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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. 

© 2019 Keller and Heckman LLP


About this Author

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...

Gregory E. Kunkle, Keller Heckman, regulatory attorney, FCC lawyer

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. 

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,...

Tracy Marshall, Keller Heckman, regulatory attorney, for-profit company lawyer

Tracy Marshall joined Keller and Heckman in 2002. She 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.


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,...