Telecom Business Alert – FirstNet Approves RFP Elements; VHF Mobile Repeaters, Railroad Police Public Safety Frequency Use; Open Internet, Vol XII, Issue 40

Date: Oct 05, 2015

FirstNet Approves RFP Elements

Last week, the FirstNet Board met and approved two important resolutions.  In Resolution 69, the Board approved final legal interpretation of key provisions of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, including the definition of the term “rural.” In Resolution 70 FirstNet approved a national “Acquisition Approach” for deploying the network.  At the meeting, the Board noted that it expects partnerships to develop between major wireless carriers and rural telecommunications providers. Non-traditional rural providers were also encouraged to explore partnerships under this approach.  For more information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).    

Comments for Railroad Police Use of Public Safety Spectrum

On September 1, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which seeks to permit railroad police officers to use public safety interoperability and mutual aid channels in the VHF, UHF, 700 MHz narrowband, and 800 MHz National Public Safety Planning Advisory Committee (NPSPAC) bands.  The NPRM proposes to designate railroad police as eligible users of public safety interoperability and mutual aid channels in order to communicate with public safety licensees on those channels.  Last week, the Office of the Federal Register published a summary of the NPRM.  Comments are now by November 13, 2015 and reply comments by November 30, 2015.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

Coordination of VHF Mobile Repeaters

Last week the Land Mobile Communications Counsel (LMCC) submitted proposed consensus protocols governing coordination of vehicular repeater systems (VRS) to the FCC (originally reported by TR Daily, Sept. 30).  The proposal was submitted in response to the FCC’s August 10 Report and Order which amended Part 90 of the Commission’s rules to allow licensing and operation of VRS and other mobile repeaters on six offset channels in the 173 MHz band.  The Order directed the coordination community to develop a consensus protocol for VRS coordination which conforms to the existing Part 90 technical requirements in order to minimize interference.  The Order also placed a freeze on all applications for mobile repeaters on the six 173 MHz channels until the protocol is approved.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178). 

Open Internet

On September 21, several technology companies including Yelp, Squarespace, Twitter, and Reddit, filed a Brief with the U.S, Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit supporting the FCC’s Open Internet rules.  The rules reclassify broadband Internet access service as a telecommunications service and prohibit providers from blocking or throttling lawful content, applications, or services.  The companies urged the Court to uphold the Commission’s new rules, arguing that permitting broadband providers to prioritize traffic for money and to throttle lawful content would enable ISPs to decide which platforms thrive and which do not.  The Court is scheduled to hear oral argument in this case on December 4.  For additional information, please contact Doug Jarret (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

Complimentary KH Webinar on Leveraging Utility Infrastructure

Keller and Heckman attorneys Doug Jarrett, Tom Magee, and Mike Fitch will host a complimentary webinar on October 22 for electric distribution and generation companies.  The webinar will provide insights into opportunities for companies looking to leverage utility infrastructure to meet the demand of wireless carriers for more sites and related infrastructure as the demand for mobile data services continues to accelerate.  For additional information, please contact Mr. Jarrett (202.434.4180; Jarrett@khlaw.com) or register here.

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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.