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Telecom Alert - Hurricane Dorian; Verizon Small Cell Petition; Robocalls; Senate Field Hearing; Concurrence Waiver; Regulatory Fees; USAC Board - Vol. XVI, Issue 35

FCC Activates DIRS for Hurricane Dorian

The FCC issued a Public Notice on Monday announcing the activation of the Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) in response to Hurricane Dorian.  The Commission noted that the Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) obligations are suspended for the duration of the DIRS activation.  Reports are requested beginning at 10:00 a.m. on September 3, and every day after that by 10:00 a.m. until DIRS is deactivated.  Chairman Pai released a statement on the same day highlighting the Commission’s efforts to assist wireless carriers and broadcasters and reminding wireless carriers to have roaming agreements in place before the storm hits.  FCC staff were also deployed to conduct “pre-landfall” surveys of the radiofrequency spectrum in projected impact areas.  

WTB Seeks Comment on Verizon’s Petition for Declaratory Ruling

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a Public Notice last week calling for comment on Verizon’s petition for declaratory ruling regarding fees charged by Clark County, Nevada for small wireless facilities.  Specifically, the Bureau seeks comment on Verizon’s claim that the recurring fees materially inhibit Verizon’s ability to provide telecommunications services because they do not reasonably approximate the county’s actual and direct costs associated with a provider’s use of the public rights-of-way and other assets, they are not limited to the county’s objectively reasonable cost, and they are inherently discriminatory.  Verizon asks the Commission to prohibit Clark County from charging Verizon recurring fees that exceed the presumptively reasonable annual rate of $270, as established in its 2018 Small Cell Order (Vol. XV, Issue 40).  Comments are due by September 25, 2019 and Reply Comments are due by October 10, 2019.  

State AGs and Service Providers Adopt Anti-Robocall Principles

On August 22, Attorneys General for all 50 states and the District of Columbia and 12 voice service providers adopted eight Anti-Robocall Principles aimed at helping investigate illegal robocalls and prosecute bad actors.  The service providers pledged to implement call blocking technology, actively monitor their networks, and cooperate with investigations into illegal robocalls.  The coalition includes AT&T, Bandwidth, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Consolidated, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon, and Windstream.  There is no deadline for implementing the principles, and the service providers would not be liable for failing to do so.  

Senate Broadband Field Hearing

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, will hold a field hearing on September 5 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to examine the impact high-speed broadband services have on rural America and the need for more broadband access in these areas.  The hearing will touch on a range of industries such as agriculture, education, health care, and small businesses.  The witness panel will be comprised of FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, President of Dakota State University Dr. Jose-Marie Griffiths, Vice President for Technology and Security at South Dakota State University Dr. Michael Adelaine and representatives from various private sector organizations.  

FCC Grants San Diego County’s Petition to Waive Letter of Concurrence Certification

On August 29, the FCC issued an Order granting the County of San Diego, California a waiver of certain requirements for letters of concurrence in the 851-869 MHz Band.  The County submitted applications proposing to operate new base stations on 38 channels in this band.  Because the new base stations would be located less than the required 113-kilometer distance to a co-channel, the County included a letter of concurrence from the co-channel licensee, Third District Enterprises, LLC.  The letter did not state that Third District’s station is constructed and operational, as required by the Commission’s rules, so the County included a request for a waiver of Section 90.621(b)(5).  The waiver request explained that Third District’s license is not constructed and operational because it was directed to discontinue use as part of the 800 MHz rebanding program.  Because of this, the Commission found that the underlying purpose of the certification requirement, to “deter traffic of licenses,” would not be served by application in this case.  

Regulatory Fees Order

The FCC issued a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking last week adopting a collection schedule for $339,000,000 in regulatory fees for Fiscal Year 2019 (Vol. XVI, Issue 19).  The fees for all payors are due by September 30, 2019.  The Commission also concluded that the RAY BAUM’s Act does not fundamentally change how it assesses and allocates regulatory fees.  The FNPRM seeks comment on proposals to amend its assessment of regulatory fees for International Bureau regulatees and of TV and Radio Broadcasters, including whether it should adopt a lower regulatory fee for full-service AM and FM broadcast radio station incubator licensees.  

USAC Board Nominations

On August 27, the Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice seeking nominations for the Board of Directors of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).  There are six board member positions, each of which are held for a three-year term.  The positions include a representative for USAC eligible libraries, cable operators, schools, commercial mobile radio service providers, state consumer advocates, and incumbent local exchange carriers.  Nominations are due by October 18, 2019.  

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 246


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,...