May 26, 2020

May 26, 2020

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Telecom Alert – Kari's Law; Annual CPNI Certifications Due; Annual 911 Report; AIRWAVES Act; Congress Agrees on Budget; False Tsunami Alert; CAF II Auction Webinar - Vol. XV, Issue 7

Kari’s Law Enacted

While voting on the budget to end a short government shutdown, Congress passed a final version of Kari’s Law, affecting multiline telephone systems (IP or TDM) operated by businesses and government agencies installed two years after the law’s enactment.  Kari’s Law requires all MLTS systems be configured to enable users to dial “9-1-1” to reach the local PSAP, as opposed to dialing “9+9-1-1.”  Kari’s law is named after a young woman who tried numerous times unsuccessfully to dial 9-1-1 from a hotel room, but could not do so because of having to dial “9” to access the PSTN and the local PSAP.  Kari’s law first picked up steam late in the Summer when versions of the bill passed in both the House and the Senate (Vol. XIV, Issue 32).  The law, as enacted, contains aspects of both versions of the bill.  

Reminder: Annual CPNI Certifications Due

The Wireline Competition Bureau released a Public Notice reminding telecommunication carriers and interconnected VoIP providers to submit their annual certification, documenting compliance with the FCC’s customer proprietary network information (CPNI) rules by March 1, 2018.  CPNI rules provide important consumer protections to ensure carriers adequately safeguard customer’s sensitive telecommunications usage information.  Failure to comply may result in an enforcement action and a monetary fine for each violation or each day of the continuing violation.  

Annual Report Reveals 911 Funds Diverted for Other Purposes

On February 7, the FCC released its Ninth Annual Report to Congress on the collection and use of 911 fees by U.S. states and other reporting entities.  The report disclosed that 911/E911 fees collected from consumers were diverted for other purposes in 2016 from six states:  New Jersey, West Virginia, Illinois, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and New York.  The FCC released a Public Notice seeking comments on potential mechanisms to discourage future fee diversion.  

House Introduces AIRWAVES Act

The bipartisan AIRWAVES Act was introduced in the House of Representatives and has received widespread endorsement from FCC Commissioners, the wireless industry, and public interest advocates.  The Act proposes making available more licensed and unlicensed federal spectrum for commercial use to accelerate and expand 5G services.  Key provisions include firm spectrum auction deadlines for key bands and allocates 10% of auction proceeds to rural areas to foster innovation and market competition.  

Congress Agrees on Two-Year Budget

The two-year bipartisan budget agreement enacted by Congress last week includes $20 billion for national infrastructure projects, including highways, water, wastewater, and rural broadband.  On February 16, the FCC Commissioners will testify at a budget oversight hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee.  The hearing will focus on the FCC’s budget outlined in President Trump’s federal budget request.  \

False Tsunami Alert

A false tsunami alert was sent along the East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean last week.  The National Weather Service’s Tsunami Warning Center was conducting a routine Tsunami test when “at least one private sector company” reportedly received an official warning.  The company communicated the warning to its subscribers, which quickly spread throughout various media outlets.  The Weather Service’s Twitter account subsequently announced that there was no tsunami warning, emphasizing that it was just a test.  The Weather Service is continuing to investigate the incident.  This comes just weeks after Hawaii’s false ballistic missile alert and an extensive FCC investigation into emergency alert systems nationwide (Vol. XV, Issue 6).  

© 2020 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, 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,...