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Telecom Business Alert – Connect America Fund, FCC Orders Challenged, Narrowbanding, FirstNet Updates, KH Attorneys at UTC, and Enterprise Connectivity, Vol XII, Issue 18

Date: May 04, 2015

Connect America Fund Offers Carriers $1.675 Billion

Last week the Commission announced that the Connect America Fund was offering price cap carriers, nearly $1.7 billion annually for six years. Under the state-by-state offers, carriers would receive continuous support to extend broadband into “unserved” rural areas to meet the 10 Mbps/ 1 Mbps broadband speed metric.  Carriers have until August 27, 2015 to accept their respective offers. For additional information, please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).   

FCC Preemption Challenged

Last month, the Tennessee Attorney General filed a petition requesting that a court overturn the FCC’s Municipal Broadband Order. The Order preempted certain provisions of Tennessee law that limited the ability of a municipal broadband network to expand beyond their existing service territory. The FCC found preemption promoted competition and provided consumers with additional broadband choices at lower prices. The petition argues the FCC exceeded its authority.  For additional information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239). 

Open Internet Order Challenged

Several parties have challenged the FCC’s Open Internet Order, adopted earlier this year. The appeals will be reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  The FCC’s Order prohibits broadband providers from blocking access to lawful Internet content, impairing or degrading the delivery of lawful content, or prioritizing Internet traffic for a fee. Additional parties have until June 12 to appeal the Open Internet Order. Please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180) with questions.

Narrowbanding Update

According to a recent publication by the Enterprise Wireless Alliance, the FCC has confirmed that frequency coordinators may ignore licenses that list only non-compliant wideband emission designators during some frequency coordination processes.  In particular, coordinators may ignore wideband-only licenses when coordinating an application seeking VHF (150-174 MHz) or UHF (450-470 MHz) channels to be used exclusively within hybrid or centralized trunked systems.  

FirstNet Activities

As we reported last week, the FirstNet Board held a special meeting to consider a draft Request for Proposal (“RFP”) that seeks input on the architecture of FirstNet’s planned 700 MHz broadband network. The Board released the RFP and supplemental documents, which can be accessed here. Any questions are due May 27, 2015 and Comments by July 27, 2015. Last month, more than 70 comments were filed in response to FirstNet’s Second Notice by a wide range of parties including individual states, state representative, public safety entities, carriers, manufacturers and utility associations. Please contact Al Catalano (Catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207) with any questions, including how to become involved in the FirstNet proceedings. 

KH Attorneys at UTC

Four Keller and Heckman attorneys, Doug Jarrett, Tom Magee, Greg Kunkle, and Al Catalano, will be attending the UTC Telecom Conference in Atlanta from May 5-8.  Mr. Catalano will speak at a panel on Public Safety Network Sharing, May 6 at 10:45 am, grand Ballroom. Mr. Jarrett will be participating in a panel on Rural Broadband initiatives, May 7 at 11:00 am, in the Ansley Room. Mr. Kunkle will speak at a panel discussing spectrum opportunities, May 7 at 4:45 p.m. Please feel free to join them on the panels and feel free to visit Keller and Heckman’s attorneys at Booth #831.

Enterprise Connectivity

Keller and Heckman attorneys, Wes Wright and Doug Jarrett, have authored a White Paper  entitled Enterprise Connectivity that highlights FCC regulatory developments that impact wireline and wireless telecommunications management and procurements. For additional information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239) or Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

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We welcome your feedback on topics of interest that you would like to see covered in our Telecom Business Alert. To make suggestions, please e-mail 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.  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.