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Telecom Business Alert – 3.65 GHz Rules, FCC Cancels Wireless Licenses, 911, FirstNet, Vol XII Issue 14

Date: Apr 06, 2015

FCC Expected to Adopt 3.65 GHz Rules

At the FCC’s Open Meeting on April 17th, the Commission is expected to adopt a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the 3550-3700 MHz band.  In a recent blog post, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler called the 3.5 GHz band, “an innovation band,” and wrote that the FCC “can combine it with adjacent spectrum to create a 150 MHz contiguous band previously unavailable for commercial uses.”  The Report and Order is expected to track proposed rules issued by the FCC last April to combine 3550-3650 MHz with the existing 3650-3700 MHz band to create the Citizens Broadband Radio Service, a three-tiered sharing model to allow operations for consumer use, small cell deployment, fixed mobile broadband services, and other uses.  Several parties, including Keller and Heckman’s client the American Petroleum Institute (API), have urged the FCC to ensure investments by incumbent users in the 3650-3700 MHz portion of the band are protected.  API told the FCC that “a large number of individual companies in the critical infrastructure industry described serious impairments that would result if the 3.65 GHz band were included in the CBRS.”  Please contact Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com) with questions.

FCC Remains Active in 911-Related Proceedings

Last week, the FCC issued several items in active 911-related dockets. First, the Commission released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to update its outage reporting rules. The NPRM would, among other things, grant states access to the Commission’s Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) database. The Commission also released an NPRM to review its rules requiring 911 calls placed from non-service initialized (NSI) devices to be delivered to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).  Emergency calls placed from NSI devices are difficult for PSAPs to handle because these devices do not provide Automatic Number Identification (ANI). Finally, the Commission announced it will host a public workshop on May 8th to discuss developments in the use of mobile applications that enable subscribers to contact emergency services. The workshop will include a discussion of how apps assist with 911 service, how 911 network architecture affects requirements for app design, and steps needed to encourage further development of 911 apps. Please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239) with questions.

FCC Cancels Auctioned Licenses

Last week, the FCC issued three Orders denying separate requests filed by private licensees seeking additional time to operate systems under licenses purchased via FCC auctions several years ago. The first two Orders denied requests for additional time filed by 900 MHz multiple address system (MAS) licensees, and the third Order denied a similar request filed by a Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS) licensee. Construction requirements for auctioned spectrum differ from site-based construction obligations. Licensees of auctioned spectrum have two avenues for satisfying the FCC’s construction requirements, either by providing: service to a certain portion of the population of the licensed service territory or by providing “substantial service” to the licensed service territory. Critical infrastructure entities typically rely on the substantial service metric because their systems rarely are designed to cover population centers. The FCC’s rules provide little guidance as to what constitutes “substantial service,” leaving critical infrastructure entities vulnerable to license cancellation for failing to meet this vague benchmark. 

NRECA/FirstNet Webinar

On April 7, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) will host a free 90-minute webinar FOR NRECA MEMBERS ONLY. The webinar will address how electric cooperatives might benefit from the development of the nationwide public safety broadband network. As part of its Congressional authorization, FirstNet has obtained dedicated spectrum that it is contemplating sharing with critical infrastructure users. During this webinar, attendees will learn about FirstNet’s plans and progress and how individual cooperatives may work with FirstNet.  The webinar, moderated by NRECA’s Martha Duggan (Senior Principal, Regulatory Affairs), will feature Al Catalano (Keller and Heckman), Jessica Zufolo (Deputy Administrator, Rural Utilities Service), and Kathy Nelson (Principal Telecommunications Engineer, Great River Energy).  THE WEBINAR IS FOR NRECA MEMBERS ONLY.  Please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207) with any questions regarding the webinar.

K&H at ENTELEC

Several members of the Keller and Heckman LLP telecommunications team will be attending the ENTELEC 2015 Conference & Expo from April 7-9 in Houston, TX.  Attorneys Greg Kunkle and Wes Wright will be presenting theWashington Roundtable Report on Tuesday, April 7 at 10:45 in Room 360 E. Mr. Wright also will be part of a panel discussion on Offshore Communication Challenges at 1:30 in Room 370 C.  Keller and Heckman is sponsoring the President’s Reception on Thursday, April 9th from 6-8 p.m. at Saint Arnolds Brewing Company. If you will be attending ENTELEC, please stop by Booth 224 to visit. 

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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.  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.