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Telecom Alert: July 9, 2018 - BDAC Pole Attachment Recommendations; Tribes Seek Stay of Wireless Infrastructure Order; FCC Sets Mandatory Speed and Latency Testing for ETCs; LA-RICS Sells Network to AT&T; Starks Nomination Update

BDAC Pole Attachment Recommendations

Chairman Pai’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (“BDAC”) last week finalized a number of pole attachment recommendations which might figure prominently when the FCC issues a decision in its pending pole attachment rulemaking proceeding.  In addition, the BDAC made several recommendations regarding access to state and local rights-of-way and to property owned by the federal government. 

Tribes Seek Stay of Wireless Infrastructure Order

The Crow Creek Tribe of South Dakota and the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska filed a Motion for Stay of the effective date of the FCC’s Wireless Infrastructure Order, which became effective last Monday, July 2.  As we previously reported, the Order exempts small cell deployments from NHPA and NEPA review, updates the tribal review process, and includes an agency “shot clock” for processing Environmental Assessments.  The Tribes argued that the Commission erred in its Order by concluding that wireless small cell facilities were not “licensed,” and that they will suffer immediate and irreparable harm if prevented from charging fees in advance for assisting wireless mobile operators’ consultation obligations. 

FCC Sets Mandatory Speed and Latency Testing for ETCs

In an Order released last week, the FCC established a uniform framework for measuring the speed and latency performance for fixed broadband service by recipients of high-cost universal service support, eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs), including CAF II auction winners and RBE recipients.  Testing must be conducted annually, and the results filed as part of each ETCs annual compliance certification.  Failure to meet latency and speed commitments subjects ETCs to reductions in USF support.  ETCs may conduct tests using either (1) the Measured Broadband American testing infrastructure, (2) existing network management systems and tools, or (3) provider-developed self-testing configurations.  The hours for peak-period testing were expanded to 6:00 PM to Midnight.

LA-RICS Sells Network to AT&T, Receives $34 Million BTOP Payment

The Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications Systems (LA-RICS) recently finalized an agreement with AT&T wherein AT&T will pay $14.5 million in exchange for LA-RICS’ public safety broadband network.  LA-RICS is one of five FirstNet “Early Builder” public safety LTE network projects (which also include JerseyNet, Harris County, Texas, New Mexico, and Adams County, Colorado).  LA-RICS was awarded $154.6 million in Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) funding in 2010 to build its network, of which $34 million was paid in late June to fund new sites.  The original agreement with AT&T also required AT&T to take over operation and maintenance of the LA-RICS network no later than July 1. 

Starks Nomination Passes Senate Commerce Committee

Geoffrey Starks’ nomination to replace FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn was approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.  Starks currently serves as Assistant Bureau Chief in the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau.  Mr. Starks’ nomination will now proceed to a full Senate vote.  

© 2018 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. 

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

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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, FCC law, safety violation lawyer
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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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Wesley K. Wright, Keller Heckman, Telecommunications Lawyer, FCC Enforcement Attorney, DC
Partner

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,...

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