January 22, 2018

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Telecom Alert: August 22, 2016– $1.2 Million Fine for Licensing Violations, Part 90, Incentive Auction, FirstNet, Connecticut Double Poles, 911 Certification

$1.2 Million Fine for Licensing Violations

Last week the FCC fined the Canadian Pacific Railway Company more than $1.2M for failing to secure the Commission’s consent to transfer or assign the radio licenses prior to acquiring several smaller companies.  The FCC also concluded that the company had constructed, relocated, modified, and/or operated more than one hundred wireless facilities without obtaining required approvals from the FCC.  The violations resulted in the company agreeing to pay the fine and implement a Compliance Plan. 

800 MHz and 900 MHz Band Changes

The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) last week seeking to amend Part 90 of the Commission’s Rules to increase access to private land mobile radio (PLMR) spectrum.  The Notice was in response to a Petition for Rule Making filed by the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC), proposing to allow 800 MHz band (806-824/851-869 MHz) incumbent licensees a six-month grace period to apply for Expansion Band and Guard Band frequencies before they become available to applicants for new systems.  LMCC also proposed amending Section 90.159 of the FCC’s Rules to grant conditional licensing authority to applicants seeking site-based licenses in the 800 MHz an 900 MHz (896-901/934-940 MHz) bands.  Comments are due by October 17th and Reply Comments by November 16th, 2016.

Incentive Auction Update

The forward-portion of the broadcast incentive auction opened last week to sixty-two eligible applicants, including Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Inc., T-Mobile US, Inc., Dish Network Corporation, Comcast Corporation, and US Cellular.  The auction accumulated an estimated $8.04billion in net revenue on the first day of bidding and, as of Friday, stood at an estimated $11.5 billion.

 FirstNet Board

Late last week U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker announced the reappointment of Jeff Johnson, Sue Swenson, and Teri Takai to the FirstNet Board of Directors.  Swenson, the incumbent Chairwoman of the Board, will remain for another two year term.  FirstNet also announced that eight grants will be awarded and used to relocate public safety incumbents on 700 MHz Band 14 spectrum. 

Double Poles in Connecticut

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority of Connecticut issued a final decision requiring pole owners to remove all long-standing double poles by January 31, 2017.  Pole owners also must submit an annual report on the number of double poles still standing in their service areas. 

911 Annual Reliability Certifications Due

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released a Public Notice last week announcing that the FCC’s online system has been reopened for filing the Annual Reliability Certification.  Certifications are due by Saturday, October 15, 2016 but will be accepted until the following Monday, October 17, 2016.  

© 2018 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.