Telecom Business Alert - KH Webinar on Signal Boosters, New OSHA Climbing Rules, Harris County FirstNet Lease, New EB Priorities, and an FCC Tower Fine

Date: Jul 28, 2014

Next KH Webinar:  Signal Boosters

Tomorrow (July 29) from Noon– 12:45 p.m. (EST), Keller and Heckman partners Doug Jarrett and Greg Kunkle will present a webinar titled, FCC Signal Booster Rules and Challenges.  This webinar will review the major decisions, implementation challenges, and outstanding issues in the FCC's signal booster rules adopted in 2013, as well as the business and legal realities facing enterprises and property owners seeking property-wide wireless reception.  Please click here for registration information.

New OSHA Pole Climbing Rules

Effective April 1, 2015, the new OSHA power generation, transmission and distribution standard generally will not permit employees to climb poles, towers, or similar structures without fall protection. The exception is for situations (generally congested poles) where the use of fall protection is infeasible or would pose a greater hazard to the employee.  Retraining also will be required if it has been more than a year since an employee has used pole-climbing practices.  For additional information please contact Larry Halprin (Halprin@khlaw.com; 202.434.4177).

FirstNet Nears Lease with Harris County, Texas

The First Responder Network Authority (“FirstNet”) and the State of Texas are reportedly close to finalizing a spectrum lease agreement to enable Harris County to deploy a public safety broadband system.  The County would be the first FirstNet lessee that did not receive Broadband Technology Opportunities Program funds.  News that FirstNet is nearing a spectrum lease with Harris County is consistent with earlier indications from NTIA that FirstNet is looking to partner with energy companies and other CII entities on “early builder projects” to help jump-start the buildout of the nationwide public safety broadband network.  To discuss potential partnership opportunities with FirstNet, please contact Al Catalano (Catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).

Enforcement Bureau Shifts Priorities

On July 18, acting Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc confirmed what several recent Consent Decrees have indicated, except for rare exceptions, the Commission will require admissions of liability when parties enter into Consent Decrees.  “The consent decrees of the past were a bit of a ‘boondoggle’ for the industry.  You didn’t have to admit to anything,” said LeBlanc.  The acting Bureau Chief’s comments at the Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) luncheon also made it clear that the Bureau would shift its focus to modern, consumer focused issues, like privacy. 

FCC Fines Tower Owner

Last week, the FCC released a Forfeiture Order imposing a penalty of $10,400 on a utility for violating the FCC’s antenna structure rules.  The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau alleged that the company failed to exhibit required lighting on its antenna structure, notify the FAA immediately of the lighting outage, and inform the Commission regarding its purchase of the antenna structure.  In September 2011, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability to the company and recommending a fine of $13,000.  The Commission subsequently reduced the fine by 20%, because the company had a history of compliance with the FCC’s rules.  

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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 © 2013.  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.