Introduction to Utility Telecommunications and the Federal Communications Commission

Introduction to Utility Telecommunications and the Federal Communications Commission

April 28-29, 2021 | Online, Central Time

This course is designed to give professionals who work with or for energy utilities an understanding of how energy utilities use communications facilities and services and how those services and technologies are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). We will identify how those regulations impact energy utilities, both as a user of communication facilities and when applicable as a provider of those services.

The course will discuss the importance of communications to the modern energy utility, the types of systems that are used, an overview of the telecommunications industry, rapidly changing technology, and how FCC regulations can significantly impact utility operations. It will cover the basics of FCC compliance, spectrum acquisition and radio licensing, tower management, pole attachment regulations, and the unique transactional issues in procuring telecom or IT services from commercial service providers. The course will also identify current regulatory issues and trends in telecommunications that could impact utility operations.

Consumers are demanding new and faster ways of communicating and Corporations are struggling to keep up. The focus on application integration and the impact of the “cloud” is changing the way we do business and the technology required to support it. Who’s responsible for what? Why and how is “real-time communications” different from data communications? Join us to gain clarity on today’s confusing landscape and prepare to set your sights on the Next Generation Technologies.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain the interdependence between energy and communications
  • Describe how FCC regulations can significantly impact energy operations
  • Practice strategies for negotiating agreements with telecom and IT service providers
  • Discuss how to identify and mitigate regulatory and financial risks related to communications systems and services
  • Explain the basics of the many elements of telecommunications
  • Recognize what it takes to support the emerging technologies
  • Identify the current technology options and the future trends for developing technology



Wednesday, April 28, 2020

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In and Welcome

12:00 – 12:30 p.m.
Lunch Break

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Course Timing

How Energy Utilities Use Telecommunications

  • Public Switched Telephone Network
  • Carrier classifications
  • Analog, Digital, and IP Transmission basics
  • Copper and COAX Networks
  • Fiber optics and fiber-based networking technologies (DWDM, PON)
  • Land Mobile Radio and Microwave Radio
  • Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)
  • Wide Area Networks (WANs), including Multi-Protocol Labeling Services (MPLS)
  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and SIP Trunking
  • Cloud/Hosted Services versus Premises-based Systems

Utilities as Consumers of Telecom and IT Services

  • Types of services used to support utility operations
  • Negotiating agreements to save money and reduce risks
  • Suggested RFI and RFP processes
  • Crafting service agreements for telecom, IT, and cloud services, and the unique structure of these deals
  • Service Level Agreements
  • Dispute resolution

Current Issues / Telecom Developments

  • Telecom Transitions (from circuit-switched networks to IP-based networks)
  • Unified Communications
  • Broadband deployment and virtual networks
  • Net neutrality

Introduction to the Federal Communications Commission

  • Scope of FCC Jurisdiction and Enforcement
  • Statutory basis for FCC authority
  • Agency organization
  • Development of FCC rules and policy
  • State and Municipal Regulation

Utilities as Providers of Telecom, Infrastructure and Related Services

  • Wholesale (Infrastructure) Provider versus Retail (Services) Provider
  • Connectivity and Carrier Relationships
  • Transmission Options
    • Dark-fiber and indefeasible rights of use (IRUs)
    • Fiber to the Home, Fiber to the Node, etc.
    • Lit Fiber networking options (Active, PON, etc.)
    • RF Spectrum
  • FCC regulation of utility poles, conduits and rights-of-way
  • Strategies to minimize telecom regulation and regulatory fees
  • Leasing of utility facilities for wireless collocations

Thursday, April 29, 2020

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Course Timing

Regulation of Radio Spectrum Used in Utility Operations

  • Spectrum allocation and assignment process
  • Licensed vs. unlicensed spectrum
  • General conditions of FCC licensing authority
  • Obtaining Radio Spectrum for Utility Operations

Regulatory Conditions Associated with FCC Licenses

  • Eligibility for licensing
  • Permissible Uses
  • Modifications of license
  • License Assignments and Corporate Transfers of Control
  • Ancillary Issues in Radio Licensing

FCC Regulation of Antenna Structures

  • Notice to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • Environmental rules applicable to tower construction
    • Environmental protection (NEPA)
    • RF Radiation
    • Historic preservation

Telecom Trends

  • Software Defined Networks
  • Network security
  • Analytics and the role of Artificial Intelligence
  • The “Internet of Things”
  • 5G and next generation networks
  • Next Generation E911

Wrap Up: Top 5 FCC Compliance Issues for Energy Utilities


Laura McDonald, Partner, Levine, Blaszak, Block & Boothby, LLP

Ms. McDonald, a partner at LB3, has spent two and a half decades negotiating custom and complex network service agreements on behalf of enterprise users.  With the insight and perspective gained through her litigation and regulatory experience, and her on the ground experience, she negotiates contracts that minimize customer risk as they maximize customer leverage.  Ms. McDonald has negotiated scores res of multi-million dollar telecommunications, network and service deals on behalf of large enterprises in the professional services, real estate, hospitality, insurance, publishing, financial, and manufacturing sectors as well as on behalf of one of the largest municipalities in the US.  She assists in merging telecom contracts of acquired companies, helps enterprises navigate the regulatory issues surrounding network transactions and assists users in resolving disputes with carriers, resolving disputes with carriers, and conducts multi-team training to assist an enterprise in the development of new IT/telecom strategies. 

Ms. McDonald is lauded for her collaborative approach, working closely with all members of the client team – legal, procurement, engineering, and operations – to enable enterprises to assess their needs and risks, streamline the procurement of telecom and data services, and create comprehensive solutions and contracts.  


Jeffrey Sheldon Partner, Levine, Blaszak, Block & Boothby, LLP

Jeffrey L. Sheldon is a partner in the law firm of Levine, Blaszak, Block & Boothby, LLP, where he advises clients on a wide range of telecommunications regulatory and transactional issues, with an emphasis on the use of wireless technologies and the development of telecom infrastructure. Mr. Sheldon has advised clients with interests in wireless devices and systems, broadband deployment, pole attachments, and universal service. He has assisted clients in obtaining FCC authority for the operation of radio systems in a variety of frequency bands and radio services, including private and commercial mobile radio systems, point-to-point and point-to-multipoint microwave systems, satellite earth stations, and experimental radio systems. Mr. Sheldon has also represented companies in FCC enforcement proceedings, including the negotiation of consent decrees to resolve such cases. After beginning his career as an associate with a boutique communications law firm, Mr. Sheldon served as vice president and general counsel of the Utilities Telecom Council (UTC), where he represented the telecom and IT interests of electric, gas, and water utilities before the FCC, NTIA, Congress, and the courts.


J.R. Simmons, Principal Consultant, COMgroup, Inc.

J.R. Simmons has over 40 years of experience in the telecommunications systems industry, including over 30 years as a consultant providing strategic planning, design, analysis, and implementation management skills. He is considered a thought leader in unified communications and collaboration technologies. J.R. is the owner and Principal Consultant of COMgroup, Inc., which is located in Kirkland Washington. COMgroup is one of the most widely respected independent telecommunications consulting firms in the nation and a recognized leader for telecommunication systems design and communications infrastructure consulting projects. As an industry expert J.R. has provided expert testimony in several legal cases. He contributes to two of the most respected industry web sites (No Jitter and BC Strategies) and frequently gives speeches on a wide variety of telecommunications management and technology subjects. He taught advanced telecommunications courses for a Community College Certificate program and continues to teach via independent seminars, and educational programs such as this one offered by EUCI. J.R.’s experience includes work on complex telephone systems and call centers, cabling infrastructure and layer one electronics, and both local and wide area networks. His current projects tend to focus on strategic planning and business process analysis, but also include data networking design, systems analysis, unified communications, and contact centers. COMgroup works with organizations of all sizes with increasingly complex technical environments. As a teacher at heart, J.R. has a passion of sharing his knowledge of trends and emerging technology in an effort to educate others and assist his customers in making the best decisions. J.R.’s team are experts in all facets of voice and data communications; they provide professional services that incorporate multiple technology disciplines including:

  • Strategic planning
  • Functional and technical requirements definition
  • System design
  • Infrastructure communication design and cabling coordination
  • Contact Center design and operational improvements
  • Carrier services including Telecom Expense Management
  • Telecom facility/utility audit
  • Project management services

Online Delivery

We will be using Microsoft Teams to facilitate your participation in the upcoming event. You do not need to have an existing Teams account in order to participate in the broadcast – the course will play in your browser and you will have the option of using a microphone to speak with the room and ask questions, or type any questions in via the chat window and our on-site representative will relay your question to the instructor.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE: After November 30 you will not be able to join a Teams meeting using Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft recommends downloading and installing the Teams app if possible. You may also use the Edge browser or Chrome.
  • You will receive a meeting invitation will include a link to join the meeting.
  • Separate meeting invitations will be sent for the morning and afternoon sessions of the course.
    • You will need to join the appropriate meeting at the appropriate time.
  • If you are using a microphone, please ensure that it is muted until such time as you need to ask a question.
  • The remote meeting connection will be open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the course. We encourage you to connect as early as possible in case you experience any unforeseen problems.



Please Note: This event is being conducted entirely online. All attendees will connect and attend from their computer, one connection per purchase. For details please see our FAQ

If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all registrants for three business days after the event

Event Standard RateAttendees
Single Connection - Introduction to Utility Telecommunications and the Federal Communications CommissionUS $ 1195.00
Pack of 5 connectionsUS $ 4,780.00
Pack of 10 ConnectionsUS $ 8,365.00
Pack of 20 ConnectionsUS $ 14,340.00
Call us at 303.770.8800 if you have any specific questions on the volume discounts
* all other discounts do not apply to license packs

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Cancellation Policy

Your registration may be transferred to a member of your organization up to 24 hours in advance of the event. Cancellations must be received on or before March 26, 2021 in order to be refunded and will be subject to a US $195.00 processing fee per registrant. No refunds will be made after this date. Cancellations received after this date will create a credit of the tuition (less processing fee) good toward any other EUCI event. This credit will be good for six months from the cancellation date. In the event of non-attendance, all registration fees will be forfeited. In case of conference cancellation, EUCIs liability is limited to refund of the event registration fee only. For more information regarding administrative policies, such as complaints and refunds, please contact our offices at 303-770-8800

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Who should attend

The course is intended for attorneys, telecom and IT managers or technicians, outside plant managers, government affairs professionals, procurement specialists, and others whose scope of work includes at least some involvement with communications assets or services used in support of utility operations. The course will help in-house counsel better understand and manage regulatory and commercial risks, and will help others in the organization better understand how the FCC works and how to comply with FCC regulations. The course will also benefit the following professionals:

  • Telecom Analyst
  • Telecom Specialist
  • Voice and Data System Admins
  • Data communications staff
  • IT Business Analyst / Program Manager
  • Technical Project Managers
  • Telecom Field Installers / Engineers
  • Administrative and support staff from utility telecom departments



EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 1.0 CEUs for this event.

Requirements for Successful Completion of Program  

You must be logged in for the entire presentation and send in the evaluation after the online course is completed.

Instructional Methods  

PowerPoint presentations will be used in this course.  


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