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Sprint Turns Off Cell Tower Amid Cancer Concerns; Broadband Deployment and USF Items on Circulation; Vertical Location Accuracy for Wireless 9-1-1 Calls; CAF II Auction Update- Vol. XVI, Issue 14

Broadband Deployment and USF Items on Circulation

The 2019 Broadband Deployment Report and a document referred to as the Universal Service Fund (USF) Contribution Methodology are currently on circulation, pending action by the FCC.  In the USF item, the Commission will reportedly propose an aggregate annual USF expenditure budget of $11.42 billion. According to Commissioner O’Rielly, this budget cap exceeds current expenditures by $2.0 billion. This expenditure cap is eliciting concerns from some groups whose members benefit from USF programs.

Vertical Location Accuracy For Wireless 9-1-1 Calls

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau announced in an April 4 Public Notice that it is seeking comment on a proposal to use a vertical or “z-axis” location accuracy metric of plus or minus three meters to identify wireless 9-1-1 callers’ location in multi-story buildings (Vol. XIV, Issue 11).   Comments and reply comments on the Further Notice are due by May 20 and June 18, respectively.

Sprint Turns Off Cell Tower Amid Cancer Concerns

According to news reports, Sprint has turned off its cell tower on a California elementary school campus following concerns from parents that the tower could have exposed children to harmful radiation and be linked to four recent diagnoses of childhood cancer at Weston Elementary.  Sprint asserts that the tower is safe and has operated well below federal safety limits, but decided to shut down its transmitters and relocate the tower to a new site.  In November 2018, the Ripon Unified School District (RUSD) initiated an investigation into the tower by engineering consultant Hammett & Edison, Inc. (H&E), which issued a report stating that the tower complied with guidelines limiting human exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields. 

CAF II Auction Update

On April 3, the FCC announced in a Public Notice that it is ready to authorize Connect America Fund Phase II Auction 903 (CAF II) support for 822 winning bids (Vol. XVI, Issue 13). This is the second group of CAF II winners whose long-form applications have been approved by the Wireline Competition Bureau.  The Commission “accepted” an initial group of winning bids in March (Vol. XVI, Issue 9). To receive support, the long-form applicants identified in the Public Notice must submit their letters of credit and bankruptcy counsel’s opinion letters prior to 6:00 p.m. ET on April 17. The Bureau is expected to accept additional long-form applications in the coming weeks. 

© 2021 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 98

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...

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,...