Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. X Issue 14

Date: Apr 01, 2013

FCC Releases Public Notice on AMTS Applications

Last week, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking comment in response to an application to assign the AMTS licenses held by Maritime Communications/Land Mobile, LLC, Debtor-in-Possession to Choctaw Holdings, LLC, a company formed by several of Maritime's creditors. The request is related to an FCC hearing proceeding initiated in April 2011 to revoke Maritime's licenses. In August 2012, Maritime filed for bankruptcy. Last year, the Bankruptcy Court approved the reorganization of Maritime and assignment of its licenses to Choctaw, subject to FCC approval. The Public Notice seeks comment on whether the FCC should consent to the assignment. If the assignment to Choctaw is approved, the Commission is expected to also approve applications to assign portions of the AMTS licenses to several different critical infrastructure companies (electric utilities, oil and gas companies, and a railroad). Comments are due May 30, 2013, and Replies by June 20, 2013. 

NENA Touts Progeny Proposal in FCC Filing

Last month, the National Emergency Number Association ("NENA") submitted a letter to the FCC arguing that Progeny's technology represents "a tremendous opportunity to enable immediate and dramatic improvements in wireless location accuracy in … areas of the country that are most challenging for existing technologies." The letter took no position on the technical aspects of Progeny's test methods or results, which have been highly debated at the Commission. Progeny has sought approval from the FCC for authority to operate high-power 30 watt transmitters as part of its location monitoring system in the 902-928 MHz unlicensed band. Many entities and industry groups have argued that Progeny's proposed operations would cause unacceptably high levels of interference to existing low-powered users, including hearing aids, home alarm systems, cordless phones and wireless headsets. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4271).

FCC Lets West Virginia Resolve Joint Use Complaint

The FCC last week granted the West Virginia PSC's request to allow the PSC resolve a longstanding joint use rate dispute between pole owners AEP and Frontier, even though Frontier had filed a complaint against AEP at the FCC. The FCC identified these circumstances as "unique," and it is unclear whether the FCC may be willing in the future to defer to state PSC jurisdiction over joint use agreements. For additional information, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202.434.4128).

Senators Urge Obama to Name Rosenworcel FCC Chair

Last week, a group of 37 senators sent a letter to President Obama urging him to elevate FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to become the agency's first female chair. Choosing Rosenworcel would bypass Mignon Clyburn, a more senior Democratic Commissioner and the daughter of South Carolina Representative James Clyburn. As a sitting commissioner, Rosenworcel would not need Senate confirmation to ascend to the chairmanship. Other potential candidates to succeed Genachowski include Tom Wheeler (former head of CTIA), Karen Kornbluh (Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) and Larry Strickling (the head of NTIA). Please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com) with questions.

K&H Attorneys at Industry Events

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 moderated by Keller and Heckman and featuring Mr. Jarrett, Mr. Kunkle and Mr. Wright. As part of the Washington Report, they will discuss in "Q&A" format the latest FCC activities and telecom legislation affecting the energy industry. 

On April 2, 2013, KH attorneys Greg Kunkle and Wes Wright will be hosting a session at ShaleComm on Licensing and Regulations: Federal and Local Laws for your Sites. Please contact Greg (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com) or Wes (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com) with questions.

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