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Volume XII, Number 182

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Telecom Alert: Affordable Connectivity Program Launch; FCC 6 GHz Order Upheld; 911 Fee Diversion Petitions Pleading Cycle; Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Petition [Vol. XIX, Issue 1]

Affordable Connectivity Program Launch

Last week, the FCC announced that on December 31, 2021, it launched the Affordable Connectivity Program (“Program”), the $14.2 billion successor program to the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (“EBB Program”) (Vol. XVIII, Issue 48).  The Program will extend and supplant the EBB Program and continue to provide discounts on internet service and connected devices. Eligible households are now encouraged to apply for a broadband service discount of up to $30 per month, or up to $75 per month for households located on Tribal lands. Households that were enrolled in the EBB Program prior to December 30, 2021, will continue to receive the $50 per month subsidy through March 1, 2022.

DC Circuit Upholds FCC 6 GHz Order

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of the FCC last week in its decision to make 1,200 MHz in the 6 GHz band available for unlicensed use (Vol. XVII, Issue 17).  In April 2020, the Commission adopted an Order authorizing two types of unlicensed operations: standard power in 850 MHz of the band and indoor low-power operations over the full 1,200 MHz of the band.  AT&T and other incumbents challenged the order, arguing that harmful interference could occur despite the FCC’s claims that it will protect against a significant risk of interference.  In its ruling, the D.C. Circuit agreed that the Commission failed to adequately respond to radio and television incumbents that requested a sliver of the band remain exclusive for mobile licensees and remanded to the Commission for further explanation.  

911 Fee Diversion Petitions Pleading Cycle

The Petitions for Reconsideration filed by the City and County of Denver and the Boulder Regional Emergency Telephone Service (“BRETSA”) in response to the FCC’s 911 fee diversion order were published in the Federal Register on December 22 (Vol. XVIII, Issue 51).  The City and County of Denver and 15 other 911 authorities asked the FCC to include a safe harbor provision for states with laws that comply with the FCC’s final rules and BRETSA argues that the Commission should provide a grace period to comply with the new rules.  Oppositions to the petitions are due by January 6, 2022, and replies to oppositions are due by January 18, 2022.  

Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Petition for Reconsideration

The FCC is seeking input on a Petition for Reconsideration filed by the Rural Wireless Association (“RWA”) in response to the FCC’s Third Report and Order amending its rules for the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program (Vol. XVIII, Issue 28).  The Order increased the customer eligibility cap for the program and modified the eligible equipment and services to all equipment and serviced produced or provided by Huawei or ZTE.  Specifically, RWA is seeking reconsideration of the FCC’s decision to (1) rescind the sub-prioritization scheme that fully funded ETCs; (2) deny a general extension of the removal, replacement, and disposal term; and (3) prejudge reimbursement of VoLTE non-compatible handsets. 

© 2022 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 3
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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
Casey Lide Communication Attorney Keller & Heckman Washington, DC
Partner

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...

202-434-4186
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
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...

202-434-4178
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