Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VII Issue 38

Date: Sep 27, 2010

FCC Frees up TV White Spaces for "Super Wi-Fi" Technologies

On September 23, 2010, the Commission issued a Memorandum Opinion & Order ("MO&O") finalizing rules to make unused broadcast TV spectrum, known as the "TV White Spaces," available for unlicensed broadband wireless devices. This decision implements a major policy objective of the National Broadband Plan of making more spectrum available for consumer-oriented wireless broadband. The unused TV channels will be available for broadband use based principally on geographic separation from broadcast stations. Importantly, the FCC eliminated the requirement for TV band devices that rely on geo-location and database access to sense analog and digital TV signals and also wireless microphones and other low power auxiliary stations. Elimination of the "sensing requirement" is seen as accelerating wireless broadband deployment in the TV White Spaces. The FCC is now completing the database of television broadcast stations. Consistent with the interests of several wireless carriers and over the objections of technology companies such as Microsoft and Dell, the MO&O directs the FCC staff to formulate a plan on accommodating licensed rural backhaul on UHF TV white spaces spectrum and to submit a recommendation to the Commissioners by the end of the year. Critical infrastructure industries interested in licensing TV white spaces for wireless backhaul support in rural areas should closely follow the Commission's proceedings in the coming months. Please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; jarrett@khlaw.com) or Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com) with questions. Legislation Reallocating 700 MHz D-Block to Public Safety Unlikely This Year Last week, Senator Jay Rockefeller reaffirmed his commitment to pass legislation reallocating the 700 MHz D-block to public safety but conceded that Congress likely will not pass his preferred legislation this year. Rockefeller's bill would give the 700 MHz D-block to public safety and fund the buildout and operation of the public safety network with money from incentive auctions of broadcaster spectrum. Also last week, Jamie Barnett, Chief of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, reiterated his belief that the Commission should commercially auction the D-block. Please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; jarrett@khlaw.com) with questions. Keller and Heckman at Industry Events On September 27, Keller and Heckman Partner Tom Magee is presenting at the Western Energy Institute conference in Vancouver, Washington on "Lessons Learned from Washington's Act Relating to Attachments to Utility Poles." Mr. Magee will address the types of pole attachment regulations the industry should expect at the state level in light of the FCC's new pole attachment rules. For more information, please contact Tom at 202.434.4128 or magee@khlaw.com.

Keller and Heckman Partner Publishes Article on CII Spectrum

Keller and Heckman Partner Doug Jarrett published an article in Mission Critical Magazine arguing that site-based licenses should be available to critical infrastructure entities for broadband applications. The FCC's narrow focus on auctions imposes severe constraints on critical infrastructure companies as these companies recognize increasing requirements for broadband wireless systems without suitable spectrum resources. A copy of the article, titled "Better Management Could Lead to CII Spectrum," is available by clicking here.

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