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Telecom Business Alert - Texas Railroad Commission, FCC Databases, Wi-Fi Blocking, FirstNet, 900 MHz - Vol. XII, Issue 34

Date: Aug 24, 2015

Texas Railroad Commission Supports Oil and Gas Pipelines

Last week the Texas Railroad Commission filed a letter with the FCC supporting the removal of applications by various oil and gas pipeline companies from a longstanding FCC hearing proceeding involving the qualifications of Maritime Communications/Land Mobile, LLC (“Maritime”) to retain its FCC licenses.  A number of electric utilities and oil and gas companies sought to acquire portions of Maritime’s licenses more than five years ago.  Last year, the Commission denied their request to remove their applications from the hearing proceeding and to grant them (See, Vol XI, Issue 42).  The TRC urged the Commission to grant the applications and “recognize the critical role of SCADA systems in promoting public safety goals in the pipeline industry.” 

Wi-Fi Blocking Fine

Last week, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued an Order imposing a $750,000 penalty against Smart City, a company that operates and manages Wi-Fi networks at several conference facilities.  The company admitted that it blocked personal Wi-Fi hotspots, preventing guests at these conference facilities from establishing or maintaining a Wi-Fi network independent of the one established by the company.  In addition to paying the penalty, the company agreed not to block Wi-Fi networks in the future.  The Order is similar to the $600,000 penalty imposed by the Commission last year against Marriott for obstructing consumer Wi-Fi hotspots at its convention center in Nashville (See, Vol. XI, Issue 40).  For additional information, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

FirstNet Industry Day

FirstNet is hosting an “Industry Day” to address both recent developments and key next steps for its nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) acquisition. The event will be held on August 27, 2015 at the Dallas L. Peck Memorial Auditorium at the US Geological Survey building in Reston, VA. A webcast will be available. For additional information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).

900 MHz Proposal

Last week, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking comment on a Petition for Rulemaking filed earlier this year by M2M Spectrum Networks, LLC. M2M has requested to use 900 MHz business/industrial/land transportation channels to provide for-profit service to entities eligible to use those frequencies. The Public Notice seeks comment on the Petition, including whether M2M’s proposal is compatible with the Petition for Rulemaking filed by Pacific DataVision and EWA late last year. Comments are due September 21 and replies must be filed by October 6.  For additional information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

Broadband Loan Webinar

The Rural Utilities Service announced last week that it plans to hold two webinars for companies interested in participating in the Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program. The first webinar will be held tomorrow, August 25 at 11 am Eastern and the second webinar will be Thursday, August 27 at 3 pm Eastern.   For additional information, please contact Doug Jarrett (jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

FCC IT Upgrades

The FCC is undergoing information technology upgrades and improvements.  Last week, the Commission issued a Public Notice announcing that access to most of its online databases will be unavailable starting at 6 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, September 2, and continuing through the Labor Day weekend. The databases should be available again by 8 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday, September 8. The outage is expected to impact most of the agency’s databases, including the electronic comment filing systems (ECFS), universal licensing system (ULS), and FCC staff voicemail and e-mail accounts.  Because of the disruption and uncertainty associated with the suspension and relaunch of these systems, the FCC will not consider itself open for filing of documents with deadlines between 6 p.m. September 2 and the morning of September 8. Filings due in the interim may be submitted once the FCC re-opens its online databases. For additional information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

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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.