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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. X Issue 11

Date: Mar 11, 2013

FCC to Consider Backup Power for Tower Sites at March Open Meeting

The FCC issued a tentative agenda for its Open Commission Meeting on March 20, including a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking to improve the reliability of 9-1-1 service nationwide. While the text of the NPRM has not yet been publicly disclosed, it is expected to include proposals to require communications providers to maintain reliable backup power at their central offices, conduct periodic audits of 9-1-1 links, notify 9-1-1 call centers of issues, and implement reliable network monitoring systems. These proposals are based on recommendations contained in the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau's January 2013 Derecho Report identifying the impact of the Derecho storm and the severe disruptions in 9-1-1 related communications. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296).

FCC Authorizes Nationwide TV White Space Databases

In a recent Public Notice, the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) announced that approved TV White Space Database Systems may begin providing service to unlicensed radio devices operating on unused spectrum in the TV bands on a nationwide basis. The announcement follows OET's Public Notice last December which authorized TV White Space Database Systems to provide service only to limited areas in the East Coast. Additionally, today is the first day of the 45-day public trial of another TV Band White Space Database System, Key Bridge Global LLC. The limited trial allows the public to access and test the database to ensure it correctly identifies available TV Band channels for unlicensed radio transmitting devices, properly registers protected radio transmitting facilities, and provides protection to authorized services and registered facilities. The public trial will end on April 24, 2013, though the FCC reserves the right to extend the trial as necessary. Google's database is also in a 45-day public trial period which ends April 17, 2013. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

Texas Pole Attachment Legislation

Legislation introduced in Texas last Friday would address cable operator attachments to electric cooperative poles by streamlining pole transfers and the removal of abandoned attachments, clarifying easement and right-of-way requirements, establishing contract negotiation and mediation periods, and allowing courts to review rates, terms and conditions based on the interests of co-op/cable customers and issues of safety and reliability. For additional information, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128).

Inside Washington

As the government budget sequester now enters its second week, the FCC continues to discuss possible employee furloughs across the agency. Under sequestration, the FCC is required to cut the agency's budget by $28 million for the 2013 fiscal year. FCC staff is looking at the possibility of temporary furloughs, but does not expect them to happen within the next 30 days. In a recent speech, FCC Commissioner Pai stated that no decisions had been made about where the budget cuts would be made and was concerned about where the agency would find cuts in the already limited budget. Discussions continue on Capitol Hill and at the White House as President Obama meets with members of Congress try to agree on a new budget to end the sequester.

Corporate Counsel Corner: Telecom Policy Projections for 2013 and 2014 - Wireline Services and Enterprise Customers

Several matters before the FCC could have substantial dollar and technology impacts for enterprise customers. The FCC's special access services and USF contribution reform proceedings could significantly affect pricing for enterprise services, beginning sometime in 2014. A more open-ended proceeding focuses on whether the FCC will move aggressively in granting AT&T's "wish list" included in its proposal to convert its local telephone networks to all-IP platforms. Another matter that also should be addressed this year is the appeal of the FCC's Open Internet Order currently pending before the D.C. Circuit. Because this is such a prominent issue, we believe the non-prevailing parties may well petition the Supreme Court for review. To read the full article on these policy projections, please visit the KH Telecom Blog or contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

K&H Attorneys at Industry Events

On March 12-15, 2013, KH attorneys Doug Jarrett, Greg Kunkle and Wesley Wright will be attending the International Wireless Communications Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. Doug, Greg and Wes will be hosting a session on Spectrum Auctions and Negotiations. Greg will also be presenting on Narrowbanding and Cybersecurity concerns for VHF/UHF SCADA communications. Please feel free to attend these speaking sessions and stop by Keller and Heckman's booth (#2320) at IWCE.

ENTELEC 2012 Conference and Expo

Keller and Heckman LLP attorneys Doug Jarrett, Greg Kunkle and Wes Wright will be attending the ENTELEC 2013 Conference and Expo in Houston, TX, April 9-11. Keller and Heckman is sponsoring a Continental Breakfast at 8 AM on Thursday, April 11, immediately followed by the annual Washington Report Roundtable by Mr. Jarrett, Mr. Kunkle and Mr. Wright, moderated by Keller and Heckman. As part of the Washington Report, Keller and Heckman's attorneys will discuss, in "Q&A" format, the latest FCC activities and telecom legislation. 

Send Us Your Feedback

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.

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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