Telecom Business Alert – NARUC Supports CII, 900 MHz Petition, Special Access FAQ, AWS-3 Auction, Drone Regulations, K&H Webinar on Spectrum Acquisition Recording Available, Vol XI Issue 47

Date: Nov 24, 2014

NARUC Supports CII, 900 MHz Petition, Special Access FAQ, AWS-3 Auction, Drone Regulations, K&H Webinar on Spectrum Acquisition Recording Available

NARUC Supports CII

Last week, the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners (NARUC) adopted a resolution entitled “Utilities Access to Spectrum to Promote Public Safety”.  Originally reported on in our November 10 Telecom Business Alert, the resolution recommends the FCC reexamine the precedential effects of its finding in the long-pending MCLM hearing proceeding “that SCADA and smart grid systems are not dedicated to protecting the public safety and the prevention of human injury and property damage.”  The NARUC resolution also urges the Commission to allow CII entities access to spectrum to support the specific uses of SCADA and smart grid systems needed for protecting the safe, reliable and secure delivery of essential services.  

“Now NARUC – which represents the State Public Service Commissions in all 50 states – has joined API, EEI, ENTELEC, EWA, NRECA, NRTC, and UTC in questioning the FCC’s ill-advised decision to drag Critical Infrastructure companies through a never-ending hearing proceeding involving another licensee’s character qualifications.  Hopefully the support from NARUC and the trade associations will make a difference.”


900 MHz Petition

On November 17, Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) and Pacific Datavision, Inc. (PDV) submitted a Petition for Rulemaking to the FCC proposing a reallocation of the 896-901/935-940 MHz Private Land Mobile band to create both narrowband and broadband segments designed to facilitate broadband operations by critical infrastructure companies.  .  The petition requests issuance of a broadband authorization to the Private Enterprise Broadband (PEBB) licensee holding the majority of the frequencies in each Major Trading Area (MTA).  The PEBB licensees would hold a contiguous 3/3 MHz block while retaining a 2/2 MHz block for accommodating incumbent narrowband operations.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).   

Special Access FAQ

Earlier this month, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau released a 22-page list of answers to frequently asked questions about its Special Access data collection requirements.  Service providers and end-user purchasers of special access services are required to report certain rate and location data to the Commission on or before December 15, 2014.  (Vol XI, Issue 38).  The FAQs identify entities subject to the filing requirements, exemptions from those requirements, and how to interface with the FCC’s web portal.  Some oil and gas companies, including pipelines, energy holding companies, and railroads may be subject to this reporting requirement.  The filing deadline is December 15th.  For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180). 

AWS-3 Auction

The FCC’s ongoing auction of Advanced Wireless Service spectrum (AWS-3) has garnered more than $34 billion in bids, making it the most profitable auction in FCC history.  The auction includes 65 MHz of spectrum in the 1.7 GHz and 2.1 GHz bands.  The success of the auction is good news for FirstNet because a portion of the auction’s proceeds will fund the deployment and operation of FirstNet’s nationwide public safety broadband network.  Some industry analysts also predict that the success of the AWS-3 auction may cause a delay in the FCC’s incentive auction of broadcast spectrum.  (Vol XI, Issue 44).  A portion of the proceeds from the incentive auction is also earmarked for FirstNet.  Since the AWS-3 auction will provide FirstNet with substantial funding, however, it may take the pressure off the FCC to raise additional revenue for FirstNet in the near-term.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

Drone Regulations

Last week the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) rejected an Administrative Law Judge’s decision to dismiss a $10,000 FAA fine issued to an aerial photographer for operating a drone in a reckless manner.  The judge had compared the photographer’s unmanned aircraft to a model aircraft and found the FAA had not enacted an enforceable regulation regarding such aircraft.  In response, the NTSB rejected that characterization and stated that the FAA’s broad regulations clearly state that an “aircraft” is “any device used for flight in the air,” and the FAA has authority to enforce reckless operation rules against drone operators.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178). 

K&H Webinar on Spectrum Acquisition Recording Available

A recording of the complimentary webinar, Spectrum Acquisitions for Critical Infrastructure Companies, presented on November 12 by K&H attorneys Doug Jarrett, Greg Kunkle, and Wes Wright is now available.  

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