February 5, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 36

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February 03, 2023

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February 02, 2023

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Telecom Alert: Secured and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program Procedures; 900 MHz Applications Granted; First, Sixth Circuits Rule on Cable Franchise Decisions; Mobile Broadband Map; 911 Outage Reporting NPRM [Vol. XVIII, Issue 32]

Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program Procedures

FCC released a Public Notice last week adopting final procedures for the application filing and reimbursement process for the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program (“Reimbursement Program”) (Vol. XVIII, Issue 28).  In December 2020, the Commission adopted its Rip-and-Replace Report and Order requiring eligible telecommunications carriers to remove and replace any equipment deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States, and reimbursing carriers for such projects.  In the Public Notice the Commission finalized the list of eligible expenses and estimated costs, as well as the list of categories of suggested replacement equipment and services.  The FCC set a target date of October 29, 2021 to begin accepting applications but will officially announce the opening of the filing window in a forthcoming notice.

900 MHz Applications Granted

The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a Public Notice last week granting the first round of 900 MHz broadband segment applications (Vol. XVIII, Issue 18).  The FCC realigned the 900 MHz band in May 2020 to make available six megahertz of low-band spectrum for the development of critical wireless broadband technologies and services, while reserving four megahertz of spectrum for continued narrowband operations.  The Commission granted three applications of PDV Spectrum Holding Company, LLC to conduct operations in the band in the state of Illinois.

First Circuit Upholds Maine Cable Franchising Provisions; Sixth Circuit Denies Rehearing on Appeal of FCC Cable Franchise Order

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit adopted an Opinion affirming a lower district court decision upholding a Maine law that requires cable operators to place public educational and government (“PEG”) access channels in their basic cable tier and on lower channels in the vicinity of broadcast stations.  The law also requires cable operators to include channels in program guides and to retransmit PEG channel signals in the format in which they are received and at the same signal quality as the operator retransmits local broadcast channel signals.  The First Circuit also upheld a requirement that cable operators “extend cable service to areas that have a population density of at least 15 residences per linear strand mile.”  In a separate action last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit denied a request for rehearing of an earlier panel decision of the Court largely upholding a 2019 FCC Cable Franchising Order (Vol. XVIII, Issue 22).

FCC Releases Mobile Broadband Map

Last week, the FCC launched a first-of-its-kind mobile broadband map that shows broadband coverage and availability data in the United States from the country’s largest wireless providers.  The map shows 4G LTE broadband data and voice mobile coverage as of May 15, 2021 for each of the nation’s four largest mobile carriers, making it the first public map showing updated coverage released by the Commission.  The Commission is seeking comment on technical details on the challenge and verification process for its mobile maps and will hold a webinar on these proposals on August 12.

911 Outage Reporting NPRM Raises Criticisms

In contrast to broad support from the Public Safety community, several industry groups have raised concerns over the FCC’s recent proposals to amend its 911 outage reporting requirements (Vol. XVIII, Issue 17).  The Commission proposes requiring service providers to report network outages within 60 minutes of discovering 911 service is unavailable and to maintain accurate contact information for 911 call centers, among other changes.  CTIA commented that many of the proposals are “broad and open-ended” and could potentially lead to more issues if not implemented appropriately.  US Telecom highlighted that the information available to providers and the type of information that is helpful for public safety answering points (“PSAPs”) will vary depending on the specific incident, urging the FCC to provide flexibility so that providers are only required to provide information available to them.  Reply comments are due by August 30, 2021.

© 2023 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 221

About this Author

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...

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,...

Sean Stokes Communications Attorney Keller and Heckman Washington, DC

Sean Stokes represents clients nationally on a wide range of communications matters including broadband, cable television, wireless communications, right-of-way management, pole attachments, barriers to community broadband initiatives, and public-private partnerships. He counsels clients in developing and negotiating agreements involving access to poles, ducts, conduits, dark fiber, and towers. He has represented municipal utilities and local governments in complex negotiations developing city-wide fiber-to-the-home networks and wireless small cell siting agreements.

Sean has...

Casey Lide Communication Attorney Keller & Heckman Washington, DC

Casey Lide represents clients on a broad range of communications matters including telecommunications, cable television, broadband Internet access service, wireless communications, right-of-way management, pole and conduit attachments, and barriers to community broadband initiatives.

Casey counsels public- and private-sector clients on contract drafting and negotiation matters, including fiber optic IRUs and leases, easements, franchises, attachment agreements, ISP service agreements, interconnection and collocation agreements, strategic MoUs and others.   

He collaborates...

Kathleen Slattery Thompson D.C. Telecommunications Lawyer Keller and Heckman LLP

Kathleen Slattery Thompson 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...