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Telecom Alert: Mayors’ Broadband Resolution; New Mexico Wildfires DIRS Reports; Kentucky and Maine BEAD Funding; 800 MHz Rule Waiver Granted [Vol. XXI, Issue 26]
Monday, June 24, 2024

Mayors Request Broadband Fees from Cable Operators

Yesterday, a resolution was adopted at the 92nd Annual U.S. Conference of Mayors requesting that the FCC allow municipalities to collect fees from cable operators that use municipal property to provide Internet service to the public. Currently, cable operators are exempt from generally applicable right-of-way fees on their broadband and other non-cable services. The U.S. Conference of Mayors asks that 47 U.S.C. Section 542 be amended to make clear that no provision of the Cable Act limits or preempts state or local fees or taxes on cable operators and the non-cable services they provide. Earlier this month, the City of Portland filed comments with the Commission requesting the FCC revoke its Mixed Use Rule prohibiting Local Franchising Authorities from regulating any services other than cable services provided by a cable operator. 

New Mexico Wildfires DIRS Reports

The FCC is continuing to publish reports on the status of communication services in geographic areas impacted by the New Mexico wildfires. The reports are developed using data collected from the Disaster Information Reporting System (“DIRS”). DIRS is a web-based system through which the Commission collects operational status and restoration information from communications providers during major disasters and subsequent recovery efforts. When DIRS is activated, the FCC typically publishes daily communications status reports online. 

Kentucky and Maine Approved for BEAD Funding

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has approved Kentucky and Maine’s initial proposals for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (“BEAD”) program. Kentucky and Maine now join 15 total jurisdictions to reach full approval of their initial proposals to access the $42.5 billion in BEAD funds. Kentucky was granted access to over $1 billion and Maine to over $271 million to deploy or upgrade high-speed Internet networks to ensure access to reliable, affordable, high-speed Internet service. 

800 MHz Rule Waiver Granted

The FCC granted American Electric Power Service Corporation’s (“AEP”) request for waiver of Section 90.621(b), which requires a separation distance of 113 kilometers between stations in the 806/851-824/869 band. AEP requested operation of 800 MHz low-power temporary repeaters and mobile talk-around in remote areas outside the range of its existing 800 MHz network. The FCC found that in light of the factual circumstances, application of the separation distance requirement would be contrary to the public interest. 

Thomas B. Magee, Tracy P. Marshall, Sean A. Stokes, and Wesley K. Wright contributed to this article

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