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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VIII Issue 44

Date: Oct 31, 2011

FCC Reforms USF and Intercarrier Compensation

 

Last week, the FCC adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking refocusing the Universal Service Fund ("USF") on broadband and adopting a series of widely supported reforms to USF and Intercarrier Compensation ("ICC"). The FCC released an Executive Summary of its decision, the official text should be published in several weeks. Subject to an annual cap of $4.5 billion, USF will now support broadband service, as well voice service. Over time, existing USF programs will be subsumed within the broadband-focused Connect America Fund ("CAF"). Initially, CAF will provide a baseline level of support to Price Cap LECs and rate of return (small rural) LECs to provide broadband service in areas currently lacking broadband service. In addition, the FCC created a new Mobility Fund of $300 million that will support deployment of wireless broadband in unserved areas. This fund will grow to $500 million over time. In several years, reverse auctions likely will be used to distribute CAF funds. CAF may provide up to $100 million for satellite and unlicensed wireless services in extreme high cost areas. The major reform in ICC is that access charges and intercarrier compensation payments will be reduced and, ultimately, eliminated over six to nine years at which time carriers will interconnect with each other on a "bill and keep" basis. The FCC also clarified that ICC rules apply to VoIP traffic to the same extent as circuit switched services. For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; jarrett@khlaw.com).

 

FCC Affirms Broadband over Power Line rules

 

Last week, the FCC issued a Second Report and Order affirming its rules to regulate Access Broadband over Power Line ("BPL") systems as unlicensed, unintentional radiators. Access BPL service transmits broadband data along existing electrical distribution systems using radio frequencies ranging between 3 MHz and 80 MHz. The Commission adopted rules regulating BPL in 2004, which were challenged by the American Radio Relay League shortly thereafter. In 2008, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals required the FCC to provide unredacted versions of certain technical studies it relied on in promulgating the BPL rules, permit public comment on those studies and offer an explanation of its choice of the 40 dB per decade extrapolation factor used to measure radiated emissions from Access BPL systems at frequencies below 30 MHz. The Second Report and Order provided additional support for the 2004 rules but left the original rules adopted in 2004 largely unchanged.

Tracy Marshall Earns Certified Information Privacy Professional Credential We are pleased to announce that Keller and Heckman Partner Tracy Marshall has passed the International Association of Privacy Professionals ("IAPP") Certified Information Privacy Professional ("CIPP") exams. Tracy provides counsel on a range of privacy and data security issues, and is now credentialed by the IAPP. Please contact her directly (202.434.4234; marshall@khlaw.com) with any privacy or data security related questions.

FCC Licensing Tip of the Week

The FCC's processing time for applications likely will run longer than normal through next year as the Commission deals with an influx of applications largely attributed to the January 1, 2013 narrowbanding deadline. Applicants seeking to operate systems quickly should be mindful that applications can be expedited through coordination for an additional fee and many private land mobile and microwave systems may be operated under Conditional Temporary Authority while the application is pending. Please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com) with questions.

KH Telecom Video Minute: ENTELEC Fall Meeting Recap

In this week's Video Minute, Keller and Heckman attorney Greg Kunkle discusses the fall meeting of the Energy Telecommunications and Electrical Association ("ENTELEC") in Bakersfield, California. For this week's Video Minute, please click here.

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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.

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