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Local Government: Telecommunications and Utilities

Broadband, Communications, and Public Utilities Law

Our attorneys’ expertise in broadband, communications, and public utility law includes an active practice on behalf of local governments throughout the country on matters relating to compliance with and interpretation of a wide variety of federal and state communications and utilities laws and regulations. Today, a major focus involves working with local and regional governments studying, developing and implementing community broadband plans.

Our experience includes working with state, local, and tribal governments, and non-profit entities on matters such as:

  • Drafting comprehensive telecommunications policies, zoning ordinances addressing towers and antenna siting, and right-of-way management ordinances;
  • Addressing public safety communications issues;
  • Conducting community cable and broadband needs assessments;
  • Negotiating cable franchise agreements;
  • Addressing franchise transfers; and
  • Providing advice on (and prosecuting, if needed) cable television franchise violations.

We represent clients in Federal Communications Commission rulemaking proceedings, Board of Public Utilities proceedings and in state and federal court on telecommunications and utility matters.  We also work with local governments on technology issues such as social media policies and the impact of new federal regulations related to unmanned aircraft (drones).

In addition, we have worked with clients of all sizes in connection with gas and electric franchise agreements, pole attachments, siting of major utility facilities, electric and gas rate cases, power purchase agreements, renewable energy leasing, and enforcement of franchise provisions. HCK’s attorneys regularly present to local elected officials and staff regarding the scope of local versus state regulatory authority over public utility service providers, and have drafted municipal and county code provisions to implement local authority in order to maximize local control.

Our telecommunications and utility attorneys work with private property owners in connection with leases of real estate and building space for placement of wireless communications, solar, and wind energy facilities, and easements for wireless communications and electric and gas utility facilities.

Ken Fellman regularly speaks on communications and utility issues, and is widely published. He is a past president of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors. In 2011, 2013 and 2016, the Federal Communications Commission appointed Ken as a member of its Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, and he previously served as Chair of the FCC’s Local and State Government Advisory Committee from 1997 to 2003.

Brandon Dittman specializes in both energy/utility and broadband/technology issues and regularly speaks on energy, environmental and technology matters.  He is a member of the American Bar Association’s Infrastructure and Regulated Industries Section and is active in developing energy and environmental policy.

Our telecommunications and utilities clients include the Jersey Access Group, local governments of all sizes and private property owners throughout the country.

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Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

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