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Volume XI, Number 267

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Telecom Alert - 911 Fee Diversion NPRM; Rip-and-Replace NPRM; Broadband Reporting R&O and FNPRM; C-Band Auction Assignments Set to Begin; Emergency Broadband Benefit Fund Roundtable - Vol. XVIII, Issue 5

911 Fee Diversion NPRM

Last week, the FCC released a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on proposed rules that would define the types of expenditures of 911 fees and charges that are acceptable under section 902 of the Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act (Vol. XVIII, Issue 3).  The proposed rules would consider a fee to be diverted if it is used for a purpose or function other than the purposes or functions designated by the FCC as acceptable.  Under the NPRM, acceptable purposes and functions would be limited to (i) supporting and implementing 911 services provided by or in the state or taxing jurisdiction imposing the fee or charges; and (ii) operational expenses of PSAPs within such state or taxing jurisdiction.  The proposed rules would also disqualify a state that the FCC identifies as a “fee diverter” from serving on any FCC or FirstNet committee.  The Commission is expected to vote on the NPRM at its February Open Meeting on February 17, 2021. 

Rip-and-Replace NPRM

The FCC issued a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking last week seeking comment on proposals to modify its rules consistent with changes made to the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Vol. XVII, Issue 47).  Specifically, the NPRM proposes to raise the cap on eligibility for participation in the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program to providers with ten million or fewer customers.  It also proposes to allow program recipients to use reimbursement funds to remove, replace, or dispose of equipment or services that were obtained on or before June 30, 2020, among other modifications.  The Commission will vote on the NPRM at its Open Meeting on February 17, 2021.  

Broadband Reporting R&O and FNPRM

On January 19, 2021, the FCC released a Third Report and Order (Third R&O) taking additional steps to implement the Broadband Data Act and to establish new broadband reporting procedures under the Digital Opportunity Data Collection program that will supplement and eventually phase out the FCC Form 477. The Third R&O specifies that facilities-based fixed service providers are required to report broadband Internet access service coverage and identify where such services are offered to residential and business locations.  The Third R&O establishes speed and latency reporting requirements for fixed service providers and requires terrestrial fixed wireless services providers to report the coordinates of their base stations.  Mobile service providers are required to provide even more information.  The program will not go into effect until at least six months after the Office of Economic Analysis issues a Public Notice announcing the initial filing deadline.  While the Digital Opportunity Data Collection program will eventually replace Form 477, at present providers are required to continue to file Form 477. 

C-Band Auction Assignments Set to Begin

The FCC’s Office of Economics and Analytics released a Public Notice last week announcing that the assignment phase of the C-Band auction (Auction 107) will begin on February 8, 2021.  Bidders that won at least one generic block of spectrum in one Partial Economic Area (PEA) in the clock phase of the auction are eligible to bid in the assignment phase for frequency-specific licensing blocks.  Bidders will be able to download their assignment phase bidding options from the online bidding system and identify the rounds in which they will be eligible to participate between 10:00 a.m. EST on February 2, 2021, and 12:00 p.m. EST on February 3, 2021.  The FCC will conduct a mock auction for the assignment phase on February 4, 2021.  

Emergency Broadband Benefit Fund Roundtable

The FCC issued a Public Notice last week announcing that it will hold an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Roundtable to provide an opportunity for Commission staff and interested parties to examine proposed actions the FCC should take to establish the program.  The Commission is currently gathering information on comments submitted in its initial request for input on the program (Vol. XVIII, Issue 2), with reply comments due February 16, 2021.  Specifically, the roundtable discussion will focus on the important public policy and program administration decisions that will shape the Commission’s approach to administering the funding.  The event will take place on February 12, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. EST, and is expected to last no longer than half a day.  

Wesley K. Wright contributed to this article.

© 2021 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 32
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About this Author

Jim Baller Communications Attorney Keller & Heckman Washington, DC
Partner

James (Jim) Baller represents clients across the U.S. in a broad range of communications matters including high-capacity broadband network projects, public-private broadband partnerships, telecommunications, wireless facility siting, right-of-way management, pole and conduit attachments, and barriers to community broadband initiatives.

Jim was the founder and president of the U.S. Broadband Coalition, a diverse group of more than 160 communications service providers, high technology companies, labor unions, public interest and consumer groups, state and local government entities,...

202-434-4175
Gregory E. Kunkle, Keller Heckman, regulatory attorney, FCC lawyer
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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...

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Casey Lide Communication Attorney Keller & Heckman Washington, DC
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Casey Lide represents clients on a broad range of communications matters including telecommunications, cable television, broadband Internet access service, wireless communications, right-of-way management, pole and conduit attachments, and barriers to community broadband initiatives.

Casey counsels public- and private-sector clients on contract drafting and negotiation matters, including fiber optic IRUs and leases, easements, franchises, attachment agreements, ISP service agreements, interconnection and collocation agreements, strategic MoUs and others.   

He collaborates...

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Thomas B. Magee, Keller Heckman, transactional counsel, litigation attorney, FCC law, safety violation lawyer
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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,...

202-434-4128
Tracy Marshall, Keller Heckman, regulatory attorney, for-profit company lawyer
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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...

202-434-4234
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