The House Communications and Technology Subcommittee held a hearing last week to discuss issues related to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). As of today, 30 of the 56 U.S. states and territories have opted in to FirstNet’s plan for a public safety broadband network for first responders. Several states – including California – are considering whether to opt-in or opt-out to the proposed plan. There are concerns associated with opting in and accepting the FirstNet/AT&T plan as well as opting out. For instance, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D., CA) said at the hearing that California was told it could cost the state as much as $15 billion if it opts out of the FirstNet network and its stand-alone network fails. For more information, please contact Al Catalano (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4207).
Spectrum Frontiers Proceeding
The FCC will consider a Second Report and Order in its Spectrum Frontiers proceeding at the agency’s November Open Meeting. In advance of the Commission’s vote later this month, several parties have met with FCC staff to discuss the agency’s proposals. The Wireless Internet Service Provider Association, for example, supports the FCC’s recommendation to make the 64-71 GHz band available on an unlicensed basis. Several satellite companies have expressed concerns with how the FCC’s proposals for spectrum bands above 24 GHz will impact fixed satellite services. The Commission’s Open Meeting is scheduled for November 16, 2017. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (email@example.com; 202.434.4239).
Pole Attachment Coalition
The Coalition of Concerned Utilities, represented by a number of Coalition members and Keller and Heckman attorneys Tom Magee and Tim Doughty, recently met with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Legal Advisors to Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Carr, and O’Reilly, and staff of the Wireline Competition Bureau to discuss the agency’s pole attachment proceedings. The Coalition discussed its creative and common sense solutions to enable utility pole owners to improve the process by which communications companies may attach their facilities to electric distribution poles. For more information, please contact Tom Magee (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4128) or Tim Doughty (email@example.com; 202.434.4271).
Next Generation 911 Act
Senators Bill Nelson (D., Fla.) and Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) introduced legislation (S 2061) last week to accelerate the deployment of next-generation 911 (NG-911) services. If passed, the bill would extend the federal NG 911 grant program for five additional years and would decrease the programs matching requirements. Funds remitted under the program would be limited to use for NG 911-related projects and could not be used for other projects, including the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) system. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202.434.4239).
MAS Licensing Update
Over the past several months, we have noticed increased congestion for private, 900 MHz multiple address systems (MAS) in several areas throughout the country. Many recent MAS requests require concurrence from nearby co-channel or adjacent channel licensees. In addition, the Commission’s conditional temporary authority rules – which provide certain applicants with authority to operate some land mobile and point-to-point microwave systems while an application is pending at the FCC – are not available to MAS systems. As a result, we recommend planning for additional time when creating timelines for projects requiring MAS systems. For more information, please contact Wes Wright (email@example.com; 202.434.4239).
Broadband Communities: 2017 Economic Development Conference
Broadband Communities Magazine will hold its 2017 Economic Development Conference in Atlanta, Georgia on November 7-9. Keller and Heckman Partners Doug Jarrett and Greg Kunkle will lead a tutorial entitled, “Get Acquainted with the CAF II Reverse Auction.” For more information and to register, please click here.