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September 29, 2020

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Telecom Alert – Pai Asks Congress to Revoke T-Band Auction; FCC Maintains RF Exposure Limits; FCC Oversight Hearing; Effective Date for FCC Order Implementing Kari's Law and RAY BAUM's Act – Vol. XVI, Issue 49

FCC Chairman Pai Asks Congress to Revoke T-Band Auction

On December 2, 2019, FCC Chairman Pai issued a statement asking Congress to repeal the mandate to auction T-Band Spectrum, emphasizing the FCC has extensively analyzed the band and has determined that the costs of relocating public safety licensees would far exceed potential revenue.  On the same day, the Commission issued a Public Notice suspending the processing of applications for T-Band licenses in accordance with the current T-Band mandate.  Legislation was introduced in the Senate in November to repeal the section of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 that requires the FCC to reallocate the T-Band (Vol. XVI, Issue 44).

FCC Maintains Current RF Exposure Limits

Last week, the Commission issued a Resolution of Notice of Inquiry, which maintained the Commission’s current RF emission exposure limits (Vol. XVI, Issue 32).  The Commission stated that after review of the extensive record, they found “no appropriate basis for and thus decline to propose amendments to our existing limits at this time.”  The Commission also adopted an Order which streamlines the criteria for determining when a licensee is exempt from RF exposure evaluation criteria and provides more flexibility for non-exempt licensees to establish compliance.  Finally, the Commission also adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding RF exposure limits for future uses of wireless technologies.  Comments and Reply Comments are due 30 days and 60 days, respectively, after publication in the Federal Register.

FCC Oversight Hearing

Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing on “Accountability and Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission.”  All five FCC Commissioners participated.  Members of the Committee commented on the need for better broadband deployment data and to promote the Broadband DATA Act (Vol. XVI, Issue 24).  Regarding public safety communications, Committee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) called for next-generation 911 funding and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) called for states to end 911 fee diversion.

Effective Date for FCC Order Implementing Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’s Act

The FCC’s Report and Order implementing Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’s ACT (Vol. XVI, Issue 31) was published in the Federal Register last week, setting the effective date for January 6, 2020.  Kari’s Law requires businesses and institutions that operate multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) to enable users to dial 911 directly without having to dial a prefix to reach an outside line.  The rules also require MLTS to notify a front desk or security office when a 911 call is made to facilitate building entry by first responders.  Within one year of the effective date, “dispatchable location” information, such as the street address, floor level, and room number of a 911 caller must be conveyed with 911 calls from fixed MLTS devices.  For non-fixed MLTS devices (soft phones), MLTS providers must convey automated dispatchable location information when technically feasible but may rely on the MLTS end user to provide location information manually, subject to at least one alternative. This requirement will take effect two years from the effective date.  Finally, the FCC’s 911 rules are now consolidated into a single rule part.

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 343

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS


About this Author

Gregory E. Kunkle, Keller Heckman, regulatory attorney, FCC lawyer
Partner

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...

202-434-4178
Albert J. Catalano, Keller and Heckman, Domestic Joint Ventures Attorney, FCC Regulation Lawyer, DC
Counsel

Albert Catalano joined Keller and Heckman in 2014.  Mr. Catalano has 30 years of experience in telecommunications regulatory and legislative matters, domestic and international joint ventures, litigation, and transactions involving communications, properties and investments.  Mr. Catalano represents States and other entities in matters related to the buildout of the 700 MHz nationwide public safety broadband network on spectrum licensed to FirstNet.  He has extensive experience in spectrum relocation proceedings.  Mr. Catalano’s practice focuses on wireless communications, FCC auction procedures, international and domestic satellite issues, equipment certifications, enforcement issues, technology transfer and licensing.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Catalano served as legal counsel with the Federal Communications Commission on wireless communications, information transfer, technology developments, licensing issues and international satellite matters.  Mr. Catalano represented the Private Radio Bureau in enforcement proceedings before Administrative Law Judges.  He participated in major rulemaking proceedings involving 800 MHz and 900 MHz spectrum, dealing with regulations for commercial, private and public safety operations.

202.434.4207
Michael T. N. Fitch, Keller Heckman, Wireless Communications Attorney
Senior Counsel

Michael Fitch has over 40 years of experience in wireless, international, infrastructure and other telecommunications regulatory areas.  Mr. Fitch advises clients on a wide range of issues in these areas.

Mr. Fitch began his career at the Federal Communications Commission, where he advanced from staff attorney to Bureau Chief and Senior Legal and International Advisor to the Chairman. He also served as a Presidential Exchange Executive from the FCC to the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Pittsburgh for one year. 

He...

202-434-4264
Kathleen M. Slattery, Keller Heckman, telecommunications, trade associations, critical infrastructure companies
Associate

Kathleen Slattery practices in all areas of telecommunications law assisting corporate clients, trade associations, critical infrastructure companies and commercial providers with licensing, regulatory and transactional matters before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the courts and state agencies. 

Prior to joining Keller and Heckman, Ms. Slattery worked for government agencies, associations, and the United States House of Representatives and Senate, where she gained experience in...

202-434-4244
Wesley K. Wright, Keller Heckman, Telecommunications Lawyer, FCC Enforcement Attorney, DC
Partner

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,...

202.434.4239