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Vehicular Repeaters; Robocalls; 911 Reliability Certification; Rural Broadband; Drones, Vol XII, Issue 33

VRS Order

Last week the FCC released a Report and Order (Order) authorizing the licensing and operation of vehicular repeater systems (VRS) and mobile repeaters on six remote control and telemetry channels in the VHF Band.  Operations on the 11.25 kHz channels will be co-primary with adjacent land mobile operations, and the Commission removed certain restrictions on omni-directional antennas, fixed station power limits, and antenna heights for telemetry operations.  Frequency coordination will be necessary to accommodate both telemetry and VRS on these channels.  Until a protocol for VRS coordination is developed, the Commission will not accept applications for mobile repeaters on the VHF channels. 

$2.96 Million Fine for Robocalls

Also last week, the Commission announced a $2.96 million fine against Travel Club Marketing, Inc. for sending more than 180 prerecorded voice messages and/or texts (“robocalls”) without prior express consent, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

911 Reliability Certification System

The online system for filing 911 reliability certifications is now available through the Commission’s online portal available here.  The 911 reliability rules, adopted in December 2013, apply to all entities providing 911, E911, or NG911 to a public safety answering point, statewide default answering point, or appropriate local emergency authority.  Covered providers must audit and monitor all critical 911 circuits to mitigate the risk of 911 call failure and file an annual certification of compliance.  The initial certification is due October 15. 

Rural Broadband Experiments

The FCC’s Rural Broadband Experiment Program has authorized four experimental projects to provide broadband to approximately 15,000 customers living in rural areas in Illinois, Kansas, Texas, Iowa, and North Dakota.  According to the FCC’s 2015 Broadband Progress Report, half of all rural Americans lack access to 25 Mbps/ 3 Mbps service.  A total of $11.2 million dollars was awarded to Skybeam, LLC, Allamakee-Clayton Electric Cooperative, Consolidated Communications Networks, Inc., and Delta Communications LLC to extend broadband services to these areas.  The companies must build-out 85% of their projects within in three years, and complete the build-out in five years.

Unauthorized Drone Operations

Last week the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that there has been an increase of reports from pilots concerning drones operated near airplanes and helicopters.  According to the FAA, there have been more than 650 sightings of drones by plane and helicopter pilots this year, including sightings by pilots of large commercial aircraft above 10,000 feet.  The unauthorized operation of drones is illegal and subject to civil and criminal penalties.

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume V, Number 233



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...

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...