Date: Sep 06, 2011
FCC Seeks Comments on Rule Changes for Communications Towers
Last week, the FCC released a draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment ("PEA") to be used in evaluating the environmental impact of the Commission's Antenna Structure Registration ("ASR") program. The PEA was required by a 2008 decision from the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit which found that registered towers may have a significant environmental effect on migratory birds (See, Vol VII, Issue 45). The PEA aims at reducing bird deaths associated with the estimated 2,800 towers that will be constructed annually in the United States over the next decade. The PEA proposed a range of options. The most aggressive proposal would require tower owners to prepare an Environmental Assessment for nearly all new towers and for modifications to existing towers that increase the size of the tower by more than 10%. The Commission dismissed several alternatives, including prohibiting all new tower construction, prohibiting towers that exceed a certain height, prohibiting guy wires and prohibiting new towers in certain locations. The Wireless Bureau will accept comments during a September 20, 2011 public meeting and written comments are due by October 3, 2011. Please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions.
POLE ATTACHMENT WEBINAR- Save the Date
"Pole Attachment Strategies for Electric Utilities"
2:00-3:30 p.m., EASTERN, Tuesday, October 4, 2011
After years of rulemaking, the FCC dramatically revised decades of Pole Attachment regulations. Keller and Heckman attorney Tom Magee will share his knowledge and experience to help utilities negotiate and operate successfully in the new Pole Attachment environment. Attendance is limited to representatives of electric utilities (operating personnel, in-house counsel, etc.). Cost is $250 per line (no limit on attendees per line). Registration details to follow.
State Attorneys General Urge Allocation of 700 MHz D-Block to Public Safety
Last month, the National Association of Attorneys General sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging the reallocation of the 700 MHz D-Block to public safety. The letter was signed by Attorneys General from 42 states. The letter did not endorse any of the 700 MHz reallocation proposals currently pending before Congress (see, Vol VIII, Issue 24), but urged Congress to provide the 700 MHz spectrum to public safety before the 10-year anniversary of September 11th. The letter cited recent natural disasters such as flooding, hurricanes and tornadoes as examples that demonstrate the need for dedicated public safety spectrum. Please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; email@example.com) with questions.
Corporate Counsel Corner: DOJ Sues to Block AT&T's Acquisition of T-Mobile
On August 31st, the Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile. The Justice Department asserted the proposed transaction would substantially lessen competition for mobile wireless services across the United States, resulting in higher prices, poorer quality services, fewer choices and fewer innovative products for consumers. AT&T has announced it will vigorously oppose the lawsuit. While a negotiated settlement with DoJ is a probable option for AT&T, it remains to be seen whether DoJ will be amenable to settlement. The FCC must also rule on the proposed transaction. At best, it is an open question whether the FCC will approve the merger with or without conditions in light of DoJ's action. AT&T will is motivated to contest the lawsuit or settle because its agreement with T-Mobile requires the company to pay T-Mobile $3 billion, provide it with wireless spectrum in certain regions of the country and reduce charges for calls into AT&T's network if the deal is not approved. Please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions.
Annual FCC Regulatory Fees due September 14th
Earlier this month, the FCC announced that regulatory fees for the fiscal year 2011 are due by September 14, 2011. Licensees of certain facilities, such as Satellite Earth Stations, are required to make annual regulatory fee payments. The Commission recently revised its schedule of regulatory fees. For many licensed facilities, like microwave and land mobile systems, the regulatory fees are paid as part of an application fee charged at the time an application for new authority is submitted to the Commission. For questions, please contact Tim Doughty (202.434.4271; email@example.com).
K&H Video Minute: Greg Kunkle on Emergency Licensing Options at the FCC
In this week's Video Minute, Keller and Heckman Partner Greg Kunkle discusses options for licensees to secure licenses for Special Temporary Authority in emergency situations. For this week's Video Minute, click here.
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