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Telecom Alert-27.1% USF Contribution Factor; Coalition Fight Against NCTA Pole Attachment Petition; ACHP Seeks Comment on Twilight Towers; Trump Nominates Simington to FCC; TCPA Exception COVID-19; KH Webinar 900 MHz Rebanding—Vol. XVII, Issue 38

Q4 USF Contribution Factor of 27.1% Announced

Last week the FCC released a Public Notice announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the fourth quarter of 2020 will be 27.1 percent.  This is up from the third quarter of 2020, which was 26.5 percent.  If the Commission takes no action regarding the projections of demand and administrative expenses associated with the universal service programs within 14 days of the date of the Public Notice, then the proposed factor will be deemed approved. 

Coalition Continues Fight Against NCTA Pole Attachment Petition

The Coalition of Concerned Utilities (Arizona Public Service Co., Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Evergy, Eversource Energy, Exelon Corp., FirstEnergy, Minnesota Power and NorthWestern Energy) last week filed Reply Comments with the Commission explaining further that NCTA’s pole attachment petition (Vol. XVII, Issue 36) asking the FCC to require investor-owned utilities to pay the lion’s share of costs for replacing poles and to speed up those pole replacements is misguided, counterproductive and anticompetitive.  The Coalition responded to several commenters’ misunderstandings about utility practices  and noted that significant rural broadband deployments identified by attachers themselves demonstrate that the current balance of utility and attacher interests continues to enable the deployment of rural broadband.  

ACHP Seeks Comment on Twilight Tower Collocation Proposal

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) is seeking comment on an FCC proposal to establish a process for considering the effects of collocations on twilight towers.  Twilight towers are structures for which no Section 106 review was completed and were constructed between the adoption of the 2001 collocation nationwide programmatic agreement and the effective date of the 2005 wireless facilities nationwide programmatic agreement.  Comments are due by September 25, 2020.

Trump Nominates Simington to FCC                                                                                         

On September 16 President Trump nominated National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) adviser Nathan A. Simington to fill FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly’s position, whose term expired on June 30, 2019.  Mr. Simington joined NTIA in June, and prior to his appointment to NTIA was Senior Counsel to Brightstar Corporation.  

Comment Sought on TCPA Exception for COVID-19

The FCC released a Public Notice seeking comment on a request filed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) that requested clarification of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), arguing that communications from pharmacies related to COVID-19 vaccines fall within the TCPA’s “emergency purposes” exception to the prior express consent requirement.  Comments are due September 25 and Reply Comments are due by October 2.  


Timothy A. DoughtyKathleen Slattery Thompson and Adam (AJ) Reust contributed to this article. 

© 2021 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 265

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,...