May 23, 2022

Volume XII, Number 143


May 20, 2022

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Telecom Alert: Auction 105 Prohibited Communications Fines; NYPSC Unauthorized Attachment Ruling; RDOF Award Reassignment Waiver; Senate Approves Infrastructure Bill [Vol. XVIII, Issue 33]

Auction 105 Prohibited Communications Fines

Last week, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau entered into Consent Decrees with Nikola Broadband (“Nikola”) and Router12 Networks LLC (“Router12”) for engaging in prohibited communications related to participation in the FCC’s Citizens Broadband Radio Service (“CBRS”) Auction.  Under FCC rules, an application for a Commission auction cannot discuss auction strategy with other auction participants for a set period of time before, during, and after the Auction.  The president of Nikola sent an email to a group that included other CBRS Auction participants announcing that his company was backing out of the auction.  The CEO of Router12 posted a similar statement in a Facebook group.  Nikola and Router12 agreed to pay civil penalties of $30,000 and $50,000, respectively, and to implement a compliance plan.

NYPSC Unauthorized Attachment Ruling

The New York Public Service Commission (“NYPSC”) last week approved settlements with pole owners Frontier Telephone (“FTR”) and Rochester Gas and Electric (“RG&E”) pertaining to thousands of unauthorized attachments installed by communications company Greenlight Networks, LLC (“GLN”).  The NYPSC has yet to settle with GLN, but since GLN’s unauthorized activity created potential liability for the pole owners, FTR and RG&E agreed in separate NYPSC settlements to inspect all poles with unauthorized attachments, have the violations fixed, collect unpaid rent, and pay $7.5 million into New York’s broadband construction fund ($5.0 million by FTR; $2.5 million by RG&E). 

RDOF Award Reassignment Waiver

A2D, Inc. (“A2D”) filed a Petition for Waiver with the FCC last week requesting that the agency assign A2D the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (“RDOF”) funds that the Commission originally awarded to RHMD, LLC (“RHMD”).  A winning bidder in Auction 904 may only assign its winning bids to a related entity that is named in its short-form application or that was formed after the short-form application deadline.  A2D was a joint venture partner of RHMD, which has since dissolved, and now claims that RHMD is incapable of meetings its obligations.  RHMD was awarded $18.303 million in RDOF funding for 6,943 locations in 64 census blocks.

Senate Approves Infrastructure Bill

Last week, the Senate voted to approve a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes roughly $65 billion to support broadband deployment (Vol. XVIII, Issue 31).  In its amended form, the bill includes $42 billion in state and territorial grants, $2.75 billion for digital equity programs, and $1 billion for middle-mile grants subject to interconnection and nondiscrimination requirements.  It would also provide $14.2 billion for additional funding for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program and extend the program beyond the end of the pandemic emergency period. 

© 2022 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 228

About this Author

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,...

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,...

Sean Stokes Communications Attorney Keller and Heckman Washington, DC

Sean Stokes represents clients nationally on a wide range of communications matters including broadband, cable television, wireless communications, right-of-way management, pole attachments, barriers to community broadband initiatives, and public-private partnerships. He counsels clients in developing and negotiating agreements involving access to poles, ducts, conduits, dark fiber, and towers. He has represented municipal utilities and local governments in complex negotiations developing city-wide fiber-to-the-home networks and wireless small cell siting agreements.

Sean has...

Timothy A. Doughty, Keller Heckman, Telecommunications Licensing Specialist, Lawyer, FCC Matters Attorney

Timothy Doughty joined Keller and Heckman in 2009 as a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Licensing Specialist.

Mr. Doughty assists clients with the preparation of FCC applications, modifications, special temporary authorities, requests for rule waiver, renewals and spectrum leases in various radio services including Private Land Mobile, Microwave, Coast and Ground and Aircraft. His capabilities also include the preparation of tower registrations with the FCC and Obstruction Evaluations and Aeronautical Studies with the Federal Aviation...

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...