Thursday, June 30, 2016

Reverse Auction Concludes, Clearing Price Tops $86 Billion

he first reverse auction of the FCC’s Broadcast Incentive Auction ended yesterday, with “the Bogey,” i.e., the clearing price, topping a steep $86.4 billion. The forward auction is expected to begin next month, giving carriers the opportunity to bid for the auctioned spectrum. The auction will only conclude if bidders offer an amount higher than “the Bogey.”
This clearing price is much higher than anticipated, and analysts are skeptical that it will be topped in the forward auction. If it is not, the FCC will decrease the amount of spectrum offered—from 126 MHz to 114 MHz—and will begin the process over again until bidders top the clearing price. Continue Reading

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

NAB and the FCC at Odds Over Media Ownership Review

In response to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler circulating a quadrennial media ownership review affecting broadcast ownership regulations, NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton replied,  “We’re disappointed that Chairman Wheeler continues to ignore the will of both the courts and Congress by proposing to retain broadcast ownership rules that long ago outlived their usefulness.”

“It is shocking that regulators who bless mammoth mergers like AT&T/DirecTV and Charter/Time Warner Cable would still bar common ownership of two TV stations or broadcast/newspaper combinations in a local market,” he said. NAB, the National Association of Broadcasters, bill themselves as “the premier advocacy association for America’s broadcasters” while representing radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs.
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Thursday, June 23, 2016

SBA Communications Corp. Subsidiary Initiates $700M Secured Securities

BOCA RATON, FL-- SBA Communications Corporation (Nasdaq: SBAC) ("SBA") has announced that an indirect subsidiary of SBA has priced an offering of $700 million of Secured Tower Revenue Securities Series 2016-1 (the "Series 2016-1 Securities"), which have an anticipated repayment date of July 2021 and a final maturity date of July 2046. The Series 2016-1 Securities will be issued by SBA Tower Trust and will be guaranteed by, among others, SBA Guarantor LLC and SBA Holdings LLC.

The Series 2016-1 Securities will bear interest at 2.877% per annum. Net proceeds from this offering will be used to make a cash distribution to SBA Guarantor LLC which will further distribute or contribute such amount to one or more other SBA entities, directly or indirectly, to be used to prepay in full $550 million outstanding of Series 2010-2C Securities, and for general corporate purposes. The offering of the Series 2016-1 Securities is expected to close on or about July 7, 2016. Continue Reading

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Vertical Bridge Closes On Offering Led by Deutsche Bank Securities and Barclays

Vertical Bridge, the largest private owner and manager of wireless communication infrastructure in the U.S., yesterday announced it has closed on a $321 million asset-backed securities offering led by Deutsche Bank Securities and Barclays. The issuance, which is secured by more than 1,500 Vertical Bridge tower sites across the U.S., gives the company additional flexibility to continue its real estate portfolio expansion.
Concurrently, Vertical Bridge paid off its existing Senior Credit Facility, and the company entered into a new $400 million Senior Secured Credit Facility led by TD Securities, with Barclays Bank PLC, CIT Bank N.A., Deutsche Bank AG, JPMorgan Chase Bank, and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., as joint lead arrangers and joint book runners. Continue Reading

Monday, June 20, 2016

FCC Cites U.S. Cellular Corp. For Tower Violations in Two States

FCC_logoThe carrier was notified in a June 16 letter that it had violated several FCC regulations when it erected two towers in wetlands and in a floodplain without getting proper environmental assessments (EAs) and additional approvals to proceed. In a four-page letter from the Competition and Infrastructure Policy Division of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, the agency found USCC failed to file the required EAs, license applications “and await the Commission’s ruling on such submissions,” before registering the towers. Continue Reading

Thursday, June 16, 2016

New CTIA Videos Promote 5G, Explain Degrees of Spectrum

CTIA—The Wireless Association has posted two new videos on its website in the last week that promote a speedy allocation of high band spectrum by the FCC, and another that explains the differences of low, mid and high band spectrums.
The most recent, “#HighBandSectrum: Requires Bold Action on 5Gposted on June 13, is 54 seconds long and features CTIA President/CEO Meredith Attwell Baker; T-Mobile Vice Presiden, Radio Network Engineering and Development Mark McDiarmid, Verizon Vice President of Technology Planning Adam Koeppe; and Intel VP/Platform Engineering Group & GM, Next Generation and Standards, Asha Keddy, and it tells viewers “America has the chance to be bold in the race to 5G as long as the FCC acts in July 2016 to allocate #HighBandSpectrum. Agency action on #HighBandSpectrum is essential for America’s mobile industry to remain the world’s leader as we move to 5G.”

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Sprint’s High Wireless Act Without A Net?

Yesterday Inside Towers reported how Wall Street watchdog Seeking Alpha embraced Sprint’s plan to generally go tower-less, hoping to shave costs to a minimum by creating small cell networks on utility poles from California to Maryland with the help of Mobilitie LLC. But a revolution in the way a carrier densifies its service will not go unnoticed by anyone with skin in the game. And, Wall Street has that. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal profiled the Overland Park, KS operation in an article headlined “Sprint’s Wireless Fix: More Telephone Poles,” with the subhed, “Plan to improve network delayed as communities struggle with the unusual antenna requests.”
John Saw, Sprint’s chief technology officer, told the newspaper “It’s not a new concept. All carriers are trying to ‘densify’ their networks.” He added that Sprint’s goal is to be “cheaper and faster and more innovative” than its rivals. While other carriers are also hopping they can attach more antennas to existing utility poles “cash-strapped Sprint aims to take the concept further than rivals: It is hoping to install as many as 70,000 antennas in the public right of way over the next few years. By comparison, it has 40,000 traditional antenna sites on towers or rooftops,” WSJ reporter Ryan Knutson wrote. Continue Reading

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

NATE’s 2016 #ClimberConnection Campaign Uses Social Media to Share Safety Tips

climberBy Benjamin Horvath
Inside Towers Special Correspondent
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the Indiana Wireless Association’s 2016 Summer Newsletter. The IWA is committed to providing an industry voice for wireless companies across the Hoosier state.

Most tower climbers go through annual training so that they’re familiar with the requisite skills needed for their occupation, one that is potentially lethal if safety precautions are not taken. And while this regular training is oftentimes sufficient education for climbers, it’s still important for voices in the industry to consistently reinforce best safety practices and tips. With the explosion of new mediums of information (social media being the most prominent), there are now more ways than ever to capture climbers’ attentions.  Continue Reading

Monday, June 6, 2016

Dycom Pays Goodman Networks $107.5M for Certain Wireless, Wireline Assets

The 47-year-old Palm Beach Gardens operator will get Goodman’s wireless construction services in Texas, Georgia, Southern California and other markets. The new assets are expected to produce revenues ranging from $150 million to $165 million over the next twelve months, the companies said in a joint press release.Goodman expects the transaction to enable the company to shift its strategic focus towards its field services and professional services business segments while continuing to de-leverage and strengthen its financial position. The purchase price of $107.5 million is subject to adjustments for working capital and other specified items. Dycom (NYSE: DY) said it will be financed through a combination of cash on hand and borrowings under the company’s senior secured credit facility.
The companies offered no specifics about what exactly the deal entailed. Dycom is known for its construction, engineering, site locating, fulfillment and program management.  Continue Reading

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Note to Towerland: Use This Time to Prepare for the Rush!

It has been a week since the Wireless Infrastructure Association folded its tent in Dallas and went home to the nation’s capital to prepare for next year’s Wireless Infrastructure Show in Orlando, May 22-25. So there’s been some time since to ponder what exactly was the take away message for the tower industry from the 2016 gathering.
First, 2016 is a “trough year”, the year that buffers the truly slow down period from the go-go years. It ‘s a time to catch your breath, find your wallet and keys, and recharge for the coming busy season that is expected over the next decade.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

U.S. Appeals Okays Law Enforcement Use of Stingrays Without Warrants

Police departments will not need search warrants before using Stingrays to obtain tower and cell site information while tracking a suspect’s mobile phone. That’s the 12-3 ruling yesterday from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court in Richmond, VA held that the Fourth Amendment permits law-enforcement officials access to records created by service providers that show which cell towers mobile phones connect to when they are in use, the Wall Street Journal reported.
With the full bench of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voting, the decision allows investigators to get the information under the legal theory that it has been disclosed to third parties — in such instances, telephone companies, Politico said. Continue Reading