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Telecom Alert: August 21, 2017 – Court Upholds One-Touch Make-Ready; FirstNet Update; GWTCA 800 MHz Letter; Infrastructure Executive Order; CSMAC Meeting; APCO and NG-911 Legislation

Court Upholds One-Touch Make-Ready

A federal district court in Kentucky upheld the city of Louisville’s one-touch make-ready ordinance, allowing third parties like Google Fiber the right to perform pole attachment make-ready work on existing communications company attachments largely without prior consent.  The FCC had supported Louisville’s one-touch make-ready ordinance.

FirstNet Update

Last week, Nevada became the 14th state to express its intent to opt-in to the FirstNet-AT&T plan. The US Virgin Islands remains the only territory to have accepted the plan. Verizon executives announced at the APCO Annual Conference and Exhibition their plan to build a dedicated public-safety LTE core network and offer priority service and preemption to public safety customers.  Verizon is looking to establish a viable alternative to FirstNet’s nationwide public safety broadband network being built and maintained by AT&T. Verizon’s senior vice president, Mike Maiorana stated the company’s core public safety network will operate separately from their commercial core but will still have access to Verizon’s “extensive” 4G LTE nationwide network. It has also been reported in the trade press that Verizon will respond to Request for Proposals released by individual states looking for an alternative to the FirstNet/AT&T plan.

GWTCA Requests Release of Rebanded 800 MHz Spectrum

In a Letter to the Acting Chief of the Policy and Licensing Division, the Government Wireless Technology & Communications Association (GWTCA) requested the FCC release unassigned NPSPAC 800 MHz frequencies where rebanding has occurred, noting the success of the FCC’s December 2016 release of 800 MHz frequencies.  GWTCA requested the FCC release unused 800 MHz spectrum in Arkansas, northern California, Florida, Mississippi. Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas-Dallas, Texas-Austin, Texas-San Antonio, and Washington State.

Infrastructure Executive Order

President Trump signed an Executive Order last week requiring federal agencies to collaborate with other federal, state, and local agencies regarding environmental reviews on major infrastructure projects, including broadband infrastructure. The executive order also instructs the Office of Management and Budget to create and define a Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal on Infrastructure Permitting Modernization focused on reducing the time for the Federal Government's processing of environmental reviews and authorization decisions for new major infrastructure projects to 2 years. For major infrastructure projects, the executive order requires agencies to use “One Federal Decision,” in which one Federal agency acts as the lead and is responsible for shepherding the project through the review and authorization process at all agencies.

CSMAC Provides Updates at Meeting

Last week, the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC) held an open meeting  of representatives from the FCC, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) to report on their respective spectrum-related initiatives. Paige Atkins of NTIA stated that all four CSMAC subcommittees have made significant advancements in the areas of AWS-3 transitions and the establishment of a 3.5 GHz frontier band. She noted that NTIA recently submitted its 10th report to Congress on the progress of federal agencies regarding transitions from AWS-3 and AWS-1 bands.

APCO Counsel Hopeful of NG-911 Legislation

The Association of Public- Safety Communications Officials’ international chief lobbyist, Jeff Cohen, announced last week at the annual APCO Conference and Exhibition that he is hopeful that next generation 911(NG-911) legislation will press forward through Congress. He stated that he has never seen such bipartisan interest in both the House and Senate regarding this topic. While he didn’t have any insight into when the legislation may advance, he did note that the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing in March to discuss NG-911 issues.

© 2017 Keller and Heckman LLP

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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...

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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. 

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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,...

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

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.

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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,...

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