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Telecom Business Alert -- Net Neutrality, Pole Attachment Indemnity, and E-Rate -- Vol. XI Issue 19

Date: May 12, 2014

Two FCC Commissioners Call For Delay of the Net Neutrality Proposal

In an unusual effort, FCC Commissioners Rosenworcel and Pai have publicly urged Chairman Wheeler to delay the expected vote on his Open Internet proposal.  The controversial issue pertains to a proposal that could allow the major ISPs to charge more for higher speed transport over the Internet networks. Earlier this year, the D.C. Circuit struck down key elements of the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order.  Commissioner Rosenworcel explained that a delay would allow the Commissioners and its staff to evaluate all of the informal comments filed.  An FCC spokesperson indicated that the Chairman does not intend to delay the vote but has waived the “sunshine rules” which typically prohibit public comment one week from the Open Meeting.  Thus interested parties can submit statements through Wednesday May 14.  For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202-434-4180).

Pole Attachment Indemnity Debate

Responding to Mediacom’s Petition asking the FCC to declare all “non-reciprocal” and “asymmetric” pole attachment indemnity clauses unjust and unreasonable, utilities and attachers faced-off in an initial round of Comments at the FCC.  Keller and Heckman filed comments on behalf of Pepco Holdings, Inc. and Xcel Energy supporting a utility’s right to protect itself from damages caused by the presence of attachers on their poles. For more information or if your utility may be interested in filing Reply Comments, please contact Tom Magee (Magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128).

E-Rate Reform Workshop

On May 6, the FCC held a workshop to continue its reform of the Schools and Libraries program, also called the E-Rate program. Chairman Wheeler stated that this may be the most important issue pending at the FCC, a view echoed by the other Commissioners participating in the workshop. Discussions at the workshop included how the $12 billion could be spent to bring high capacity broadband to schools and libraries, how to do so in a cost-efficient manner, and how to shift E-Rate funds from narrowband voice services to high capacity broadband. For more information, please contact Doug Jarrett (Jarrett@khlaw.com; 202-434-4180).

Globalstar NPRM Comments

The FCC received comments on Globalstar’s proposal to utilize its spectrum at 2483.5-2495 MHz combined with 2473-2483.5 MHz to offer a terrestrial low power service. The Wi-Fi Alliance said that this proposal would have a negative effect on Wi-Fi and other unlicensed operations by adding to the increasing congestion in the 2.4 GHz band. Sprint’s comments warned the FCC of the potential interference to existing service in adjacent spectrum bands. Oceus Networks and NTCH both filed in support of Globalstar’s proposal. Reply comments are due June 6, 2014. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (Kunkle@khlaw.com; 202-434-4178)

Keller and Heckman at ENTELEC

Greg Kunkle, Doug Jarrett, Wes Wright, and Tim Doughty will be attending the ENTELEC Spring Conference in Houston from May 20-22 and will be presenting the Washington Roundtable from 8:00-9:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 22.  Please stop by to visit at the Keller and Heckman booth (Booth 118).

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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.  Please follow us on twitter at @KHtelecom.