Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 3

Date: Jan 17, 2012

KH Video Minute: FCC's New Tower Rules


Late last year, the FCC adopted new rules governing Antenna Structure Registrations ("ASR"). The new rules substantially change the ASR process and may add significant delays. Under the new rules, applicants are required to provide local notice of certain structures, file a partially-completed Form 854 with the FCC and wait 30 days before receiving an ASR number. In this week's Video Minute, Keller and Heckman Attorney Wes Wright summarizes these new requirements. Please click here for this week's Video Minute. If you are unable to open the video, please feel free to contact Mr. Wright at wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296.

FCC Order Clarifies AMTS DTV Protection Obligations

On January 13, 2012, the FCC issued an Order conditionally granting applications by the gas and electric utility Avista Corporation (a Keller and Heckman LLP client) to operate a private land mobile radio system in the Automated Maritime Telecommunications Service ("AMTS") band (217/219 MHz). The Order is the first ruling by the FCC clarifying the interference protection obligations of AMTS licensees to Digital TV broadcasts. The Order reflects that the AMTS band is still a viable option for private licensees despite the recent U.S. DTV transition, although additional consideration for DTV reception should be given when engineering transmitters located in populated areas. Please contact Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com) with questions.

FCC Issues Narrowband Deadline Reminder

Earlier this month, the FCC issued a Public Notice reminding licensees of the upcoming narrowbanding deadline. By January 1, 2013, Industrial/Business and Public Safety Radio Pool licensees in the VHF (150-174 MHz) and UHF (421-512 MHz) bands must operate on 12.5 kHz or narrower channels or employ a technology that achieves the narrowband equivalent of one channel per 12.5 kHz of channel bandwidth (voice) or 4800 bits per second per 6.25 kHz (data). Many public safety and private land mobile licenses in the VHF and UHF bands still require narrowbanding. Licensees that do not meet the January 1, 2013 narrowband requirements will likely be subject to enforcement action, including monetary forfeitures and/or license cancellation. 

Department of Transportation Final Rule Limits Mobile Phone Use in CMVs


Late last year, the Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration adopted a Final Rule restricting the use of hand-held mobile telephones by drivers of commercial motor vehicles ("CMV"). The new rules prohibit the driver of a CMV from holding a mobile telephone to conduct a voice communication, dialing a mobile telephone by pressing more than a single button, or reaching for a mobile phone in an unacceptable and unsafe manner. A driver of a CMV must now use a compliant mobile phone (ex. hands-free) located in close proximity to the driver that can be operated in compliance with these rules. 

Keller and Heckman at Industry Events


On January 24, 2012, Keller and Heckman LLP Partners Doug Jarrett and Greg Kunkle will present Wireless Spectrum Availability for Smart Grid Applications in Room 213 AB at the DistribuTECH Conference and Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas. DistribuTECH is an annual conference and exhibition addressing the latest smart grid trends. Please contact Doug (202.434.4180; jarrett@khlaw.com) or Greg (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com) with questions or if you would like additional information.

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