Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. X Issue 22

Date: May 28, 2013

Certiorari Petition Filed with Supreme Court in Pole Attachment Case

A group of electric utilities last Friday filed a Petition for Certiorari asking the Supreme Court to review the FCC's April 2011 decision to regulate ILEC (e.g. Verizon, AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier) attachments to electric utility poles. We encourage other utilities to support this Certiorari Petition by filing an Amicus ("friend of the Court") Brief within 30 days. If you are interested in joining in such a filing or would like a copy of the Petition, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128) by this Friday, May 31.

Supreme Court Upholds FCC Local Zoning Shot Clock

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Commission's 2009 Declaratory Ruling establishing time periods for State and local governments to act on requests to construct wireless towers or attach communications equipment to existing structures. The holding in City of Arlington v FCC upholds the FCC's "shot clock" that requires State or local governments to act on requests 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 and the Supreme Court agreed that the FCC is entitled to deference in establishing rules regarding the "shot clock." For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

Corporate Counsel Corner: FCC Enforcement Update

On May 16, the FCC released a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) against the owner of a communications tower for failing to repair the tower's malfunctioning lights as soon as practicable. The violation was discovered by an agent from the Commission's Kansas City Office on November 9, 2012, more than two years after the tower owner initially reported the light outage to the FAA. Although the tower owner repeatedly renewed the Notice to Airmen with the FAA, the FCC found the company had failed to provide a sufficient explanation for the delay in repairing the lighting outage and imposed a fine against the company for $15,000. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com).

"This NAL shows the importance not only of timely submissions of Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) to the FAA when tower lights are out, but also the diligence tower owners must exhibit in quickly repairing light outages."
–Tim Doughty
FCC/FAA Licensing Specialist

Complimentary K&H Webinar: Telecom Issues in the Critical Infrastructure Industries

On Wednesday, June 5, at noon Eastern Time, Keller and Heckman attorneys will host a complimentary webinar to discuss key telecom issues facing electric utilities, oil and gas companies, railroads and others in the Critical Infrastructure Industries. This webinar is the second in a series addressing current events at the FCC, and will address wireless spectrum issues, licensing and enforcement trends, network services, and cybersecurity. 

ENTELEC 2013 Washington Report Roundtable Video Released

Keller and Heckman LLP attorneys Jack Richards, General Counsel of ENTELEC, Doug Jarrett, Greg Kunkle, and Wes Wright, discussed in Q&A format, the latest FCC activities and telecom legislature during ENTELEC's Spring Conference in Houston on April 11, 2013. If you missed the Roundtable, you can watch the video here.

FCC Releases Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Regulatory Fees for Fiscal Year 2013

On May 23, the FCC released a two-part Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking giving an overview of the regulatory fees the Commission plans to impose on all licensees come August or September of this year. The Commission has proposed to collect $339,844,000 in regulatory fees for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. The second part of the release, the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, seeks comment on long-range proposals to reform and revise the FCC's regulatory fee schedule beyond FY 2013.

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In an attempt to address in our weekly Telecom Business Alert the issues of most importance to the clients and friends of Keller and Heckman LLP, we invite you to submit suggestions on topics of interest to you. To make suggestions, please send an e-mail to TelecomAlert@khlaw.com.

Keller and Heckman LLP's Telecom Business Alert is a complimentary weekly electronic update created by the Telecommunications and the Business Counseling and Transactional practice groups of Keller and Heckman LLP.

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