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Telecom Alert: Enhanced Competition Incentive Program FNPRM; RDOF Fourth Round Funding; Emergency Connectivity Fund Commitment; FCC Filing Fees [Vol. XVIII, Issue 46]

Enhanced Competition Incentive Program FNPRM

The FCC will consider a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at its Open Meeting on November 18 that seeks to establish the Enhanced Competition Incentive Program (“ECIP”) to promote diversity of spectrum access and availability of rural service.  The ECIP would encourage licensees to partition, disaggregate, or lease spectrum to small carriers and Tribal Nations to provide wireless service throughout the country, and to entities to provide wireless service in rural areas.  The incentives to do so include extending license terms by five years, extending construction periods by one year, and creating alternate rural-focused construction requirements.  

RDOF Fourth Round Funding

The FCC issued a Public Notice last week announcing the authorization of more than $700 million in the fourth round of funding through the Rural Digital Opportunity fund (“RDOF”) (Vol. XVIII, Issue 43). The funding was awarded to 50 broadband providers that will serve over 400,000 locations in 26 states. Combined with the three prior funding waves, the Commission has authorized over $1.7 billion of the $9.2 billion in winning bids announced last December. 

$421 Million in Emergency Connectivity Fund Committed

The FCC announced it is committing more than $421 million in the latest round of the Emergency Connectivity Fund (Vol. XVIII, Issue 44).  The funding can be used to support off-campus learning, such as nightly homework and virtual learning.  To date, the Fund has committed over $3.05 billion to support 6,954 schools, 613 libraries, and 80 consortia in all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.  With these additional commitments, the Commission has met its goal of responding to 70 percent of all applications within 100 days of the closing of the first filing window.  

FCC Filing Fees

In April of this year, the FCC announced the new filing fees that were published in March 2021 in its Application Fee Report and Order were not yet in effect, and several of the changes still have not been authorized.  The new rules will not take effect until the requisite notice has been provided to Congress, the FCC’s information technology systems and internal procedures have been updated, and the Commission publishes notices in the Federal Register announcing the effective date.  The new fee rates for systems involving the Office of Engineering and Technology and Media Bureau went into effect on July 15, 2021. 

Co-authored by Timothy A. Doughty, Michael T. N. Fitch, C. Douglas Jarrett, Thomas B. Magee, Tracy P. Marshall, Kathleen Slattery Thompson, Sean A. Stokes.

© 2023 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 319

About this Author

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,...

Casey Lide Communication Attorney Keller & Heckman Washington, DC

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...

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...


Jaimy “Sindy” Alarcon is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Licensing Specialist.

Sindy works in conjunction with the attorneys in the Telecommunications Practice to prepare FCC applications for clients seeking authority for new services, modifications, administrative updates, license cancellations, Requests for Special Temporary Authority (STA), Requests for Rule Waivers, Assignments of Authorization, Transfers of Control, Renewals, and Notifications of Construction for various radio services including microwave, land mobile, marine...

Jim Baller Communications Attorney Keller & Heckman Washington, DC

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,...