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Telecom Alert—–911 Fee Diversion; House Passes Legislation Repealing T-Band Auction; California Classifies 911 Dispatchers as First Responders; RF Safety—–Vol. XVII, Issue 39

911 Fee Diversion

Last week, at the NENA Ignite Conference, a staffer from the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau reported that all but three states have provided information for their annual 911 fee report.  The report is required by the “New and Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act of 2008.”  At this week’s Open Meeting, the Commission will consider a Notice of Inquiry focused on the effects of fee diversion and the most effective ways to dissuade states and jurisdictions from diverting 911 fees.  As part of the NOI, the Commission will seek comment on whether improvements can be made to the annual 911 fee data collection. 

House Passes Legislation Repealing T-Band Auction

Last week, the House passed H.R. 451, the “Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act,” which repeals the law that requires the FCC to auction public safety T-Band channels next year and to relocate public safety incumbents out of the T-Band by 2023.  While the FCC has taken steps to move forward with an auction to meet the statutory mandate, FCC Chairman Pai and Commissioner Rosenworcel are in agreement that the auction is a “bad idea.”  A similar bill was introduced in the Senate and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee in July (Vol. XVII, Issue 30).  The bill that passed the House also included language that discouraged 911 fee diversion.  

California Classifies 911 Dispatchers as First Responders

California passed legislation to update the definition of “first responder” to include “public safety telecommunicator.”  Public safety industry groups, including APCO and NENA, have been calling for a similar reclassification on federal level.  The Office of Management Budget currently classifies 911 dispatchers as clerical workers.  H.R. 1629, the “911 SAVES Act,” would reclassify 911 call takers and dispatchers as “Protective Service Occupations.”  The public safety industry hopes the California law will serve as an example on a federal level.  

RF Safety

The Commission filed a brief in the DC Circuit defending the decision to maintain RF exposure limits.  The brief was filed in response to a brief filed jointly by the Environmental Health Trust and the Children’s Health Defense (Vol. XVII, Issue 31), which argued that the Commission failed to address health and safety concerns when it maintained the current RF safety limits.  In defense of its decision to maintain RF limits, the Commission stated that the FDA recommended no change in limits and explained that they did not ignore new technological developments, as alleged by the Petitioners.  

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

© 2021 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 272



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,...