Telecom Business Alert -- Cell Phones on Planes, Tower Fall Fines, and Spectrum -- Vol. X Issue 51

Date: Dec 16, 2013

FCC Moves Forward With Cell Phones on Planes Proposal

Last week at its December Open Meeting, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to expand the availability of mobile wireless service in flight. The proposal, if adopted, would expand the current ban on cell phone use to include spectrum bands not currently included in the prohibition. The proposal also would allow airlines to install equipment in their planes to allow travelers to safely access wireless networks. Shortly after the FCC’s proposal, proposals to prohibit cell phone use on planes were announced by the Department of Transportation and in both chambers of Congress. 

Washington Watch: Spectrum on the Horizon

On December 6, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced the broadcast incentive auction, which had been scheduled to take place in 2014, would be delayed until 2015. He explained the delay was necessary to craft technical rules of the auction and define the procedures for repurposing the spectrum. The Commission is expected to issue its proposal in early next year, vote on it in the spring of 2014, and hold the auction mid-year 2015. In other spectrum news, a new bill introduced by members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee would incentivize Federal Government agencies to relinquish spectrum. The Federal Spectrum Incentive Act would establish a fund for government agencies who return spectrum. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (Kunkle@khlaw.com; 202-434-4178) for more information.  

OSHA Fines Tower Company for Tower Fall

On December 5, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OHSA”) issued a Citation and Notification of Penalty to Custom Tower LLC with a proposed penalty of $50,400. OSHA fined Custom Tower for an incident where an employee fell 125 feet while working on a tower owned by C-Spire Wireless. The employee apparently failed to use proper fall protection equipment. Custom Tower has 15 days to respond to OHSA. For more information, please contact David Sarvadi (sarvadi@khlaw.com; 202-434-4249).

Corporate Counsel Corner Webinar

Thank you to those in-house counsel at electric utilities, oil and gas companies, railroads and other in the “Critical Infrastructure Industries” who joined us for the “In-House Counsel Only” webinar last Friday. The webinar focused on telecom issues of interest to in-house counsel (e.g., the new FCC Administration, spectrum, enforcement, privacy, services agreements, and pole attachments). For a copy of the presentation, CLICK HERE. To listen to the presentation, CLICK HERE.

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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.