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Telecom Business Alert -- Government Reopens, FCC Nominations, 800 MHz Freeze, Part 22 Construction Deadline

Date: Oct 21, 2013

Government Reopens; FCC Issues Notice Extending Deadlines

The FCC was back up and running late last week after Congress passed a budget effectively ending the 16 day government shutdown.  Licensees and Frequency Coordinators are now able to submit the applications held while the Universal Licensing System (ULS) was “offline” from October 1- 16.  

The FCC’s first order of business post-shutdown was to issue a statement on its website suspending all filing deadlines through today, October 21.   The statement was quickly followed up by a Public Notice issued late Thursday extending the deadline for nearly all filings, except for the Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) and other specified filings, which were otherwise due during or immediately after the shutdown.

In perhaps the most important change for Private Land Mobile and Microwave licensees, the Notice extended all ULS Applications and Notifications due between October 1 and November 4.  These filings are now due on November 4, 2013.  Additionally, the FCC created a modified schedule for filings between October 1 and November 4 to provide additional time for filers who did not have access to FCC documents during the shutdown.

For more information about filing deadlines or assist with submitting applications to the FCC, please contact Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

FCC Chairman and Commissioner Nominations Delayed

The Senate Commerce Committee advanced the nomination of Michael O’Rielly for the open Republican FCC Commissioner seat.  O’Rielly’s nomination is still expected to be paired with FCC Chairman Nominee Tom Wheeler, released from Committee last July.  The nominations could not approved by unanimous consent as part of the budget process, however, due to a  “hold” placed on the Wheeler nomination by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) regarding the FCC’s authority to require disclosure of sources of funding for campaign ad spots.  The Senate is now in recess until next week.  In the meantime, the FCC, currently led by Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, will continue to operate with two vacancies on the five member Commission. 

FCC Extends 800 MHz Application Freeze Along US-Canada Border

Last week, the FCC released a Public Notice further extending the freeze on filing new non-rebanding related 800 MHz applications along the U.S.-Canada border until April 18, 2014, for portions of Michigan, Ohio, Washington and Western Upstate New York.  The FCC extended the freeze to preserve vacant channels for licensees re-tuning their systems in these areas according to the reconfigured band plan.  The freeze applies only to applications for new facilities or modification applications that involve a change of frequency or expansion of a station’s existing coverage area.  For more information on the rebanding process, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202.434.4128) or Greg Kunkle (kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

Part 22 Paging Licenses Construction Deadline

As a reminder, licensees of Part 22 paging licenses auctioned by the FCC in 2010 are required to file an initial notification of construction with the agency by November 18, 2013.  Licensees must show their facilities meet certain coverage benchmarks as of November 3, 2013, or certify they will be providing “substantial service” in the licensed territory by the deadline.  The November 18 deadline was not impacted by the FCC’s modified filing schedule discussed above.  

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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 © 2013.  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.