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Telecom Business Alert -- Cybersecurity, FirstNet Spectrum, and More FCC Enforcement

Date: Jun 23, 2014

Draft Cybersecurity Bill Released

Last week, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), released a discussion draft version of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, which seeks to promote the sharing of cybersecurity threat information between the private sector and the government.  The bill would offer private entities protection from liability for monitoring their networks for hacking attempts and sharing the threat data with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  DHS would then share the information with other private sector organizations and relevant federal agencies.  Feinstein, the Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said the legislation was proposed in response to the "massive and growing" threat to national and economic security from cyber intrusions and attacks on energy companies and other private businesses. 

CII Use of FirstNet 700 MHz Spectrum

Utilities and other critical infrastructure companies evaluating the potential benefits of sharing FirstNet's 700 MHz spectrum should be aware of two documents.  The Broadband Working Group of the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) recently released Defining Public Safety Grade Systems and Facilities, a report addressing hardened facility standards necessary for the FirstNet network. A July, 2013 report previously released by APCO's Broadband Committee entitled, Exploring Business Tools For Leveraging Assets, proposes a framework for establishing asset valuations for facilities leased to FirstNet in exchange for spectrum use. To discuss spectrum sharing opportunities regarding FirstNet, please contact Al Catalano (Catalano@khlaw.com; 202-434-4207).

FCC Enforcement for Digital Device Marketing

Last week, ARRI, Inc. entered into a Consent Decree with the FCC's Enforcement Bureau to conclude an investigation into whether ARRI unlawfully marketed digital cameras and wireless accessories prior to complying with equipment authorization requirements.  ARRI agreed to make a voluntary contribution of $80,000 to the U.S. Treasury and to implement a three-year compliance plan to resolve the investigation.  The Consent Decree followed a Bureau investigation that determined ARRI had marketed wireless accessories for cameras that were not properly tested prior to marketing.  

Waiver of Overlapping Consent Rule

On June 20, the FCC granted two waiver requests submitted by the State of Maine - MSCommNet Project (Maine), which allowed modification of an existing VHF station without first obtaining consent from the certified frequency coordinator and the licensee of a station with an overlapping service contour.  The frequency coordinator for the channel requested that Maine significantly reduce its ERP and the licensee whose service contour was overlapped by Maine's operations refused to provide consent.  However, the FCC agreed with Maine's analysis that raising its antenna height would not increase the likelihood of interference, and thus granted the waiver requests, finding that Maine's waiver would not frustrate the underlying purpose of the rule because the proposed modification maintains the status quo in regard to third party interference.  For more information, please contact Tim Doughty (Doughty@khlaw.com; 202-434-4278).

Wi-Fi Innovation Act Seeks to Open Upper 5 GHz Band to Unlicensed Use

Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Wi-Fi Innovation Act last week, which if enacted would require the FCC to test the feasibility of opening the 5850-5925 MHz band to unlicensed Wi-Fi use.  Under the bill, Wi-Fi use would be allowed in the band as long as it does not interfere with vehicle-to-vehicle communications (V2V).  Automakers are concerned that opening the band to unlicensed use could negatively impact intelligent transportation systems (ITS), which focus on vehicle safety and traffic information, V2V links, and crash-avoidance systems that are already being developed for use in the band.