BDAC Approves Model Municipal Codes

Last week, the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee held a meeting in which they considered and adopted the Model Code for States and the Model Code for Municipalities. The Model Codes address permitting timelines, rights of access to existing infrastructure, and pricing for access, among other things. Prior to the meeting, the Committee provided comments from members on specific provisions of the Model Code for States. The Model Codes were adopted with several members either dissenting or abstaining.

House Passes FAA Reauthorization

On Friday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4, which reauthorizes the FAA for five years. As we reported last week (Vol. XV, Issue 17), the bill limits the scope of towers affected by lighting and marking rules required by the 2016 reauthorization. While the 2016 law could have required the lighting and marking of thousands of towers (Vol. XIII, Issue 33), H.R. 4 excludes communications towers, as long as the FAA has determined they pose no hazard. The bill will now be considered by the Senate. 

Comments Sought on WRC-19 Proposals

Last week, the Commission issued a Public Notice requesting comments on Proposed Recommendations provided by World Radiocommunications Conference Advisory Committee (WAC), FCC, and NTIA for the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19). The WAC could not reach consensus on three of the proposals. The proposals on which the Commission seeks comment include identifying bands in the 37-43.5 GHz band for International Mobile Telecommunications and identifying bands for land mobile and fixed services in the 275-450 GHz band. Comments are due May 10, 2018. 

T-Mobile and Sprint Agree to Merge

On Sunday, T-Mobile and Sprint announced that they have entered into a merger agreement. The merger will be reviewed by both the Federal Communications Commission under a broad public interest-based analysis and the Department of Justice under established antitrust principles. 

TV Repacking to Impact Land Mobile UHF Licensees

TV station licensees are beginning the repacking process following the FCC’s Broadcast Incentive Auction in 2016. The auction was designed to repurpose spectrum in the 600 MHz band, an underutilized UHF-TV band. With the auction complete, TV station licensees are being moved by the FCC from their current channels in the 600 MHz band to channels in the T Band (470-512 MHz), which are adjacent to UHF Land Mobile users operating systems operating on 450-470 MHz frequencies. The ten-phase repacking process will begin with testing on September 14, 2018 and will end on July 3, 2020. TV station licensees must take steps to mitigate any potential interference. These mitigation efforts will include contacting Land Mobile licensees over the next two years in order to do so. Despite these safeguards, the repacking process could still cause interference to incumbent Land Mobile licensees.