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Telecom Alert—C-Band Auction Procedures Announced; FCC Denies Reconsideration of $25,000 Land Mobile Fine; Georgia Pole Attachment Bill Signed; 3.5 GHz Band Auction Update; Trump Withdraws Nomination of Commissioner O'Rielly–Vol. XVII, Issue 32

C-Band Auction Procedures Announced

On Friday the FCC released a Public Notice establishing the auction procedures for licenses in the 3.7-3.98 GHz band (C-Band) in Auction 107, which is scheduled to commence on December 8, 2020 (Vol. XVII, Issue 9).  The Commission plans on auctioning 5,684 licenses in the C-Band throughout the country consisting of 280 MHz of spectrum.  Auction 107 will be conducted using an ascending clock auction design with two phases.  The first phase of the auction—the clock phase—will consist of successive clock bidding rounds in which bidders will indicate their demands for a number of generic license blocks in specific categories and partial economic areas (PEAs).  In the second phase—the assignment phase—winning clock phase bidders will have the opportunity to bid for their preferred combinations of frequency-specific license assignments, consistent with the bidders’ clock phase winnings, in a series of single sealed-bid rounds conducted by PEA or, in some cases, PEA group.  The Short Form filing window will open September 9 and will close on September 22, 2020. 

FCC Denies Reconsideration of $25,000 Land Mobile Fine

On August 4 the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau denied a Petition for Reconsideration of a Forfeiture Order imposed against Mobile Relay Associates in the amount of $25,000 for apparently causing harmful interference to another Land Mobile system operating on VHF spectrum.  The Bureau’s Order stated that Mobile Relay Associates operated a trunked Land Mobile radio system but failed to monitor transmissions on shared spectrum VHF channels and operated nearly continuously, causing interference harmful to at least one other licensee.  Mobile Relay Associates filed a Petition for Reconsideration of the forfeiture, arguing that its high occupancy rate of a 95 percent duty cycle did not violate the Commission’s rules and that the forfeiture was a punishment for previously lodging interference complaints with the Commission against other licensees.  

Georgia Pole Attachment Bill Signed

On August 5,Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into law House Bill 244, which directs the Georgia Public Service Commission to enact rules determining just, reasonable, nondiscriminatory, and commercially reasonable pole attachment rates, fees, terms, and conditions for attachments by certain communications services providers to poles owned by electric membership corporations.  The bill also permits electric membership corporations and communications services providers to enter into mutual agreements for pole attachments with rates, fees, terms, and conditions that differ from those adopted by the PSC.  

3.5 GHz Band Auction Update

On Friday afternoon the FCC conducted the 31st round of the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) auction (Auction 105).  231 County licenses still have demand in excess of supply, and gross bids have reached almost $2.6 billion. 

Trump Withdraws Nomination of Commissioner O’Rielly

Last week the White House announced that it had withdrawn Commissioner Michael O’Rielly’s nomination for another five-year term as a Commissioner at the FCC.  Commissioner O’Rielly was appointed to the Commission in November 2013 and confirmed for a full five-year term in 2015.  O’Rielly’s nomination for reappointment was put on hold late last month by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK).  For more information, see our article on the Beyond Telecom Law Blog here

Timothy A. DoughtyKathleen Slattery Thompson and Adam (AJ) Reust contributed to this article. 

© 2022 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 223

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...

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 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.

In the privacy, data security, and advertising areas, she helps clients comply with privacy, data security, and consumer protection laws, including laws governing telemarketing and...

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,...