July 22, 2018

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900 MHz NOI; Kari's Law and MOBILE NOW; CAF II Reverse Auction; FCC Nominations; FirstNet Update: Telecom Alert - August 7, 2017

900 MHz Notice of Inquiry

The FCC adopted a Notice of Inquiry to examine possibilities for the future of the 900 MHz band (896-901/935-940 MHz).  The NOI responds to Petitions for Rulemaking in asking if it should allow use of the 900 MHZ band for broadband services.  The NOI seeks comment on three approaches to the band:  retaining the Existing Band Configuration but Increasing Operational Flexibility; Reconfiguring the Band to Create a Broadband Service; or, retaining the current licensing and eligibility rules. 

Senate Passes Kari’s Law and MOBILE NOW Act

Before August recess, the Senate passed six telecom related bills, including Kari’s Law and the MOBILE NOW Act.  Kari’s Law  requires all MLTS systems be configured to enable users to dial “9-1-1” to reach the local PSAP, as opposed to dialing “9+9-1-1.”  A similar, but not identical version, passed the House early this year.  The next step towards becoming law is a House and Senate Conference to agree on a final version of the bill.  The MOBILE NOW Act focuses on advancing wireless technologies by removing barriers to infrastructure deployment and freeing up spectrum for both licensed and unlicensed use.  The bill will go to the House for consideration.

CAF II Reverse Auction

Last week, the FCC issued its Public Notice requesting comment on proposed bidding procedures and associated rules for the CAF II reverse auction.  A related “Technical Guidance” was released that explains and illustrates the proposed “descending clock bidding procedures” the FCC is proposing to implement.  Just under $2.0B per year for ten years will be made available under this reverse auction that is tentatively scheduled for mid-2018 as the FCC must still develop the online bidding platform.

FCC Nominations Move in Senate

The U.S. Senate confirmed the nominations of Former FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel and FCC General Counsel Brendan Carr last week.  Commissioner Rosenworcel was reappointed while Brendan Carr was appointed to complete a term for an open Commissioner seat and for a new term beginning July 1, 2018.  Though Chairman Pai’s nomination for another term was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee, the full Senate has not yet acted on the nomination.  In other confirmation news, the nomination of David Redl to head up NTIA has been held over due to Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) concerns with the ICANN transition.

FirstNet Update

Last week, FirstNet added three states and the first territory to the list of Opt-In States, bringing the number of states and territories up to 11.  New Mexico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Michigan, and Maine all opted-in to the FirstNet/AT&T plan for a nationwide public safety network.  Michigan had been considering opting-out, and had selected Rivada as the possible alternative.  New Hampshire has also selected Rivada as the alternative if they choose to opt-out.

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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 joined Keller and Heckman in 2002. She 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.


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,...