Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VIII Issue 39

Date: Sep 26, 2011

FCC Holds Public Hearing to Discuss Proposed Changes to Tower Regulations


Last week, the FCC held a Public Hearing on a draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment ("PEA") released earlier this month for use in evaluating the environmental impact of the Commission's Antenna Structure Registration ("ASR") program on migratory birds (Vol VIII, Issue 36). Staff of the FCC's Wireless Bureau gave a presentation at the Hearing outlining possible proposed changes to the current ASR requirements, which range from making no changes to requiring tower owners to prepare an Environmental Assessment for nearly all new towers and many modifications to existing towers. Biologists for the Fish & Wildlife Service ("FWS") told the FCC that the ASR rules should be revised to minimize hazards to migratory birds in the same way the rules currently minimize hazards to aircraft. The PEA was required by a 2008 decision by the U.S. 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). Written comments to the PEA are due by October 3, 2011. Please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com) with questions.



House Bill Would Allocate D-Block to Public Safety, Provide Funds for Narrowbanding


Last week, House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-NY) and Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ) introduced a bill that would allocate the 700 MHz D-Block to public safety for the development of a nationwide, interoperable public safety network. The bill also would provide $400 million in funding to the Narrowbanding Compliance Assistance Program. The Program would be administered by the Department of Homeland Security and would permit local municipalities to apply for funding to purchase new equipment required to comply with the FCC's upcoming narrowbanding deadline. It would be funded by the sale of federally-owned wireless spectrum. The bill would not empower the FCC to conduct incentive auctions for broadcast spectrum. Please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; jarrett@khlaw.com) with questions.

Corporate Counsel Corner: Privacy and Data Security


With the increase in privacy and data security enforcement and litigation and the complex legal landscape, it is important for companies to review their data collection, storage, sharing, and disposal practices, as well as their internal and external policies and contractual arrangements to ensure that they are complying with applicable laws and implementing best practices. Information and resources on privacy and data security are available on the Keller and Heckman LLP website, including a recently published Guide to Data Breach Preparedness and Response and copies of the slides from our recent six-part webinar series, The Privacy Playbook: A Practical Guide for Businesses. You can also contact Keller and Heckman LLP Partners Sheila Millar (millar@khlaw.com; 202-434-4143) and Tracy Marshall (marshall@khlaw.com; 202-434-4234) for more information.

REGULATORY REMINDER: Many Licensees Unprepared for Narrowbanding Deadline


As of January 1, 2013, the FCC will require land mobile licenses held by critical infrastructure entities and other licensees in the VHF (150-174 MHz) and UHF (421-512 MHz) bands to operate on narrowband channels (12.5 kHz-wide channels). The first step towards ensuring compliance with this requirement is to identify all the licenses your company holds that are subject to this mandate. Many of these licenses can be made narrowband compliant by filing a standard modification application directly with the FCC. In some instances, licensees will be required to purchase new equipment to replace outdated radios. If not already addressed, budgeting and planning for the narrowband transition should begin soon because the deadline is fast approaching and likely will not be extended. Failure to comply with this requirement likely will result in license termination and financial penalties. For more information, please see our recent Special Narrowbanding Alert. Contact Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com) if you would like Keller and Heckman to prepare a list of your licenses that will be impacted by narrowbanding.

"Pole Attachment Strategies for Electric Utilities" Webinar
Tuesday, October 4, 2011, 2:00-3:30 p.m., EASTERN

After years of rulemaking, the FCC this year dramatically revised decades of Pole Attachment regulations. Attaching entities are now making aggressive demands, and utilities are facing significant challenges. In his Video Minute (click here), Keller and Heckman PartnerTom Magee discuss their upcoming Webinar, "Pole Attachment Strategies for Electric Utilities" Tom will share his experience and expertise 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.). Register today at: (http://www.khlaw.com/showevent.aspx?Show=4855).

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