Telecom Business Alert – FirstNet; High Band Spectrum; 4.9 GHz; Broadband; FCC Enforcement - Vol XII, Issue 42

Date: Oct 19, 2015

FirstNet Releases Final Interpretations

Last week, FirstNet released two public notices (available here and here) that include more than 60 key legal interpretations and definitions.  One definition finalized by FirstNet last week is the term “rural.”  The definition adopted by the agency mirrors the definition under the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, which defines the term “rural” as any area that is not a city, town, or incorporated area with a population of greater than 20,000 inhabitants, or any urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to a city or town with a population of more than 50,000 inhabitants.  FirstNet also confirmed it will require fee revenues from states assuming responsibility for building their own radio access networks (RANs) to be reinvested into the nationwide system.  For additional information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).

FCC High Band Spectrum Proposal

The FCC will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to create new service rules to promote additional use of certain bands above 24 GHz at its Open Meeting on October 22.  The NPRM stems from a Notice of Inquiry issued by the Commission last year that sought input on how the Commission could revise its rules to enable mobile deployment in high-band spectrum.  The NOI posed a series of questions relating to how the Commission should treat incumbents in the various bands that would be affected and whether the bands are suitable for mobile operations, including in the 70/80/90 GHz band used by critical infrastructure entities and others for point-to-point operations.  For additional information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).            

APCO 4.9 GHz Proposal

Last month, APCO International submitted a report to the FCC urging frequency coordination procedures be adopted for the 4.9 GHz band.  The band currently is available to public safety entities under certain circumstances.  APCO argued that adopting frequency coordination procedures would increase the extent to which it can be used by public safety entities.  The report indicated that the public safety community is reluctant to invest in the 4.9 GHz band because the Commission’s current jurisdictional licensing model is “too similar to an unlicensed structure.”  The Commission is expected to issue a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking later this year proposing to allow electric utilities, oil and gas companies and other critical infrastructure companies to share the 4.9 GHz band on a co-primary basis with public safety.  (Vol. XII, Issue 38).  For additional information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

NTIA Broadband Workshop

Earlier this month, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced a Community Broadband Workshop in Mountain View, California on November 17 to help communities expand their broadband capacity and increase broadband utilization.  At the Workshop, NTIA will provide best practices and lessons learned from network infrastructure build-outs and digital inclusion programs from California and surrounding states, including projects funded by the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and State Broadband Initiative (SBI) grant programs.  For additional information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

FCC Enforcement

Earlier this month, Kajeet Inc. entered into a Consent Decree with the FCC, agreeing to pay a civil penalty of $450,000 and adopt a compliance plan for failing to contribute to the Universal Service Fund (“USF”), Telecommunications Relay Service (“TRS”) fund, and Local Number Portability (“LNP”) cost recovery mechanism.  Kajeet provides prepaid wireless services.  For additional information, please contact Tim Doughty (doughty@khlaw.com; 202.434.4271).

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 mobile data services continue to expand.  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.  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 © 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.