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Free Download: Keller & Heckman Telecom Business Alert - Vol. VIII Issue 39

FCC Holds Public Hearing to Discuss Proposed Changes to Tower Regulations

Last week, the FCC held a Public Hearing on a draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment ("PEA") released earlier this month for use in evaluating the environmental impact of the Commission's Antenna Structure Registration ("ASR") program on migratory birds (Vol VIII, Issue 36). Staff of the FCC's Wireless Bureau gave a presentation at the Hearing outlining possible proposed changes to the current ASR requirements, which range from making no changes to requiring tower owners to prepare an Environmental Assessment for nearly all new towers and many modifications to existing towers. Biologists for the Fish & Wildlife Service ("FWS") told the FCC that the ASR rules should be revised to minimize hazards to migratory birds in the same way the rules currently minimize hazards to aircraft. The PEA was required by a 2008 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit which found that registered towers may have a significant environmental effect on migratory birds (See, Vol VII, Issue 45). Written comments to the PEA are due by October 3, 2011. Please contact Wes Wright (202.434.4296; with questions.

House Bill Would Allocate D-Block to Public Safety, Provide Funds for Narrowbanding

Last week, House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-NY) and Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ) introduced a bill that would allocate the 700 MHz D-Block to public safety for the development of a nationwide, interoperable public safety network. The bill also would provide $400 million in funding to the Narrowbanding Compliance Assistance Program. The Program would be administered by the Department of Homeland Security and would permit local municipalities to apply for funding to purchase new equipment required to comply with the FCC's upcoming narrowbanding deadline. It would be funded by the sale of federally-owned wireless spectrum. The bill would not empower the FCC to conduct incentive auctions for broadcast spectrum. Please contact Doug Jarrett (202.434.4180; with questions.

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