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Telecom Alert — FCC Approves SAS Administrators for 3.5 GHz Band; Regulatory Fees Due Sept. 24; Senate Appropriations Bill for FCC; FirstNet Approves Investments; FCC Launches Automated Connection Between Medicaid, Lifeline — Vol. XVI, Issue 38

FCC Approves SAS Administrators for 3.5 GHz CBRS Band

Last week the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Office of Engineering and Technology approved the Spectrum Access Systems (SASs) operated by Amdocs, CommScope, Federated Wireless, Google, and Sony to begin initial commercial deployments in the 3.5 GHz Band.  The SAS manages the operations of CBRS systems (Vol. XVI, Issue 18) to mitigate interference between the three tiers of service.  The initial commercial deployment phase means that the unlicensed GAA tier of service is now available on a limited basis.  The initial commercial deployment phase will last a minimum of 30 days, after which the FCC may approve full commercial deployment. 

The FCC announced that regulatory fees for fiscal year 2019 will be due by September 24, 2019.  The Commission also adopted a de minimis fee exemption of $1,000.  Licensees of certain facilities, such as Satellite Earth Stations, are required to make annual regulatory fee payments.  For many licensed facilities, such as microwave and land mobile systems, the regulatory fees are paid when the application for new authority or renewal is filed with the FCC.  

Senate Appropriations Bill for FCC Funding

On Thursday Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced S.2524, which appropriates $339 million for the FCC for FY 2020, the same amount appropriated in FY 2019.  The bill also requires that up to $132,539,000 of spectrum auction proceeds be retained to fund such auctions.  In its report, the Senate Appropriations Committee makes several recommendations to the FCC, including encouraging a public auction of the C-Band and clarifying the definition of fee diversion in its annual report to Congress on the collection and distribution of State 911 fees.  

FirstNet Approves Investments to Expand and Enhance Coverage

Last Wednesday the FirstNet Board of Directors passed Resolution 102, which approves funding for coverage and network enhancements and directs management to take all actions necessary to implement the Board’s recommendations.  Investments were cleared for expansion of the FirstNet fleet of deployables and initial generational upgrades to the FirstNet core to enable 5G capabilities.  The Board previously approved $145 million for network reinvestments for FY2020 (Vol. XVI, Issue 34).  

FCC Launches Automated Connection Between Medicaid, Lifeline

The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) announced that a nationwide automated connection between Medicaid and the Lifeline National Eligibility Verifier (National Verifier) went live on Tuesday.  The connection between the two databases is meant to streamline and strengthen consumer eligibility verification for the Lifeline program, with the ability to automatically verify up to 60% of the Lifeline-eligible population.  It also will help protect against waste, fraud, and abuse.  The National Verifier has launched in 38 states and territories so far and is scheduled to be available throughout the United States by the end of the year (Vol. XVI, Issue 6).  

© 2019 Keller and Heckman LLP

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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...

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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 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. 

202-434-4178
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,...

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Tracy Marshall, Keller Heckman, regulatory attorney, for-profit company lawyer
Partner

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...

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Wesley K. Wright, Keller Heckman, Telecommunications Lawyer, FCC Enforcement Attorney, DC
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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,...

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