July 13, 2020

Volume X, Number 195

July 10, 2020

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Telecom Alert - TMA Withdraws 800 MHz Band Reconsideration Petition; USDA Invests Over $40 Million in ReConnect Funding; RF Exposure Rules; FCC Grants 24 GHz Band License Applications - Vol. XVII, Issue 4

TMA Withdraws 800 MHz Band Reconsideration Petition

Earlier this month, The Monitoring Association (TMA) filed a Request to Withdraw its petition for reconsideration of the Commission’s 800 MHz Report and Order updating its policies pertaining to the band and other private land mobile radio spectrum.  TMA originally petitioned the Commission to preserve certain channels for central station alarm use.  Since then, TMA and the Land Mobile Communications Council were able to revise their central station frequency Consensus Plan and address TMA’s primary concerns.

USDA Invests Over $40 Million in ReConnect Funding

Over the past two weeks, the Department of Agriculture has invested $42.5 million in first-round funding of the agency’s ReConnect Pilot Program.  Of the total investments so far, $7.1 million was awarded to communities in rural Arkansas, $5.7 million to communities in rural Nebraska, $18.7 million to communities in rural West Virginia, and $11 million to communities in rural Minnesota and Iowa.  In early January, Montgomery County, Maryland mailed a survey to its residents to identify broadband lacking or deficient households to gauge the need to apply for the ReConnect program.

RF Exposure Rules

Last week, Keller and Heckman attorney Mike Fitch posted a thorough analysis of the FCC’s radiofrequency (RF) exposure limit rules on the firm’s Beyond Telecom Law Blog.   In the matter of greatest interest to the public, the FCC determined that no changes should be made to the agency’s existing RF exposure limits.  These limits have been in place since being adopted by the FCC in 1996.  The Commission also changed the application of its RF exposure limits.  Finally, the FCC also adopted rules that will require licensees and operators of fixed RF sources to use signs when certain RF sources in an area create locations where exposure is above the permissible exposure limit for the general public.  The Commission determined, however, that indicators such as chains, railing, paint, and diagrams may alternatively be used.

FCC Grants 24 GHz Band License Applications

Last week, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a Public Notice announcing that it granted eight licenses in Auction 102, the auction of 24GHz Upper Microwave Flexible Use Service (UMFUS) licenses.  Auction 102 raised $2,022,676,752 in net bids and awarded 29 bidders a total of 2,904 licenses.

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 27


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...

Kathleen M. Slattery, Keller Heckman, telecommunications, trade associations, critical infrastructure companies

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 consumer protection, privacy and intellectual property law. While working in the United States Senate she successfully helped to advance legislation from origination to final Senate passage.

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. 


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,...