News from Higgs Law Group

The following current events involving telecommunications operations and regulation are just some of the practice areas in which we offer professional legal services.

What You Need to Know About Secondary Markets - The FCC-sponsored Garage Sale

It's like a city council proclaiming a community-wide, no-permits-required, garage sale weekend. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has declared the secondary spectrum marketplace open-sort of. There are caveats, but new rules changes open the door for licensees to lease spectrum to third parties and for auction non-participants to gain access. Some of these changes to accommodate leasing will also be used as a model to simplify application processing for license assignments and transfers of control. 

The Commission wants to let the market be the matchmaker uniting encumbered-but unused-spectrum and companies that have telecom services to offer-but no bandwidth on which to put them. The October-released text of a Report and Order (R&O) that was adopted last May promotes leasing of spectrum by current exclusive-use licensees. It also reduces the FCC's role as regulatory "middle man." 

Many exclusive-use licensees have spectrum that isn't earning them any money (particularly spectrum acquired in all-or-nothing auctions). Companies can bring this spectrum down from the attic and earn revenue by putting it into the hands of the young startup couple down the block. Conversely, would-be service providers and localized licensees that lack deep pockets can obtain slivers of spectrum in locations they need to build some dream houses. 

Read more: What You Need to Know About Secondary Markets - The FCC-sponsored Garage Sale

Helpful Links & Resources

Federal Communications Commission 

Sierra Technology, Inc.: Delivering Peak Performance in Radio Equipment 

Site Hunting? - Meet Uncle Sam and Smokey the Bear

Real estate for telecom base station and cellular sites often seems to be a sellers' market. Nevertheless, service providers often overlook the biggest landlord of them all: the federal government. Nearly one-fifth of the continental United States is public land. Those who have already located on federal land should also stay aware of new rules and fee changes affecting their leases.

Federal landlords are mandated to support commercial and private radio buildouts nationwide. The 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act authorized the use of national lands for telecommunications uses. (This includes not only physical facilities but also rights-of-way.) The 1996 Telecommunications Act requires federal agencies to facilitate telecom siting on buildings and land they manage when it does not conflict with the agencies' missions or their uses of the properties. In urban areas, this makes the General Services Administration the landlord (federal buildings, post offices and the like). However, for rural and remote areas there are two major players: The U.

Read more: Site Hunting? - Meet Uncle Sam and Smokey the Bear