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Telecom Alert - 3.65 GHz Band Comment Deadlines; FCC Pole Attachment Ruling; IP Transition Rules and Proposals; FCC Approves Verizon/NextLink Transaction; FirstNet Opt-Ins - Vol. XIV, Issue 49

FCC Deadlines Set for 3.65 GHz Band

Last week, the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to further revise its Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) rules were published in the Federal Register.  The CBRS rules include the 3.65 GHz band.  Among other things, the FCC has proposed extending the license term for Priority Access Licenses (PAL), creating a license renewal expectancy for PALs, authorizing the agency to auction a PAL in an area even if there is only a single bidder, and increasing the geographic area covered by PALs.  Comments are due by December 28th and Reply Comments must be submitted by January 29th.  

FCC Pole Attachment Ruling

The FCC last week issued an Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (WC Docket No. 17-84) regarding pole attachments, establishing a 180-day deadline for resolving access complaints, excluding make-ready costs from rental rates, and granting ILECs the right to attach to CLEC poles.  The Commission seeks further comment on overlashing issues.  

IP Transition Rules and Proposals

In the same Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (WC Docket No. 17-84), the FCC eliminated the requirement for ILECs discontinuing copper loops to provide 180-day notice to business customers, relying on the relaxation of its rules to allow ILECs to contact customers in advance of filing notice of copper retirements with the FCC.  The FCC is proposing that if an ILEC elects to discontinue DS-1 service (1.544 Mbps) it will be entitled to streamlined discontinuance procedures provided the carrier implements service at 25/3 Mbps, the current advanced services capability for broadband.  The FCC also requests comment on Verizon’s proposal for streamlined procedures for discontinuing TDM voice services when the ILEC has installed VoIP throughout the service area and at least another provider’s voice service (including mobile service) is available in the service area.  

FCC Approves Verizon/NextLink Transaction

Last week, the FCC issued an Order approving Verizon’s acquisition from XO Holdings (Nextlink) of approximately 150 wireless licenses in various bands, including: LMDS (28 GHz), 39 GHz, 3.65 GHz, and common carrier fixed point-to-point microwave licenses.  Verizon previously leased LMDS and 39 GHz band licenses from Nextlink.  The Commission approved the transaction despite an objection from the Competitive Carriers Association, which expressed spectrum aggregation concerns should the Commission endorse Verizon’s acquisition of additional spectrum.  

FirstNet Opt-Ins

Ohio became the latest state to announce it will opt-in to the FirstNet state plan provided by FirstNet and AT&T.  Thirty-five of fifty-six states and territories have now opted-in to the FirstNet plan.  No jurisdiction has opted-out of the FirstNet plan, but a number of states – including California – have issued requests for proposals (RFP) seeking proposals to build a competing public safety radio access network relying on FirstNet spectrum.  Colorado selected the team of Rivada Networks and Macquarie Developments to build a radio access network in the State if Colorado decides to opt-out of the FirstNet plan. New Hampshire had previously selected Rivada if that State decides to opt-out.  

© 2018 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 joined Keller and Heckman in 2002. She 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.


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,...