Telecom Alert: August 20, 2018 - D.C. Circuit Denies Stay of Wireless Infrastructure Order; Incumbent Satellite Earth Station Certification Due Date; $35,000 Drone Enforcement; $81 Million FirstNet Budget for 2019
D.C. Circuit Denies Stay of Wireless Infrastructure Order
Last week the D.C. Circuit denied several consolidated motions filed by the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the Crow Creek Tribe of South Dakota, the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, and others seeking a stay of the Commission’s Wireless Infrastructure Order, allowing implementation of the Commission’s updated policies for reviewing small-cell node projects under the NHPA and NEPA (Vol. XV, Issue 30). In a press release, Commissioner Carr stated that the decision is “good news for U.S. leadership on 5G” and that the FCC’s “commonsense reforms” to wireless siting rules are accelerating buildout of next-gen networks.
Incumbent Satellite Earth Station Certification Due Date
The FCC has established deadlines for Fixed Satellite Service earth station licensees to certify the accuracy of all information on their current earth station licenses and provide detailed information about existing operations. Earlier this year the Commission sought comment on the feasibility of allowing commercial wireless services to use or share use of the 3.7-4.2 GHz spectrum band. This earth station certification requirement is part of the FCC’s efforts to introduce additional fixed and mobile terrestrial broadband use in the band. Certifications for earth station licensees are due by October 17, 2018.
FCC’s Enforcement Bureau Fines Drone Transmitter Company $35,000
The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau entered into a Consent Decree with Horizon Hobby LLC to resolve its investigation into whether the company advertised and sold noncompliant audio/visual transmitters intended for use with unmanned aircraft systems. The Enforcement Bureau’s Order stated that noncompliant AV transmitters could operate in bands that are reserved for FAA Terminal Doppler Weather Radar, and must not be marketed or operated by anyone. Horizon Hobby LLC agreed to pay a $35,000 civil penalty and implement a compliance plan to resolve the investigation. The Commission also reminded drone users that those who rely on amateur frequencies to operate compliant AV transmitters must have an amateur license.
FirstNet Board Approves $81 Million Budget for 2019
Last week the FirstNet Board approved an $81 million budget for operations in Fiscal Year 2019. The budget will focus on the priority areas of public safety engagement and deployment of the nationwide public safety broadband network. The Board also allotted $78 million for network reinvestment on behalf of public safety, observing that 2019 will be the first year that FirstNet will be funded by payments from AT&T.