Keller and Heckman LLP Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. IX Issue 8

700 MHz D Block to Public Safety, Network Buildout to be Funded by Incentive Auctions

Last week, the House and Senate agreed to a bill extending the payroll tax cut. The bill also will allocate the 700 MHz D Block to public safety entities and provide $7 billion to fund the buildout of the new public safety wireless network. The D Block allocation will be governed through an independent board under the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The $7 billion in funding will be raised from incentive auctions, which will allow TV broadcasters to voluntarily relinquish their spectrum for auctioning by the FCC. The broadcasters would share in the auction proceeds. Incentive auctions are not expected to take place for several years and are estimated to raise $16 billion for the U.S. Treasury and an additional $1.75 billion for TV broadcasters. The bill also will require public safety licensees to relinquish spectrum in the T-Band (470-512 MHz) on a reported 11-year timetable, but relocation costs will be reimbursed. The bill also will permit the continued unlicensed use of the TV White Spaces. Both Houses of Congress passed bill on February 17, 2012.. Please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; jarrett@klhaw.com) with questions.

FCC Pulls the Plug on LightSquared

Last week, the FCC issued a Statement confirming it will revoke LightSquared's Conditional Authority that was granted in January 2011 and permitted the company to test its proposed wireless broadband network in the L-Band. This revocation by the FCC follows an NTIA report which concluded there is no practical way to mitigate potential interference LightSquared's proposed operations will cause GPS systems operating in the adjacent band. The Commission issued a Public Notice seeking comment on its intent to vacate LightSquared's conditional authority and whether it should suspend indefinitely LightSquared's Ancillary Terrestrial Component authority. Comments are due March 1, 2012. Please contact Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com) with questions.

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