Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. X Issue 31

Date: Jul 29, 2013

Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Updates

Following the release of a draft cybersecurity bill by the Senate Commerce Committee earlier this month, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said they are close to introducing a cybersecurity bill to increase sharing of cyberthreat information between the government and the private sector.  The Commerce Committee conducted a hearing last week to examine the role of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in increasing cybersecurity protection for Critical Infrastructure Industries (CII).  Key players in the Administration’s cybersecurity team echoed the Congressional interest in addressing cyber threats to CII firms.  At last week’s briefing on “Assessing Cyber Research and Development,” Dr. Douglas Maughan, Division Director of Cybersecurity and Science & Technology Directorate at DHS, stated that in the 18 months since the White House released a Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, one of DHS’s priorities is working with the private sector to protect against cyber-attacks on CII entities.  For additional information, please contact Tracy Marshall (marshall@khlaw.com; 202.434.4234).

KH Attorneys Meet with FCC Staff

Last Tuesday, KH attorneys travelled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for a meeting with several members of the Commission’s staff at the FCC’s offices to discuss a variety of licensing matters.  Staff confirmed the FCC will release a Public Notice in the coming weeks detailing the next steps in regard to the narrowband mandate of the VHF and UHF’s bands including potential enforcement matters and how interference complaints will be handled.  Staff also confirmed that the FCC was looking into expanding and extending Conditional Temporary Authority (CTA) for Land Mobile and Microwave licensees.  For additional information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296).

NTIA Awards Initial FirstNet Grant Funds to States

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) awarded the first round of grants to Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, and Ohio to help prepare for FirstNet’s implementation.  A total of $13.1 million in grants was distributed from the $100 million State and Local Implementation Grant Program.  Recipients must match at least 20 percent of the funds received.  According to an NTIA press release, funding will be awarded in two phases, with the first phase focused on expanding existing governance bodies to consult with FirstNet and the second focused on data collection activities.  For additional information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

Annual Regulatory Fees

In the coming months, licensees of certain facilities such as Satellite Earth Stations should expect a notice announcing the due date for annual regulatory fee payments for the fiscal year 2013.  For many licensed facilities, such as microwave and land mobile systems, the regulatory fees are paid as part of an application fee charged at the time an application is submitted to the Commission.  

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