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Telecom Alert — Parties Appeal C-Band Order; Universal Broadband Act; Massachusetts AG Raises Concerns with State 911 Budget; $25,000 Penalty for FAA Weather Radar Interference — Vol. XVII, Issue 19

Date: May 11, 2020

Parties Appeal C-Band Order in DC Circuit

PSSI Global Services LLC (PSSI) and a group of small satellite operators (SSOs), led by ABS Global Ltd., have filed appeals of the FCC’s C-Band Order (Vol. XVII, Issue 9) in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  In PSSI’s appeal, the company explains that the Order reduces C-Band spectrum for satellites by 60% and that the limitations will subject PSSI to “crippling interference.”  The company alleges that it has demonstrated that they would be harmed if flexible 5G licenses operated in the lower portion of the C-Band.  Similarly, in their appeal, the SSOs explain that incumbent satellite licensees will lose 300 MHz of spectrum, with no replacement spectrum or monetary compensation.  The parties have not commented on the matter beyond the filings.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

Universal Broadband Act

Last week, Representatives Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Don Young (R-AK) introduced the Universal Broadband Act (H.R. 6723), which expands the Universal Service Fund (USF) contribution base to include broadband services’ revenues to support on a sustainable basis the buildout of broadband infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. The bill would codify that broadband is within the definition of Universal Service; require the FCC set a contribution factor as needed to meet Universal Service goals; require consultation between USDA’s RUS, NTIA, and the FCC, impose reporting requirements on the FCC; and prioritize unserved areas and tribal areas.  The bill was introduced with seven original co-sponsors.  For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180) or Kathleen Slattery Thompson (slattery@khlaw.com; 202.434.4244).

Massachusetts Attorney General Office Raises Concerns with State 911 Department Budget

On May 1, 2020, the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General (AGO) submitted Comments in the proceeding regarding the State 911 Department’s Petition for Approval of FY 2020 Expenditures and FY 2021.  The AGO’s Comments explain that in 2018, the Department of Telecommunications and Cable (DTC) rules that the E911 Fund could be used to fund the upgrade of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Interoperable Radio System (“CoMIRS”).  The AGO’s Comments further state that the CoMIRS upgrade is significantly delayed and that the “AGO is concerned that, while State 911 has been collecting more than sufficient revenues for the past year and a half in order to move the CoMIRS upgrade forward, the E911 funds are not being used to attain all of the intended benefits of the CoMIRS upgrade as envisioned” when the DTC approved funding.  The AGO encourages the DTC to “review and scrutinize” revenues and expenditures related to the CoMIRS upgrade project.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239). 

Proposed $25,000 Penalty for FAA Weather Radar Interference

The Commission issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) proposing a fine of $25,000 against DWireless & More Inc. (DWireless).  DWireless provides wireless internet services in Puerto Rico.  The NAL states that DWireless was operating Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices in an unauthorized manner.  The operations caused interference to an FAA terminal doppler weather radar station in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The FAA uses terminal doppler weather radar to detect dangerous weather conditions near airports.  The NAL states that DWireless was willfully violating the Commission’s rules.  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 Practice Group 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 © 2020.  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,