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Telecom Business Alert -- Pole Attachment Appeal, FCC Antenna Approval Procedures -- Vol. X Issue 41

Date: Oct 07, 2013

Supreme Court Denies Pole Attachment Appeal

Without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court this morning declined to hear the electric utility industry’s appeal of the FCC’s April 2011 Pole Attachment Order.  The Court’s denial of certiorari lets stand the D.C. Circuit’s decision earlier this year affirming the rate provisions of the FCC’s Order.  On appeal to the high Court was the FCC’s decision to assert jurisdiction over the joint use relationship between electric utility and ILEC pole owners.  To learn how this decision may affect your utility’s own joint use relationships, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128)

FCC Expedites Antenna Approval Process

Last month, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on proposals to streamline the environmental review of certain towers and to expedite deployment of certain distributed antenna systems (DAS), small cells, and temporary towers. The Commission also asks about the environmental and historic property review process for new wireless technologies. The proposed rule changes will, among other things, create a limited exemption from the environmental notification requirements for temporary towers if the tower will be in use for 60 days or less, does not require marking or lighting, will be less than 200 feet in height, and  entails minimal or no excavation. Notice of construction to the FAA will be required; The Commission also seeks to further streamline the collocation approval process. Comments are due 60 days after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register and Reply Comments. For additional information please contact Greg Kunkle (Kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

FCC Disables Website as Government Shutdown Continues

The Federal Government remains closed as Congress still has not agreed on a budget for the new fiscal year, which started October 1, 2013.  As a result of the shutdown, 1,716 FCC employees have been furloughed and the Commission has disabled its website.  Licensees and interested parties cannot access the FCC’s wireless licensing database, the Universal Licensing System, or the agency’s other online databases.  By disabling its website, the Commission has made it impossible for licensees to file renewals applications, notifications of construction, and other licensing requests.  An FCC staff member is available to confer authority in emergency situations involving safety of life or property.  Additionally, the Senate Commerce Committee has delayed the vote on FCC Commissioner nominee Michael O’Rielly.  

Optimizing Telecommunications Services Procurements

Every two-to-four years, companies either issue RFPs for telecommunications services (wireline and wireless) or initiate discussions with incumbent carriers to refresh pricing to justify renewing existing agreements.  We recently concluded a series of entries at Beyond Telecom Law Blog on optimizing telecommunications services procurements. The series begins with an introductory entry, includes an extended discussion on sources of customer leverage, takes a fresh look at carriers’ services obligations, and concludes with an entry on the  legal terms and conditions that should always be addressed. For additional information please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202.434.4180).

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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.

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