FCC Biennial Review Comments Request Less Regulation

Last week, the initial comment period on the Commission’s 2016 biennial review closed. Comments from the wireless industry urged the Commission to reduce regulation and rely more on market forces. Many comments focused on the need to repeal outdated rules that no longer serve consumers or promote competition. Commissioners O’Rielly and Pai encouraged the public to comment when the Public Notice was released in early November. The reply comment period closes on January 3, 2017. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

House Votes for Veteran Broadband and Student Connectivity

Late last week, The House of Representatives approved the Improving Broadband Access for Veterans Act (H.R.6394). The bill requires the FCC to submit a report on efforts to increase broadband service to veterans, with a focus on veterans in rural areas or earning a low income. On a similar note, the House approved a resolution (H.Res.939), which expressed “that is the sense of the House of Representatives that all students should have access to the digital tools necessary to further their education in the 21st century economy.” These actions by the House indicate that the FCC will continue to focus on broadband deployment in underserved, rural areas at the direction of Congress during 2017. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (wright@khlaw.com; 202.434.4239).

Petition to Reduce Wireless/Fiber ROW Fees

Wireless infrastructure provider Mobilitie, LLC, filed a Petition for Declaratory Ruling with the FCC seeking to lower the fees municipalities can charge for wireless and fiber installations in municipal rights-of-way, to an amount no more than necessary to recover costs. If you have any questions about this proceeding, please contact Tom Magee (magee@khlaw.com; 202-434-4128).

220-222 MHz Spectrum Sharing Protocol Agreed to by U.S. and Mexico

Last week, the FCC announced that the U.S. and Mexico have agreed on spectrum sharing protocol along the U.S.-Mexico border for the 220-222 MHz band. This agreement will facilitate the deployment of positive train control (PTC) near the border. The agreement allocates 5 kHz channels to either the U.S. or Mexico for primary use by that country. The secondary user can still operate in these frequencies, but its use is limited by conditions stated in the agreement. For more information, please contact Greg Kunkle (Kunkle@khlaw.com; 202.434.4178).

FirstNet Board to Hold Public Meeting

The Board of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) will hold a joint meeting of its four FirstNet Board Committees on December 13, followed by a meeting of the FirstNet Board on December 14. A portion of each meeting will be open to the public. Detailed agendas will be forthcoming closer to the dates of the meetings. For more information, please contact Al Catalano (catalano@khlaw.com; 202.434.4207).

Wheeler Proposes Program Plan for 5G/IoT Cybersecurity Risk Reduction

In a letter to Sen. Mark Warner (D., VA.), FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler discussed the importance of the Commission’s role with regard to 5G and Internet of Things (“IoT”) Cybersecurity. With the letter, Chairman Wheeler included a “5G/IoT Cybersecurity Risk Reduction Program Plan.” The Plan suggests that the Commission should continue work on a Notice of Proposed Rule Making focused on materializing cybersecurity standards for IoT and 5G services and devices. For more information, please contact Tracy Marshall (marshall@khlaw.com; 202-434-4234).