Keller and Heckman Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VIII Issue 7: FCC Enforcement, 700 MHz D-Block, Pole Attachment, FCC Licensing

Keller and Heckman Telecom Business Alert -- Vol. VIII Issue 7: FCC Enforcement, 700 MHz D-Block, Pole Attachment, FCC Licensing

Keller and Heckman

Cricket Enforcement Action Suggests Zero-Tolerance Policies at FCC

Honesty may be the best policy, but recently it has done transgressors no favors at the FCC's Enforcement Bureau. Cricket Communications found that out the hard way when the FCC recently determined that Cricket was apparently liable by the FCC for a $20,000 forfeiture (i.e., fine). While this is not an unusual fine for licensees operating without authority, the troubling part of the FCC's Order and Notice was that it took Cricket to task for inadvertently listing incorrect construction dates in two construction notices. The action signals that not only will the FCC be taking a hard line on even minor inaccuracies contained in filings, but also that promptly correcting and self-reporting a violation, as Cricket apparently did in this case, is not always enough to prevent substantial enforcement sanctions . For further information on this or other FCC enforcement issues, contact K&H Attorney Wes Wright (202.434.4296; wright@khlaw.com).

President Obama Calls for D-Block Reallocation for Public Safety

On February 10, 2011, President Obama released aspects of his "Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative". Significantly, the plan calls for a multi-billion dollar investment in a nationwide, interoperable 4G network for public safety funded principally through the auction of TV broadcast spectrum, along the lines of the FCC's plan to conduct an auction under which the proceeds would be shared by the broadcasters and the US Treasury. Consistent with Senator Rockefeller's (D-W.Va) proposed legislation, President Obama proposed the 700 MHz "D Block" be allocated to public safety, rather than auctioned. The President's support is a major endorsement for public safety advocates who have consistently maintained that the D-Block is essential to a robust public safety broadband network and should not be auctioned.

FCC Pole Attachment Decision Scheduled for April

Earlier this week, the FCC announced that in April, it will vote on an Order that "streamlines access to pole attachments and reduces their cost while protecting the vital electric power grid." The Coalition of Concerned Utilities, represented by Keller and Heckman LLP, and others in the electric utility industry have repeatedly objected that the Commission appears to be ignoring electric utility concerns while it seeks to expand the reach and reduce the cost of broadband deployment. For further information on the FCC's Pole Attachment proceeding, contact K&H Partners Jack Richards (202.434.4210; richards@khlaw.com) or Tom Magee (202.434.4128; magee@khlaw.com).

K&H Video Minute: Tim Doughty on FCC Licensing

In this week's Video Minute, Tim Doughty, one of Keller and Heckman LLP's FCC Licensing Specialists, provides an overview of FCC licensing requirements and K&H's licensing practice. Among other things, Tim discusses various types of licenses and stages of the licensing lifecycle. To view the Video Minute, click FCC Licensing Specialist Timothy Doughty Discusses FCC Licensing in this Week's Telecom Video Minute.

Deadlines Approaching for MAS Buildout and CPNI Certification

Two FCC deadlines are fast approaching. All telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers must file their Customer Proprietary Network Information (or "CPNI") compliance report with the FCC by March 1, 2011. Last year, the Commission's Enforcement Bureau took enforcement action against hundreds of companies that failed to file their 2009 CPNI certifications. The FCC has stated that it intends to continue strict enforcement of the CPNI requirements. For additional information, contact Tracy Marshall (202.434.4234; marshall@khlaw.com).

In addition, the first of two construction/coverage buildout deadlines is due March 29, 2011 for many licensees that acquired 900 MHz MAS licenses in Auction 59. This initial deadline requires licensees to demonstrate either 20 percent population coverage in their licensed area or to make a showing of "substantial service" (a term largely undefined by the FCC). Licensees that have not yet constructed may be able to request an extension of the deadline. For more information on the MAS deadline, contact Greg Kunkle (202.434.4178; kunkle@khlaw.com).

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