June 18, 2019

June 17, 2019

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Telecom Alert–October 29, 2018: 3.5 CBRS Rules; 6 GHz Band NPRM; White House Spectrum Memo; 800 MHz, PLMR Spectrum Rules; 911 NPRM in Federal Register; Datacasting Success in Simulated School Shooting; FCC Denies Colorado Request for Clarification

FCC Finalizes 3.5 GHz CBRS Band Rules

On October 23, the FCC adopted a Report and Order in the 3.5 GHz band Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) proceeding.  The action makes several targeted modifications to rules governing the CBRS band, including extending license terms to 10 years, adding renewability, and increasing the size of Priority Access License (PAL) areas from census tracts to counties.  In her dissenting statement, Commissioner Rosenworcel calls the Order a “messy compromise” that favors existing business models over rural opportunities, and notes interest in the original CBRS band proposals attracted entities other than carriers, including critical infrastructure. 

FCC Proposes Unlicensed Use of 6 GHz Band

On October 23, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to find ways to make up to 1200 MHz of spectrum available for use by unlicensed devices in the 6 GHz band (5.925-7.125 GHz) without interfering with existing licensed uses of the band.  The NPRM proposes unlicensed use by devices with automated frequency coordination systems.  The FCC notes that unlicensed use in the 6 GHz band may also complement new licensed 5G services by allowing providers to offer a full range of services to consumers.  Comments and Reply Comments will be due 60 and 90 days after Federal Register publication, respectively. 

White House Issues Spectrum Policy Memo

President Trump released a Presidential Memorandum last week on “Developing a Sustainable Spectrum Strategy for America’s Future.”  The memo focuses on creating flexible, predictable access to meet today’s growing spectrum demand, and the importance of expanding the country’s leading advancement of 5G technologies.  In addition to advancing the National Security Strategy of 2017, the memo establishes reporting procedures for federal agencies and a Spectrum Policy Taskforce to work with the NTIA in implementing these policies.  Within 270 days, the Secretary of Commerce, working through NTIA, must submit recommendations to the President. 

Updated Rules for 800 MHz and PLMR Spectrum

Last week, the FCC adopted a Report and Order and Order to update its policies regarding the 800 MHz band and other private land mobile radio (PLMR) spectrum.  The action allocates the 800 MHz interstitial channels for licensing, provides other new UHF spectrum capacity, eliminates unnecessary restrictions on PLMR users, and expands Conditional Temporary Authority to the 800 MHz band.

911 NPRM Published in Federal Register

The FCC’s NPRM regarding 911 calls was published in the Federal Register last week.  The NPRM seeks to implement Kari’s law and a provision of RAY BAUM’s Act regarding “dispatchable location”.  The NPRM also seeks to consolidate the Commission’s 911 rules into a single rule part.  Publication in the Federal Register sets the comment cycle, with Comments and Reply Comments due on December 10, 2018 and January 9, 2019, respectively.

Datacasting Successfully Neutralizes Simulated School Shooting

In Monroe, Indiana, US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), in collaboration with the Integrated Public Safety Commission and local public safety entities, sponsored an exercise to demonstrate the power of datacasting to identify and neutralize threats.  The partnership of federal and state entities simulated a school shooting at Adams Central Community Schools.  Datacasting, which employs public television infrastructure and spectrum, was used to share live video, school blueprints, and other information regarding the simulated school shooting with first responders and public safety officials.  America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), the national organization representing more than 300 stations and a KH Client, has been a strategic partner with the Department of Homeland Security for the past two years in promoting the benefits of datacasting. 

FCC Denies Colorado Petition for Clarification

In July, the Colorado Public Safety Broadband Governing Body (CPSBGB) filed Comments in the Commission’s docket regarding Procedures for Commission Review of State Opt-Out Requests seeking clarification on interoperability requirements between FirstNet and wireless carriers.  Last week, the Commission adopted an Order dismissing the Request for Clarification without prejudice.  The reasoning for dismissing the request is that addressing interoperability issues is an ongoing process and this process may address CPSBGB’s request for clarification, making the Request for Clarification premature.

© 2019 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,...