Date: Feb 24, 2014
Open Internet Again: Back to the Future
On February 19, 2014, the FCC opened a new docket to rework its Open Internet rules after the D.C. Circuit vacated several elements of the previous rules. In his statement, Chairman Tom Wheeler promised the FCC will propose new Open Internet rules, leaving reclassification of Internet access service as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act a possibility, but will not appeal the D.C. Circuit’s ruling. The other FCC Commissioners issued statements as well, with the Democrats supporting the Chairman’s plan, and the Republicans strongly opposing any effort to regulate broadband. Comment dates have not been set, but the FCC said comments filed in the next thirty days will be “especially helpful.”
FCC Process Reform
On February 14, 2014, the FCC issued its Process Reform Report proposing a number of reforms designed to expedite FCC action. The report, based on input from a variety of sources, including Keller and Heckman, focuses on ways the FCC can improve its efficiency through streamlining agency processes, eliminating outdated rules, and improving communications with interested parties. Comments on the report are due March 31, 2014. For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202-434-4180).
Another TV White Spaces Database
The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology announced the 45-day public trial of Comsearch’s TV Band White Space Database System. The limited trial allows the public to access and test the database to ensure it correctly identifies available TV Band channels for unlicensed radio transmitting devices, properly registers protected radio transmitting facilities, and provides protection to authorized services and registered facilities. The public trial will end on April 9, 2014, though the FCC reserves the right to extend the trial as necessary. This trial follows similar trials for white space database systems created by Google, Inc. and Keybridge Global LLC. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (Kunkle@khlaw.com; 202-434-4178).
FCC Continues Tower Enforcement: Upcoming K&H Webinar - “Know Your Tower ABCs”
Last Friday, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture proposing a $10,000 fine to Ohana Media Group, LLC, for failing to exhibit the required lighting system on its tower and failing to alert the FAA of the lighting outage. The FCC’s rules require a tower owner to comply with its Antenna Structure Registration and mandate immediate reporting to the FAA of any known tower lighting outage that lasts longer than thirty minutes. To address these and other tower issues, on April 17, 2014, Keller and Heckman LLP attorneys will hold a complimentary one-hour roundtable (“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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