Practice/Industry Group Overview
Telecommunications is a core practice area of Keller and Heckman LLP. We maintain a dynamic, full service telecommunications practice, meeting the diverse needs of our clients through expert, cost-effective service. We carefully manage our practice to ensure that our clients receive the maximum benefit of the skills and experience of our attorneys and licensing specialists.
Keller and Heckman has established one of the leading practices before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on wireless licensing and policy matters. We are recognized experts in fixed, mobile and broadband wireless matters. We represent a diverse mix of clients in increasingly frequent and aggressive enforcement actions initiated by the FCC.
Keller and Heckman has also developed a leading national practice representing electric utilities in pole attachment regulation, negotiation and dispute resolution. We also negotiate access, marketing, and bulk service agreements on behalf of owners of multiple dwelling units (MDUs) and planned retirement communities. In both areas, our clients are adverse to the major cable operators and telecommunications carriers.
Other clients include integrated petroleum companies, pipeline operators, other Fortune 1000 firms, specialized broadband and telecommunications services providers, entities involved in the direct broadcast satellite industry, and trade associations having substantial interests in domestic and international telecommunications policy matters.
Expert Advocacy before the FCC, Other Agencies and the Courts
For decades, Keller and Heckman has advocated before the FCC and in appellate court proceedings in policy, enforcement and licensing matters. More recently, Keller and Heckman has represented clients in the following matters:
- Extending the Broadband Radio Service at 2.5 GHz into the Gulf of Mexico
- Establishing a domestic fixed wireless allocation at 3.65 GHz
- The 700 MHz Public Safety broadband and narrowband allocations
- The reconfiguration of the 800 MHz band to eliminate the risk of harmful interference to public safety and critical infrastructure radio systems and to compensate displaced licensees
- The relocation of incumbent microwave systems from the 2.1 GHz band to accommodate Advanced Wireless Service licensees
- The FCC's comprehensive review of its longstanding pole attachment regulations and policies, and court appeals of the same
- Pole attachment legislation, rulemaking and dispute resolution proceedings in several states
- Wireless entities seeking Competitive Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) Certification by State Public Service Commissions in order to qualify for Universal Service Fund subsidies
- Representation of importers, distributors and retailers of consumer electronics products ensnared in the FCC's far reaching enforcement initiatives related to the Digital Television (DTV) Transition
- Representing MDU owner interests in the FCC's review of access arrangements, exclusive marketing agreements and bulk services agreements negotiated by MDU owners and telecommunications carriers and cable operators
A Longstanding and Extensive Wireless Practice
Our telecommunications group is deeply involved in a wide range of wireless licensing matters principally before the FCC:
- Securing station authorizations, license assignments, transfers of control and rule waivers for fixed, mobile and broadband wireless systems. Keller and Heckman attorneys and licensing specialists work extensively with FCC staff to develop creative responses to meet the needs and requirements of our wireless clients
- Counseling on spectrum auctions conducted by the FCC, and radio license transfer, partitioning, disaggregation and leasing rules and procedures
- Drafting and negotiating spectrum leasing arrangements and acquisitions
- Assisting domestic and foreign clients in complying with the FCC's rules governing RF equipment authorizations and approvals and indirect foreign ownership of entities holding or seeking wireless authorizations from the FCC
- Antenna tower related matters, including required filings and lighting and marking regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration, securing tower construction permits from state agencies and tower registrations with the FCC
A Multi-faceted Transactional Practice
Keller and Heckman integrates its regulatory and commercial law expertise in delivering insightful and timely services to clients in connection with a wide range of telecommunications-related transactions, including:
- Telecommunications Services Agreements. Representing Fortune 500 corporations and other large end-users in negotiating enterprise-wide agreements with the major services providers for domestic and international voice and data services, managed services and content delivery services. Few firms match the knowledge and experience of Keller and Heckman in representing end users in negotiating these agreements with the major telecommunications carriers.
- Wireline and Wireless Carrier Start-up, Merger and Buyout Transactions. Assisting wireline, mobile and broadband wireless ventures in entity formation, negotiating equipment purchase, leasing and financial arrangements and in merger and buyout negotiations. Keller and Heckman attorneys have decades of experience and are regularly engaged in these transactions.
- Spectrum Relocation Negotiations. Representing numerous incumbent licensees in negotiating spectrum relocation agreements with emerging technology wireless providers, and public safety and critical infrastructure industry licensees in negotiating 800 MHz reconfiguration agreements with Sprint Nextel
- Direct Broadcast Satellite. Assisting a major DBS multichannel video programming distributor with regulatory matters and transactional projects
The Leading Firm on Pole Attachment Matters
Increasingly Keller and Heckman is looked to as the "go to" firm for all matters related to domestic pole attachment regulation. We assist investor-owned utilities, electric cooperatives and municipalities across the United States by:
- Advocating vigorously for utility pole owners before the FCC, state commissions, federal and state courts, the U.S. Congress and state legislatures on all matters relating to pole attachments
- Drafting and negotiating joint use and pole attachment agreements
- Providing counsel regarding complex and often arcane federal and state pole attachment and joint use regulation
- Negotiation, mediation and, where necessary, arbitration or litigation of pole attachment and joint use disputes
- Developing workable strategies to maximize annual pole attachment rentals and other fees, to operate pole plant more efficiently, to safeguard distribution assets, and to protect against potential liabilities
Insightful and Direct Telecommunications Regulatory Advice
We counsel clients on a wide variety of regulatory matters.
- The multitude of FCC regulations affecting spectrum licensing and use
- Foreign ownership restrictions on domestic telecommunications networks and wireless licenses
- The emerging area of broadband services provider regulation, including USF, CALEA and E-911 requirements
- Equipment authorization procedures and import, distribution and marketing obligations
- Intrastate, interstate and international exit and entry regulation for telecommunications carriers, ITU/CCIR regulations impacting services providers and deployment of advanced technologies in corporate voice and data networks