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FCC False Missile Alert Report; Sprint & Mobilitie Fined $11.6 Million; One Federal Decision MoU; FirstNet Update; Satellite Enforcement Advisory; Data Prioritization Hearing: Telecom Alert - 04/16/18

FCC Releases Final Report on False Missile Alert

The FCC released its Report and Recommendations on Hawaii’s false ballistic missile alert that occurred on Jan 13, 2018.  The report concluded that “human error and inadequate safeguards” were responsible for the false alert that was sent through the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and by wireless emergency alert (WEA).  Since the incident, the FCC launched an investigation, testified before Congress, and adopted an Order to improve emergency alert targeting.  On May 15, 2018, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau will host a roundtable for further discussions on best practices.

Sprint & Mobilitie Fined $11.6 Million

The FCC released the settlement details resolving enforcement actions against Sprint and Mobilitie for failing to complete required environmental and historical reviews prior to constructing wireless facilities.  Sprint agreed to pay $10 million and Mobilitie agreed to pay $1.6 million in fines.  This follows the recently adopted Second Report and Order which, among other things, exempts small cell deployments from NEPA and NHPA review and updates the Section 106 tribal review process for larger structures .

One Federal Decision Memorandum of Understanding

The White House announced that several federal agencies have signed the One Federal Decision Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreeing to collaboratively streamline environmental reviews for major infrastructure projects.  Last August, the White House issued an Executive Order to use “One Federal Decision”.  This MoU established how the coordination process will work to timely review infrastructure projects.

FirstNet Update

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a preliminary list of devices approved for use on AT&T’s FirstNet system.  To facilitate NIST approval, FirstNet created a standard based device testing and certification program.  This follows the recent launch of AT&T’s core public safety network, which will serve the Radio Access Network portion of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network.

Satellite Enforcement Advisory

Last week, the FCC issued an Enforcement Advisory to remind satellite system operators that they must obtain FCC authorization prior to operating a space station or earth station.  The Enforcement Advisory refers to previous guidance on obtaining licenses for small satellites, and states that failure to comply with licensing requirements will result in enforcement action.  The Advisory also clarifies that even if all on-board transmitters are disabled, FCC authorization is required prior to launch. 

Subcommittee Sets Hearing on Data Prioritization

On April 17, 2018, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing on data prioritization.  The Press Release emphasized Chairwoman Blackburn’s desire to cultivate a “good faith” effort in addressing concerns regarding net neutrality.  Specifically, to better understand the benefits and harms of paid prioritization.  The Subcommittee views the hearing as a step toward bipartisan net neutrality legislation.

© 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,...