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Telecom Alert—FCC Revises Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Rules; $75,000 Fine for USF Violations; Connected Care Pilot Program; Sprint Fined $200 Million for Lifeline Violations— Vol. XVII, Issue 45

FCC Revises Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Rules

At its October Open Meeting, the FCC adopted a Report and Order that streamlines the state and local government review process for modifications to existing wireless infrastructure that involve excavation and deployment beyond existing boundary sites.  Under section 6409(a) of the Spectrum Act of 2012, state and local governments may not deny certain requests to modify existing wireless structures that do not substantially change the physical dimensions of the structure.  The new rules provide that excavating or deploying transmission equipment in an area no more than 30 feet beyond existing site boundaries would not disqualify the modification from section 6409(a) treatment.  

$75,000 Fine for USF Violations

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture against US South Communications (d/b/a US South & IWCOMM) for failing to respond timely to repeated requests from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) for supporting documentation for the service provider’s 2018 and 2019 Telecommunications Reporting Worksheets.  The Enforcement Bureau  proposes a $75,000 fine against US South. The Enforcement Bureau’s action underscores the obligation of service providers to maintain accurate records underlying reported projected revenues and to provide these records upon request from USAC.  

Connected Care Pilot Program Filing Window Open

The FCC issued a Public Notice last week announcing that the application filing window for the Connected Care Pilot Program opened on Friday, November 6, and will remain open through December 7, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. EST.  The Pilot Program will provide up to $100 million from the Universal Service Fund over a three-year period to support the provision of connected care services.  Specifically, the Program will fund 85% of the cost of eligible services and network equipment, which include patient broadband Internet access services, health care provider broadband data connections, and certain network equipment.  The Program will not provide funding for end-user devices.  

T-Mobile Agrees to $200 Million Fine for Sprint Lifeline Violations

The FCC issued an Order and Consent Decree last week announcing that T-Mobile will pay a $200 million penalty to resolve an enforcement action brought against Sprint for falsely claiming monthly subsidies for approximately 885,000 Lifeline subscribers that were not obtaining the subsidized service.   The violations and enforcement action arose prior to T-Mobile’s recent acquisition of Sprint.   The penalty is the largest settlement the FCC has ever secured to resolve an investigation.

© 2023 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 314

About this Author

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,...

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...

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...

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,...