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Telecom Alert — 900 MHz Band Transition; Unlicensed Use of 6 GHz Band; 5G Fund for Rural America NPRM; SAS Administrator Approved; $1 Million Rural Health Care Program Settlement — Vol. XVII, Issue 17

Date: Apr 27, 2020

FCC to Act on 900 MHz Band Transition

The FCC issued a draft Report and Order, Order of Proposed Modification, and Orders last week that establishes a 3 x 3 MHz “broadband” channel within the 900 MHz LMR band and reserves 2 MHz paired (1.5 x 1.5 MHz  and 0.5 MHz and 0.5 MHz) for continued narrowband operations, out of which 10 narrowband channels may be set aside for a railroad nationwide ribbon system. The draft Report and Order sets out rules for an entity to qualify for the county-wide 3 x 3 MHz license and procedures for these entities to relocate narrowband systems licensed on frequencies in the 3 x 3 MHz channel to the 900 MHz frequency assignments reserved for narrowband operations.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178) or Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

Unlicensed Use of the 6 GHz Band Authorized

At its April 23 open meeting, the Commission adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that makes 1,200 megahertz of spectrum in the 6 GHz band available for unlicensed use (Vol. XVII, Issue 14).  The Report and Order authorizes indoor low-power operations over the full 1,200 megahertz of the band, and standard-power devices in 850 megahertz of the band. This decision was hotly contested by wireless carriers, wireline carriers and operators of private 6 GHz microwave systems, all opposing the use of unlicensed wireless systems in this band, and technology companies, such as Apple, Qualcomm and Microsoft, supporting unlicensed Wi-Fi operations in this band. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).   

FCC Adopts 5G Fund for Rural America NPRM

The FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order last week that proposes establishing the 5G Fund for Rural America (Vol. XVII, Issue 14).  The Fund would distribute $9 billion through the Universal Service Fund for the deployment of 5G networks in rural areas, with a special focus on deployments that support precision agriculture.  $680 million of the Fund is reserved to support 5G networks serving Tribal lands.  For more information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).

SAS Administrator Approved in 3.5 GHz Band

The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a Public Notice last week certifying Amdocs, Inc. (Amdocs) as a Spectrum Access System (SAS) Administrator in the 3.5 GHz band (Vol. XVII, Issue 5).  Amdocs must continuously comply with FCC rules and any obligations imposed by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and the Office of Engineering and Technology for a five-year term.  CommScope, Federated Wireless, Google, and Sony were previously approved as SAS Administrators by the Commission in January.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

$1 Million Settlement Value in Rural Health Care Program Investigation

Last Wednesday, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Consent Decree terminating its investigation into whether DRS Global Enterprise Solutions, Inc. (DRS Global) violated the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program’s rules governing the determination of rural rates.  Under the Consent Decree, DRS Global acknowledges that it failed to determine the rural rates charged to non-profit health care and social services providers serving rural and remote Alaskan Native communities.  DRS Global agrees to relinquish any claims to $772,307 in Universal Service Fund (USF) support payments and to pay back $227,693 in USF support.  For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

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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.