Telecom Business Alert –FirstNet Early Builder Project, FCC Goes Green – Part II, Rural Broadband, Firefighter Radios Fail NIST Test, Complimentary CII/FirstNet Webinar, ILEC Pole Attachment Cost Data , Vol XI Issue 51

Date: Dec 22, 2014

Title: FirstNet Early Builder Project, FCC Goes Green – Part II, Rural Broadband, Firefighter Radios Fail NIST Test, Complimentary CII/FirstNet Webinar, ILEC Pole Attachment Cost Data

FirstNet Early Builder New Mexico Negotiates MOU

The State of New Mexico, a Keller and Heckman client, has successfully negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Interior and entered into an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for sharing of infrastructure and network spectrum leased to the State by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) (See Early Builders Blog). Current plans call for use of up to eight existing state or local and four federally owned towers to provide Long Term Evolution (LTE) service to state, local, and Federal agencies. Funding for this “Early Builder” project, that is expected to be operational in mid-2015, comes from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).  For more information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202-434-4207)

FCC Goes Green – Part II

The FCC released a Public Notice last week announcing the implementation of further enhancements to the Universal Licensing System (ULS) and Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) system regarding official and reference copies of licenses and ASR’s.  Once the enhancements become effective, the Commission will no longer print and mail official authorizations by default.  This is a step up from the Commission’s recent update to ULS (originally reported on in our October 14 Telecom Business Alert), which allowed licensees to manually change their preferences to go paperless and opt out of receiving paper copies of licenses.  Going forward, licensees may log into their FRN accounts and print official copies of licenses, or may continue to print reference copies from the public search component of ULS.  All existing posting requirements for licensees will remain unchanged.  

Rural Broadband

Last week the FCC issued a Report and Order (Order) requiring local exchange carriers subject to price cap regulation (principally AT&T, Verizon and Century Link) receiving Connect America Fund (CAF) subsidies  for fixed broadband to serve consumers with minimum broadband speeds of at least 10 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads (10/1). CAF subsidies are targeted to rural areas.  The 10/1 benchmark may be increased under a planned 2018 reassessment of broadband benchmarks.  In states where the price cap ILEC accepts state-wide CAF Phase II support, the ILEC must deliver 10/1 service to 80% of its customer locations by the end of 2019.  In states where the ILEC declines state-wide support, Phase II CAF funding (to provide service in unserved areas) will be subject to competitive (reverse auction) bidding, open to the ILEC and competitors, including rural electric coops. Different rules will apply in areas served by smaller telcos subject to rate of return regulation.  For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

Firefighter Radios Fail NIST Test

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently tested seven portable radios under conditions similar to those firefighters face during firefighting activities.  The radios were fully operational when exposed to temperatures comparable to a small fire in a room at 212°F but failed to operate after 15 minutes when exposed to temperatures comparable to a “fully involved” fire at 320°F.  Three of the radios were permanently non-functional during the post-test cool-down period.  NIST plans to send the test results to the National Fire Protection Association, which is in the process of developing a standard for portable radios used by first responders.  For more information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).

Complimentary CII/FirstNet Webinar

On Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 12:00PM EST, Keller and Heckman LLP will host a complimentary webinar discussing the issues, opportunities, and challenges facing utilities and oil and gas companies interested in the National Public Safety Broadband Network (“FirstNet”). Al Catalano, Keller and Heckman Counsel, will moderate the webinar and will be joined by Darryl Ackley, New Mexico State CIO and Cabinet Secretary, Department of Information Technology.  Mr. Catalano and Secretary Ackley will present an overview of FirstNet and the early builder project that the State of New Mexico is in the process of implementing near the U.S./Mexico Border.  The webinar is complementary, but registration is required.  Click here to register.  For additional information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).

ILEC Pole Attachment Cost Data

The FCC announced that effective January 1, 2015; certain ILEC pole owners must make their pole attachment cost information available via the FCC’s electronic comment filing system.  This information is used to calculate rates electric utilities may need to pay to attach to ILEC poles in electric/ILEC joint use disputes.  For additional information please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128).

Happy Holidays!

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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.