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Telecom Alert - September 17, 2018: Licensing Freeze for 900 MHz Band; Vertical Accuracy Metric for Wireless 911 Calls; FCC Pole Attachment Order; 4th Quarter USF Contribution Factor; EWA Continues Criticism of Federal Licensing, Inc.

Licensing Freeze for 900 MHz Band

Effective September 13, 2018, the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau enacted a temporary freeze on applications for new and modified authority for Land Mobile systems operating in the 896-901/935-940 MHz band.  In 2017, the FCC issued a Notice of Inquiry seeking input on the possible reconfiguration of this band, including creating a 3 x 3 MHz broadband allocation initially proposed by PDV Wireless.  The freeze suggests the FCC is considering a notice of proposed rulemaking to modify the rules governing this 900 MHz land mobile band. 

FCC Seeks Comment on Vertical Accuracy Metric for Wireless 911 Calls

Last week the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released a Public Notice requesting comment on the proposed vertical accuracy (z-axis) standard submitted by CTIA on behalf of the four nationwide carriers.  Under the FCC’s location accuracy rules, carriers were required to submit a proposed metric to the FCC that would require the carriers to provide more accurate location information to PSAPs for the majority of 911 calls placed from cell phones in major metropolitan areas.  The FCC prefers a z-axis metric that is accurate to within three meters so first responders know the floor from which an emergency call is placed.  The carriers proposed a z-axis metric that is accurate within five meters.  The report relied on testing performed by technology vendors NextNav LLC and Polaris Wireless, Inc. as part of the location accuracy test bed.  The FCC is seeking public comment on the proposed standard.  Comments are due October 1 and Reply Comments re due October 11. 

Federal Register Publication of FCC Pole Attachment Order

On Friday, the FCC’s August 3 Pole Attachment Order was published in the Federal Register, meaning petitions for reconsideration are on Monday, October 15.  As expected, the Federal Register identifies the effective date for the pole attachment rulings in the Order as either February 3, 2019, or 30 days after the Federal Register announces Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval, whichever is later.

Proposed 4th Quarter Universal Service Contribution Factor

The FCC released a Public Notice on September 12, announcing that the proposed universal service contribution factor for the fourth quarter of 2018 will be 0.201 or 20.1 percent.  The Universal Service Administration Company (USAC) submitted projected collected end-user telecommunications services revenues for October through December 2018 based on information contained in the Fourth Quarter 2018 Telecommunications Reporting Worksheet (FCC Form 499-Q).  The proposed contribution factor will be deemed approved if the Commission takes no action within 14 days of the Public Notice. 

EWA Continues Criticism of Federal Licensing, Inc.

Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) reported last week on a new scheme by Federal Licensing, Inc. that may mislead licensees into believing they are receiving mailed communications from the FCC.  EWA slammed Federal Licensing’s new tactic, noting that the company’s new solicitations state, “We received a request for modification to your two-way radio license Call Sign [KAAA123],” and then asks the recipient to “indicate all Modifications below & return in the enclosed envelope.”  According to EWA, the solicitation does not identify the source of the “request for modification.”  EWA’s article reminds licensees to carefully scrutinize all inquiries regarding FCC licenses.

© 2020 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 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,...