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Telecom Alert: February 13, 2017 – FCC Seeks Comment on TCPA Petition for Rulemaking; Enforcement Bureau Update; Real-Time Text Rules Take Effect February 22; Incentive Auction Forward Bidding Comes to Close; FCC Retracts Digital Infrastructure,

FCC Seeks Comment on TCPA Petition for Rulemaking and Declaratory Ruling

The FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau released a Public Notice seeking comment on a Petition for Rulemaking and Declaratory Ruling regarding what constitutes "prior express consent" under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  Comments are due by March 10 and Reply Comments by March 27.

Chairman Pai Announces Update of Enforcement Bureau Procedures

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced last week that the Enforcement Bureau no longer has the authority to enter into consent decrees without the approval of the full Commission. The announcement of the new procedure stated the process is effective immediately.  The Enforcement Bureau has already circulated a consent decree among the Commissioners.

Real-Time Text Rules Take Effect February 22

The FCC issued a Public Notice finalizing the adoption of a Report and Order that would amend the Commission's rules to allow the use of real-time text (RTT) over wireless IP networks, rather than teletypewriter technology (TTY). The rule changes become effective thirty days after its publication to the Federal Register, Thursday, Feb. 22.  Using RTT, individuals will be able to send messages as they are being typed- without having to hit the "send" key - and messages can be read and received in real time.

Incentive Auction Forward Bidding Comes to Close

Last week, clock phase bidding in the incentive auction ended.  The forward auction clock phase generated $19.6 billion in winning bids on 84 MHz of spectrum.  According to an FCC blog post by the Chair and Deputy Chair of the Incentive Auction Task Force, the incentive auction will now proceed to the assignment phase in which winning bidders have the opportunity to bid on frequency-specific licenses.  The post stated that a Public Notice will be released to announce the schedule for the assignment phase.

FCC Retracts Digital Infrastructure White Paper

The FCC retracted the White Paper from the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis "Improving the Nation's Digital Infrastructure."  It was released on January 19, one day before Inauguration Day and the elevation to Chairman of Commissioner Pai, so it may have regarded as among so-called "midnight" actions at the end of former Chairman Wheeler's tenure which were criticized by the Republican Commissioners at the time. 

© 2017 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. 

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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. 

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Thomas B. Magee, Keller Heckman, transactional counsel, litigation attorney
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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
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Tracy Marshall joined Keller and Heckman in 2002. She 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.

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