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3.5 GHz CBRS Band Rules Effective Jan. 7; 5.9 GHz Band Waiver for Connected Cars; Petitioners Seek to Move FCC Small Cell Case to San Francisco; Mobility Fund Phase II Update; Spectrum Frontiers Auction Update: Telecom Alert - December 10, 2018

3.5 GHz CBRS Band Rules Effective January 7

The FCC’s recently adopted 3.5 GHz band Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) Report and Order was published in the Federal Register last week, establishing an effective date for the rules on January 7, 2019.  The modified rules include extending license terms to 10 years, adding renewability, and increasing the size of Priority Access License (PAL) areas from census tracts to counties.  The General Authorized Access (GAA) tier of CBRS service is expected to become available later in the first quarter of 2019 and the PAL license auction could possibly be held by the end of 2019.

5.9 GHz Band Waiver for Connected Cars

The FCC is seeking comment on a waiver request filed by the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) to allow deployment of Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything technology within the upper 20 MHz of the 5.850-5.925 GHz band, which is currently limited to Dedicated Short Range (DSCR) Intelligent Transportation System radio service operations.  5GAA’s proposal states that its C-V2X technology offers a much greater communications range, better line-of-sight performance, and greater resiliency to provide drivers with an earlier, more complete picture of the surrounding road environment.  Comments and Reply Comments are due on January 11 and January 28, 2019, respectively. 

Petitioners Seek to Move FCC Small Cell Case to San Francisco

Last month a group of cities and counties (the San Jose Petitioners) filed a Motion to Transfer the consolidated legal challenges to the FCC’s Small Cell Order from the Tenth Circuit in Denver, Colorado, to the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, California.  Several appeals challenging the Order were initially filed in the First, Second, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits and were consolidated and assigned to the Tenth Circuit by lottery.  There are already petitions pending in the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits which seek review of the FCC’s Third Report and Order and Declaratory Ruling released in August, which focused on pole attachment regulations.  The FCC moved to transfer the Eleventh Circuit appeal to the Ninth Circuit.  The San Jose Petitioners argued that all petitions should be reviewed by the same court because they are associated with the same docket and thus should be treated as the same order. 

Mobility Fund Phase II Challenge Process Update

On December 3, the Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force (Task Force) released its seventh update regarding the Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) challenge process.  MF-II seeks to support primarily rural areas lacking 4G LTE service.  By the close of the challenge window on November 28, challengers submitted data for 20,809,503 speed test results spanning 37 states, and certified challenges to 129,527 square-kilometer grid cells.  The Task Force noted that out of 106 entities with access to the challenge portal, only 21 entities submitted and certified valid challenges. 

Spectrum Frontiers Auction Update

As of Friday evening, the FCC had completed 50 rounds in Auction 101 (licenses in the 27.5-28.35 GHz band).  2,889 county-sized licenses with provisionally winning bids (PWBs) have generated over $677 million.  183 licenses remain to be auctioned. 

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 344


About this Author

C. Douglas Jarrett, Keller Heckman, telecommunications lawyer, procurement law

Douglas Jarrett joined Keller and Heckman in 1979. Mr. Jarrett specializes in telecommunications law, policy and procurement matters.

Mr. Jarrett is a recognized expert in representing enterprises in negotiating telecommunications services agreements with the major wireline and wireless carriers, domestically and globally.  He also advises enterprises on M2M services, cloud computing and IVR technology procurements. 

Mr. Jarrett represents technology companies in securing amendments to the FCC rules to enable the...

Gregory E. Kunkle, Keller Heckman, regulatory attorney, FCC lawyer

Gregory Kunkle joined Keller and Heckman in 2006. Mr. Kunkle practices in the area of telecommunications, with an emphasis on assisting corporate clients and trade associations with various legal and regulatory matters before the Federal Communications Commission.

Mr. Kunkle regularly counsels critical infrastructure companies, such as electric utilities, oil and gas companies, and railroads, public safety agencies, and commercial providers regarding FCC wireless licensing and compliance issues.  He assists clients in identifying and acquiring wireless spectrum through a variety of means, including spectrum leasing, purchase and sale of licenses, and the FCC's auction process. His spectrum acquisition practice spans all of the FCC’s wireless frequency allocations, including the 220 MHz band, AMTS (217/219 MHz), VHF/UHF Part 22 Paging, the 1.4 GHz band, Part 90 800/900 MHz bands, MAS, the 2.5 GHz EBS/BRS band, and the 700 MHz band.

Mr. Kunkle counsels clients that become involved in the FCC's enforcement process including by responding to and vigorously defending against complaints and investigations and, where appropriate, negotiating settlements with the Commission. 

Thomas B. Magee, Keller Heckman, transactional counsel, litigation attorney, FCC law, safety violation lawyer

Thomas Magee joined Keller and Heckman in 2000. Mr. Magee provides regulatory, transactional and litigation counsel to investor-owned electric utilities, electric cooperatives and municipalities regarding pole attachments and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensing of private wireless telecommunications services.

Mr. Magee has helped to resolve dozens of pole attachment disputes affecting make-ready costs, safety violations, unauthorized attachments, annual rental rates and other terms and conditions of access. He negotiates,...

Tracy Marshall, Keller Heckman, regulatory attorney, for-profit company lawyer

Tracy Marshall assists clients with a range of business and regulatory matters.

In the business and transactional area, Ms. Marshall advises for-profit and non-profit clients on corporate organization, operations, and governance matters, and assists clients with structuring and negotiating a variety of transactions, including purchase and sale, marketing, outsourcing, and e-commerce agreements.

In the privacy, data security, and advertising areas, she helps clients comply with privacy, data security, and consumer protection laws, including laws governing telemarketing and...

Wesley K. Wright, Keller Heckman, Telecommunications Lawyer, FCC Enforcement Attorney, DC

Wesley Wright joined Keller and Heckman in 2006 and practices in the areas of telecommunications law.  He assists corporate clients and trade associations with various legal and regulatory matters before the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, courts and state agencies.

Mr. Wright’s practice includes private wireless licensing, FCC enforcement, and related transactional matters.  He counsels clients on internal operations and governance matters and has drafted and negotiated asset purchase agreements,...