August 25, 2019

August 23, 2019

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Telecom Alert: 10/9/18- Draft Order Expanding PLMR Spectrum; CBRS Order; Unlicensed 6 GHz NPRM; Public Safety Opposition to Vertical Accuracy Metric for 911; DOJ Filed Suit Opposing CA's Net Neutrality Law; House Hearing on 911 Issues - Vol. XV, Issue 41

FCC Releases Draft Report and Order Expanding PLMR Spectrum

Last week the FCC released a draft Report and Order (R&O) that seeks to expand access to Private Land Mobile Radio (PLMR) spectrum in the UHF, 700 MHz, and 800 MHz bands.  Among other changes, the R&O would amend Part 90 of the Commission’s rules to add 318 new interstitial channels in the 800 MHz band, make new UHF channels available in gaps located between the Industrial/Business pool and other designated portions of the band, and extend conditional licensing to the PLMR stations operating in the 700 MHz public safety band.  The R&O will be considered at the Commission’s October 23 Open Meeting. 

FCC To Consider CBRS Order at October Open Meeting

The FCC will also address the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) Order at its upcoming Open Meeting on October 23.  The Order proposes limited changes to the Commission’s CBRS rules adopted in 2015), including increasing the size of Priority Access License (PAL) areas from census tracts to counties; extending the license terms to ten years; and establishing end-of-term performance requirements for licensees.

Unlicensed 6 GHz Band NPRM

Last week the FCC issued a Public Notice opening a new docket for its draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on unlicensed use of the 6 GHz band, which will be considered at the FCC’s upcoming October 23 Open Meeting.  The NPRM proposes to allow unlicensed devices to operate in the band under the control of automated frequency control (AFC) systems.  Many critical infrastructure licensees operate point-to-point microwave systems in this same band to support backhaul and other important operations.  The Commission’s proposed use of AFC systems is intended to limit interference to licensed operations.

Public Safety Groups Oppose Industry’s Proposed Vertical Accuracy Metric for Wireless 911 Calls

NENA and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) filed comments last week in opposition of CTIA’s vertical 9-1-1 indoor location accuracy proposal.  NENA stated that the ±5-meter benchmark proposed by CTIA is neither sufficiently supported by the Test Bed’s Stage Z Report nor sufficiently precise for the purposes of 9-1-1.  The IAFF, which represents more than 315,000 full-time professional fire fighters and emergency medical personnel, called for the Commission to reject CTIA’s proposal and instead require vertical location information that provides true floor level accuracy (i.e. no more than 3 meters).  Reply Comments on CTIA’s proposed standard are due October 11. 

DOJ Files Suit Opposing California’s Net Neutrality Law

On September 30, 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit  against the State of California alleging that the state’s net neutrality bill unlawfully imposes burdens on the Federal Government.  The bill, signed by Governor Jerry Brown on the day the DOJ filed suit, restores the net neutrality rules repealed by the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that California’s legislature enacted “an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy.”  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai supported the suit, stating that “the Internet is inherently an interstate information service.” 

House Subcommittee Hearing Focuses on 9-1-1 Issues

The House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology recently held a hearing to address legislation focused on next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) and state fee diversion issues related to 9-1-1 funding.  The 9-1-1 Fee Integrity Act, would direct the FCC to consult with public safety organizations and issue rules to prevent state, local, and tribal governments from diverting 9-1-1 taxes, fees, or charges from purposes related to 9-1-1 services and operational expenses.  The National Non-Emergency Mobile Number Act would create a federal uniform code number that people could use to reach government services in critical but nonemergency situations. 

© 2019 Keller and Heckman LLP


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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 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,...