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Telecom Alert - September 18, 2017: Spectrum Frontier Order Expected; FirstNet Update; Wideband Emissions Forfeiture Order; USF Proposed Contribution

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that he plans to circulate a draft of a second Spectrum Frontiers Order to his fellow commissioners by year’s end.  The order would make additional high band spectrum available to wireless service providers. Pai recounted that the initial Spectrum Frontiers Order (Vol. XIII, Issue 26) freed up almost 11 GHz of spectrum in bands above 24 GHz for mobile use (3.85 GHz for  licensed use in the 28, 37, and 39 GHz bands and 7 GHz for unlicensed use in the 64-71 GHz band).  Pai stated that the Commission should continue to examine the 28 GHz, 37 GHz, and 39 GHz bands, but should also consider other high band spectrum suitable for shared commercial use.  

FirstNet Update

The Commission issued an Order establishing the two-prong review process for state plans for states that choose to opt-out of FirstNet.  The Order specifically addresses “Prong 2,” which pertains to interoperability.  The Commission concluded that Prong 2 should be limited to Recommended Requirements [4] and [5] of the Interoperability Board report, which apply to the use of Access Point Names (“APNs”).  In the Order, the Commission stated “we anticipate that there are a variety of commercially standard and reasonable ways that a state alternative plan could satisfactorily demonstrate that it will meet the interoperability standard established for Prong 2.”  The Commission declined to address the issue of whether states may operate a separate core, and left it to FirstNet or NTIA to determine.  

Enforcement Bureau Issues Forfeiture Order for Wideband Emissions

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a Forfeiture Order last week imposing a $13,000 fine against Global Paratransit Inc., a transit company focused on providing transportation for the physically disabled, for failing to operate its private land mobile radio station on a narrowband basis.  The order follows the company’s failure to respond to both a Notice of Violation and Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (Vol. XIV, Issue 13), which were issued after the Commission received an anonymous tip.  

USF Proposed Contribution

The Office of Managing Director of the Federal Communications Commission announced that the universal service contribution factor (the percentage of USF-assessable revenues that telecommunications providers must contribute to support universal service programs) will be 18.8% for the 4th Quarter of 2017.  This is the highest level ever for the USF contribution factor. 

© 2018 Keller and Heckman LLP


About this Author

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,...

Albert J. Catalano, Keller and Heckman, Domestic Joint Ventures Attorney, FCC Regulation Lawyer, DC

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.

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...