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Telecom Alert - October 1, 2018: FAA Reauthorization; FCC Approves Small Cell Order; NPRM Implementing Kari's Law and RAY BAUM's Act; Two-Way Radio Enforcement Advisory; Toll Free Number Auction NPRM

FAA Bill Would Resolve Rural Tower Marking Issues

Last week, the House passed the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill (H.R. 302) that would grant relief from enhanced tower marking requirements imposed by the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016.  Under the 2016 legislation, Congress would have required the FAA to promulgate rules mandating that many towers located in rural areas between 50 and 200 feet in height be marked and lit.  H.R. 302 removes many towers from the marking and lighting requirements, including towers not located or immediately adjacent to agricultural land.  On Friday, the Senate passed a one-week extension of the current authorization to allow time to consider H.R. 302. 

FCC Approves Small Cell Order

Last week, the FCC adopted its controversial  Small Cell Order which sets nationwide standards under Sections 332(c)(7) and 253 of the Communications Act for the installation of “Small Wireless Facilities” (small cells) in public rights of way (ROW) and the collocation of small cells on state and municipal streetlight poles, utility poles and other facilities in the public ROW.  The decision limits the ability of state and local governments to assess charges for processing small cell applications and to set annual rent for small cell facilities.  The Order also establishes “shot clocks” for state and local governments to process small cell applications. 

FCC Proposes Rules to Implement Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’S Act

Last week, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement Kari’s Law, which requires multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) to enable users to dial 911 directly without having to dial a prefix to reach an outside.  The NPRM proposes regulations intended to clarify the obligations placed on operators of MLTS, which include many private companies and government agencies.  The NPRM also requests comment on proposed rules that would ensure a “dispatchable location” is conveyed to public safety answering points (PSAPs) regardless of the technological platform used, as required by RAY BAUM’S Act.

FCC Two-Way Radio Enforcement Advisory

Last week, the Commission issued an Enforcement Advisory emphasizing that two-way VHF and UHF radios must comply with FCC rules.  The Advisory addresses the high incidence of mobile radios being marketed in the U.S. that do not comply with the FCC’s technical requirements.  The agency clarified that many of these radios are illegal (with one notable exception being radios operating only in amateur radio bands).  Manufacturing, marketing, or operating a non-compliant radio is a violation of the Commission’s rules.  Violators could be subject to fines up to $19,639 per day of marketing violations and up to $147,290 for an ongoing violation.

FCC Modernizing Toll Free Number Distribution via Auction Experiment

Last week, the Commission adopted an Order to experiment with the use of  competitive bidding to assign toll free numbers.  Historically, toll free numbers were assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.  The initial auction will be limited to 17,000 numbers in the “833” toll free block.  Some numbers will be reserved for public health and safety purposes.  A single-round, sealed bid process will be used.  

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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 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,...