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Telecom Alert - Senate Hearing on FCC Nominations; FCC Urges Adoption of Outage Best Practices; Mid-Band Notice of Inquiry; FirstNet Update

Senate Hearing on FCC Nominations

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold an FCC Nomination Hearing on July 19.  The hearing will cover the reappointments of Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, whose term expired earlier this year, as well as the appointment of Brendan Carr as the third Republican Commissioner.  Brendan Carr currently serves as the FCC’s General Counsel.  

FCC Urges Adoption of Outage Best Practices

Last week, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau issued a Public Notice encouraging service providers to implement measures to prevent network outages. The Bureau studied submissions to the Commission’s Network Outage Reporting System (NORS), and determined that many major service outages have been caused by minor changes in network management systems.  The Bureau further determined that many of these “sunny day” outages could have been prevented if service providers had implemented industry best practices recommended by the Commission’s Communications Security Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) II.  

Mid-Band Notice of Inquiry

Last week, the Commission opened Docket No. 17-183,  entitled “Expanding Flexible Use in Mid-Band Spectrum Between 3.7 and 24 GHz,” and released a draft Notice of Inquiry that focuses on how this mid-band spectrum can be used for wireless broadband.  The NOI specifically asks about the 3.7-4.2 GHz; 5.925-6.425 GHz; and 6.425-7.125 GHz bands.  Earlier in the week, Commissioner O’Rielly published a blog post supporting the exploration of these bands and encouraging an inquiry into how these bands can be used more efficiently.  

FirstNet Update

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced last week that Virginia will be opting-in to the FirstNet/AT&T plan.  Virginia was the first state to opt-in, but was quickly followed by three states: Wyoming, Arkansas, and Kentucky.  AT&T has agreed to provide public safety users in opt-in states immediate prioritized access to AT&T’s LTE network. AT&T officials further stated that deployment of Band 14 Spectrum could begin this year. However, Band 14 may not be available in all parts of Rural America under the AT&T/FirstNet coverage plan.  On July 20, the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet will hold “An Update on FirstNet” hearing

© 2017 Keller and Heckman LLP

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About this Author

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...

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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, telecommunications services agreements, interconnection agreements, and other telecommunications agreements.

Prior to rejoining Keller and Heckman in 2014, Mr. Wright worked for a telecommunications company where he advised the company’s subsidiaries on federal and state regulations governing the 9-1-1 industry, VoIP requirements, and other telecommunications matters of interest.

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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...

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