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Telecom Alert—3.65 GHz Deadline Extension.; RDOF Auction Qualified Bidders Announced; CTIA Supports Verizon's Small Cell Petition; New FCC Headquarters Location FCC Set to Clarify Section 230; Toll Free Call Rules Updated—Vol. XVII, Issue 42

3.65 GHz Deadline Extension

Last week, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau released an Order extending the deadline for certain licensees in the 3650-3700 MHz band (3.65 GHz band) to transition their existing Part 90 operations to the Citizens Broadcast Radio Service (CBRS).  The Bureau previously extended the transition deadline to October 17 (Vol. XVII, Issue 12) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and further extended the deadline for specific licensees due to ongoing hardships imposed by the national emergency.  The licensees listed in the Order now have until either December 16, 2020, or February 14, 2021, to transition their operations.  

RDOF Auction Qualified Bidders Announced

The FCC released a Public Notice last week identifying the 386 applicants that are qualified to bid in Auction 904 (Vol. XVII, Issue 36), which is more than a 75% increase in the number of bidders from the CAF Phase II auction in 2018.  Each qualified bidder will be assigned to one of three mock auction dates: Friday, October 23; Monday, October 26; or Tuesday, October 27.  Bidding in Auction 904 will begin on October 29. 

CTIA Supports Verizon’s Small Cell Petition

Last week, CTIA submitted an ex parte filing in support of Verizon’s petition for declaratory ruling (Vol. XVI, Issue 35) regarding fees charged by Clark County, Nevada for small wireless facilities.  Verizon claims that the recurring fees imposed by Clark County materially inhibit Verizon’s ability to provide telecommunications services because they do not reasonably approximate the county’s actual and direct costs associated with a provider’s use of the public rights-of-way and other assets, they are not limited to the county’s objectively reasonable cost, and they are inherently discriminatory.  CTIA asked the Commission to grant the petition and declare the recurring fees unlawful, arguing that they do not fall within the presumptively reasonable safe harbors and are not cost-based.  

New FCC Headquarters Location

On October 15, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the Commission’s new headquarters location effective immediately.  The FCC is now located at 45 L Street NE, Washington, DC 20554.  The Public Notice does not alter its current prohibition against the delivery of hand-carried documents to the FCC Headquarters because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

FCC Set to Clarify Section 230

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement last week, announcing the Commission’s intentions to move forward with clarifying Section 230 of the Communications Act.  Under Section 230, an online platform is not treated as a publisher and held liable for content posted on its site unless it actively engages in editorializing such content.  In May, President Trump issued an Executive Order directing the NTIA to seek clarification from the FCC of Section 230, to which the NTIA subsequently filed a petition regarding which Internet intermediaries are entitled to the liability protections.  Chairman Pai stated that there is bipartisan support in Congress to reform the law and that the FCC has the legal authority to interpret Section 230.  

Toll Free Call Rules Updated

The FCC issued a Report and Order on October 9 that shifts most access charges for toll free or 8YY calls to a bill-and-keep system to reduce costs and discourage fraud.  Specifically, the order combines separate 8YY transport and tandem switching charges into a single access charge capped at $0.001 per minute.  The Order also transitions charges for 8YY database queries needed to route 8YY calls to $0.0002 over nearly three years.  8YY calls will continue to be toll free for consumers.

Timothy A. Doughty, Kathleen Slattery Thompson and Adam (AJ) Reust contributed to this article. 

© 2021 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 293

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,...