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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. X Issue 18

Date: Apr 29, 2013

FirstNet Hires General Manager

At its Board Meeting last week, FirstNet announced it hired Bill D'Agostino, Jr. as its General Manager to oversee the build-out of the public safety's new 700 MHz broadband network . Mr. D'Agostino recently served as an executive for Verizon Wireless in Southern California. At the meeting, the Board also agreed to negotiate a spectrum lease agreement with Texas so the state can use 700 MHz public safety spectrum for an early first responder network in Harris County. The meeting became contentious when Board member Paul Fitzgerald, Sheriff of Story County, Iowa, criticized the leadership of the Board for ignoring public safety input in designing the system. Mr. Fitzgerald claimed the FirstNet Board created the Public Safety Advisory Committee in February, comprised of representatives of 40 public safety organizations, and has largely ignored the Committee's input. For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

FCC Paging Auction Application Window Opens Tomorrow

Earlier this month, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing the filing requirements and procedures for the upcoming paging band Auction 95 scheduled for July 16, 2013. The FCC plans to auction 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). Parties interested in participating in the Auction will need to submit a Short-Form application to the FCC between April 30 and May 9. Upfront payments are due by June 13. A list of licenses available in specific areas is available here. For more information on how to participate in Auction 95, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296).

FCC Publishes Final Rule for 800 MHz Relocation Plan for US/Mexico Border Region

Last week, the FCC's Fifth Report and Order (the "Order") was published in the Federal Register establishing the Commission's long-awaited channel relocation plan for 800 MHz licensees (806-824/851-869 MHz) located along the U.S.-Mexico Border. The border-area relocation plan is the last chapter of 800 MHz rebanding, and is now moving forward because of the U.S./Mexico 800 MHz agreement finalized in June 2012 (the "Amended Protocol"). The Order identifies relocation frequency bands and establishes a 30-month transition period for licensees to complete rebanding in the five National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee ("NPSPAC") Regions bordering Mexico. Additional guidance from the 800 MHz Transition Administrator is expected in the near future, but incumbent licensees are encouraged to commence planning activities at this time. The band plan becomes effective on June 24, 2013. For more information on the rebanding process, please see K&H's analysis of the Order or contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202.434.4128) or Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

Court Clarifies FOIA Requirements

A federal appeals court recently ruled that federal agencies must provide substantive replies to Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") requests within the statutory time period, generally twenty to thirty days. While the actual documents may be produced later, within this period an agency at a minimum should gather and review responsive documents, determine and communicate the scope of the documents it intends to produce or withhold, and specify any reasons for withholding. This ruling should lead to faster agency action on FOIA requests. We anticipate significant agency resistance, however, and the possibility of a request for legislative relief. Please contact K&H litigation partners Doug Behr (behr@khlaw.com; 202.434.4213) or Eric Gotting (gotting@khlaw.com; 202.434.4269) with questions.

Keller and Heckman at Upcoming Industry Events

Tom Magee will be speaking on a legal panel for Pole Attachment and Joint Use Issues on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at the Heartland Joint Use Conference at the Duke Energy Offices in Plainfield, IN. Please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202.434.4128) with questions or for more information.

Doug Jarrett along with Rick Sigel of Silver Lining Telecom will present on "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 at the Peabody Orlando Hotel, Florida.

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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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