrial boosters," and the Commission adopted a rule requiring Part 90, Class B to be registered by November 1, 2014. For additional information, please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; jarrett@khlaw.com).

FCC Rulemaking Proposes Expanding Unlicensed Operations in 5 GHz Band

The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking last week proposing to make available up to an additional 195 MHz of spectrum available in the 5 GHz band for unlicensed wireless devices. Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices currently operate in 555 MHz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band for short-range, high-speed wireless connections. The FCC's proposal would maintain the existing technical requirements and provide access to additional contiguous spectrum, allowing unlicensed devices to use wider bandwidth channels. Comments will be due 45 days after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register, which should occur in the next few weeks. Reply Comments will be due 75 days after Federal Register publication. For questions or more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com).

Massachusetts/Tennessee Pole Attachment Legislation

Recent legislation introduced in Massachusetts aims to reduce "double wood" conditions (primarily communications attachments remaining on a pole after a utility replacement pole has been installed right next to it) by establishing a mandatory notification system, annual reports, an industry-wide committee, and perhaps fines. Tennessee legislation introduced last week with electric co-op support would establish more equitable rates and penalties for attachments to co-op and muni poles, along with a dispute resolution process and an industry-wide working group. Meanwhile, other attacher-supported legislation last week would cap attachment rates at twice the FCC rate. This recent flurry of activity in Tennessee follows legislation introduced earlier this month to require Administrative Law Judges to consider FCC regulations when ruling on pole attachment matters. For additional information, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128).

CPNI Certification Deadline Approaching

All telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers must file their Customer Proprietary Network Information (or "CPNI") compliance report with the FCC by March 1, 2011. Earlier this year, the Commission's Enforcement Bureau issued an Enforcement Advisory to remind these entities to file their annual reports certifying compliance with the Commission's CPNI rules. The FCC intends to continue strict enforcement of the CPNI requirements. For additional information, contact Tracy Marshall (202.434.4234; marshall@khlaw.com).

K&H Oil and Gas Telecom Webinar Available

Keller and Heckman's telecommunications attorneys hosted a complimentary webinar last week discussing key telecom issues facing the oil and gas industry. Topics included 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. A recording of the webinar is available here

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