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Telecom Alert - Final Internet Freedom Rule Published; Public Safety Waiver Request Comment Deadline; Spectrum Horizons; States Granted Discretionary Spending on Infrastructure; Upcoming Events - Vol. XV, Issue 9

Final Internet Freedom Rule Published

On Feb 22, 2018, the Restoring Internet Freedom Final Rule was published in the Federal Register, making the effective date April 23, 2018.  As we previously reported (Vol. XV, Issue 2), the rule effectively repeals the 2015 Open Internet Order.  In place, the Restoring Internet Freedom Order provides a comprehensive “transparency rule,” requiring broadband providers to disclose any blocking, throttling or paid prioritization; full disclosure of the ISPs’ privacy policies; and confirms the role of the Federal Trade Commission on enforcement and privacy matters.  

Public Safety Waiver Request Comment Deadline

On Jan 12, 2018, Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend, LLC filed an application to license three UHF Public Safety Radio Pool channels in Minnesota, seeking a waiver of eligibility requirements. The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau released a Public Notice seeking comment regarding the waiver request. Flint Hills is a large oil refinery with two sites located in Minnesota. The refinery proposes three 450-470 MHz band Public Safety Pool channels at one location to ensure reliable coverage for purposes of plant safety and to relieve local fire departments from handling fire related issues at the refinery by maintaining their own fire crew. Comments are due by March 16, 2018 and Reply Comments are due by April 2, 2018. 

Spectrum Horizons

Last week, the Commission held its February Open Meeting and took several actions including the Spectrum Horizons Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). This item proposes expanding access to spectrum above 95 GHz, which currently has no licensing rules and is often considered the “outermost horizon” of useable spectrum. The Commission’s goal is to enable innovators and entrepreneurs to develop technology that can utilize this spectrum.  The NPRM seeks comment on:

  • adopting rules for fixed point-to-point use of up to 102.2 GHz of spectrum that would be similar to the existing 70/80/90 GHz rules
  • making up to 15.2 GHz of spectrum available for unlicensed use based on the rule for unlicensed use in the 57-71 GHz band
  • creating a new category of experimental licenses for the 95 GHz to 3 THz range 

The final text of the NPRM has not yet been released.  

States Granted Discretionary Spending on Infrastructure

The White House announced in a press release that Governors will have discretion to spend up to 100 percent of Federal funds received under the $50 billion allocated to states under the administration’s Rural Infrastructure Program. Instead of setting aside funds for specific projects, Governors can prioritize and distribute funds based on their state’s greatest needs. Currently, the program divides $40 billion to states based on the amount of rural area in each state and $10 billion will be allocated through a competitive process for Rural Performance Grants. 

© 2019 Keller and Heckman LLP


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,...