Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VII Issue 15

Date: Apr 19, 2010

Radio Spectrum Inventory Act Passed by U.S. House of Representatives
Last week, the Radio Spectrum Inventory Act (H.R. 3125) passed in the U.S House of Representatives by a vote of 394 to 18 (with 17 members not voting). The Radio Spectrum Inventory Act directs the FCC and NTIA to create an inventory of federal and non-federal spectrum from 225 MHz to at least 3.7 GHz to determine whether certain bands should be reallocated or opened to shared use. While the possibility of freeing spectrum presents significant opportunities, there are concerns that broad language in the Act requiring the identification of the "activities, capabilities, functions, or missions" of radio transmitters may present security issues, particularly for critical infrastructure radio systems. A similar bill is under consideration by the Senate and must be passed before the Act becomes law.

FCC Open Meeting Scheduled for this Week

The FCC is scheduled to hold its next Open Meeting this Wednesday, April 21. The items noted on the Agenda reflect the Commission's initial steps to implement recommendations made in its National Broadband Plan. Agenda items include: (1) a Notice of Inquiry and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking initiating universal service reforms, (2) an Order on Reconsideration regarding automatic voice roaming requirements and a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding automatic roaming for mobile data services, (3) a Notice of Inquiry examining the survivability of broadband infrastructure and seeking comment on the ability of existing broadband networks to withstand significant damage or severe overloads as result of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, pandemics or other major public emergencies, and (4) a Notice of Inquiry on whether to establish a voluntary cyber security certification program. FCC Paging Auction Postponed Until June 15, 2010 On April 13, 2010, the FCC announced the rescheduling of its upcoming Paging Auction (Auction No. 87) until June 15, 2010. Upfront payments will now be due by 6:00 p.m. Eastern on Friday, April 30, 2010 and the mock auction will be held on Friday, June 11, 2010. The auction includes 9,603 licenses distributed throughout the United States, including 7,752 licenses in the lower paging bands (35 MHz, 43 MHz, 152/158 MHz (paired) and 454/459 MHz (paired) and 1,851 licenses in the upper paging bands (929 MHz and 931 MHz). The FCC received 89 applications to participate.

FCC Proposes 2010 Regulatory Fees

On April 13, 2010, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on its 2010 regulatory fee program. The Commission is obligated to collect $335,794,000 in regulatory fees during Fiscal Year 2010 to fund costs associated with its enforcement, policy and rulemaking, user information, and international activities. The FCC's proposal for 2010 includes maintaining regulatory fee payments for private land mobile radio licenses at 2009 levels ($40 per year for exclusive use licenses, $20 per year for shared use). The FCC proposes to decrease regulatory fee payments for microwave licensees from $30 to $25 per year. Comments are due by May 4, 2010.

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