Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VIII Issue 31

Date: Aug 01, 2011

Spectrum Auctions may be Part of the Debt Ceiling Solution

As part of his debt reduction plan unveiled last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) offered legislation to directly allocate D-Block spectrum to first-responders, provided billions of dollars in funding to support a national public safety network and allowed the FCC to auction TV broadcasters' spectrum on a voluntary basis. The bipartisan debt limit/deficit reduction compromise reached yesterday did not include these proposals. The National Association of Broadcasters voiced concerns over Reid's proposal because it did not require the government to pay broadcasters for surrendering unused spectrum for auction. Thus, the auction/re-allocate D-Block debate and the question of whether to auction TV broadcast spectrum remain. Please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; jarrett@khlaw.com) with questions.

Pole Attachment Filing Deadlines Established

On July 26, 2011, the Commission published a notice in the Federal Register that two Petitions for Reconsideration were filed in the FCC's rulemaking proceeding concerning pole attachments. One Petition was filed by Keller and Heckman on behalf of the Coalition of Concerned Utilities (Consumers Energy, Detroit Edison, FirstEnergy, Hawaiian Electric, NSTAR, Pepco and Xcel Energy). The Coalition's Petition asks the Commission to reduce its make-ready deadlines, limit pole owner liability, ensure pole owner recovery of make-ready expenses, endorse safety violation penalties, limit pole top antennas, ease notification requirements and address joint pole owner concerns. The other Petition was filed jointly by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, tw telecom and Comptel, seeking even more favorable rates for attachment. Oppositions to the Petitions must be filed with the FCC by August 10, 2011, and Replies are due August 22, 2011. Please contact (magee@khlaw.com; 202.434.4128) with questions.

Pipeline Infrastructure and Community Protection Act Passes House Subcommittee

On July 27, 2011, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power approved the Pipeline Infrastructure and Community Protection Act ("PICPA"). The PICPA requires, among other things, that within two years the Department of Transportation pass regulations requiring companies like the Oil and Gas Applicants to implement automatic or remote-controlled shut-off valves or equivalent technology. The bill would also invoke a substantial increase in civil penalties for releases from pipelines, enhanced pipeline inspection techniques, and an increase in the number of pipeline inspectors and miles of pipelines inspected. The bill awaits final approval by the House of Representatives. A copy of the bill is available here. Please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296) with questions.

FCC Licensing Tip of the Week

The processing time for applications will likely run longer than normal through next year because of an influx in applications largely attributed to the upcoming narrowbanding deadline. Even though extended application processing times will be the norm, applicants seeking new or modified private land mobile and microwave licenses should keep in mind that the Commission's rules provide Conditional Temporary Authority for many private land mobile and microwave systems pending grant of the regular authority under Parts 90 and 101 of the Rules. Please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com) with questions.

K&H Video Minute: Greg Kunkle and Wes Wright on 3.65 GHz Licensing

In this week's Video Minute, Keller and Heckman Partner Greg Kunkle and Attorney Wes Wright discuss licensing in the 3.65 GHz band. For this week's Video Minute, click here.

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