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Telecom Alert: June 19, 2017 - Pole Attachment/Wireline Infrastructure Proceeding; Wireless Construction Obligations; FirstNet Update; Texas Small Cell Law; NTIA Requests Comment on Cybersecurity

Pole Attachment/Wireline Infrastructure Proceeding

Comments have been filed in the Pole Attachment/Wireline Infrastructure Proceeding on behalf of the Coalition of Concerned Utilities, a group of 12 investor-owned utilities, proposing solutions to problems with communications attachers and explaining the need for utility pole owner cost recovery. 

WTB Wireless Construction Obligations

The FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) issued a Public Notice last week reminding licensees of “their existing obligations to timely meet the construction and coverage deadlines set forth in the Commission’s rules (collectively, ‘construction obligations’).”  The WTB stated that “the Commission’s rules and case law impose limits on the types of arguments and factual circumstances that would qualify a licensee for an extension” and therefore issued a Public Notice to remind licensees that enforcing the FCC’s construction obligations will remain consistent.

FirstNet Update

At its June 22nd meeting, the FCC will consider a Report and Order adopting procedures for reviewing alternative plans from states that “opt-out” of the FirstNet radio access network (“RAN”) or coverage plan within their state.  A major issue is whether an opt-out state will also be able to operate its own core under the Act.  Preliminary indications from the FCC are that a state is not prohibited from this option under the law as long as the state core is interoperable with FirstNet.  Last week, Rhode Island became the latest state to issue a request for proposal to identify a vendor to build and maintain the state’s RAN if the governor decides to opt-out of the nationwide AT&T- FirstNet plan. 

Texas Law Establishes Small Cell Deployment Policies

Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) signed a bill into law establishing regulations for the deployment of small cell wireless facilities in public rights-of-way.  The law, which goes into effect September 1, specifies requirements regarding fees, charges, rates, and management of small cell facilities in public rights-of-way.  CTIA applauded the Governor’s actions, stating that the implementation of the bill will facilitate the deployment of next-generation 5G, which will have a positive effect on Texas’ economy.

NTIA Promotes Stakeholder Action in Securing Cyber Networks

In an effort to advance the President’s Cybersecurity Executive Order, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration issued a Notice of Request for Comment, soliciting stakeholders (private industry, academia, civil society, and security experts) “to comment on actions that can be taken to address automated and distributed threats to the digital ecosystem” and to determine the role of the US government in this task.  Comments are due by July 13.

© 2017 Keller and Heckman LLP


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

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 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.


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,...