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Telecom Alert — 900 MHz Band Transition; Unlicensed Use of 6 GHz Band; 5G Fund for Rural America NPRM; SAS Administrator Approved; $1 Million Rural Health Care Program Settlement — Vol. XVII, Issue 17

FCC to Act on 900 MHz Band Transition

The FCC issued a draft Report and Order, Order of Proposed Modification, and Orders last week that establishes a 3 x 3 MHz “broadband” channel within the 900 MHz LMR band and reserves 2 MHz paired (1.5 x 1.5 MHz  and 0.5 MHz and 0.5 MHz) for continued narrowband operations, out of which 10 narrowband channels may be set aside for a railroad nationwide ribbon system. The draft Report and Order sets out rules for an entity to qualify for the county-wide 3 x 3 MHz license and procedures for these entities to relocate narrowband systems licensed on frequencies in the 3 x 3 MHz channel to the 900 MHz frequency assignments reserved for narrowband operations.  

Unlicensed Use of the 6 GHz Band Authorized

At its April 23 open meeting, the Commission adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that makes 1,200 megahertz of spectrum in the 6 GHz band available for unlicensed use (Vol. XVII, Issue 14).  The Report and Order authorizes indoor low-power operations over the full 1,200 megahertz of the band, and standard-power devices in 850 megahertz of the band. This decision was hotly contested by wireless carriers, wireline carriers and operators of private 6 GHz microwave systems, all opposing the use of unlicensed wireless systems in this band, and technology companies, such as Apple, Qualcomm and Microsoft, supporting unlicensed Wi-Fi operations in this band. 

FCC Adopts 5G Fund for Rural America NPRM

The FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order last week that proposes establishing the 5G Fund for Rural America (Vol. XVII, Issue 14).  The Fund would distribute $9 billion through the Universal Service Fund for the deployment of 5G networks in rural areas, with a special focus on deployments that support precision agriculture.  $680 million of the Fund is reserved to support 5G networks serving Tribal lands.  

SAS Administrator Approved in 3.5 GHz Band

The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a Public Notice last week certifying Amdocs, Inc. (Amdocs) as a Spectrum Access System (SAS) Administrator in the 3.5 GHz band (Vol. XVII, Issue 5).  Amdocs must continuously comply with FCC rules and any obligations imposed by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and the Office of Engineering and Technology for a five-year term.  CommScope, Federated Wireless, Google, and Sony were previously approved as SAS Administrators by the Commission in January.  

$1 Million Settlement Value in Rural Health Care Program Investigation

Last Wednesday, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Consent Decree terminating its investigation into whether DRS Global Enterprise Solutions, Inc. (DRS Global) violated the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program’s rules governing the determination of rural rates.  Under the Consent Decree, DRS Global acknowledges that it failed to determine the rural rates charged to non-profit health care and social services providers serving rural and remote Alaskan Native communities.  DRS Global agrees to relinquish any claims to $772,307 in Universal Service Fund (USF) support payments and to pay back $227,693 in USF support.

© 2021 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 118

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,...