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Telecom Alert - Georgia PSC Pole Attachment Ruling; 2021 Q1 USF Contribution Factor; COVID Relief Package Broadband Funding; CenturyLink Pays $500K Settlement; C-Band Revenues -Vol. XVII, Issue 51

Georgia PSC Pole Attachment Ruling

Last week, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) voted to adopt a six-year, $1/pole rate for any new attachments to Georgia electric membership corporation (Georgia EMC) poles located in portions of Georgia not yet served by broadband.  It also adopted a $27.71 rate statewide for all existing cable company attachments to EMC poles.  The Commission largely adopted the terms and conditions proposed by the Georgia EMCs, including an “imposition fee” of 25% on top of actual costs when the EMC must perform work the attaching entity was supposed to do, an unauthorized attachment penalty of $100 plus back rent, and a dispute resolution process, among others.  

2021 Q1 USF Contribution Factor Announced

The FCC released a Public Notice last week announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the first quarter of 2021 will be 31.8 percent.  This is up from the fourth quarter of 2020, which was 27.1 percent.  If the Commission takes no action regarding the projections of demand and administrative expenses associated with the universal service program within 14 days of the date of the Public Notice, then the proposed factor will be deemed approved.  

COVID Relief Package Broadband Funding

On Sunday, Congressional leaders reached a deal on a $900 billion COVID-19 economic relief package that includes $7 billion in funding for broadband internet access.  $3.2 billion of the funding will go to a new Emergency Broadband Benefit that will provide $50 per month to low-income families for broadband.  It also includes $1.9 billion for rip and replace efforts (Vol. XVII, Issue 47), $1 billion in grants for Tribal broadband programs, and $300 million for rural broadband deployment.  The deal will also extend the deadline for states and cities to use unspent money approved for them by the CARES Act (Vol. XVII, Issue 48). 

CenturyLink Pays $500K to Resolve 911 Outage

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau entered into a Consent Decree with CenturyLink last week, resolving an investigation into whether CenturyLink violated the Commission’s rules in connection with a multistate outage on one of its transport networks that occurred in late December of 2018.  CenturyLink experienced a widespread outage on December 27, 2018 that lasted for almost 37 hours, which was caused by a combination of equipment failure and a network configuration error.  As a result of the outage, CenturyLink failed to deliver eleven 911 calls that had been forwarded to secondary Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in Arizona.  CenturyLink agreed to a settlement of $500,000.  

C-Band Revenues Over $30 Billion

As of the close of bidding on December 18, bids in the FCC’s C-Band Auction (Auction 107) reached more than $33.9 billion.  This is the second most all time in gross revenues among FCC spectrum auctions, after the 2015 AWS-3 auction which finished with nearly $44.9 billion in bids.

© 2021 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 356
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About this Author

Jim Baller Communications Attorney Keller & Heckman Washington, DC
Partner

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,...

202-434-4175
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. 

Mr. Jarrett represents technology companies in securing amendments to the FCC rules to enable the...

202-434-4180
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...

202-434-4178
Casey Lide Communication Attorney Keller & Heckman Washington, DC
Partner

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...

202-434-4186
Thomas B. Magee, Keller Heckman, transactional counsel, litigation attorney, FCC law, safety violation lawyer
Partner

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,...

202-434-4128
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