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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 37

Date: Sep 10, 2012

Final and Proposed Microwave Rules Published in Federal Register

Last week, the FCC's Final Rules and Proposed Rules amending portions of Part 101 of the Commission's rules to promote wireless backhaul for broadband use were published in the Federal Register. The Final Rules become effective October 5 and permit smaller antennas for systems operating in the 6 GHz, 18 GHz and 23 GHz bands, allow wider channels in the 6 GHz and 11 GHz bands, permit aggregation of adjacent 30 and 40 MHz channels in the 6 GHz and 11 GHz bands and relax the waiver requirements for microwave systems falling within the arc of geostationary satellites. The Proposed Rules consider permitting smaller antennas in the 13 GHz band and seek to undertake a comprehensive review of antenna standards. Comments on the Proposed Rules must be filed by October 5 and Reply Comments are due October 22. Please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178) with questions.

More 2.1 GHz Microwave Relocation Negotiations on the Horizon

Late in August, the FCC granted its consent to a series of transactions under which (i) Verizon Wireless will acquire the substantial AWS-1 spectrum holdings of Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks via Spectrum Co and those of Cox Communications, (ii) T-Mobile will acquire certain AWS-1 licenses from Verizon Wireless, and (ii) Verizon Wireless and Leap Wireless will exchange certain licenses. Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile are expected to move aggressively to relocate the remaining 2.1 GHz microwave paths that were passed by during the initial phase of 2.1 GHz relocation negotiations, extending largely from 2007 to 2010. To better understand the 2.1 GHz relocation rules and procedures or assistance in negotiating a 2.1 GHz relocation agreement, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

New FCC Fees Take Effect

Earlier this year, the FCC released a Report and Order assessing lower regulatory fees for private land mobile licenses. The new fee for a shared use land mobile license between 30-470 MHz decreased from $260 to $210. The fee for exclusive use licenses in the 470-512 MHz, 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands was reduced from $460 to $410. The new fees became effective September 4. Please contact Katelyn Barry (barry@khlaw.com; 202.434.4120) with questions.

Spectrum Auctioned as Part of Bankruptcy

The 2.5 GHz licenses held by Xanadoo, LLC and the 700 MHz licenses held by Pegasus Guard Band, LLC were auctioned earlier this year to secure funding to repay secured lenders as part of bankruptcy filings by the two companies. (Vol IX, Issue 29). Xanadoo held 40 leases for Educational Broadband Service (EBS) licenses in the 2.5 GHz band primarily in rural areas of Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. Rhino Communications Inc. paid $3 million for many of these leases and four other buyers paid approximately $600,000 for the remaining leases. Pegasus held 23 licenses in the 700 MHz A Block covering several major cities, including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. The company paid $96 million for these licenses in 2000 and 2001. Last month, Beach Point Capital Management LP acquired these assets in exchange for $30 million in debt. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202-434-4296).

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