Telecom Business Alert -- FCC In-Vehicle Repeater NPRM, 900 MHz Concurrence -- Vol X, Issue 39

Date: Sep 23, 2013


Keller and Heckman LLP attorneys will host a complimentary webinar for clients and friends of the firm at noon Eastern on Wednesday, September 25, 2013, to discuss key telecom issues facing the Critical Infrastructure industries. This webinar is the third in a series addressing current events at the FCC of particular interest to CII companies, including FCC developments, wireless spectrum issues, licensing and enforcement trends, network services, pole attachments, and cybersecurity. 

FCC Issues In-Vehicle Repeater Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Last week, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on a proposal filed by Pyramid Communications requesting a revision of the rules to facilitate the use of VHF vehicular repeater units by Public Safety licensees.  Pyramid argued that dedicated VHF spectrum for vehicular repeaters was needed, because the band is saturated with existing land mobile licensees.  The Commission denied Pyramid’s request to permit VRS operations on nine Federal and forest firefighting channels in the 170-172 MHz band.  However, the agency proposed allowing VRS operations on six remote control and telemetry channels in the 173 MHz range.  These VHF channels, commonly referred to as “splinter channels,” currently are available for fixed data use.  Comments are due 60 days after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register and Reply Comments are due 90 days after Federal Register Publication.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

Sprint Nextel Submits Blanket 900 MHz Concurrence

Last week, the FCC released a Public Notice modifying the freeze on applications in the 900 MHz band.  The Public Notice supersedes the Commission’s announcement in August that it would allow qualified applicants to obtain new authorizations for 900 MHz land mobile channels before 800 MHz rebanding efforts were completed if the application included a letter of concurrence from Sprint.  A few weeks ago, Sprint filed a generic letter of concurrence stating its nationwide iDEN network has been decommissioned and the company no longer requires access to certain 900 MHz white space channels.  Accordingly, Sprint provided its general concurrence to any 900 MHz application that seeks access to these 900 MHz white space channels. 

NextG and SCE Hit Hard for Malibu Fire

Southern California Edison and distributed antenna system provider NextG were fined $37 million and $14.5 million, respectively, for their roles in the 2007 Malibu Canyon fire, caused when three distribution poles fell during a Santa Ana wind storm.  Both parties admitted one of the poles was overloaded (SCE admitted it was overloaded by facilities attached by another entity), and their fines cover both penalties and required safety inspections (SCE - 1,453 poles; NextG – 60,000 poles).  For additional information, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128).

NTIA Petitions FCC To Mandate Unlocking of Mobile Devices

Last week, the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) petitioned the FCC to require wireless carriers to unlock mobile phones, tablets and other devices.  The petition requests that the FCC immediately initiate a rulemaking proceeding to add a new section to the Commission’s rules that would require a wireless provider, upon request by the consumer-owner, to unlock any wireless device furnished by that provider.  NTIA and the Administration have supported cell-phone unlocking through multiple filings and web posts over the last 18 months Doug Jarrett 202.434.4180; Jarrett@khlaw.com) with questions.

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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.

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