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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. X Issue 29

Date: Jul 15, 2013

Airplanes Trump Critical Infrastructure

The FCC’s decision to reject a request for a rulemaking to allow sharing of the 14 GHz band by the Critical Infrastructure Industry (CII) and instead to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) allocating this spectrum  for air-ground mobile broadband service  has generated considerable debate. The FCC’s May 2013 decision turning down the Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) and Winchester Cator, LLC’s 2008 Petition to open the 14.0-14.5 GHz band for terrestrial point-to-point and point-to-multipoint communications for use by electric utilities, oil and gas companies, and others in the CII industry, claimed that CII entities had no need for additional spectrum. In the NPRM, the FCC proposes instead a secondary allocation for consumer air-ground mobile broadband and requires new air-ground mobile broadband licensees to avoid harmful interference to the Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) and others in the band. On July 11, UTC and Winchester Cator, LLC filed a Reply to Oppositions to their Application for Review. Comments on the NPRM are due August 26, and replies are due September 23, 2013. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296).

 “One would think the FCC would consider oil and gas companies, electric utilities, and other CII companies to be at least as important as airplane passengers.”  

Pole Attachment Developments

Last week, legislation was enacted in Missouri all but requiring municipal utility pole owners to charge attaching entities the FCC cable rate.  In Iowa, a hearing was held to evaluate Iowa’s scaled-back pole attachment rules, which now address safety issues only.  And favorable press explained electric utility industry concerns in their requests for Supreme Court review of the FCC’s Pole Attachment Order.  For additional information, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128).

Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Developments

Last week, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) hosted its third workshop relating to the development of a voluntary Cybersecurity Framework for evaluating and addressing cyber risks at critical infrastructure facilities.  NIST has been holding workshops pursuant to President Obama’s February Executive Order on Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, which requires that NIST develop and publish a preliminary version of the Cybersecurity Framework by October 2013 and a final version by February 2014.  The NIST workshop focused on a draft outline framework that NIST released earlier in the month.  The first day of the workshop coincided with the release of a draft cybersecurity bill by the Senate Commerce Committee, which would add cybersecurity to NIST’s statutory authority to ensure that it works with industry on voluntary best practices.  For more information, please contact Tracy Marshall (marshall@khlaw.com; 202.434.4234).

Deadline Extended for Replies to Annual Wireless Competition Report Public Notice

The FCC extended the deadline for replies to a Public Notice seeking comment on the state of competition in the mobile wireless marketplace. Among other items, the Commission seeks input on its analysis of the spectrum used for mobile wireless services including WiMax and LTE technologies. Reply Comments are now due by July 25, 2013.

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