Telecom Alert– License Terminations; CAF II Petition; FirstNet; Pole Attachment Regulations; Comcast Fine; 911 NEAD, Vol XIII, Issue 42

Date: Oct 17, 2016

License Terminations

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued an Order terminating several 800 MHz land mobile licenses held by Spectrum 100, LLC; Western Spectrum Ventures LLC; and Eagle Group PMA (“SMR Licensees”).  The licensees were authorized to operate trunked 800 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio (“SMR”) licenses in November of 2015 and all three licensees filed timely Notifications of Construction.  A competing licensee filed an informal request with the FCC to investigate the continuing operation of these trunked systems after one of the competitor’s employees inspected the premises and found no antennas installed and operating.  The Bureau’s Spectrum Enforcement Division investigated.  The SMR Licensees confirmed the stations had not been operational since November 2015.  As a result, under the FCC’s rules the licenses automatically terminated because they had not been operated for the previous 90 days.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239). 

CAF II Petition

The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau released a Public Notice last week seeking public comment on a petition for waiver filed by New York State that requests the Commission waive its CAF II auction rules to remove the entire amount of CAF funding declined by Verizon ($170.4 million) from the CAF II auction and assign or otherwise make it available to New York for  the state’s upcoming broadband competitive reverse auction.  Comments are due October 24th and Reply Comments are due October 31st.  For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

FirstNet Environmental Impact

FirstNet’s Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the South Region was published in the Federal Register last week.  The PEIS evaluates the potential environmental impacts of the proposed nationwide public safety broadband network in the South Region (composed of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas).  FirstNet will hold public meetings in each state to discuss the PEIS.  Comments on the draft are due by December 13, 2016.  For more information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).

Arkansas Pole Attachment Regulations

Last week the Arkansas Public Service Commission denied a petition filed by numerous cable and telephone companies seeking a rehearing of the Commission’s new pole attachment regulations.  In June the Commission adopted a middle position on a number of issues, including higher rates  proposed by the Arkansas Electric Cooperatives (represented by Keller and Heckman) and the FCC Cable rate proposed by the communications attachers (Vol. XIII, Issue 26).  For additional information, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202.434.4128).

$2.3 Million Fine for Comcast

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Consent Decree resolving a two year investigation of Comcast Corporation’s billing practices.  The Bureau found that Comcast wrongfully charged subscribers for services or equipment they never requested (“negative option billing”) and made the subscriber responsible for discovering and correcting billing discrepancies.  Comcast agreed to pay a $2.3 million civil penalty to the U.S. Treasury and implement a compliance plan designed to curb any future wrongdoing.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

National Emergency Address Database

The Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA) announced in a press release last week that West Safety Services was selected to develop and operate a 911 National Emergency Address Database (NEAD) platform, which will serve as a national database of access points (e.g., Wi-Fi hotspots) and beacons (e.g., Bluetooth Low Energy) to assist 911 call centers in responding to emergencies.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

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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 © 2015.  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.