January 19, 2021

Volume XI, Number 19


January 18, 2021

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Telecom Alert - 2.5 GHz Band Rule Changes; OMB Approves UHF Central Station Alarm Frequency Order; T-Band Update; MDU Broadband Rulemaking; Proposed 3rd Quarter USF Contribution Factor - Vol. XVI, Issue 25

2.5 GHz Band Rule Changes

Last week FCC Chairman Pai circulated a draft Report and Order proposing changes to the rules regarding the 2.5 GHz band for the Commission’s consideration at its next open meeting on July 10th (Beyond Telecom Law Blog).  The draft Report and Order proposes to eliminate the educational use requirement for the spectrum and to establish a priority filing window for Indian tribes located in rural areas to provide Tribal Nations with an opportunity to license 2.5 GHz spectrum to promote broadband deployment.  Immediately following the completion of the Tribal priority filing window, the FCC plans to auction the remaining unassigned 2.5 GHz spectrum.  

OMB Approves UHF Central Station Alarm Frequency Order

The FCC’s Report and Order making Private Land Mobile Central Station Alarm channels available for licensing has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (Vol. XVI, Issue 3).  Certain frequency coordinators are now accepting applications to license the spectrum where it is not already being operated by incumbents.  

GAO Report Says T-Band Auction Could Harm First Responder Capabilities

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report last week recommending that Congress should consider legislation allowing public safety users to continue using the T-Band (470-512 MHz) (Vol. XIV, Issue 42).  The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 requires the FCC to auction public safety spectrum in the T-Band by 2021 and relocate current users by 2023 (Vol. XIV, Issue 8).  However, the GAO found that officials in Boston, Los Angeles, and New York City still haven’t found a T-Band alternative and noted that relocating public safety operations in 11 metropolitan areas where the spectrum is currently used would cost approximately $5.9 billion.  In 2018, bills were introduced in the House and Senate to repeal the requirement for the FCC to reallocate and auction the T-Band, but none were enacted.  Another bill was introduced in January 2019 but remains in subcommittee with no further action.  

MDU Broadband Rulemaking

The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Declaratory Order at its July 10 Open Meeting that is focused on the provision of broadband service to multitenant commercial properties and MDUs (apartment complexes).  The item also addresses distributed antenna systems and rooftop leases.  While the Declaratory Ruling is largely consistent with widespread industry practices, many proposals for which the FCC is requesting comment bear little relationship to marketplace realities and are largely irrelevant to bridging the digital divide. 

Proposed Third Quarter USF Contribution Factor

Earlier this month the Commission announced that the proposed Universal Service Contribution factor for the third quarter of 2019 will be 24.4 percent.  The proposed contribution factor will be deemed approved if the Commission takes no action by June 26.  

Tribal Workshop Announced

The FCC announced a one-day workshop for Tribal governments, Tribal employees, and Tribal members to provide information to help Tribal Nations identify and evaluate opportunities to develop more robust communications infrastructure and services in Tribal Communities.  The workshop will be held on July 17, 2019 at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort.  

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 175



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,...