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Telecom Business Alert - Opposition to New 3.65 GHz Rules, Rural Broadband Experiments, Special Access Requirements, and a FirstNet Harris County Lease Vol. XI. Issue 34

Date: Aug 25, 2014

August 25, 2014, Volume XI, Issue 34

Opposition to New 3.65 GHz Rules, Rural Broadband Experiments, Special Access Requirements, and a FirstNet Harris County Lease

Rural Broadband Experiments

Last week, the FCC released a Public Notice detailing the application process to secure funding for broadband buildouts in rural areas. Up to $100 Million to be paid out over ten years are available to fund these experiments.  The Public Notice describes the application procedures, required data, and the three categories of broadband experiments and associated funding amounts. Applications are due on or before October 14, 2014.  For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; jarrett@khlaw.com).

Parties Oppose Extending New 3.5 GHz Rules to 3.65 GHz Band

More than thirty parties filed Reply Comments in the FCC’s 3.5 GHz proceeding initiated by the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM). The FNPRM  set out a proposal to create a Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in the 3.55–3.65 GHz band and to apply the new CBRS rules to the 3.65 GHz band (3.65–3.7 GHz).  Several parties, including Keller and Heckman’s client the American Petroleum Institute (API), urged the FCC to preserve the existing hybrid licensing scheme in the 3.65 GHz band because critical infrastructure companies rely heavily on this band.  API pointed out that “a large number of individual companies in the critical infrastructure industry described serious impairments that would result if the 3.65 GHz band were included in the CBRS.”  Please contact Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com) with questions.

OMB Limits FCC’s Special Access Data Reporting Requirements

The data collection phase of the FCC’s special access rate proceeding is moving forward.  In the near future, the FCC will begin collecting rate and location data from providers and purchasers of special access services. This is part of the FCC’s efforts to assess whether special access services provided by the price cap ILECs are subject to meaningful competition.  Many competitive carriers and corporate users have maintained for years the market for these services is not competitive. Despite numerous requests, the FCC refused to limit data reporting obligations to services providers.  Fortunately, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) limited the FCC’s information collection to providers and purchasers of special access services for the most recent year (2013), excluded entities that purchased less than $5 million in dedicated services, and limited the information that non-carrier purchasers must provide.  Please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180) or Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239) with questions.

FirstNet Approves Lease with Texas for Harris County

On August 15, the First Responder Network Authority (“FirstNet”) approved a three-year spectrum lease with the State of Texas for a network in Harris County.  The plan for Harris County’s network contemplates 93 base station sites.  Currently, 14 sites have been constructed and are operational.  This is the fifth early build project to enter into  a lease with FirstNet.  The first four projects were awarded to government entities that received federal funding under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).  This project does not rely on BTOP funding; network construction has been partially funded by other Federal funds.  Please contact Al Catalano (202.434.4207; catalano@khlaw.com) with questions.

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