On “Nearly Unprecedented” M&A Run, AT&T Flirts with T-Mobile Acquisition

AT&T recently acquired television provider DirecTV for $49 billion, offered $85 billion for Time Warner and is floating the idea of buying out competitor T-Mobile—which would come at an estimated $70 billion price tag, reports 24/7 Wall Street.

AT&T attempted to buy T-Mobile in 2011, but the potentially $39 billion deal fell through. Buyout talks have been reignited due to Softbank, Sprint’s majority shareholders’ interest in a potential transaction with Deutsche Telekom, which is controlled by T-Mobile.
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American Tower v. Univ. of Iowa and Connectivity, in Court Over DAS Buildout

In December 2013, American Tower Corp. (AMT) entered into an agreement with the University of Iowa to install and operate two DAS networks for the Hawkeye’s football and basketball venues—Kinnick Stadium and Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The relationship between the two parties quickly soured from that point on.

In August 2015, the University of Iowa notified it was “immediately terminating the agreement” with AMT due to the company’s failure to complete the project in a timely manner, according to The Gazette. Continue reading

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Satellite Broadband Poised For Takeoff As Orbiters Get Smaller

Satellites built by broadband hardware and service provider, ViaSat, are getting smaller, and more capable, said chief executive officer Mark Dankberg. According to Space News, he told investors, “They only require utility cabinets instead of dedicated buildings for their local hardware, they support more spectrum, and are much less expensive to maintain and operate. They are also designed for high reliability and tolerance to terrestrial network outages and weather effects.” Continue reading

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Wisconsin Bill Tries to Give Municipalities More Leverage in Zoning Battles

A provision adopted in the state’s 2013 budget has made it much more difficult for local municipalities to regulate the location of cell towers in the state. Now, Wisconsin municipalities are pushing back and they’ve found a champion of their cause in State Rep. Jim Ott. Ott introduced a bill in the state Assembly earlier this week that would enable municipalities to adopt rules that would prevent the construction of cell towers on residential lots, reports GM Today.
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Governor Leaning Toward Rebidding State-Owned Cell Tower Lease Deal

indianaUPDATE: After the fallout of an agreement with Agile Networks to lease space on the 340 state-owned towers, several of Indiana’s bicentennial construction projects proposed by Vice President and former Indiana governor Mike Pence may be put on hold, reports The Journal Gazette.

But current governor Eric Holcomb said he hopes to complete those projects and is leaning toward rebidding a new wireless agreement later this year. “The projects that would have benefitted from this revenue source are worthy projects, and I’d like to see them come to fruition,” Holcomb told the Journal Gazette. Continue reading

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Ohio Municipalities Fight Back Against State and Carriers with Zoning Rules

OHIOH SEALUPDATE In December, the Ohio State Legislature passed SB 331, which received heavy support from the wireless community but significant pushback from local municipalities who believed the bill restricted their authority to regulate small cell deployment.

Now, municipalities in the state are aiming to implement zoning laws and restrictions that exercise their local authority while simultaneously complying with the 2016 state law, reports Crain’s Cleveland Business.

For example, Strongsville, a suburb located southeast of Cleveland, plans to put in place regulations designed to regulate small cell deployment for health and safety reasons, something Strongsville law director Neal M. Jamison believes the state law allows.  
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Clock Phase Auction Bidding Ends, Winning Bidders Focus on Frequency Blocks

Bidding ended in the “clock phase” of the forward auction on Friday. This means the broadcast incentive auction now proceeds to the assignment phase, in which winning forward auction wireless bidders can bid for specific frequency blocks.

The auction proceeds as of the end of the clock phase were $19,632,506,746, according to the FCC. Companies bid on 70 MHz of broadcast spectrum that will be re-purposed for wireless use. The clearing target was 84 MHz, which includes guard bands.

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Indiana Governor Cancels Pence’s Wireless Deal to Fund Construction Projects

agileUPDATE: Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced the Indiana Finance Authority has “terminated” a 25-year, $260 million agreement with Ohio-based Agile Networks to lease space on state-owned communication towers, reports the Indianapolis Business Journal.

This comes after the deal, which was reported in December by Inside Towers, received significant pushback from groups like the Indiana Cable Telecommunications Association and the Indiana Broadband and Technology Association who opposed the expansiveness of the transaction, which would have included the state’s fiber infrastructure and public rights-of-way.

Holcomb told the Indianapolis Business Journal that he “lean[s] into rebidding this, but want[s] to make sure we get a deal, and a deal just never materialized.” Continue reading

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Small Cell Siting Right-of-Way Relief Advocates Petition the FCC

Nearly 130 comments have rolled into the FCC so far about Mobilitie’s request for a ruling on small cell siting, according to an examination of the records by Inside Towers. Mobilitie specifically sought relief from “excessive charges” for access to public rights-of-way. The agency widened its request for public input beyond the petition and invited comments more broadly about how to ease small cell siting, noting that “It is our responsibility to ensure that this deployment of network facilities does not become subject to delay caused by unnecessarily time-consuming and costly siting review processes that may be in conflict with the Communications Act.” Continue reading

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Super Bowl Usage Shatters Previous Single Day Record by Over 10 TB

houston stadiumUPDATE: Super Bowl LI will not only be remembered for the record-breaking 28-point comeback mounted by Tom Brady and the Patriots, but also for another record breaking statistic—the most single-day wireless data use mark.

Although not yet official, fans inside Houston’s NRG Stadium used at least 36.4 terabytes (TB) of data, reports Mobile Sports Report, which is 10 TB more than the previous single day record of 26 TB of data used during last year’s Super Bowl in Santa Clara, California.

According to the stadium WiFi system, 10.6 TB of data was used, which tops the 10.1 TB used during Super Bowl 50. Continue reading

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