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Telecom Alert - CBRS Long Form Applications Accepted; RDOF Phase I Closed; $64,000 Fine for NORS Violations; 2021 Urban Survey Benchmarks; NG911 Legislation Not Likely Until Next Congress; Simington Nomination Moves Forward - Vol. XVII, Issue 49

CBRS Long Form Applications Accepted for Filing

The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a Public Notice last week announcing the first batch of long form applications in the CBRS Auction (Auction 105) that are accepted for filing (Vol. XVII, Issue 36).  While these applications are initially deemed acceptable, the FCC may return or dismiss the applications if they are found to be defective or not in conformance with Commission rules.  Petitions to deny the applications are due by December 14, 2020.  Oppositions to petitions to deny are due by December 21, 2020 and replies to oppositions are due by December 29, 2020.  

RDOF Auction Phase I Closes

The FCC issued a Public Notice on December 7 announcing that bidding in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction concluded on November 25, 2020. There were 180 winning bidders, with the 10-year support amount totaling $9.23 billion and covering over 5.2 million locations in 49 states and one territory.  Winning bidders must submit a post-auction application for support (Form 683) by January 29, 2021, and those that wish to assign some or all of their winning bids must do so via the Divide Winning Bids process by December 22, 2020.  

Logix Fined $64,000 for Network Outage Reporting Violations

The FCC entered into a Consent Decree with Logix Communications, LP (d/b/a Logix Fiber Networks) last week for violating the Commission’s rules  on reporting  network outages.  Under FCC rules, wireline communications providers must file reports in the Network Outage Reports System (NORS) when network outages exceed specified thresholds.  The FCC issued a Letter of Inquiry to Logix in May 2020 regarding a network outage that occurred in January 2020.  Specifically, Logix failed to timely file its required Notification, Initial Report, and Final Report in connection with the outage.  Under the Consent Decree, Logix agrees to pay a civil penalty of $64,000 and implement a three-year compliance plan to ensure future compliance with Commission rules.  

2021 Urban Rate Survey Benchmark Results

Last week, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing the 2021 reasonable comparability benchmarks for fixed voice and broadband services for eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) that are subject to broadband public interest obligations.  Recipients of high-cost and/or Connect America Fund support that are subject to broadband performance obligations are required to offer broadband service at rates that are at or below the relevant reasonable comparability benchmark.  The broadband benchmarks vary depending on the download and upload bandwidths and monthly usage allowance, which is set at 350 GB.  The 2021 urban average monthly rate is $33.73, making the reasonable comparability benchmark for voice services $54.75.  Each ETC must certify by July 1, 2021 that the pricing of its basic residential voice services does not exceed $54.75.  

NG911 Legislation Not Likely Until Next Congress

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International held its Virtual Emerging Technology Forum last week, where public safety advocates noted that legislation providing funding for the deployment of NG911 systems is unlikely to pass Congress during this month’s lame-duck session.  In July, the House passed the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), which would authorize $12 billion for NG911 deployment.  The Public Safety Next Generation 911 Coalition has also proposed draft legislation that would authorize $15 billion for NG911 services between 2021 and 2027 and establish an advisory board of public safety representatives and a nationwide NG911 security operations center within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  While public safety leaders do not believe that any such legislation will pass before the end of the current Congressional session, they are hopeful that action will take place in the next session.  

Senate Commerce Committee Forwards Simington Nomination

At an executive session last week, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted to favorably report the nomination of Nathan Simington to fill the seat currently occupied by FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly  President Trump withdrew Commissioner O’Reilly’s nomination for another term as Commissioner in August (Vol. XVII, Issue 32), which could result in two open seats at the Commission following Chairman Pai’s announcement that he is stepping down in January (Vol. XVII, Issue 48).  The Commerce Committee approved Simington’s nomination along party lines by a vote of 14-12.  If Mr. Simington is confirmed by the Senate, the FCC will have two Democratic and two Republican Commissioners on Inauguration Day.  Please see our recent blog post for an in depth look at FCC actions during the transition to a new White House administration.  

Sean StokesWesley K. WrightMichael T. N. FitchTimothy A. DoughtyKathleen Slattery Thompson and Adam (AJ) Reust contributed to this article. 

© 2021 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 342
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About this Author

Jim Baller Communications Attorney Keller & Heckman Washington, DC
Partner

James (Jim) Baller represents clients across the U.S. in a broad range of communications matters including high-capacity broadband network projects, public-private broadband partnerships, telecommunications, wireless facility siting, right-of-way management, pole and conduit attachments, and barriers to community broadband initiatives.

Jim was the founder and president of the U.S. Broadband Coalition, a diverse group of more than 160 communications service providers, high technology companies, labor unions, public interest and consumer groups, state and local government entities,...

202-434-4175
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...

202-434-4180
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...

202-434-4178
Casey Lide Communication Attorney Keller & Heckman Washington, DC
Partner

Casey Lide represents clients on a broad range of communications matters including telecommunications, cable television, broadband Internet access service, wireless communications, right-of-way management, pole and conduit attachments, and barriers to community broadband initiatives.

Casey counsels public- and private-sector clients on contract drafting and negotiation matters, including fiber optic IRUs and leases, easements, franchises, attachment agreements, ISP service agreements, interconnection and collocation agreements, strategic MoUs and others.   

He collaborates...

202-434-4186
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,...

202-434-4128
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