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Telecom Alert, March 13, 2017 – Colorado FirstNet RFP; FirstNet Board Meeting; Telecom Act Rewrite Not a Priority; FCC Investigates AT&T 911 Outage; 800 MHz Freeze at US-Mexico Border;

Colorado to Release Public Safety LTE RFP for FirstNet Opt-Out Plan

Colorado plans to release a public safety LTE Request for Proposal in late March or early April.  The RFP is intended to provide details about Colorado’s possible First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) opt-out scenario.  Brian Shepherd, Colorado’s broadband program manager, explained to MissionCritical Communications that the objective is to “provide as thorough of an analysis as possible when it comes to the ultimate decision to opt-in/out of the FirstNet plan.”  The State believes the best way to achieve this objective is to provide an option to which the FirstNet plan may be compared.  The FirstNet contract is expected to be awarded this month, which means initial review of the draft plan could begin as early as June.

FirstNet Board Meeting

The FirstNet Board and Board Committees will convene an open public teleconference and webinar Combined Board Committees and Board meeting on March 14, 2017.  The meeting will convene from 1-3 pm, and will be closed to the public from 2:05 to 2:35 pm.

Rewrite of Telecom Act Not a Congressional Priority

Standing in for House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), David Redl, Chief Counsel to the Subcommittee, stated last week that a comprehensive re-write of the Telecom Act is not a priority for 2017.  In remarks before the Federal Communications Bar Association, Redl explained that the Subcommittee will advance amendments to the Act on which consensus is readily achievable.   Thus, significant revisions to the 2015 Open Internet Order likely will originate at the FCC, if at all.

FCC Investigating AT&T 911 Outage

Last week, law enforcement entities in multiple states, including Florida and Texas reported issues with AT&T wireless customers attempting to call 911.  The outage lasted for approximately an hour, with AT&T announcing Wednesday evening that service had been restored.  The following day, FCC Chairman Pai announced an investigation into the outage.  Lisa Fowlkes, Acting Chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, stated that the Commission “will fully investigate this outage and determine the root cause and its impact.”

FCC Extends 800 MHz Freeze Along US-Mexico Border

The FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released a Public Notice, extending the freeze on new 800 MHz applications along the US-Mexico border.  The freeze preserves vacant channels needed for licensees to retune their systems in accordance with 800 MHz rebanding. 

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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 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,...