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.
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.