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Telecom Alert - Draft C-Band Legislation; House Appropriations Bill; FirstNet Update; FCC Harmonizes EAS Testing for Satellite - Vol. XVI, Issue 26

Draft C-Band Legislation

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) released the WIN 5G Act.  The legislation is currently in draft form and has not been formally introduced.  According to Rep. Matsui’s office, the “legislation proposes a consensus-based, compromise approach to rapidly and equitably reallocating spectrum between the frequencies of 3.7 GHz-4.2 GHz.”  The bill requires the FCC to designate satellite users operating in the C-Band to serve as a “transition facilitator” that will create a transition plan for C-Band spectrum.  The bill also proposes a plan for reallocating spectrum between 3.45-3.55 GHz for commercial wireless use.

House Appropriations Bill Contains FCC-Related Amendments

Last week, The House of Representatives passed H.R. 3351, which included a number of FCC-related amendments.  The bill appropriates $339 million for the FCC for FY 2020, the same spending level as was appropriated for FY 2019.  An amendment to prohibit a cap on the Universal Service Fund (USF) was adopted by Voice Vote.  Other FCC-related amendments focused on robocalls, privacy, and protecting local ordinances that promote broadband competition.  Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) introduced but did not offer an amendment that stipulates that no new funds may be used for data collection solicited through FCC Form 477 due to language that allows providers to include currently unserved areas in their reporting of areas in which broadband is available.

FirstNet Update

The FirstNet Authority Board met last week in Indianapolis.  At the meeting, the Board supported the progress and direction of the Roadmap to advancing the network.  A press release notes that more than 600 public safety engagements informed the Roadmap.  In conjunction with the Roadmap, the Board has been working on an investment strategy for the network and approved network investment funds at the meeting.  Additionally, the Board recognized Board Member Teri Takai for her service and announced the nomination period for the Chief Harlin R. McEwen Public Safety Broadband Communications Award, “which honors a public safety individual who has displayed remarkable leadership or made significant contributions in the field of public safety broadband communications.” 

FCC Harmonizes EAS Testing Requirements for Satellite

The Commission adopted an Order on Reconsideration, which harmonizes the Emergency Alert System (EAS) testing requirements for Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) and Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS).  The EAS is a warning system that requires EAS participants, such as broadcast stations, cable systems, etc, to deliver alerts to the public to warn them about emergencies.  Both DBS and SDARS are EAS participants, however, they were subject to different testing requirements.  In the Order on Reconsideration, the Commission responded to a petition by Sirius XM, finding “that harmonizing SDARS testing requirements with DBS testing requirements is appropriate because these services are technologically similar.”

© 2020 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 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,...