July 22, 2019

July 19, 2019

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Telecom Alert - 2019 Predictions- Vol. XVI, Issue 1

The FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order likely will be affirmed on appeal as broadband Internet access service meets the statutory definition of "information services.”  A major question is whether the FCC will focus on fixed broadband deployment in rural and other underserved areas in a manner comparable to 5G and other commercial mobile broadband services.  Doug Jarrett, Partner

The FCC’s August 2018 Pole Attachment Order will become effective, and communications attachers will disagree with utility pole owners about what the new rules require, what they allow, and how they should be implementedTom Magee, Partner

Expect the General Access (unlicensed) tier of the 3550-3700 GHz CBRS band to become available in early 2019.  The Priority Access tier may not be auctioned until 2020, but the proceeding to set auction procedures should commence by mid-2019.  Greg Kunkle, Partner

There will be a lot of 9-1-1 developments at the federal and state levels in 2019!  I expect the FCC to continue promoting consumer access to 9-1-1 through text, routing, MLTS, and reliability proceedings; I hope Capitol Hill will build on momentum for federal NG 9-1-1 funding; and, finally, I believe individual state PUCs will continue clarifying their role in regulating the 9-1-1 network in an IP world.  Wes Wright, Partner

The FCC will be back to a full complement of five Commissioners but there will not be significant changes in its policies. Commercial wireless interests will retain their very high priority in FCC decision making. Policy and jurisdictional battles between the FCC and some states over net neutrality and other telecommunications issues will continue unabated.  Mike Fitch, Counsel

The year will bring continued confrontation between many local jurisdictions and wireless carriers in response to the FCC’s September 2018 “small cell” order which opened the door for deployment of hundreds of thousands of RF transmitters in communities across the country in order to speed the implementation of 5G.  In its order, the FCC adopted federal guidelines that seek to limit traditional local control over rights-of-way housing these facilities.  Al Catalano, Counsel

There were seismic shifts in data privacy in 2018 with the entry into force of the EU General Data Protection Regulation and enactment of the California Consumer Protection Act.  Privacy issues loom large on the Congressional agenda for 2019, with many expecting the introduction of comprehensive national legislation.  It will be important to keep an eye on the evolving landscape in 2019.  Tracy Marshall, Partner

The Commission will continue its efforts to encourage 5G deployment by creating opportunities for commercial users.  The question remains whether similar attention will be given to critical infrastructure spectrum requirements.  Critical infrastructure companies will need to advocate for spectrum resources while at the same time working to preserve current allocations like the 6 GHz microwave band.  Tim Doughty, Associate

With Democrats taking over the House, we expect FCC Commissioners to be scrutinized more aggressively than in recent years.  Congress likely will focus its FCC oversight attention on broadband funding, the FCC’s process for merger reviews, net neutrality, and consumer privacy.  Kathleen Slattery, Associate

In this upcoming year, it is likely that all new and/or modification Multiple Address Systems (MAS) applications will take as long as 5 months to be processed and granted by the FCC, with additional delays stemming from the Federal government shutdown.  Devin Peelman, FCC/FAA Licensing Specialist

© 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 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,...