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Broadband and Telecommunications

Broadband connectivity. A staple utility in some markets, this network service offers an advantage for communities that are seeking economic growth and development. Fifth Generation (5G) mobile connectivity will set the next wireless telecommunications standard and support the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart City initiatives, each of which will create unprecedented new uses for internet-enabled devices and heighten demand for high-speed connectivity. Integrating and leveraging fiber optic and wireless networks through public-private partnerships will be essential for cities to obtain the full benefits of the upcoming 5G revolution and the integration of IoT into municipal functions, and can better position cities and villages to vie for businesses and organizations that are actively searching for ease in access to robust broadband.
Ice Miller’s broadband and telecommunications team offers insight and comprehensive solutions to broadband challenges facing local, state, federal, non-profit and private-sector clients. We work to strategically incorporate fiber and wireless solutions into communities and provide decisive guidance when a client aims to take advantage of its integrated network and wireless capabilities in order to better leverage the investment.
The group’s strength is its niche experience developing and executing strategies to assist clients in becoming leaders in the networked-world. Ice Miller provides policy analysis, auditing, stakeholder relations, technical planning and strategies critical to helping clients develop solutions and the resources necessary to implement cutting-edge broadband efforts. We continually build upon our unique relationships, providing such planning and advocacy services as:
  • Assistance to municipalities that seek to implement Smart City initiatives such as intelligent transportation systems, traffic control, utility monitoring, and more 
  • Development of broadband strategic plans for communities and states
  • RFP guidance and development for public sector technology efforts
  • Advising on state and local broadband policy priorities and initiatives
  • Drafting comprehensive Right-of-Way and Wireless Communications ordinances
  • Telecommunications contracting and service negotiations and agreements
  • Drafting of fiber optic agreements between public and private stakeholders

Representative Experience

The Miami Valley Communications Council (MVCC) was recognized as one of eleven “Smart 50 Award” winners for 2020 for its Gateway Fiber Project. This award is given in partnership by Smart Cities Connect, Smart Cities Connect Foundation and US Ignite to recognize and honor the 50 most transformative, innovative and influential “Smart City” projects from several countries around the globe. In addition to our MVCC representation, each of its member cities (Centerville, Kettering, Miamisburg, Moraine, Oakwood, Springboro and West Carrollton, Ohio) are, or previously have been, clients of the Firm.

Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet). Ice Miller represented OARnet in the development and implementation of its fiber optic network, the second largest state-owned fiber network in the country.
Ohio Board of Development. Ice Miller represented the Ohio Board of Development in the drafting of the Ohio Broadband Policy.
Ohio Department of Higher Education (formerly the Ohio Board of Regents). Ice Miller represented the Ohio Board of Regents and the Ohio Super Computer Center in the development and implementation of the OSCnet, the largest state-owned fiber network in the country.
City of Columbus, Ohio. Ice Miller represented the City of Columbus, Ohio in drafting the formal telecommunications policy for the city. Columbus was named Intelligent Community of the year in 2016 by the Intelligent Community Forum and won a $40M Smart City grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation.
City of Dublin, Ohio. Ice Miller represented the City of Dublin, Ohio in the development of the "Dublink" municipally owned fiber/conduit and Wi-Fi system. The Firm subsequently represented the city in drafting agreements and negotiating transactions associated with the maintenance and sale of fibers for Dublink.
Ohio Department of Transportation. Ice Miller represents ODOT in the development of its 33 Smart Corridor, which is slated to be the longest connected/ autonomous vehicle testing corridor in the world.

Represented the ODOT against a claim that it unlawfully terminated multiple contracts with a company managing third-party lease agreements for the use of macro and small cell towers on state-owned rights-of-way. The high-stakes, multimillion dollar case resulted in victories at both the trial and appellate levels and ultimately in a favorable settlement for ODOT.

Ohio Board of Tax Appeal. Represented an Internet, Data and VOIP communications company, which owns and operates data centers, in its appeal of a significant use tax assessment relating to telecommunications services. The Department of Taxation assessed use taxes on the client’s provision of efficient internet routes for customers on the grounds that the client’s selection of the pathways added new value and security to the pathways the client purchased from providers. The assessment was retrospective but also created risk of future, ongoing use tax assessments. We were able to resolve the assessment in the client’s favor through appeal to the Ohio Board of Tax Appeal. 
Municipalities. Ice Miller represented 50 communities in litigation of Ohio Senate Bill 331, which prevented cities from restricting small cell infrastructure placement in local rights-of-way, and was found to be unconstitutionally enacted by the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. Ice Miller then negotiated a new, better bill for the same municipalities.
Ice Miller represents municipalities with their Requests for Information (RFIs) and negotiates the creation and construction of fiber optic systems for cities and towns, including the cities of: New Albany, Gahanna and Dublin, Ohio. 

Firm Publications

Blog Posts

Speaking Engagements

  • "The Need for Connectivity, Steps for Access and Best Practices for Local Broadband Expansion," Ohio Municipal League, March 18, 2020
  • "Strategies for Successful Funding through USDA's ReConnect Program," Council of Development Finance Agencies, February 12, 2020
  • "Small Cell Towers Under ORC 4939 and The FCC Order," Ohio Municipal League, January 15, 2020
  • "The State of Broadband Access and Adoption," Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) webinar, December 4, 2019
  • "Case Studies and Best Practices for Broadband Expansion," Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA), December 3, 2019
  • "Small Cell Wireless: How Did We Get Here and What Does It Mean for Ohio Communities?" 2019 Ohio Municipal League Annual Conference, October 25, 2019
  • "The Need for Connectivity, Steps for Access and Best Practices for Local Broadband Expansion," Indiana Economic Development Association (IEDA), July 10, 2019
  • "ReConnecting Rural Broadband - Strategies for Funding Success," Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) webinar, May 10, 2019
  • "The Need for Connectivity, Steps for Access and Best Practices for Local Broadband Expansion," Ohio Economic Development Association (OEDA) webinar, April 17, 2019
  • "Alternative Business Models and Financing for Intelligent Network Infrastructure," Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition 8th Annual Conference, October 11, 2018
  • "Small Cell Towers as it relates to House Bill 478," Ohio Municipal Attorney Association, 2018 Municipal Law Institute Civil Session, July 26, 2018
  • "Small Cell Towers as it relates to Senate Bill 331 and House Bill 478," Ohio Municipal Attorney Association and The Ohio Municipal Law Institute webinar, June 21, 2018
  • "Creating Intelligent Communities: Local Government Strategies in Action," Net Inclusion Conference, April 17, 2018
  • "Alternative Business Models and Financing for Smart Cities," Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo, March 29, 2018
  • "A Rural Broadband Strategy to Connect Rural America," Ohio's Electric Cooperatives Winter Conference 2018, February 13, 2018
  • "Digital Equity," Columbus Kiwanis Club in Columbus, OH, January 8, 2018
  • "The Past, Present, and Future Technology Issues Facing Ohio," Public Safety Broadband Conference in Columbus, OH, November 2, 2017
  • "SB331/ORC 4939: How Did We Get Here and What Does It Mean for Ohio Communities?" 2017 APA Ohio Planning Conference in Athens, OH, September 29, 2017
  • “5G: What it is, how it will affect the environment for digital inclusion and how might 5G create opportunities for local government,” NDIA Net Inclusion 2017 Conference, May 16-17, 2017


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