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Telecom Business Alert – Technology Transition Order; Copper Replacements; CAF Support; FirstNet; KH Articles, Vol XII, Issue 32

Date: Aug 10, 2015

IP Transition Order

Last week, the Commission adopted an IP Transition Report and Order (Order) on the transition of legacy networks to next-generation networks. Under the Order, incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) have discretion as to when and where copper facilities will be retired but must provide business customers and consumers three months’ notice of any copper retirements (and fiber replacements). The Order also adopts an interim rule obligating ILECs that discontinue time division multiplex (TDM)-based services to provide competitive carriers with replacement services at rates, terms and conditions reasonably comparable to legacy services. ILECs are authorized to withdraw and replace services without prior FCC approval so long as service is not discontinued, reduced, or impaired. The FCC also issued a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNRPM) to define the criteria for determining whether a service (being replaced) has been discontinued, reduced or impaired.  For additional information, please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

Back-Up Power Required for Copper Replacements

At last week’s Open Meeting, the Commission adopted a Report and Order that requires local telephone companies and cable operators offering residential voice services to make available eight-hours of standby backup power and, within three years, an option for 24-hours of standby backup power for replacement facilities. Unlike copper lines, fiber and coax cable are not powered by central office-based electrical power. Service providers have multiple options for offering back-up power solutions, almost all of which will be installed at the customers’ premises. Additionally, providers must inform all customers about any service limitations during electric outages and steps to mitigate these risks. For additional information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

Connect America Fund Support

Windstream Communications accepted nearly $175 million in annual support from the Connect American Fund II (CAFII). Price cap carriers accepting the state-by-state CAF II offers must extend broadband into “unserved” rural areas that meet the 10 Mbps downstream/ 1 Mbps upstream national broadband speed metric.  The other price cap -carriers, principally AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink, have until August 27, 2015 to accept their respective offers. Price cap carriers accepting state-wide offers must complete 40% of the broadband buildout by the end of 2017, 60% by the end of 2018, and 100% by the end of 2020.  For more information on CAF II support, please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

FirstNet Industry Day

On August 27, FirstNet will hold its second “Industry Day” to discuss recent developments and the next steps pertaining to the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN).  FirstNet will also discuss responses to the draft Request for Proposal (RFP), Special Notice and the 600 questions received pertaining to the RFP and Special Notice.  The meeting will be held at FirstNet’s headquarters in Reston, VA from 1PM to 4PM; an RSVP is required.  Please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207) with questions.

KH Partners Author Articles

Broadband.  Keller and Heckman partner, Doug Jarrett, authored the featured article in the July 2015 issue of Broadband Communities Magazine Online.  The article, FCC Connect American Fund Advances Broadband Deployment, provides an overview of the CAF II program and information pertaining to the reverse auction.  Please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180) with questions.

Pole Attachments.  PartnerTom Magee authored a feature article, Pole Attachments: Here We Go Again, in the 3rd Quarter 2015 issue of the UTC Journal, the official publication of the Utilities Telecom Council. The article describes a recent FCC Public Notice seeking to “refresh the record” on a pending Petition for Reconsideration of the Commission’s 2011 Pole Attachment Order. Please contact Tom Magee (202-434-4128; magee@khlaw.com) with questions.

FirstNet.  Al Catalano and Tom Magee authored a feature article, The Natural Alliance Between FirstNet and Co-ops, in this month’s Mission Critical magazine.  The article proposes that FirstNet employ utility infrastructure to build out the rural America portion of the nationwide public safety broadband network.  Please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202-434-4207) or Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128) with questions.

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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.