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Telecom Alert: November 13, 2017 - Pole Attachment and IP-Transition Items; Blocking Robocalls; Spectrum Frontiers; NG-911 Grant Program; Senate Approves NTIA Head

FCC to Vote on Pole Attachment and IP-Transition Matters

The FCC is expected to adopt several matters of interest to Keller and Heckman clients during its Open Meeting scheduled for November 16.  In Docket No. 17-84, the “Wireline Broadband Deployment” proceeding, the FCC is expected to adopt its draft order released in late October that addresses three minor pole attachment issues and tees-up for further discussion on overlashing and service drop attachment issues.  In regards to the IP-Transition, the draft order provides incumbent local exchange carriers substantially more flexibility in transitioning to IP-based services, including discontinuing the legal obligation to provide written notice to business customers 180 days in advance of an ILEC’s replacement of copper loops with either fiber, coax or fixed wireless technologies. 

Blocking Robocalls

At the Open Meeting, the Commission also plans to consider a Report and Order that would authorize voice service providers to block certain types of “robocalls” that falsely appear to be from telephone numbers that do not or cannot make outgoing calls. 

Spectrum Frontiers

In addition to the items referenced above, the FCC also will consider a Second Report and Order in its Spectrum Frontiers proceeding.  If adopted, the Order would add 1,700 MHz of additional spectrum in bands above 24 GHz for flexible terrestrial use, including unlicensed use. 

NG-911 Grant Program

The comment deadline has passed to respond to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on regulations implementing the new 911 Grant Program.  Several interest groups stressed that NHTSA should require grant recipients to demonstrate that their networks can share emergency calls and related data among ESInets and can hand off emergency calls and related data with each other.  Commenters also expressed concern that allowing tribes to apply for grant funding directly could result in duplicative requests between tribes and state 911 authorities for the jurisdiction where the tribe is located. 

NTIA Head Approved

Last week, the U.S. Senate officially confirmed congressional attorney David Redl to lead the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.  Senate approval installs Mr. Redl as head of the federal agency that oversees spectrum allocated to the federal government and advises the White House on telecommunications and technology matters.  President Trump originally nominated Mr. Redl to the post in May, but two Senators had opposed his nomination, delaying his final confirmation.

© 2018 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 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,...