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Telecom Alert—3.5 GHz Auction Deadline Extensions; Broadband DATA Act Enacted; 5.9 GHz Band Reply Comment Deadline Extended; WISPs Granted STA for 5.9 GHz Band; E-Rate Wi-Fi Permitted for Community Use–Vol. XVII, Issue 13

3.5 GHz Auction Deadline Extensions

The FCC issued a Public Notice last week announcing the postponement of several deadlines for participation in Auction 105, which will auction Priority Access Licenses (PALs) in the 3.5 GHz band (Vol. XVII, Issue 9), in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The short-form application filing window now opens on April 23, 2020 and closes on May 7, 2020.  Bidding, which was originally scheduled to begin on June 25, 2020, will now begin on July 23, 2020.

Broadband DATA Act Enacted

Last week, the President signed into law the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act (Broadband DATA Act), which requires the FCC to change the way broadband data is collected, verified, and reported.  Specifically, the Commission must collect and disseminate granular broadband service availability data (broadband maps) from wired, fixed-wireless, satellite, and mobile broadband providers.  To do so, the Commission will establish the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric as the vehicle for reporting broadband service availability data.

5.9 GHz Band Reply Comment Deadline Extended

The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) issued a Public Notice last week extending the reply comment deadline on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for repurposing the 5.9 GHz Band (Vol XVI, Issue 48).  In response to requests for extensions filed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, the Commission approved a limited twenty-one-day extension.  The deadline for filing reply comments is now April 27, 2020. 

WISPs Granted STA for 5.9 GHz Band

The FCC granted temporary spectrum access (STA) in the 5.9 GHz band to thirty-three wireless Internet service providers last week to help them serve rural communities facing an increase in broadband needs during the current pandemic.  The STA permits the providers, which serve 330 counties in twenty-nine states, to use the lower 45 megahertz of spectrum in the band for sixty days.  

E-Rate Wi-Fi Permitted for Community Use

Last week, the Wireless Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice confirming that schools and libraries are permitted to allow the general public to use E-Rate-supported Wi-Fi networks while on the school’s campus or library property.  Libraries are allowed to offer access to E-Rate funded services on their premises and to the public even when they are closed due to the COVID-16 pandemic.  Closed schools may allow access to E-Rate funded services to community members who access the Internet while on a school’s campus so long as they do not charge for the use of their service.

© 2020 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. 

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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,...