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Broadband and Telecommunications

Broadband connectivity: a necessity in today’s networked world and a competitive advantage for governments of all levels as they seek long-term economic growth and development.

Ice Miller’s broadband and telecommunications team offers holistic broadband advisory services to diverse clients spanning government, non-profit and private sectors.
 
The group’s strength is its decades of collective experience providing tailored insight and counsel, developing actionable strategies and executing comprehensive, cutting-edge solutions to unique broadband and telecommunications challenges.
 
Ice Miller provides its clients representation in traditional telecommunications matters, including local, state and federal regulatory issues, and has developed a significant practice providing sophisticated legal and policy analysis on broadband access initiatives, as well as broadband adoption, digital equity and digital inclusion efforts. We continually build upon our deep relationships with diverse stakeholders, providing such counsel and advocacy services as:
 
  • Counseling and representation regarding state and local regulatory compliance issues;
  • Representing public and private clients in the development and deployment of all types of wired and wireless telecommunications and broadband infrastructure;  
  • Developing broadband strategic plans for communities, regions, and states as they prepare for unprecedented increases in demand for high-speed, reliable, affordable connectivity;
  • Offering guidance and RFI/ RFP/RFQ development for public sector technology efforts;
  • Drafting comprehensive Right-of-Way and Wireless Communications ordinances for communities as they prepare for the upcoming Fifth Generation (5G) revolution and the heightened amount of infrastructure that this new mobile wireless connectivity will require;
  • Advising and advocating on behalf of clients on local, state, and federal broadband policy;
  • Counseling on Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensing and compliance;
  • Conducting state and federal regulatory due diligence for communications transactions;
  • Assisting with Smart City implementations and the integration of Internet of Things (IoT) into municipal functions, such as intelligent transportation systems and utility monitoring;
  • Creating public-private partnerships (P3s) for innovative broadband expansion initiatives;
  • Strategically integrating fiber and wireless network solutions into economic development initiatives in order to better position communities to attract and retain talent;
  • Providing telecommunications service negotiations and contracting assistance; and
  • Drafting fiber lease and use agreements to leverage integrated network investments.

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.

Agile Network Builders, LLC (“Agile”). Represented Agile, a hybrid fiber-wireless broadband provider, in its acquisition by InSite Wireless Group, LLC (“Insite”). Agile will continue operating as a division of InSite, which is based in Alexandria, Virginia. Prior to the acquisition, Ice Miller had been representing Agile since 2010 in various legal and consulting capacities. Agile had previously been awarded a contract to upgrade the Multi-Agency Radio Communications (MARCS) network in Ohio, which powers state emergency radio communications. The organization also contracts with state and local governments and private providers to expand broadband coverage in difficult to serve regions.

Ohio Department of Transportation. Ice Miller represented the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) in the development of its US-33 Smart Mobility Corridor, which is slated to be the longest connected / autonomous vehicle testing corridor in the world. This representation included creating the concept, drafting procurement and contract documents and handling contract negotiations. The project included the cities of Dublin and Marysville, Ohio; Union County, Ohio; Logan County; Ohio Economic Development; ODOT; Honda; Battelle; and engineering firm, Michael Baker International. More than $3.4 million in public and private match dollars has been contributed for the installation of a 432-strand fiber network and dedicated short-range communications / roadside units, the installation of communication devices/ Wi-Fi in fleets, warning systems and smart traffic signals, and data collection.

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. 

City of Dublin, Ohio. Ice Miller represented the City of Dublin in the development of “Dublink,” which includes 125 miles of fiber optics, a conduit system, and a Wi-Fi system, all connected to a municipal data center and OARnet. The City of Dublin and its Dublink project have attracted international attention, including being named one of the top seven intelligent communities of the year by the Intelligent Community Forum in both 2010 and 2011. Dublink also received an award from the National Science Foundation and the White House’s broadband initiative, US Ignite. Ice Miller subsequently represented the City in drafting agreements and negotiating transactions associated with the maintenance and sale of fibers for Dublink.
 
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.
 
 

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

Professionals

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