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Telecom Business Alert – Drone Regulations; 3.5 GHz; Hearing on Pole Attachments; IP Transition; FirstNet Terms, Vol XII, Issue 43

Date: Oct 26, 2015

Drone Regulation for Hobbyists

Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation and FAA announced the creation of a task force to guide the development of a registration process for recreational Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).  The task force will consist of 25 to 30 representatives from various stakeholders including the Air Line Pilots Association, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, and the American Association of Airport Executives.  The FAA already requires registration for commercial drones and approved 1,891 special permits as of October 15 for a variety of uses.  The task force is scheduled to submit its registration proposals for recreational UAS by November 20, 2015.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

3.65 GHz Protection Contours

The FCC issued a Public Notice last week seeking comment on a two-pronged approach to define the Wireless Protection Zone around grandfathered 3650-3700 MHz base stations.  Under the FCC’s 3.5 Order, grandfathered 3650-3700 MHz base stations are entitled to protection from harmful interference from Citizens Broadband Radio Service users for a fixed period (Vol. XII, Issue 17).  For base stations with unregistered Customer Premises Equipment (CPE), the FCC proposed a 4.4 km radius around each registered grandfathered base station.  For base stations with registered CPE, the FCC proposed a protection zone based on the azimuth and beamwidth of grandfathered base stations in relation to the furthest CPE unit registered in ULS.  As an added measure of protection, the Commission also proposed requiring Citizens Broadband stations to limit field strength at the boundary of Grandfathered Wireless Protection Zones.   For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

House Hearing on Pole Attachments

The U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, October 28 on “Breaking Down Barriers to Broadband Infrastructure Deployment.” The proposals to be discussed “would streamline processes for getting access to federal lands and utility poles, require smart dig-once policies that take advantage of existing roadwork to deploy fiber conduit, and examine the bureaucracy that impedes private sector investment in broadband.”  For additional information, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128).

Final Rules for IP Transition

The final rules for the FCC’s January 2015 IP Transition rulemaking were published in the Federal Register last week. The rules were based on the proposals released in a November 2014 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Vol. XI, Issue 48), which sought to further the technology transition currently underway in fixed communications networks, including the retirement of copper facilities and discontinuance of legacy services. For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180.   

FirstNet Final Legal Interpretations

On October 20, the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) final legal interpretations of terms like “rural,” and “secondary basis” among others, were published in the Federal Register. The interpretations were originally approved during FirstNet’s board meeting on October 1 and seek to inform forthcoming requests for proposals, interpretive rules, and network policies (Vol. XII, Issue 40).  For more information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).    

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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.