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Look out Dish, T-Mobile Might Have A Better Suitor

Word is that Comcast may make a run to marry T-Mobile, and beat out Dish to the alter.

It is nothing less than brilliant for Comcast AND T-Mobile.  Local governments will have a less favorable view.

Comcast finally gets the quad-play in house, and T-Mobile almost overnight solves its coverage problems in Comcast’s footprint.  Comcast will deploy PCS radios on its strand and in its pedestals, and use its network for backhaul.  It will integrate the shared CableWIFI platform to provide more T-Mobile connectivity outside of Comcast’s footprint.  Comcast will get a wireless video delivery platform.

…and Dish will be stuck with all that upload bandwidth that will decrease in value.

Local governments will find that applying their wireless ordinances to their all-time favorite cable TV franchisee will be, ah, challenging.

Now THIS is going to be fun.

jlk

PS: What should we call the two of them:  T-Cast?  Naw, Brian would never allow his name to be second.  Comobile?  Maybe.

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CTIA Sues City of Berkeley Over POS RF Warning Ordinance

In a move surprising no one who has studied history or the CTIA v. San Francisco case from July, 2010, CTIA, one of the two main wireless industry trade associations, has sued the City of Berkeley over its ordinance titled, “REQUIRING NOTICE CONCERNING RADIO FREQUENCY EXPOSURE OF CELL PHONES.”

The ordinance, codified at Chapter 9.96 of the City’s Municipal Code requires sellers and lessors of cell phones to provide the following point of sale notice:

The City of Berkeley requires that you be provided the following notice:

To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet
radio frequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone
in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and
connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines
for exposure to RF radiation. This potential risk is greater for children.

Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information
about how to use your phone safely.

If you would like to read the CTIA v. Berkeley compliant, filed on June 8, 2015, CLICK HERE.  (PDF; about 1.5 Mb)

The complaint’s first paragraph sets the tone: “The City of Berkeley, California (“the City”) may be entitled to its opinions, however unfounded.” Enjoy the rest of the complaint, which is framed as a First Amendment ‘freedom not be forced to speak’ claim.

CTIA seeks the following:

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays that this Court:
(A) Enter a judgment declaring that Berkeley’s required disclosure regarding RF
Exposure, codified at Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 9.96, impermissibly abridges CTIA’s
members’ First Amendment rights;
(B) Enter a judgment declaring that Berkeley’s required disclosure regarding RF
Exposure, codified at Berkeley Municipal Code Chapter 9.96, is preempted by federal law;
(C) Enter an injunction barring Defendants the City of Berkeley, California and Christine
Daniel, the City Manager of Berkeley, California, from enforcing or causing to be enforced Berkeley
Municipal Code Chapter 9.96 in order to prevent imminent and irreparable injury to CTIA’s members and harm to the public;
(D) Grant CTIA such relief as it deems just and proper, including an award of reasonable
attorneys’ fees and the costs of this action.

By the way, that last prayer for relief–for reasonable attorney’s fees–lead me to wonder what reasonable might be. It turns out that the CTIA’s lead attorney on the suit, Theodore B. Olson made some news in his own right about his own fees. It was highlighted in a National Law Journal article published on January 5, 2015 which said, in relevant part,

“Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, with an $1,800 hourly rate for Theodore Olson, an outlier, had the highest rate the NLJ could find in public records.”

Read more HERE.

-Jonathan

PS: Interestingly, CTIA sued the City and the City Manager (in her official capacity) but they didn’t sue the members of the City Council (in any capacity) who actually voted for the ordinance.  Hummm.  jlk

PPS: I’d like to be able to charge $30 per minute for my own wise legal counsel.  Any takers? jlk

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T-Mobile + Dish = Tish!

How could I not have spotted the name before now!

T-Mobile_Dish.ani.kramer

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T-Dish? Mobile-D? Deep Dish Pizza?

Word on the street is that T-Mobile and Dish are talking merger.   Dish has lots of bandwidth but in the wrong direction.  T-Mobile has, well… it’s pink.   And T-Mobile is likely to still have some of the Post-AT&T money.  And it has some bandwidth.  And it’s pink.

Actually might be a very interesting combination.

jlk

PS: I’ll work up a proposed logo real soon now.  It will be pink.

(UPDATE: I have figured out what should be the official name of the joined lovebirds, and a proposed family crest.  See this link)

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AB57: End of Local Cell Site Zoning in California?

AB 57, no longer called the “Broadband Communications Infrastructure Act”  has now morphed into the wireless industry’s dream: a deemed approved remedy for cell tower siting, and (vitally) a statewide policy shift that cell sites are NOT a municipal concern; rather they are matter best left for the state.

AB 57 has become an exercise in bait and switch: The pro-consumer first version of AB 57 (the bait) has morphed to be a huge gift to the wireless industry (the switch).

Here’s what the bill says now:

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

Section 65964.1 is added to the Government Code to read:

(a) A colocation or siting application for a wireless telecommunications facility, as defined in Section 65850.6, shall be deemed approved if both of the following occur:

(1) The city or county fails to approve or disapprove the application within the time periods established by the Federal Communications Commission in In re Petition for Declaratory Ruling, 24 FCC Rcd. 13994 (2009).

(2) All public notices regarding the application have been provided consistent with the public notice requirements for the
application.

(b) The Legislature finds and declares that a wireless telecommunications facility has a significant economic impact in California and is not a municipal affair as that term is used in Section 5 of Article XI of the California Constitution, but is a matter of statewide concern.

Assembly Member Bill Quirk, a Democrat from California’s 20th District, has created language that even the FCC was unwilling to do: AB 57 creates a ‘deemed approved’ remedy for shot clock issues related to new sites and collocations that are not covered by Section 6409(a).

Here’s the kicker: Assembly Member Bill Quirk’s legislation says that cell siting is NOT a local affair, but rather one of statewide interest. This would mark the start of state-wide preemption of cell tower siting if this legislation becomes law.

This is a massive gift bill to California’s wireless industry at the expense of Assembly Member Quirk’s constituents, and every resident in California.

Time to put the brakes on this ill-conceived legislation that has the wireless industry’s fingerprints all over it.

Why not call and ask Assembly Member Quirk why he’s favoring the wireless industry over his own constituents.

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AB 57: Now the Cell Tower Siting Fangs Are Out

AB 57, which should be called the “Cell Site Gift Act of 2015″ was amended yesterday in the Assembly to add real fangs intended to bite Californians in favor of the wireless industry.

The bill by Assembly Member Bill Quirk (D, 20th) now simply says the following:

(a) A colocation or siting application for a . . . → Read More: AB 57: Now the Cell Tower Siting Fangs Are Out

Attack of the Drones

It’s unusual for me to republish press releases, but this one caught my eye. -jlk ATLANTA, March 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Solusia Air, LLC, an affiliate of Solusia Services, LLC, today announced it has been awarded an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to deploy unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to perform asset audits and . . . → Read More: Attack of the Drones

Rick Ellrod’s Good Idea

Rick Ellrod, the Director of the Communications Policy and Regulatory Division of the Department of Cbale and Consumer Affairs for Fairfax County, Virginia had a good idea regarding the electricity generating tree (read more HERE). Add some tiny illuminations to light of the tree at night.

Here’s my take on Rick’s idea:

. . . → Read More: Rick Ellrod’s Good Idea

A Power-Generating Faux Tree

For my friends in local government service, this should be on your radar. It’s on mine.

I find this design to be aesthetically compelling in an urban landscape.

For more see: www.newwind.fr (In French only, at least for now.)

AB57 Amended: First Baby Tooth Added

As I predicted in yesterday’s post, AB 57 was, in fact, amended to start adding teeth. The first tooth is a innocuous…adding a representative of the League of California Cities and a representative of the California State Association of Counties to the board of the California Broadband Council.

But in the best hide-the-ball tradition, the . . . → Read More: AB57 Amended: First Baby Tooth Added

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