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Telecom Alert – 3.5 GHz Auction Short-Form; FCC Seeks Comment on New Data Fields for Covered 911 Service Providers; CARES Act and GEER Fund; 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window; Marriott Consent Decree – Vol. XVII, Issue 18

3.5 GHz Auction Short-Form Deadline Reminder

The Short-Form application filing window for participation in the 3.5 GHz band auction of Priority Access Licenses (PALs) (Auction 105) will close this week on May 7 (Vol. XVII, Issue 13).  Bidding in the auction is scheduled to begin on June 25, 2020.  

FCC Seeks Comment on New Data Fields for Covered 911 Service Providers

The FCC released a Public Notice last week seeking comment on implementing new data fields for Covered 911 Service Providers when filing Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) information and submitting the annual Reliability Certification.  Specifically, the FCC wants Covered 911 Service Providers to supplement NORS outage reports with information from their most recent 911 Reliability Certification to confirm the extent to which any alternative measures they use to ensure circuit diversity are effective.  Comments will be due 30 days after the item is published in the Federal Register, which should occur in the next week or two.  

CARES Act and GEER Fund

Last week the FCC announced that it will work with governors, states, and local school districts to promote the use of $16 billion in funding from the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Education Stabilization Fund for remote learning (Vol. XVII, Issue 14).  The Commission will publicize CARES Act resources and identify service providers that may be able to quickly provide broadband connectivity and devices to support remote learning.  In addition, the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund makes approximately $3 billion in emergency block grants available to governors to establish and expand access to remote learning.  

2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window

On Friday, the National Tribal Telecommunications Association (NTTA) filed a motion seeking to extend the Rural Tribal Priority Window for access to 2.5 GHz spectrum by an additional 90 days.  Earlier this year, the Commission adopted a 180-day time period during which interested Tribal or Tribally-related entities could file applications for 2.5 GHz spectrum (Vol. XVII, Issue 2).  NTTA cited impacts to Tribes by the COVID-19 pandemic and noted that as of April 24 only 24 applications had been filed.  

Marriott Consent Decree for 310(d) Violation

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau released an Order announcing that it entered into a Consent Decree with Marriott Vacations Worldwide.  The Order resolved investigations into whether Marriott violated Section 310(d) of the Communications Act by failing to obtain the Commission's prior consent to the Transfer of Control of wireless licenses as part of its acquisition of ILG, Inc.  Marriott admitted that it failed to obtain the FCC’s approval and will implement a compliance plan and pay a $70,000 civil penalty.  Marriott was required to pay $504,000 to settle an investigation for the same type of violation in 2018.  

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 125


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,...