Telecom Business Alert – Fair Access Coalition; Environmental Rule Violations; Net Neutrality; Tower Siting Rules; FirstNet, Vol XIII, Issue 25

Date: Jun 20, 2016

Join the Fair Access Coalition?

Keller and Heckman is forming a Coalition of large special access purchasers to submit Comments in response to the FCC’s Tariff Investigation Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemakaing in support of the Commission's proposals to reduce rates for special access services.  The rates for special services, (including DS-1, DS-3 and Ethernet equivalents) provided by price cap ILECs—principally AT&T, Verizon and Century Link, remain stubbornly high, as compared to all other voice and data services.  For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180) or Greg Kunkle (Kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178). 

Environmental Rule Violations

Last week the FCC’s Wireless Bureau issued letters to the Canadian National Railroad and four other entities notifying them of violations of the Commission’s environmental rules regarding the construction of communications towers.  Specifically, the Bureau found that CNR’s subsidiary, Illinois Central Railroad Company, submitted an application to register a tower and certified compliance with the FCC’s environmental regulations without completing the required environmental review.  The letters do not impose fines, but they warn that future violations could result in penalties from the Enforcement Bureau.  

Net Neutrality

The D.C. Circuit upheld the FCC’s Net Neutrality decision that imposed a series of rules to ensure an “open Internet” and reclassified broadband internet access service, including mobile broadband, as a telecommunications service subject to additional regulation and oversight under Title II of the Communications Act (Vol. XII, Issue 11).  In its decision, the court rejected arguments that the FCC had failed to adequately support its decision to change its longstanding policy that Internet access service is an “information service” subject to limited FCC regulation.  For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

Tower Siting Rules

The FCC’s Public Notice seeking comments on its proposed Amended Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for the Collocation of Wireless Antennas has been published in the Federal Register.  The proposed amendment seeks to address the deployment of small wireless antennas, including Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), on or near historic sites.  Comments are due by June 27, 2016.  For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

FirstNet Senate Hearing

The Senate communications, technology, innovation and the Internet subcommittee will hold a hearing at 9:30 a.m. on June 21, to examine FirstNet’s progress in meeting benchmarks, the cost of deployment, particularly in rural areas; and the public safety broadband network’s plans to become a self-funding entity.  Among the scheduled witnesses are FirstNet Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth and Maj. Gen. Arthur Logan, the single point of contact (SPOC) for Hawaii.  For more information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).

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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.  All articles, videos, and quotations are on topics of general interest and do not constitute legal advice for particularized facts.  Keller and Heckman LLP's Telecom Business Alert © 2015.  All rights reserved.  Articles may be copied with attribution.  To sign up for our weekly alert, please send us an email at telecomalert@khlaw.com and provide us with your name and email.  Please follow us on twitter at @KHtelecom.