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Telecom Alert - Net Neutrality Bill Passes House; California Supreme Court Upholds Aesthetic Guidelines; Internet Exchange Act; Spectrum Auction Update; 900 MHz NPRM Comment Date Correction - Vol. XVI, Issue 15

Net Neutrality Bill Passes House

In a 232-190 vote, the Democratic-led House passed the Save the Internet Act of 2019 (H.R. 1644) on April 10 to restore the Obama-era net neutrality regulations by repealing the FCC’s 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order (Vol. XVI, Issue 10).  Still, the Act, which prevents Internet providers from blocking access to particular sites, throttling traffic and engaging in paid prioritization, faces long odds in the Republican-controlled Senate.  Earlier last week, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a statement expressing the Administration’s strong opposition to the bill.

California Supreme Court Upholds Aesthetic Guidelines

On April 4, the Supreme Court of California upheld a San Francisco city ordinance that imposes permitting requirements on wireless telephone service companies installing equipment in public rights-of-way, denying a challenge by T-Mobile West LLC.  In order to obtain some of the permits, companies must adhere to the city’s established aesthetic guidelines.  In its appeal, T-Mobile West argued that the ordinance is either preempted by or in violation of state law. The Court’s decision reflects a broad interpretation of the State statutes governing municipalities’ inherent police powers to exercise reasonable land use control. 

Bill to Support Internet Exchanges

Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced the bipartisan Internet Exchange (IX) Act (S. 1166) on April 11 to strengthen Internet access in rural and other underserved areas.  Specifically, the Act authorizes the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to administer a grant program that will establish or expand IX facilities and allows eligible E-rate and Telehealth program recipients to use available support to fund connections to and maintenance of points of presence at IX facilities. 

Spectrum Auction Update

The FCC adopted a Public Notice which seeks comment on the proposed application and bidding procedures for Auction 103.  Auction 103, which covers airwaves in the Upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands, is the nation’s largest spectrum auction in history (Vol. XVI, Issue 12).  Through making high frequency millimeter wave spectrum available, the Commission hopes to promote development of advanced spectrum-based services. 

900 MHz NPRM Comment Date Correction

On April 3, the FCC published a document in the Federal Register regarding the Commission’s 900 MHz NPRM, which provided incorrect comment due dates (Vol. XVI, Issue 11).  The FCC has since corrected that error in a notice published in the Federal Register on April 11.  Accordingly, interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before June 3 and July 2, respectively. 

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 105


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,...