Telecom Alert - FirstNet SPOC Meeting; FAA Rural Tower Update; EWA Suggests Part 90 License Reforms; David Redl NTIA Confirmation Hearing
FirstNet SPOC Meeting
FAA Rural Tower Update
Last summer, Congress passed an FAA Reauthorization that contained a provision which requires the agency to issue regulations to require the marking of “covered towers,” by July 2017. Under the law, “covered towers” are between 50-200 feet in height and located outside the boundaries of an incorporated city or town, on land that is undeveloped or used for agricultural purposes. This provision unintentionally includes many communications towers. The FAA has not released anything regarding proposed rules, and momentum is building for a legislative fix. The vehicle for this will be the FAA Reauthorization bill, which must be passed by the end of September. Congressional staff has provided that they are currently working on language to narrow the towers affected by the statute.
EWA Suggests Part 90 License Reforms
The Enterprise Wireless Alliance filed Comments in WT Docket 10-112 suggesting a number of reforms to Part 90 licenses. In particular, EWA recommended that the Commission adopt five-year license terms and reduce the discontinuance rule from one year to 180 days for SMR providers. EWA believes this approach will increase the amount of available spectrum, keep the FCC database more accurate, and make Part 90 regulations more efficient.
Senate Holds David Redl’s NTIA Confirmation Hearing
Last week, the Senate Commerce Committee held the confirmation hearing for David Redl, who is the Trump Administration’s nominee to head NTIA. In his Opening Statement, Redl explained “improving the performance of government spectrum systems, providing incentives for government agencies to make better use of spectrum, and promoting spectrum research and development have been critical to the digital economy… [and he will] work to continue to improve government spectrum efficiency and make additional spectrum available” if confirmed. Regarding wireless siting policies, Redl committed to working to enable the timely siting of infrastructure on public lands and rural areas.
Advance Tel, Inc. Penalties
The Federal Communications Commission issued a $975,000 Forfeiture Order against Advanced Tel, Inc., last week for “violating its federal regulatory obligations as a telecommunications provider.” In particular, the Commission sited that Advanced Tel consistently failed to file specific data and make contributions to federal programs required by all telecom service providers. The $975,000 penalty is down from the $1.5 million forfeiture initially proposed by the Commission due to a successful NAL submitted by Tel, Inc. in which they proved their inability to pay the fine but failed to dispute the facts that brought forth the forfeiture.