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.