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Telecom Alert—Trump Issues EO to Protect PNT Services; 17th Annual 911 Honor Awards; Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Update; Federal Court Approves T-Mobile, Sprint Merger; 911-Legislation Database Now Available—Vol. XVII, Issue 7

Trump Issues EO to Protect PNT Services

President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order last Wednesday that requires federal agencies to develop plans to protect positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services, which support the Global Positioning System (GPS), from disruption and manipulation.  The Order describes PNT services as “a largely invisible utility for technology and infrastructure, including the electrical power grid, communications infrastructure and mobile devices, all modes of transportation, precision agriculture, weather forecasting, and emergency response.”  The Order directs appropriate agencies, in coordination with the Secretary of Commerce and the private sector, to create profiles of their PNT systems and implement contractual language that includes relevant language from these profiles in all Federal contracts that utilize these systems.  Its goal is to foster the responsible use of PNT services by critical infrastructure owners and operators. 

17th Annual 911 Honor Awards

On February 12, the NG911 Institute held the 17th Annual 911 Honor Awards.  Members of Congress, congressional staff, federal agency staff, members of the public safety community, public safety vendors, and members of the general public gathered at the annual reception, where heroes and leaders in the 9-1-1 field are recognized and celebrated.  FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel’s Keynote remarks highlighted the importance of the 911 SAVES Act and increased funding for next-generation 911.  

Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Update

On February 7, the FCC released a draft Public Notice proposing that the $16 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction begin on October 22, 2020 (Vol. XVII, Issue 5).  The Public Notice also proposes to seek comment on the appropriate minimum area for bidding in the Phase I auction, using either census block groups or census tracts, as well as the pre- and post-auction application procedures.  The Commission will consider the draft RDOF Public Notice at its next Open Meeting scheduled for February 28.  

Federal Court Approves T-Mobile, Sprint Merger

Last Tuesday, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposed merger (Vol. XVI, Issue 45).  In doing so, Judge Victor Marrero concluded that the merger would likely not hurt competition or consumers.  After this ruling and the FCC’s approval Order issued last November, T-Mobile and Sprint must now wait for an official review by a federal judge of their settlement agreement with several states and the Department of Justice.  Reportedly, T-Mobile ‘s owner is seeking to reduce its purchase price for Sprint as the value of Sprint’s stock has declined since the deal was signed.  

911-Legislation Database Now Available

Last week, the National 911 Program and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) released a summary of 2019 key enacted 911 legislation.  NCSL has maintained a 911 Legislation Tracking Database since 2012 as a resource for states to compare recently enacted or modified 911 laws from other states.  Some key 911 legislation from 2019 includes the implementation of new or increased 911 fees in seven states for subscribers that make prepaid purchases.   

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 49


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,...