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Telecom Alert: Rip-and-Replace Rules Adopted; FCC Affirms Fine for Harmful Interference; Form 477 Violations Citation; New Research Test Beds Proposed; KH Named to Fiber-to-the-Home Top 100 [Vol. XVIII, Issue 29]

Rip-and-Replace Rules Adopted

The FCC adopted a Third Report and Order last week modifying the Rip-and-Replace program rules (Vol. XVIII, Issue 28).  The new rules expand the eligibility for funding to carriers with ten million or fewer customers and establish prioritization policies in case reimbursement costs exceed the $1.9 billion of available funding.  The rules also allow carriers to seek reimbursement for replacing any equipment produced by Huawei or ZTE, regardless of whether it was paid for with universal service subsidies.  For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

FCC Affirms Fine for Harmful Interference

Last week the FCC released a Memorandum Opinion and Order affirming an Enforcement Bureau fine against Mobile Relay Associates (“Mobile Relay”) for causing harmful interference to a co-channel licensee operating on a shared channel.  The Commission issued Mobile Relay a Notice of Violation (“NOV”) in 2013 after Mobile Relay received complaints from two co-channel licensees that it was causing interference.  Two years later, the FCC found that Mobile Relay continued to operate nearly continuously on the channel and failed to employ required monitoring equipment to prevent interference.  Mobile Relay must pay a forfeiture of $25,000 for its actions.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

Broadband Provider Issued Form 477 Violations Citation

The FCC issued a Citation and Order last week notifying New Visions Communications, Inc. (“New Visions”) that it failed to file FCC Form 477 twenty-five times and filed it late four times.  Form 477, which facilities-based broadband service providers are required to file twice a year, contains important information such as service speed and subscriber information that the Commission uses to assess the state of broadband availability in the U.S.  New Visions must respond to the Citation and Order within 30 days (Vol. XVIII, Issue 9).  For more information, please contact Kathleen Slattery-Thompson (slattery@khlaw.com; 202.434.4244).

FCC Proposes Boston, Raleigh as new Research Test Beds

The FCC will consider a Public Notice at its August Open Meeting that proposes designating Boston, MA and Raleigh, NC as two new Innovation Zones to allow for advanced wireless communications and network innovation and research.  Innovation Zones are FCC-designated, city-scale test beds managed by the National Science Foundation that extend the geographic areas in which already licensed experimental program licensees can conduct tests.  The designation allows experimental program license holders, which are licensed to operate elsewhere, to also use the Innovation Zones.  The FCC designated New York City and Salt Lake City as the first Innovation Zones in September 2019.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

KH Named to Fiber-to-the-Home Top 100

Broadband Communities Magazine has included Keller and Heckman LLP as the only law firm on its prestigious “Fiber-to-the-Home Top 100” list for 2021.  The list “represents the whole fiber-to-the-home ecosystem.  Optical fiber and fiber cables; passive equipment for connecting, protecting and managing fiber; and active equipment for sending and receiving signals over fiber are the most basic components of an FTTH network, along with software for planning, setting up and managing networks and for provisioning and billing fiber services.”  For more information, please contact Jim Baller (baller@khlaw.com; 202.434.4175), Sean Stokes (stokes@khlaw.com; 202.434.4344), or Casey Lide (lide@khlaw.com; 202.434.4186).