Wireless Radio Services

On August 28, 2018, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau announced a Consent Decree with Marriott International, Inc. (“Marriott”) to resolve an investigation into unauthorized transfers of wireless radio licenses in connection with Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (“Starwood”). The civil payment levied against Marriott and the other conditions set forth in the Consent Decree serve as a reminder to companies that may not normally be subject to the FCC’s jurisdiction to thoroughly review the regulatory implications of mergers, acquisitions, or other corporate transactions as part of any due diligence conducted before a deal is reached.

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At the beginning of August, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) took steps to reconcile a diversity of renewal requirements and permanent discontinuance conditions within its rules for many of the licensed radio services.  However, although the Second Report and Order (“Second R&O”) was published in the Federal Register September 1, the rules will take effect only in staggered fashion as set forth in the notice beginning on Monday, October 2, 2017, with significant portions set to take effect months later after further review or, per the FCC’s decision, years in the future.  In the interim, depending on the service and situation, existing rules governing renewals and discontinuance will continue to apply.  Licensees will certainly want to become familiar with the parts of the Second R&O pertinent to their rules service, whether the licenses were issued on a geographic or site-based basis.  Below, we breakdown the time frames in which the rules will take effect:
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