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Telecom Business Alert – Associations Support CII, FirstNet Comments on Definition of "Public Safety," Signal Booster Waiver Granted, FCC's M&A Rules, Incentive Auction Delayed, KH Webinar on Spectrum Acquisition, Vol XI Issue 44

Date: Nov 03, 2014

Associations Support CII, FirstNet Comments on Definition of “Public Safety,” Signal Booster Waiver Granted, FCC’s M&A Rules, Incentive Auction Delayed, KH Webinar on Spectrum Acquisition

Associations Support CII

Last Friday, six trade associations -- the American Petroleum Institute (API), the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the Energy Telecommunications and Electrical Association (ENTELEC), the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC), and the Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) – submitted a letter to the FCC supporting the removal of applications by various Critical Infrastructure Industry companies from a longstanding hearing proceeding involving the qualifications of Maritime Communications/Land Mobile, LLC (“MCLM”) to retain its licenses.   Some of these applications were filed four or five years ago, and the hearing has been pending before an Administrative Law Judge for more than three and one-half years.  The Associations urged the Commission to remove the applications from the hearing and grant them in the public interest.  

FirstNet Comments Largely Support Broad Definition of “Public Safety”

Last week, FirstNet received comments in response to a Public Notice released in September that sought input on the definition of a “public safety” user eligible to access FirstNet’s nationwide public safety broadband network on a primary basis.  FirstNet is proposing a broad legal definition that would include Critical Infrastructure Entities under certain circumstances. More than 65 companies, associations, and government entities filed comments largely supporting this definition.  Supporting commenters included the American Petroleum Institute, NRECA, APPA, EEI, and UTC.For more information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).

Signal Booster Waiver Granted

Last week, the FCC issued an Order granting a waiver filed by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) requesting the use of signal boosters to maintain communications between the front and rears of trains.  AAR sought approval to use signal booster on two UHF channels at an elevated effective radiated power.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

Licensees Reminded of FCC’s M&A Rules

According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the U.S. oil and natural gas industry's merger and acquisition activity in the third quarter reached 78 deals with a total value of $123 billion, the highest number and value of deals in the past decade.  As a reminder, Section 310(d) of the Communications Act requires entities to secure the FCC’s prior consent to assign or transfer control of an FCC license as part of any transaction.  Failure to comply with the FCC’s rules may result in substantial fines and other penalties.  For more information about the FCC’s assignment and transfer procedures, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296).

Incentive Auction Delayed….Again

A blog post written by Gary Epstein, Chair of the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force, stated that the Commission will likely begin accepting applications for the auction in the fall of 2015 with the start of the auction slated for early 2016.  Although noting significant progress has been made since adoption of the Report and Order in May, Mr. Epstein noted that a legal challenge to the auction by broadcasters is the cause of the delay. Proceeds from this auction are intended, in part, to fund FirstNet. For more information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).

Complimentary Webinar on Spectrum Acquisition

Join us for our complimentary webinar, Spectrum Acquisition for Critical Infrastructure Companies, from 12:00pm – 12:45pm EDT on Wednesday, November 12, 2014. This latest webinar in a series of complimentary webinars for clients and friends of Keller and Heckman LLP will highlight the narrowband, wideband and broadband spectrum options available via secondary market transactions. The webinar will focus on the energy industry, identifying the frequency bands in which utilities and oil and gas companies are successfully securing spectrum for applications as well as those bands which have proved problematic. This webinar will provide an overview of the spectrum acquisition process,including the FCC secondary market rules, associated construction obligations, and common pitfalls to avoid in the spectrum acquisition process. Please click here to register for this webinar. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

Greg Kunkle to Speak at OilComm Conference in Houston

Keller and Heckman Partner Greg Kunkle will present Oil & Gas Requirements and Spectrum Dependence at the WiMAX Oil & Gas 2014 portion of OilComm. Mr. Kunkle’s presentation will be at 9:10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 5th in Room 382 of the George R. Brown Convention Center.

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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.  All articles, videos, and quotations are on topics of general interest and do not constitute legal advice for particularized facts.  Keller and Heckman LLP's Telecom Business Alert © 2014.  All rights reserved.  Articles may be copied with attribution.  To sign up for our weekly alert, please send us an email at telecomalert@khlaw.com and provide us with your name and email.  Please follow us on twitter at @KHtelecom.