September 20, 2020

Volume X, Number 264

September 18, 2020

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Telecom Alert—911 Reliability Certification; Pole Attachment Declaratory Ruling; RF Safety Brief; Pro Forma Transaction Reform; KH Webinar on Dark Fiber—Vol. XVII, Issue 31

911 Reliability Certification Deadline

Last week, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau issued a Public Notice, announcing that the 911 Reliability Certification System is now open for providers to file annual reliability certifications.  Filings are due on October 15, 2020.  On the same day, the Commission issued an Order denying USTelecom’s waiver request, which sought a 90-day extension of the deadline.  USTelecom’s request stated that “the COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for providers that make it difficult to submit their certifications by the current deadline.”  The Commission’s reasons for denying the request were that USTelecom failed “to state with sufficient particularity who needs relief from the Commission’s rule and why they need such relief.” 

Pole Attachment Declaratory Ruling

On July 29, the FCC issued a Declaratory Ruling on two of the three pole attachment issues raised by CTIA.  CTIA’s Petition for Declaratory Ruling, filed in September 2019, requested that the Commission regulate attachments to streetlight-only poles, affirm that utilities cannot impose blanket prohibitions on access to any portion (e.g. the unusable space) of the pole, and declare that attachment agreements can’t be inconsistent with FCC regulations (Vol. XVI; Issue 37).  The Declaratory Ruling only addresses the blanket prohibition and attachment agreement requests, noting the streetlight-only pole request is still pending.  Regarding attachment agreements, the Commission provided that parties may enter into agreements that are inconsistent with the Commission’s rules if the agreement is mutually beneficial.  The Commission rules that utilities may not impose “blanket bans” on attachments, but affirms the value of utility standards and allows them to be enforced under certain conditions. 

RF Safety Brief Filed in DC Circuit

A brief filed in the DC Circuit argues that the Commission failed to address health and safety concerns raised when it maintained the current RF exposure limits (Vol. XVI, Issue 49).  The brief was filed jointly by the Environmental Health Trust and the Children’s Health Defense.  The parties claim that the record shows “an enormous number of peer-reviewed scientific and medical studies, analyses, and reports demonstrating a consensus of the scientific community that radiofrequency radiation is harmful and sometimes lethal to individuals and the environment," but that the Commission’s Order ignored these filings.

Parties File Comments Regarding Pro Forma Transactions  

In late June, the Commission sought comment on Petition for Rulemaking and Declaratory Ruling filed jointly by CTIA and USTelecom.  The Petition proposes the Commission amend the Commission’s rules to automatically deem pro forma transactions in the public interest and permit all pro forma transactions to be filed as a post-closing notification.  In the alternative, the parties request that all pro forma transactions be approved automatically.  The comment period closed on July 24, 2020, and several parties, including the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC), submitted comments expressing support for the Petition.  Reply Comments are due August 10, 2020.

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 216

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS


About this Author

C. Douglas Jarrett, Keller Heckman, telecommunications lawyer, procurement law
Partner

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...

202-434-4180
Gregory E. Kunkle, Keller Heckman, regulatory attorney, FCC lawyer
Partner

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. 

202-434-4178
Thomas B. Magee, Keller Heckman, transactional counsel, litigation attorney, FCC law, safety violation lawyer
Partner

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
Partner

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
Wesley K. Wright, Keller Heckman, Telecommunications Lawyer, FCC Enforcement Attorney, DC
Partner

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,...

202.434.4239