July 2, 2022

Volume XII, Number 183

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Telecom Alert: FCC Opens T-Band; UPS Devices Cybersecurity Advisory; $13.4M Lifeline Settlement; FCC Expands Covered Services List [Vol. XIX, Issue 15]

FCC Opens T-Band to New Licensees

Last week, the FCC released a Public Notice modifying the suspension on acceptance of applications from incumbent licensees and new applicants in the T-Band, provided they meet certain spectral efficiency requirements.  In January 2021, the Commission opened a limited application window for incumbent licensees (Vol. XVIII, Issue 4), which was extended twice until April 1, 2022.  Now that the incumbent-only filing window has closed, the Commission is opening up the band to applications from new Public Mobile and Private Land Mobile licensees under specific efficiency requirements.  

Cybersecurity Advisory Regarding Use of Uninterruptable Power Supply Devices

The FCC released a Public Notice last week encouraging companies that use uninterruptable power supply (“UPS”) devices as a primary or backup power supply source to review a Joint Cybersecurity Advisory from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Department of Energy.  The agencies are aware of threat actors gaining access to a variety of internet-connected UPS devices, often through unchanged default usernames and passwords.  They recommend that communications companies and critical infrastructure entities immediately enumerate all UPSs and similar systems and ensure they are not accessible from the internet.  

FCC Reaches $13.4 Million Lifeline Settlement 

Last week, the FCC announced that it reached a $13.4 million settlement with TracFone Wireless (“TracFone”) for violations of the Commission’s Lifeline rules.  TracFone failed to detect that several of its sales agents improperly targeted and marketed Lifeline services, taking advantage of non-low income veterans, Medicare patients, law enforcement, and other individuals who did not qualify for the Lifeline program.  Under the settlement agreement, the Universal Service Fund will retain $10,927,372 refunded overpayments and TracFone will pay an additional $2.5 million in damaged.  TracFone also must enter into a comprehensive, three-year compliance plan.  

FCC Expands Covered Services List

On March 25, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that it added three entities to its list of equipment and services deemed a threat to national security in line with the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019 (Vol. XIX, Issue 6).  AO Kaspersky Lab, China Telecom (Americas) Corp, and China Mobile International USA Inc. were all found to have services that posed substantial and unacceptable risks to U.S> national security.  The inclusion of these services on the covered list extends both to subsidiaries and affiliates of the entities. 

© 2022 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 101
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About this Author

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
Timothy A. Doughty, Keller Heckman, Telecommunications Licensing Specialist, Lawyer, FCC Matters Attorney
Associate

Timothy Doughty joined Keller and Heckman in 2009 as a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Licensing Specialist.

Mr. Doughty assists clients with the preparation of FCC applications, modifications, special temporary authorities, requests for rule waiver, renewals and spectrum leases in various radio services including Private Land Mobile, Microwave, Coast and Ground and Aircraft. His capabilities also include the preparation of tower registrations with the FCC and Obstruction Evaluations and Aeronautical Studies with the Federal Aviation...

202.434.4271
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...

202-434-4234
Wesley K. Wright, Keller Heckman, Telecommunications Lawyer, FCC Enforcement Attorney, DC
Partner

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,...

202.434.4239
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