Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. X Issue 17

Date: Apr 22, 2013

AMTS/DTV Channel 13 Interference Criteria Affirmed by FCC

Late week, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued an Order on Reconsideration denying two petitions for reconsideration of the 2012 Order, granting applications submitted by Avista Corporation (a KH client), to operate a private land mobile radio system in the Automated Maritime Telecommunications Service ("AMTS") band (217/219 MHz). The Bureau affirmed the AMTS/UHF-TV interference analyses and mitigation plan adopted in the 2012 Order and otherwise rejected all other arguments raised by Spokane Television, Inc., the broadcaster licensed on UHF- TV Channel 13 in Spokane, Washington. Please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180) or Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com) with questions.

U.S. House Working Group May Review Rural Pole Attachments

A working group of 18 bipartisan Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee was formed last week to promote rural broadband and telephony. Not surprisingly, the American Cable Association immediately asked the group to help lower attachment rates and provide faster access to rural utility poles and rights-of-way for its cable operator members. This development should sound alarms for all of the nation's rural electric cooperatives and muni pole owners that are not currently subject to FCC regulation. For additional information, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128).

FCC Amends Part 90 Rules

Last week, the FCC released a Fifth Report and Order modifying certain rules for private land mobile radio (PLMR) stations operating below 800 MHz. The FCC broadened the definition of "affected licensee" to require that applicants for centralized trunked licenses consider certain incumbent stations that were omitted from the previous coordination requirements. In addition, PLMR licensees licensed on an exclusive basis in the bands between 150 and 512 MHz will now be permitted to transmit station identification information in a digital format. Finally, PLMR licensees between 150 and 512 MHz will also be permitted to use a single call sign to identify commonly owned facilities that are operated as part of a single system. The amended rules will be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

House Passes Cybersecurity Legislation

Last Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 288-127 to approve the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). This legislation enables the private sector to share cyber threat information with other entities within the private sector and, on a voluntary basis, with government entities. The bill also includes provisions offering liability protections for companies sharing cyber threat information with the government. Privacy groups have voiced opposition of CISPA claiming the bill does not restrict the sharing and use of personal customer data with the government. Prior to the House vote, the White House issued a statement threatening to veto the bill unless the privacy concerns were addressed. The next step is for the legislation to be voted on by the Senate, which could take several months. For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

FTC Seeks Input on Privacy Implications of Consumer Devices

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a news release seeking comment on privacy and security issues raised by the increasing connectivity of consumer devices, such as cars, appliances and medical devices. Connected devices communicate with consumers, transmit data to companies and can compile data for third party users. The FTC seeks input on the privacy and security implications of these devices including the types of technologies the enable connectivity, how companies implement security patches for smart devices and the cost-benefit analysis of privacy risks in using smart devices. The FTC plans to hold a public workshop on November 21, 2013 in Washington, D.C. to discuss these concerns. Please contact Tracy Marshall (marshall@khlaw.com; 202.434.4234) for more information.

Inside Washington: Search for new FCC Leadership Continues

Last month, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski (Democrat) and FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell (Republican) announced they will be leaving the FCC. Weeks after the news of the departures, speculation continues over who will be chosen for the open positions. Tom Wheeler, former CTIA President and cable lobbyist, appears to be the frontrunner after nearly a dozen former White House, FCC and Capitol Hill signed a letter endorsing Wheeler to be the next FCC Chairman. However, dozens of Senate Democrats sent a letter last week urging President Obama to choose sitting Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel for the position. Rosenworcel would be the first woman to lead the FCC. The White House has not yet released any nominations to fill these leadership positions.

Keller and Heckman at Upcoming Industry Events

Tom Magee will be on the Legal Panel at the Southeastern Electric Exchange Joint Use Meeting in Dallas, Texas on April 24.

Doug Jarrett, along with Rick Sigel of Silver Lining Telecom, will present the "Proven Approaches for Acquiring Carrier-Provided Services" on Tuesday May 14, 2013, at UTC Telecom 2013 in Houston, Texas. Please visit Doug at the Keller and Heckman booth during Exhibit Hours on Wednesday (May 15) and Thursday (May 16).

Doug Jarrett and Greg Kunkle will be making a joint presentation, "USF Contribution Rules: Reform, Revolt or Implosion", on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at the TeleStrategies' Communications Taxation ‘13 Conference being held at the Peabody Orlando Hotel in Orlando, Florida.

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