From the Ground-Up: The Ins and Outs of the Latest Tower Regulations
The last several years have brought a myriad of new policies regarding tower regulations. These changes have many in the industry wondering whether their towers are compliant with these ever-evolving policies. Indeed, some regulations are leaving more questions than answers. In this panel, participants will discuss these policies, including whether towers 50’-200’ need to be marked or lit, and what changes at the Federal Aviation Administration over the last two years are impacting these decisions? Additionally, panelists will discuss what may be happening with construction processes and working with tribes.
What’s the Frequency? How FCC Spectrum Policies Will Impact Your Utility
It is no secret that the demand for spectrum of all kinds is growing. The Federal Communications Commission continues pursuing ways to make more efficient use of the spectrum bands. These decisions are impacting utilities, who not only are guarding their existing spectrum but are also seeking to expand as grid modernization efforts take hold. For utilities considering what spectrum bands will best suit their operational needs and requirements, it is important they understand how the FCC will allow them to use the different frequency bands and what requirements may be imposed on licensees. In this discussion, attendees will be updated on the latest developments at the FCC and elsewhere. Presenters will discuss recent developments on spectrum issues for utilities, such as the 3.5 GHz band for WiMax deployments, 3.7-4.2 GHz band, mid-band spectrum between 3.7-24 GHz, 4.9 GHz, the 700 MHz FirstNet broadband network, a 900 MHz band realignment proposal, and other issues. This presentation will address how to locate available spectrum and obtain licenses through the FCC’s application process, spectrum auctions, third party assignments, or spectrum leases.
Resolved! An Update on UTC’s New Public Policy Resolution Process
9:45am - 10:45am
As activity in Washington on several issues critical to utility Information and Communications Technology (ICT) networks booms, the Utilities Technology Council is ramping up its advocacy efforts. Federal policies on spectrum, infrastructure, cybersecurity, and much more are impacting UTC members, blurring the lines between the energy and telecommunications industries. To ensure your voice is heard, UTC is implementing a process to formally develop positions reflecting your concerns. In this session, UTC staff will outline a new resolution process that will lead to the association taking formal positions on legislation, regulation, and much more. Attendees will find out how to impact UTC policy and how these resolutions will be used in UTC’s advocacy going forward.
Enabling Broadband: How Utilities Are Bridging the Digital Divide
Utilities are in a unique position to extend much-needed broadband services to rural America, with existing physical connections to rural customers and a ubiquitous network infrastructure that can be leveraged to provide reliable, fast, and affordable broadband to areas that are unserved or underserved by other commercial service providers. At the same time, the regulatory obligations facing utilities that are actively offering broadband or interested in doing so have changed dramatically just in the last two years and are continuing to evolve, presenting new challenges that utilities must be prepared to address in order to meet the needs of the customers they serve. In this presentation, we will discuss the various legal and regulatory issues involved in becoming a broadband service provider and the ways in which these issues can be effectively managed. We will also discuss how some utilities are addressing state restrictions on broadband services.
Connect America Fund Phase II Auction Is Coming
3:15pm - 4:15pm
On January 30, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission considered a Public Notice establishing procedures for the Connect America Fund Phase II auction, which will award up to $1.98 billion over 10 years to service providers that commit to offer voice and broadband services to fixed locations in unserved high-cost areas. (AU Docket No. 17-182; WC Docket No. 10-90). The draft Public Notice indicated that the CAFII auction will be scheduled for July 24, 2018, and the deadline for submitting short form applications to participate in the auction will be March 30, 2018. This is big news for UTC and its utility members! This session will provide the ins and outs of the auction and what to expect going forward.
The Skinny on 5G and Pole Attachments: What’s Next and What’s Pending at the FCC
4:30pm - 5:30pm
The Federal Communications Commission is pursuing new infrastructure rules to assist telecommunications firms as they deploy 5G wireless technologies. Telecommunications firms are aiming to revamp current pole-attachment rates and regulations, and utilities need to know how these efforts will impact their own infrastructure. Panelists will discuss recent conclusions from the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee as well as how these decisions could affect utility operations.