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Telecom Business Alert -- Chairman Wheeler, KH Webinar -- Vol. X Issue 46

Date: Nov 11, 2013

FAA Releases Roadmap for Commercial Drones

Yesterday the FAA released a roadmap outlining an implementation plan for commercial use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or “drones.”  For critical infrastructure companies, proposed civil and commercial applications include, but are not limited to, monitoring and inspection of power facilities, ports, and pipelines, as well as security awareness. The roadmap focuses on the safe integration of UAS into the national airspace and discusses a broad variety of considerations including industry policy recommendations, privacy and civil liberty concerns, pilot and equipment certifications, and overall regulatory standards to be adhered to. For more information please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202-434-4178).

Hefty Fines for Tower Lighting Violations

Last week, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau released yet another Notice of Apparent Liability proposing a $234,000 fine to Johnson Towers Corporation (JTC) for failing to install lights on two of the company’s antenna towers and failing to update the FCC’s records to reflect the dismantlement of a third structure.  The FCC’s rules require that antenna structures located close to airports or that are greater than 200 feet in height comply with painting and lighting specifications designed to ensure air safety.  Tower owners also are required to notify the FCC when a tower has been dismantled. In this case, the Commission applied the statutory maximum for the lighting violations ($112,500 for each or the two structures) and added $9,000 for failure to notify the Commission of dismantlement of the third. 

FCC Chairman Wheeler Celebrates Gettysburg Address 

In addition to telecommunications, new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has a passion for history -- especially the U.S. Civil War.  On Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET., he will be featured along with other experts on a PBS special celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address:  LINCOLN@GETTYSBURG, which among other things analyzes Lincoln’s interest in new technologies.  According to Chairman Wheeler, author of a book titled Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails, “Abraham Lincoln recognized that he who controls the conduit also controls the content.”

FCC Releases Public Notice for 3.5-3.65 GHz Band NPRM

Last Friday the FCC released a Public Notice requesting further comments on licensing models and technical requirements in the 3550-3650 MHz band. This follows up on last year’s NPRM and March 14 workshop proposing the band be reallocated under a three-tiered “Citizens Broadband Service.”  The NPRM also proposes to expand the licensing and model to an additional adjacent 50 MHz of spectrum in the 3650-3700 MHz band. Comments are due by December 5, 2013 and reply comments by December 20. Please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202-434-4178) for more information.

Corporate Counsel Corner: “In-House Counsel Only” Webinar on CII Telecom Issues

While K&H telecom webinars usually are designed with the entire Critical Infrastructure community in mind, on Friday, December 13, 2013, 12:00-1:00 p.m.  Eastern time, Keller and Heckman LLP attorneys will host a complimentary “In-House Counsel Only” webinar focusing on key telecom issues of concern to in-house counsel. Topics will include the impact of new leadership at the FCC, wireless spectrum problems, potential FCC licensing challenges, developments in privacy and data security, pole attachments and services agreements.  An application to attain CLE credits with the State Bar of Texas is in process for this program and may apply to further states as requested. 

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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 © 2013.  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.