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Volume X, Number 194

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Telecom Alert — FCC Releases Draft Order for RDOF Phase I Auction; Public Safety Bureau Issues Order on Microwave License Assignment; 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window Procedures; Proposed Changes to Forms 499-A, 499-Q; FCC

FCC Releases Draft Order for Rural Development Opportunity Fund Phase I Auction

The FCC has released a draft Report and Order for the RDOF $16.0 billion Phase 1 auction; the draft order likely will be adopted at the FCC’s January 30 Open Meeting. The most significant aspects of the draft order are the areas eligible for inclusion in the auction and a major change in how winning bids will be selected.  Beginning in the clearing round, the system will select the bid having the lowest performance tier and latency weights (“T&L combination”) – principally fiber-based networks. In the CAF II auction, the bid having the lowest price point regardless of the bidder’s T&L combination prevailed. Public Safety Bureau Issues Order on Microwave License Assignment.

Earlier this month, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released an Order addressing Zayo Group, LLC’s late application for the assignment of 42 microwave licenses from Eagle-Net Alliance.  In its waiver request, Zayo requested that the Commission grant the Assignment retroactively, despite the fact that the ownership change occurred in May of 2018.  Zayo stated that it failed to file a timely Assignment of Authorization application due to an administrative oversight. The Commission denied the waiver request, stating that "’administrative oversight’ does not excuse rule violations,” and per the Commission’s usual practice granted the application but reserved the right to initiate enforcement action.  

2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window Procedures

Last week, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a Public Notice outlining the procedures for the submission of applications in the 2.5 GHz Rural Tribal Priority Window.  To apply, applicants must meet four eligibility requirements: (1) be a federally recognized Tribe or Alaska Native Village, a consortium of federally recognized Tribes or Alaska Native Villages, or an entity majority owned and controlled by a federally recognized Tribe or Alaska Native Village or a consortium of federally recognized Tribes or Alaska Native Villages; (2) seek a license in an area that is an eligible Tribal land; (3) the Tribal land must be rural; and (4) maintain a local presence for each Tribal land.  Every applicant must demonstrate that it meets all four of the eligibility requirements, and an applicant filing multiple applications must separately demonstrate that it meets all of the eligibility requirements for each application filed.  The filing window spans from 9:00 a.m. EST on February 3, 2020, until 6:00 p.m. EST on August 3, 2020. Proposed Changes to Forms 499-A, 499-Q

The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a Public Notice last month seeking comment on proposed revisions to the annual Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet (Form 499-A) and the quarterly Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet (Form 499-Q).  Some of the proposed changes include updating the circularity factor based on the quarterly contribution factors, deleting references to text messages, and updating instructions to reflect that providers are no longer required to file quarterly traffic studies relied on to report interstate revenues.  

FCC Adjusts Forfeiture Penalties

The FCC issued an Order last month adjusting its civil forfeiture penalties for inflation, in accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Vol. XV, Issue 3).  The adjusted penalty or penalty range for each applicable penalty is calculated by multiplying the most recent penalty amount by the 2020 annual adjustment, then rounding the result to the nearest dollar.  The 2020 annual adjustment multiplier is 1.01764.  The adjustments apply to penalties assessed on and after January 15, 2020.  

President Trump Signs Robocall Abuse Act

On December 30, President Trump signed the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act into law, which requires carriers to develop and implement call authentication technologies (Vol. XVI, Issue 3).  It also directs the FCC to commence a proceeding to determine how its policies could be amended to reduce potential perpetrators’ access to phone numbers and to initiate a rulemaking to help protect subscribers from receiving unwanted calls or texts from unauthenticated numbers.  

Beyond Telecom Law Blog: “WRC-19 and the Process for International Spectrum Decisions"

The 2019 World Radio Conference addressed a forward-looking framework for 5G and established procedures and regulations regarding many new technologies and services.  Please read “WRC-19 and the Process for International Spectrum Decisions” by KH Senior Counsel Mike Fitch.

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 13


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,...