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Telecom Business Alert – 900 MHz Petition, IP Transition Rulemaking, Proposed 911 Reliability Rules, Waiver for Medical Devices, Critical Infrastructure at the FCC , Vol XI Issue 48

Date: Dec 01, 2014

December 1, 2014, Volume XI, Issue 48

Title: 900 MHz Petition, IP Transition Rulemaking, Proposed 911 Reliability Rules, Waiver for Medical Devices, Critical Infrastructure at the FCC

900 MHz Petition

Last week, the FCC released a Public Notice requesting comment on a joint Petition for Rulemaking submitted by Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) and Pacific Datavision, Inc. (PDV) proposing a reallocation of the 896-901/935-940 MHz Private Land Mobile band.  The reallocation would create a paired 3 MHz broadband segment with rules intended to promote use by critical infrastructure companies.  Current licensees would be relocated to a narrowband paired 2 MHz segment.  The Petition was originally reported on in our November 24 Telecom Business Alert.  Comments are due January 12, 2015 and Reply Comments are due January 27.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

IP Transition Rulemaking

Last week, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Declaratory Ruling (“NPRM”) regarding the transition from copper networks utilizing TDM technology to networks that rely exclusively on IP technology.   The FCC wants to ensure that carriers inform customers that IP-technology networks do not include network-based electric power and that IP customer premises equipment (CPE} rely on electric power at the customer premise.   The FCC is looking to require sufficient customer notice regarding copper-based service discontinuances and transitions to IP-based services.  The FCC also seeks to ensure that interconnection arrangements between the major ILECs and competing carriers are maintained during and after the IP transition. Comments will be due 30 days after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register and Reply Comments are due 60 days after Federal Register publication. For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

Proposed 911 Reliability Rules

Last week, the FCC released a Policy Statement and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to strengthen its rules governing the reliability of 911 infrastructure. The proposed rules expand those adopted by the FCC last year in a number of ways. (Vol. XI, Issue 18). For example, the new rules would expand the scope of entities subject to the FCC’s reliability rules to include all entities that provide 911, E911, or NG911 capabilities (including both wireline and wireless providers). 911 Service Providers also would be required to notify the FCC and public of major changes to network architecture and the scope of 911 services offered. Finally, these companies would be required to secure FCC approval to discontinue, reduce, or impair existing 911 service.  The two Republican Commissioners dissented from the NPRM, arguing that the FCC was unnecessarily usurping State and local oversight of the 911 network. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

Waiver for Medical Devices

Last month, the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology granted a request filed by Medimetrics to waive an FCC rule and permit the company to obtain an FCC certification for marketing its medical device trademarked as IntelliCap FR Portable Unit. The Portable Unit relays control signals and related communications between a laptop computer and an ingested capsule that transmits real-time data to the Portable Unit on channels in the 433 MHz band. The Commission found that the intended use of the devices posed negligible interference potential, and thus granted Medimetrics’ waiver request to operate at a higher power level than permitted by the FCC’s rules.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

Critical Infrastructure at the FCC

Click here for the digital version of an article by K&H, in the November/December issue of Mission Critical Communications, entitled “FCC Order Frustrates CII Entities” (also available at Mission Critical’s website). The article disputes a recent decision by the FCC that SCADA systems operated by oil and gas companies and smart grid systems by electric utilities are not dedicated to preventing human injury and property damage. To date, the FCC’s decision has been questioned by API, EEI, ENTELEC, EWA, NRTC, NRECA, and UTC. The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners – representing the PUCs in all fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands – also recently adopted a formal Resolution urging reconsideration of the FCC’s decision. 

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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 © 2014.  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.