Telecom Business Alert -- FCC Enforcement, FirstNet, 5 GHz -- Vol. XI Issue 23

Date: Jun 09, 2014

Alleged RF Exposure Violations Leads To Consent Decree

On April 30, 2014, Verizon Wireless and the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau entered into a Consent Decree for Verizon’s alleged violations of the Radio Frequency Exposure (RFE) limits at rooftop antenna sites in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Hartford, Connecticut.   Verizon has agreed to make a voluntary contribution of $50,000 to the U.S. Treasury in addition to developing and implementing an FCC-approved Compliance Plan.  The FCC’s rules require that licensees adhere to the RFE standards found in 40 C.F.R. § 1.1310. OSHA regulations establish a similar RFE standard for non-ionizing radiation and include requirements for warning signs and sign placement for radio frequency hazards.  For more information on the Consent Decree or the related OSHA standards, please contact David G. Sarvadi (Sarvadi@khlaw.com; 202-434-4249).

Unusual FCC Consent Decree

On June 5, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau released an Order announcing a Consent Decree entered into by Call Mobile, Inc.  Call Mobile was under investigation for operating after the expiration of its license and for failure to file a timely renewal.  Call Mobile agreed to pay a fine of $12,000, entered into a Compliance Plan, and admitted its violations in the Consent Decree.  Historically, the FCC has not required licensees to admit violations during the course of settling disputed enforcement matters through the use of voluntary Consent Decrees. 

FirstNet Adopts NEPA Process

Last week, the FirstNet Board adopted a series of resolutions, including one regarding the process to be used for NEPA reviews.  In April, FirstNet adopted a set of 19 categorical exclusions for actions that do not have a significant effect on the environment and should be exempt from the NEPA review.  For actions not included in these exclusions, FirstNet will prepare five regional Programmatic Environmental Impact Statements that will address most of the potential issues.  Any issues that fall outside of these statements will be handled on a site-specific basis.  For more information, please contact Al Catalano (Catalano@khlaw.com; 202-434-4207).

U-NII Rules Go Into Effect; Waivers Due July 2

On April 1, 2014, the FCC adopted new rules designed to promote Wi-Fi operations in the 5 GHz band, which went into effect on June 2, 2014.  Among other things, the new rules allow for outdoor operations and increase the power limits for U-NII operations in the 5.15-5.25 GHz portion of the band, except for operations above 30 degrees elevation which are limited to 125 mW EIRP.  Licensees who operate above 30 degrees elevation but cannot meet the lower EIRP under the new rules have 30 days, or until July 2, to file waivers to continue operating under the old rules.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (Kunkle@khlaw.com; 202-434-4178). 

Film Industry Files For Commercial Drone Exemption

Last month, Jim Williams, manager of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office, explained that the FAA was working with several industries interested in filing exemptions to the FAA prohibition on commercial drones.  Mr. Williams listed 1) precision agriculture; (2) film making; (3) power line and pipeline inspections; and (4) oil and gas flare stack inspections as the areas for possible limited exemptions.  Recently, seven aerial production companies filed for exemptions of the FAA regulations that prohibit commercial drone operations.  These exemptions would apply only to specific devices listed in the requests and the parties would disclose the location to the FAA prior to operation.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (Kunkle@khlaw.com; 202-434-4178). 

FCC To Hold GPS Workshop

The FCC has announced that it will hold a workshop on GPS Protection and Receiver Performance on June 20, 2014, with an emphasis on Critical Infrastructure and Public Safety uses. The workshop will include panels on critical infrastructure and public safety applications, protection of RNSS spectrum and GNSS operations, GPS and GNSS receiver performance, and potential future action.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (Wright@khlaw.com; 202-434-4239).    

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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.  Please follow us on twitter at @KHtelecom.