Telecom Business Alert - Vol. X Issue 32

Date: Aug 05, 2013

FCC Seeks Comment on 4RF Waiver Request

Last week, the FCC released a Public Notice seeking comment on a waiver filed by 4RF Limited requesting to use additional emission designators for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) telemetry radios.  The company argues it has developed narrowband high-efficiency point-to-multipoint SCADA telemetry radios for infrastructure applications, but the equipment operates with digital QAM and QPSK emissions not clearly permitted under the FCC’s rules.  Claiming the new equipment will expedite the migration of CII to IP-enabled technologies for remote monitoring and control applications,  4RF requests a blanket waiver of the rules to allow certification, licensing, and use of telemetry radios with specific digital emissions or, alternatively, for clarification that the proposed emissions are already permitted for Part 90 telemetry.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

“Technology often evolves at a faster pace than regulation.  In this instance, an overdue update to the FCC’s restrictions on telemetry modulations could yield benefits for SCADA users.”
– Greg Kunkle
Partner, Keller and Heckman LLP

Pole Attachment Developments

Last week, the Federal Respondents (FCC and DOJ) filed their Brief in Opposition to electric utilities’ request for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court in an appeal of the FCC’s decision to regulate attachments by ILECs to utility poles.  Elsewhere, in written comments to the FCC, the American Cable Association told the FCC that nearly 800 cable systems serving over 35,000 subscribers have closed over the past five years, mostly in small and rural communities, due primarily to increasing programming costs and pole attachment fees.  For additional information, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202.434.4128).

O’Rielly Nominated to FCC

Last week, the White House nominated Michael O’Rielly for the open Republican Commissioner seat.  O’Rielly currently is a policy adviser to Senator John Cornwyn (R-Tex.) and previously served as tech/telecom policy adviser to former Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) and former Rep. Tom Bliley (R-Va.).  Following custom, President Obama’s nomination for the Republican seat was based on the recommendation from Republican Senate leaders. O’Rielly’s nomination is expected to be paired with Thomas Wheeler, who has been nominated for FCC Chairman, in an effort to ease confirmation of both nominees by the Senate. The Senate Commerce Committee already has approved Wheeler’s nomination.

Senate Committee Approves Cybersecurity Legislation

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved a new bill, the Cybersecurity Act of 2013 (S. 1353), that tasks the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) with developing a set of voluntary standards and guidelines to reduce cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure. The legislation echoes the White House’s Cybersecurity Executive Order directing NIST to create a voluntary cybersecurity framework, a move proponents believe will bring certainty to the private sector of NIST’s non-regulatory role in cybersecurity. The legislation also directs the White House Office of Science and Technology to develop a cybersecurity research plan including guidelines on how to test and build new software and how to improve consumer education on cybersecurity.

Question from a Telecom Alert Reader
My company is planning on selling assets to another entity and there are several FCC licenses that will require name changes. Can we just update the name on the licenses?”

No, unfortunately, the process is not that simple.   Section 310(d) of the Communications Act requires entities to secure the FCC’s prior consent to assign or transfer control of an FCC license as part of any transaction. Failure to comply with the FCC’s rules may result in substantial fines and other penalties. For more information about the FCC’s assignment and transfer procedures, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296).

 Send Us Your Feedback

In an attempt to address in our weekly Telecom Business Alert the issues of most importance to the clients and friends of Keller and Heckman LLP, we invite you to submit suggestions on topics of interest to you. To make suggestions, please send an e-mail to TelecomAlert@khlaw.com.

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.

To sign up for our weekly alert, please send us an email at TelecomAlert@khlaw.com and provide us with your name and email.