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Pole Attachment Jurisdiction, Private Broadband, FCC Fees

Date: Mar 31, 2014

Utility Industry Opposes Expanded FCC Pole Attachment Jurisdiction

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) filed separate letters with the Senate Commerce Committee opposing an expansion of FCC jurisdiction to include pole attachments by broadband providers in addition to cable and telecom companies.  EEI said pole attachment rate subsidies should be eliminated, not expanded, and UTC explained how the proposal was unfair to utilities and their consumers.  These letters follow a similar letter Keller and Heckman sent to the House Energy and Commerce Committee in January seeking to reduce FCC pole attachment jurisdiction.  For additional information, please contact Tom Magee (Magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128).

“As our K&H letter explained, Congress needs to reduce, not increase, FCC jurisdiction over pole attachments.” – Tom Magee, Partner, Keller and Heckman LLP

Private Broadband Petition

Last Thursday, the FCC clarified the comment dates for a Petition for Rulemaking by Mimosa Networks, Inc.  In May 2013, Mimosa asked the FCC to initiate a rulemaking to amend Parts 2 and 90 of the FCC’s rules to make spectrum available in the 10-10.5 GHz band for wireless broadband services.  Comments in support or in opposition to Mimosa’s Petition are due April 10, 2014.  Reply comments are due April 25, 2014.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (Kunkle@khlaw.com; 202-434-4178).

FCC Fee Schedule Increases Again

On March 24, the FCC released an Order announcing amendments to its Schedule of Application Fees to reflect an 8% increase in the Consumer Price Index since the last amendment in October 2009.  

3.5 GHz Proposal Expected Soon

In a recent speech at the Brookings Institute, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced he will soon circulate proposed rules for the 3.5 GHz band that will reflect the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report’s concept of a three-tiered spectrum sharing prioritization plan.  The proposed rules would create a single, flexible band plan with spectrum licensed utilizing a Special Access System database.  It is believed that the Chairman hopes to issue the proposal no later than the Open Meeting scheduled for April 23, 2014.  

FCC 2015 Budget Hearing

On March 27, Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner Ajit Pai testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee regarding the FCC’s 2015 budget request.  Chairman Wheeler explained that the FCC’s IT systems are out of date and need updating.  If these systems aren’t updated, according to the Chairman, any progress made by the FCC’s process reform efforts may be undercut.  On behalf of its clients, Keller and Heckman has participated in the process reform effort, including a recent meeting with FCC staff to discuss updates to the FCC’s IT systems to improve efficiency.  For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202-434-4180).

Another Tower Fine

On March 27, the FCC announced that it entered into a Consent Decree with TowerCom III, LLC regarding TowerCom submission of an incorrect ASR application that indicated the proposed construction would have no significant environmental impact.  To settle the investigation, TowerCom agreed to make a voluntary contribution of $6,500.  The FCC’s rules require that ASR applications must disclose and follow the procedures established for historic properties.  

Upcoming K&H Webinar - “Know Your Tower ABCs”

With the increased focus on communications towers, Keller and Heckman LLP attorneys will hold a complimentary one-hour roundtable on April 17, 2014 (“Know Your Tower ABCs:  FAA, ASR, NEPA, FCC, SHPO, TCNS, OSHA”) to discuss the many regulatory obligations associated with construction, operation, and maintenance of antenna towers.  In addition to a multitude of FCC, FAA, and EPA requirements, the webinar will consider OSHA’s recent focus on employers who build, own, and maintain communications towers.  Webinar participants are encouraged to submit requests for topics to be discussed during the one-hour session.  To sign up or submit topic requests, please click here.

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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 © 2013.  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.