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Moss & Barnett’s Municipal Communications group has represented several hundred public entities throughout the nation on communications matters. Our clients have ranged in size from large metropolitan areas such as Seattle, Washington; Norfolk, Virginia; and Minneapolis, Minnesota, to small Midwestern communities such as Asbury, Iowa; Sullivan, Illinois; and Beloit, Wisconsin. Our representation includes:
Competitive cable franchising
First amendment issues
800 MHz rebanding
Cellular tower siting
Leasing and zoning issues
Transfers of ownership
Other cable related and telecommunications issues
Our experience has made us particularly sensitive and knowledgeable regarding the needs and interests of municipal governments and allows Moss & Barnett to provide efficient legal services in a cost-effective manner. Several times each year Moss & Barnett prepares a Municipal Communications Law Update to provide our clients current information about events in Congress, the FCC and recent court decisions that may impact the client’s role in regulating communications services. The wide range and depth of our experience enables us to integrate specific legal and regulatory projects into a client’s broader objectives. For example, we have represented:
1. The City of Minneapolis in drafting the contract for its municipal wireless system covering 59 square miles of the City. The contract sets rates for a ten-year term and provides significant funding for related community benefits.
2. The Connecticut Department of Utility Control in 12 separate proceedings regarding renewal requests from franchised cable television providers in the State.
3. The City of Norfolk, Virginia, in renewal proceedings with Cox Communications to obtain significant funding for PEG and I-Net facilities.
4. A consortium of eight Silicon Valley communities in negotiations with Comcast to obtain a region-wide fiber network for municipal communications, as well as a model franchise for San Francisco Bay area communities.
5. The City of Virginia Beach, Virginia, in a mediated resolution of a Frequency Reconfiguration Agreement in the FCC mandated Sprint Nextel 800 MHz rebanding proceeding.
6. Several municipal utilities in negotiating pole attachment agreements with significantly increased attachment fees. We have also drafted conduit use agreements for these utilities to permit access by other communications companies.
7. The City of Sturgis, Kentucky, before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Sturgis was the first municipality in the country (and one of only three under the Cable Act) to successfully deny a cable operator’s request for cable television franchise renewal. Union CATV, Inc. v. City of Sturgis, Kentucky, 107 F.3d 434 (6th Cir. 1999).
8. The Minnesota League of Cities and Minnesota Association of Community Telecommunication Administrators - filing of comments to the FCC regarding the state franchising procedures and the importance of maintaining local franchising authority and right-of-way control.
9. A number of municipally owned cable systems in completing semi-annual copyright filings to the Copyright Royalty Tribunal as well as FCC registration and CLI compliance filings.
10. More than 30 communities regarding competitive overbuilds resulting in communities served by two or more operators providing competitive cable and broadband services.
11. The City of Marshall, Minnesota, in proceedings before the State Court of Appeals regarding a challenge to the City’s award of a second cable franchise.
Moss & Barnett is dedicated to keeping current on cable issues, and its attorneys regularly participate in seminars and programs of many organizations including the National Association of Cable Television Officers and Advisors, the National League of Cities, the International Municipal Lawyers Association and various other organizations. Further, Moss & Barnett has participated in rule-making proceedings of the FCC, legislative drafting of reports regarding Congressional bills and other proceedings to ensure that municipal interests are protected. Most recently we represented the Minnesota League of Cities and MACTA (NATOA-MN Chapter) before the FCC regarding a rulemaking proceeding concerning competitive franchising.
Brian T. Grogan, Esq. is a partner leading Moss & Barnett's representation of local units of government throughout the country on a variety of communications issues including:Cable and telecommunications franchising
Right-of-way management and ordinance drafting
Municipal wireless communications
Pole attachment negotiations
Public safety communications
Public utility commission and FCC proceedings
Yuri B. Berndt, Esq. is a partner practicing in the area of communications, tax and corporate law. Yuri is a Certified Public Accountant with prior experience at the McGladrey, Pullen accounting firm. He has been active in handling franchise fee compliance issues, financial qualifications, review of proposed transferees and related matters.
Timothy L. Gustin, Esq. is a partner specializing in real estate transactions. For our municipal clients Tim represents entities regarding:Cable television franchise renewals
Real estate issues concerning right-of-way occupation
Wireless tower siting and zoning
Tim is involved in the preparation of cable communication franchises, regulatory ordinances, resolutions, transfer reports, and related documents.