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Agriculture Appropriations Bill to Broadband; 4.9 GHz Band Pleading Cycle; Forbearance Plea Pleading Cycle; Restoring Internet Freedom Effective Date; Drone Integration Pilot Program; 911 Certification Data Report - Telecom Alert

Agriculture Appropriations Bill to Allocate Millions to Broadband

The House Appropriations Committee’s Agriculture Subcommittee released a draft of the 2019 agriculture appropriations bill, which will be considered by the Full Committee next week.  The bill allocates $620 million for broadband deployment in rural areas.  Funding will be made available through loans and grants including the Broadband Loan, Community Connect, Distance Learning and Telemedicine programs and a broadband pilot program.  The pilot program focuses on deployment in areas where 90% of homes do not have access to the Internet. 

Pleading Cycle Set for 4.9 GHz Band

The 4.9 GHz Band’s Sixth NPRM was published in the Federal Register, setting the pleading cycle. As previously reported (Vol. XV, Issue 13), the FCC seeks comment on alternative methods to encourage use and investment in the 4.9 GHz band, currently allocated exclusively for public safety communications. Comments are due July 6, 2018 and reply comments are due August 6, 2018. 

Pleading Cycle Set for Forbearance Plea

The FCC released a Public Notice setting the pleading cycle on a forbearance request from the 1996 Telecommunications Act. This follows USTelecom’s petition requesting forbearance from the unbundling, resale, and related requirements imposed on ILECs under the 1996 amendments to the Communications Act.  USTelecom’s petition claims that granting the request will reduce rates, offer better quality of service, and increase network. Comments are due June 7, 2018 and Reply Comments are due June 22, 2018. 

Effective Date Released for Restoring Internet Freedom Rule

The Restoring Internet Freedom Order was published in the Federal Register, listing the effective date as June 11, 2018.  As we previously reported (Vol. XV, Issue 2), the rule repeals the 2015 Open Internet Order. In its place, the Restoring Internet Freedom Order provides a comprehensive “transparency rule” and shifts enforcement authority to the FTC. 

DOT Announces Drone Integration Pilot Program Winners

The Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced ten selectees for the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program. Under the program, the FAA will partner with local, state and tribal governments that will work with private sector participants to explore further drone integration.  Data from the pilot program will be used to further update the regulatory framework to promote safe drone integration into the national airspace. 

911 Certification Data Report Released

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released a Report summarizing 911 Certification Data for 2017. The FCC requires service providers to annually certify measures employed to “prevent a loss of 911 service to the public.” The certification rules apply to providers that offer 911, E911, or NG911 to PSAPs. Specifically, the Report identifies the 911 service providers that have certified 911 circuit diversity, backup power, and network monitoring. The FCC has committed to reviewing the rules by January 2019 “to determine whether they are still technologically appropriate and both adequate and necessary to ensure reliability and resiliency of 911 networks.” 

© 2019 Keller and Heckman LLP


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,...