Telecom Business Alert -- 5GHz, Tower Rule Proposals, and Maritime Rules -- Vol XI Issue 14

Date: Apr 07, 2014

Wi-Fi in the 5 GHz Band

On April 1, the FCC adopted rules to promote unlicensed operations, including Wi-Fi, in the 5 GHz band.  These new rules remove the indoor-only requirement and increase power levels to allow Wi-Fi in the 5150-5250 MHz portion of the band.  The FCC also extended the 5.725-5.825 GHz band edge up to 5.850 GHz and modified the Part 15 rules to ensure compliance with Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) requirements, and modified its rules for the 5.250-5.350 GHz and 5.470-5.725 GHz bands to protect incumbent radar systems.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (Kunkle@khlaw.com; 202-434-4178).   

Tower Rule Proposals

In response to the FCC’s request for comment on its process reform effort, PCIA – the Wireless Infrastructure Association filed comments proposing updates to the FCC’s tower marking and lighting rules.  PCIA’s recommendations included tracking and addressing backlogs of FCC rulemakings, and deleting outdated rules, such as quarterly lighting inspection.  

Changes to Maritime Rules

The FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to change the maritime rules has been published in the Federal Register.  The proposals focus on technologies used in locating and communicating with distressed ships and individuals.  The NPRM also proposes to allow the transfer of ship licenses (currently prohibited).  Comments on the NPRM are due June 2, and reply comments are due June 30. 

Consumer Signal Booster Petition

On April 2, Wilson Electronics, V-COMM, and Wireless Extenders, Inc. submitted an amendment to their pending petition for reconsideration of the FCC’s signal booster rules.  Last May, the three companies petitioned the Commission to revise its rules to make the downlink noise and gain requirements for consumer signal boosters more effective.  The amended petition requests rule changes to the noise limits and transmitter power off mode requirements for consumer signal boosters.  For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202-434-4180).

FCC Open Meeting

On April 2, the FCC announced its tentative agenda for its Open Meeting scheduled for April 23, 2014.  One item on the agenda is a 3.5 GHz NPRM that will propose a three-tiered access structure to the band.  The NPRM also requests comment on the priority access tier and potential integration of the 3.65-3.7 GHz band.  Another item on the Agenda will involve the FCC taking more steps to implement the USF/ICC transformation order.  

Partner Doug Jarrett Recognized

We are pleased to announce that our Partner, Doug Jarrett, is the recipient of the 2014 Client Choice Award for Telecommunications Counsel in Washington, D.C. and the United States.  Client Choice Award Winners are selected by the International Law Office (ILO) and Lexology, based exclusively on nominations and recommendations by corporate counsel clients.   

Upcoming K&H Webinar - “Know Your Tower ABCs”

With the increased focus on communications towers, Keller and Heckman LLP attorneys will hold a complimentary one-hour roundtable on April 17, 2014 (“Know Your Tower ABCs:  FAA, ASR, NEPA, FCC, SHPO, TCNS, OSHA”) to discuss the many regulatory obligations associated with construction, operation, and maintenance of antenna towers.  In addition to a multitude of FCC, FAA, and EPA requirements, the webinar will consider OSHA’s recent focus on employers who build, own, and maintain communications towers.  Webinar participants are encouraged to submit requests for topics to be discussed during the one-hour session.  To sign up or submit topic requests, please click here.

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We welcome your feedback on topics of interest that you would like to see covered in our Telecom Business Alert. To make suggestions, please e-mail 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.  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.  Please follow us on twitter at @KHtelecom.