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Telecom Business Alert - CII Concerns with 900 MHz Proposal; Updated Broadband Benchmark; FCC Fines AT&T $640,000 for Licensing Violations; FCC Guidance on MG Licensing; Wireless Bureau Updates Signal Booster List - Volume XII, Issue 5

Date: Feb 02, 2015

Title: CII Concerns with 900 MHz Proposal; Updated Broadband Benchmark; FCC Fines AT&T $640,000 for Licensing Violations; FCC Guidance on MG Licensing; Wireless Bureau Updates Signal Booster List

CII Concerns with 900 MHz Proposal 

A number of critical infrastructure entities and their trade associations filed Reply Comments expressing concerns regarding a Petition for Rulemaking filed jointly by the Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) and Pacific Datavision (PDV) seeking to re-purpose the 896-901/935-940MHz Private Land Mobile band.  The Petition proposes to establish a paired 3 MHz segment for broadband operations and to relocate all 900 MHz narrowband operations to a paired 2 MHz allocation.  In their Reply Comments, critical infrastructure entities argued it would be premature to initiate a rulemaking proceeding without first understanding the proposed technical and service rules.  In addition, questions were raised regarding adjacent channel interference. Other parties expressed concerns over the substantial reduction in narrowband 900 MHz voice channel pairs.   For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (Kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).  

Updated Broadband Benchmark

Last week the FCC adopted its 2015 Broadband Progress Report, updating the broadband benchmark speeds to 25 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads.  The previous standard was set in 2010 at 4 Mbps/1 Mbps.  The report found that 17 percent of all Americans (55 million people) and 55 percent of rural Americans lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps service.  Although co-axial cable-based and fiber optic-based broadband services meet the 25/3 Mbps standard in many instances, DSL and wireless broadband services typically do not. The decision does not impose compliance or buildout requirements on service providers, so its practical impact remains to be seen.  The two Republican Commissioners dissented, arguing the majority was setting the groundwork for additional regulations.  For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

FCC Fines AT&T $640,000 for Licensing Violations

Last week, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) against AT&T in the amount of $640,000 for allegedly operating wireless stations without authorization and failing to properly modify FCC licenses.  The NAL alleges AT&T operated several stations on unauthorized frequencies and failed to file modification applications to relocate transmitters, resulting in the unauthorized operation of dozens of stations for as long as five years.  Many of these licenses were acquired by AT&T through its purchase of Centennial Communications Corporation.  This is the most recent reminder that running afoul of the Commission’s wireless licensing rules can result in hefty fines.  For more information, please contact Tim Doughty (Doughty@khlaw.com; 202.434.4271).

FCC Provides Guidance on Microwave Licensing  

Last week, the FCC released a Public Notice clarifying several aspects of the Commission’s microwave rules regarding expedited and modified prior coordination notices.  The agency also sought comment on the time during which a microwave applicant may retain growth channels before filing an application to place those channels into operation.  Comments are due February 25th and Replies by March 12th.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (Wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239). 

Wireless Bureau Updates Signal Booster List

The FCC released a Public Notice last week which added another approved consumer signal booster to the list of signal boosters for which all nationwide wireless providers must publicly indicate their status regarding consent.  The FCC recently reminded wireless providers that they must indicate whether they consent, do not consent, or are still considering whether or not they will consent to the use of each device by March 2, 2015.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (Kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

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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.