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Enforcement Action, Spectrum Workshop, Drones in DC-Area, Telecommunications Act Turns 20

Tesla Exploration to Pay $50,000 Civil Penalty

Also last week, Tesla Exploration, Inc. (Tesla) entered into a Consent Decree with the Enforcement Bureau pertaining to the Commission’s investigation into Tesla’s alleged violations of Section 301 of the Communications Act and Rule 1.903(a) for operating radio equipment on unauthorized frequencies.  Rule 1.903(a) prohibits wireless radio service stations from operating outside of their authorized parameters. In 2012, the Commission issued a Notice of Apparent Liability stating that Tesla was causing harmful interference to public safety operations by allegedly operating equipment on eleven unauthorized frequencies.  In order to settle the matter, Tesla admitted that it violated the Commission’s rules and agreed to implement a compliance plan.  Tesla will also pay a $50,000 civil penalty.

Spectrum Frontier Workshop

The Office of Engineering and Technology and the Wireless Telecommunications and International Bureaus announced the Spectrum Frontier Workshop.  The workshop will explore broadband and next generation wireless technologies in the frequencies above 24 GHz. In addition to the workshop, there will also be technical demonstrations of equipment and technologies planned to facilitate service in the millimeter wave band.  The workshop and demonstrations will be held on Thursday, March 10, 2016 beginning at 9:00 AM.  It is open to the public and the Commission will also broadcast the event live here.  

FAA Updates Procedure for Drones in DC

The FAA revised the operating procedure for unmanned aircraft operating in the Washington, D.C. area.  Certain drone operations will be permitted in the outer-ring of the Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) subject to certain conditions.  Aircraft under 55lbs may be flown in the area 15-30 miles outside of D.C., if the aircraft is registered and properly marked.  Operations within five miles of an airport require that the operator notify the airport prior to operations.  The revised operating procedure did not disturb the ban on drone operations within 15 miles of D.C. without FAA authorization.

Telecommunications Act of 1996 Turns 20!

Twenty years ago, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Act) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton, thereby significantly amending the Communications Act of 1934.  The amendment was enacted in order to “promote competition and reduce regulation.”  To this day, the Act and the Commission’s implementing regulations provide a basis for contention, accord, innovation, and revenue.  Chairman Wheeler’s remarks on the 20th Anniversary of the Telecommunications Act are available here.  For additional commentary pertaining to the broad area of telecommunications, click here.

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume VI, Number 47



About this Author

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...

Timothy A. Doughty, Keller Heckman, Telecommunications Licensing Specialist, Lawyer, FCC Matters Attorney

Timothy Doughty joined Keller and Heckman in 2009 as a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Licensing Specialist.

Mr. Doughty assists clients with the preparation of FCC applications, modifications, special temporary authorities, requests for rule waiver, renewals and spectrum leases in various radio services including Private Land Mobile, Microwave, Coast and Ground and Aircraft. His capabilities also include the preparation of tower registrations with the FCC and Obstruction Evaluations and Aeronautical Studies with the Federal Aviation...