Telecom Alert - 2017 Predictions - Vol. XIV, Issue 1

Date: Jan 03, 2017

“Under a Republican Chairman, the FCC likely will pursue a much ‘lighter touch’ in regulating wireless providers, telecom carriers and cable companies, particularly for smaller services providers.  Chairman Wheeler’s proposed decision on price cap carriers’ special access service rates likely will be scaled back, despite extensive studies and analyses relied upon by the FCC staff supporting the proposed decision.” – Doug Jarrett, Partner

“Small cell wireless attachments will begin to live up to their hype and start overburdening a lot of utility personnel and distribution pole plant.” - Tom Magee, Partner

“The FCC and Congress will develop an alternative plan for T-Band after realizing that plans to transition the band from private land mobile radio use to commercial common carrier operation are not practicable.” – Greg Kunkle, Partner

“Telephone Consumer Protection Act compliance will remain in the spotlight, with an impending order from the D.C. Circuit on the appeal of the FCC’s July 2015 Declaratory Ruling and Order.” – Tracy Marshall, Partner

“The FCC’s priorities will shift on many fronts.  However, I expect the agency to complete its effort to expand access to the 4.9 GHz band to allow critical infrastructure companies to use this spectrum in 2017.  I also believe the Commission will continue its focus on ensuring the reliability of the nation’s 911 network.” – Wes Wright, Partner

"Expect Congressional legislation on Net Neutrality within the next two years to settle the issue and remove it from major change whenever the majority party changes at the FCC." – Mike Fitch, Senior Counsel

“FirstNet will be operational in 2017!” – Al Catalano, Counsel

"The FAA should release its proposed rules in the first quarter requiring marking and lighting for some towers in rural and undeveloped areas.  The rules will likely require critical infrastructure entities to add marking and lighting systems to towers which currently require neither." – Tim Doughty, Associate

“Congress will get closer to a full update of the Communications Act.  Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune expressed interest in modernizing the law at the start of last Congress.  With Rep. Greg Walden as the new Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the push for an update will be strong from both the House and the Senate.” – Kathleen Slattery, Associate 

“The FCC will continue to scrutinize licenses that have both wideband and narrowband emission designators when modification or transfer of control applications are filed for these licenses.” – Kemi Fakunle, Licensing Specialist