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Telecom Alert - FCC Seeks Additional C-Band Comments; FCC Targets Robocalls; California NG 911 Ruling; FCC UNICOM Rulemaking; Winning Bidders Announced for Spectrum Frontiers Auction - Vol. XVI, Issue 23

FCC Seeks Additional C-Band Comments

The FCC’s International Bureau and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau are seeking additional comment on proposals enabling additional terrestrial use of the C-Band (3.7-4.2 GHz) (Vol. XV, Issue 48).  Specifically, the Commission seeks comment on whether licensed or registered receive-only earth station operators meet the definition of licensees that have licensed spectrum usage rights that they could voluntarily relinquish in an incentive auction, and whether the Commission’s incentive auction authority allows it to structure a reverse auction in which satellite operators and licensed receive-only earth station operators could compete to relinquish their spectrum usage rights.  Comments are due by July 3, 2019 and Reply Comments are due by July 18, 2019.  

FCC Targets Robocalls

At its Open Meeting last week, the FCC adopted a Declaratory Ruling and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemakingtargeting illegal and unwanted robocalls.  The ruling allows voice service providers to block robocalls that they determine are illegal or unwanted before they reach consumers and give consumers a right to opt-out of such blocking.  The ruling also allows providers to let consumers opt-in to blocking calls that do not originate from their contact lists (white-list programs).  The Further NPRM seeks comment on a proposal to require voice service providers to implement the SHAKEN/STIR caller ID authentication framework if they do not meet the end of 2019 deadline for voluntary implementation, the creation of a safe harbor for providers that block calls for which caller ID authentication fails, and protections for “critical calls.”  Comments are due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.  

California NG 911 Ruling

Late last month, a court in California denied a request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction filed by AT&T against the California Office of Emergency Services (“CalOES”).  AT&T argued that CalOES should not be able to continue with its Request for Proposals (“RFP”) process to build a Next Generation 911 (“NG911”) system in California until the court has ruled on a Petition filed by AT&T.  AT&T’s petition argued that AT&T would face irreparable harm if it were forced to file a tariff for NG911 services by the CalOES-imposed deadline of June 7, 2019.  The court disagreed and denied AT&T’s request for injunctive relief.  The crux of AT&T’s argument is essentially that the CalOES RFP process requires publicly-filed tariffs for NG911 services in contravention of state law.  CalOES disagrees and cited statutory exceptions – which permits state regulation of 911 service – and the public contract code – which permits tariff requirements for information technology and telecommunications contracts.  

FCC UNICOM Rulemaking

The Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on several rule changes related to the Aviation Radio Service, including Aeronautical Advisory (UNICOM) stations.  Currently, frequency 122.950 MHz must be used at airports that have a full-time control tower or full-time FAA flight service station, while other airport stations may operate other UNICOM frequencies.  The Commission’s NPRM proposes to require UNICOM stations at airports with control towers or FAA flight service stations to exclusively use the frequency 122.950 MHz.  Comments and Reply Comments are due 60 and 90 days after publication in the Federal Register, respectively.  

Winning Bidders Announced for Spectrum Frontiers Auction

Last week the Commission released the identities of bidders and net amounts of bids in Auction 101 (licenses in the 27.5-28.35 GHz band).  The auction raised a total of $702,572,410 in gross bids with a total of 2,965 licenses won.  Of the total bids, Verizon Wireless accounted for over $505 million in net payment.  

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 161


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,...