Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 42

Date: Oct 15, 2012

Amendment to Part 90 of FCC Rules to Permit TETRA Technology

Last month, the FCC released a Report and Order modifying Part 90 of the Commission's rules to permit the certification and use of Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) equipment in two bands: the 450-470 MHz band and the Business/Industrial Land Transportation 800 MHz band channels (809-824/854-869 MHz). The Commission did not approve TETRA for operations on the 800 MHz public safety NPSPAC channels because of concerns that the equipment was not interoperable with Phase I P25 technology already implemented by many Public Safety licensees. The Commission also elected not to allow TETRA to operate on 700 MHz public safety spectrum. The new rules were published in the Federal Register last week and become effective on November 9, 2012. Please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178) with questions.


Supreme Court to Hear Wireless Zoning "Shot Clock" Appeal

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari and agreed to hear a challenge filed by several municipalities to the Commission's 2009 Declaratory Ruling which established time periods for State and local governments to act on requests to construct wireless towers or attach communications equipment to existing structures. The Declaratory Ruling established a "shot clock," whereby State or local governments must act on a request to collocate equipment on an existing structure within 90 days and review applications for new towers within 150 days. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Declaratory Ruling earlier this year. A date for oral argument has not been set. One argument expected to be raised is whether the appellate courts must continue to defer to FCC interpretations of its jurisdiction under the Communications Act. Many parties believe this deference has allowed the FCC to adopt rules and policies that exceed the agency's authority under the Act, including its decision to regulate ILEC attachments in the Pole Attachment proceeding. Please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180) for more information.

FCC Seeks Comment on LightSquared Request

Last week, the FCC released a Public Notice seeking comment on a request by LigutSquared to extend its construction and coverage milestones for its mobile broadband network. When the Commission approved the company's acquisition of SkyTerra Communications in March 2010, it set conditions requiring LightSquared to provide terrestrial coverage to at least 100 million people by December 31, 2012. Additional milestones required LightSquared to provide terrestrial coverage to at least 145 million people by December 31, 2013, and 260 million people by December 31, 2015. LightSquared seeks a declaration from the FCC that these milestones no longer apply. Comments are due November 9, 2012. Please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4296) with questions.

Keller and Heckman at Industry Events

Keller and Heckman Partner Greg Kunkle will be speaking at the Oil Comm show in Houston, Texas on November 8. Mr. Kunkle will be part of a panel discussing Designing and Deploying of Communications in Today's Hot Spots. For additional information, please contact Mr. Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

Mr. Kunkle will be attending the ENTELEC Fall Conference in Bakersfield, CA, and participating in the Regulatory Committee Meeting on October 16, 2012. 

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