Telecom Business Alert – Vehicular Repeaters; Robocalls; 911 Reliability Certification; Rural Broadband; Drones, Vol XII, Issue 33

Date: Aug 17, 2015

VRS Order

Last week the FCC released a Report and Order (Order) authorizing the licensing and operation of vehicular repeater systems (VRS) and mobile repeaters on six remote control and telemetry channels in the VHF Band.  Operations on the 11.25 kHz channels will be co-primary with adjacent land mobile operations, and the Commission removed certain restrictions on omni-directional antennas, fixed station power limits, and antenna heights for telemetry operations.  Frequency coordination will be necessary to accommodate both telemetry and VRS on these channels.  Until a protocol for VRS coordination is developed, the Commission will not accept applications for mobile repeaters on the VHF channels.  Please contact Greg Kunkle (Kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178) with questions.

$2.96 Million Fine for Robocalls

Also last week, the Commission announced a $2.96 million fine against Travel Club Marketing, Inc. for sending more than 180 prerecorded voice messages and/or texts (“robocalls”) without prior express consent, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.  For more information, please contact Tracy Marshall (marshall@khlaw.com; 202.434.4234).

911 Reliability Certification System

The online system for filing 911 reliability certifications is now available through the Commission’s online portal available here.  The 911 reliability rules, adopted in December 2013, apply to all entities providing 911, E911, or NG911 to a public safety answering point, statewide default answering point, or appropriate local emergency authority.  Covered providers must audit and monitor all critical 911 circuits to mitigate the risk of 911 call failure and file an annual certification of compliance.  The initial certification is due October 15.  Please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239) with questions.

Rural Broadband Experiments

The FCC’s Rural Broadband Experiment Program has authorized four experimental projects to provide broadband to approximately 15,000 customers living in rural areas in Illinois, Kansas, Texas, Iowa, and North Dakota.  According to the FCC’s 2015 Broadband Progress Report, half of all rural Americans lack access to 25 Mbps/ 3 Mbps service.  A total of $11.2 million dollars was awarded to Skybeam, LLC, Allamakee-Clayton Electric Cooperative, Consolidated Communications Networks, Inc., and Delta Communications LLC to extend broadband services to these areas.  The companies must build-out 85% of their projects within in three years, and complete the build-out in five years.  For additional information, please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

Unauthorized Drone Operations

Last week the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that there has been an increase of reports from pilots concerning drones operated near airplanes and helicopters.  According to the FAA, there have been more than 650 sightings of drones by plane and helicopter pilots this year, including sightings by pilots of large commercial aircraft above 10,000 feet.  The unauthorized operation of drones is illegal and subject to civil and criminal penalties.  For additional information on drones, please contact Greg Kunkle (Kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

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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.