Telecom Business Alert - 3.65 GHz, 900 MHz, Spectrum Fraud, OSHA Towers, and LMCC - Vol. XII, Issue 16

Date: Apr 20, 2015

New Rules Impact 3.65 GHz Band

Last week, the FCC adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking establishing the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS).  The CBRS includes 150 MHz of contiguous spectrum in the 3550-3700 MHz band.  The Report and Order tracks the proposed rules issued by the FCC last April and combines the 3550-3650 MHz band with the existing 3650-3700 MHz band to create the CBRS, along with a three-tiered sharing model to allow operations for consumer use, small cell deployment, fixed mobile broadband services, and other uses.  The text of the Order was not available at the time of publication.  Several parties, including Keller and Heckman’s client the American Petroleum Institute (API), had urged the FCC to ensure its Order protected investments by incumbent users in the 3650-3700 MHz portion of the band.  Please contact Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com) with questions.

900 MHz Order

Last week, the FCC issued an Order dismissing several applications filed by Spectrum Networks Group, LLC for 900 MHz channels that included a waiver request to operate a commercial M2M system. The 900 MHz band consists of 399 narrowband channels that are allocated either for Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) service or Business/Industrial/Land Transportation (B/ILT) operations. The applicants requested several B/ILT channels and sought a waiver to operate these channels for a commercial M2M network. In July, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking comment on the waiver request. Several parties, including Keller and Heckman’s client the American Petroleum Institute, filed comments arguing that SNG’s proposed operations could significantly encumber site-based licenses held by oil and gas companies, electric utilities, and other B/ILT users. The FCC agreed and denied SNG’s request. Please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4239; wright@khlaw.com) with questions.

OSHA Seeks Tower Safety Information

On April 15, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) published a Request for Information (“RFI”), seeking data and information to help the agency evaluate hazards that works face when working on communications towers. The RFI poses more than three dozen questions and seeks information from tower owners, engineering firms, maintenance companies, and field personnel. Comments are due by June 15, 2015. Keller and Heckman attorneys will discuss the RFI and its implications in the next edition of the OSHA 30/30 with Manesh Rath on April 22, 2015 at 1:00 PM Eastern. Please register here. For additional information, please contact Mike Fitch (Fitch@khlaw.com; 202.434.4264) or David Sarvadi (Sarvadi@khlaw.com; 202.434.4249). 

Spectrum Fraud

Earlier this month, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a complaint in Arizona alleging that several companies and individuals defrauded investors in a scheme involving applications for Expansion Band and Guard Band channels in the 800 MHz band. The complaint alleges that Janus Spectrum LLC promised investors lucrative returns based on the company obtaining FCC licenses in these portions of the 800 MHz band. The SEC alleges that Janus raised more than $12.4 million and misled investors as to the value of these channels. The individuals behind Janus and its other fundraising entities allegedly used only a small portion of the funds to prepare applications for FCC licenses.  

FirstNet Hosts Meeting for SPOCs

Last week, FirstNet hosted a meeting in Reston, VA with state single points of contact (SPOCs) from around the country. Topics focused on FirstNet planning activities including lessons learned by the various states engaged in on-going planning. Critical infrastructure entities interested in obtaining access to the FirstNet network and/or having infrastructure that could be leased to FirstNet for the network should be engaged in the state planning process. Please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207) with questions.

K&H Partner Greg Kunkle Elected President of LMCC

Last week, the Land Mobile Communications Council reported its election of Greg Kunkle, Keller and Heckman Partner, as LMCC President. The LMCC is a nonprofit association of organizations that represent the wireless communications interests of public safety, critical infrastructure, business/industrial, transportation, private and common carriers, and manufacturers of wireless communications equipment.

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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.  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.