Header graphic for print
Global Media and Communications Watch The International Legal Blog for the Tech, Media and Telecoms Industry

Tag Archives: Federal Communications Commission

Posted in Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Mark BrennanPhoto of Arpan Sura

Second Circuit Panel Sides with Ninth Circuit on What Qualifies as an Autodialer

A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Duran v. La Boom Disco, Inc. has interrupted the emerging consensus around the definition of “autodialer” in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). On April 7, 2020, a Second Circuit panel joined a Ninth Circuit panel in adopting a broad reading of the statutory definition of “automatic telephone dialing system” (ATDS), commonly referred to as an autodialer.

Posted in Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Michele FarquharPhoto of Ari FitzgeraldPhoto of Trey HanburyPhoto of Arpan Sura

Executive Order Creates Committee to Replace “Team Telecom” Review of Foreign Telecom Investments

President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order creating a new multiagency process for Executive Branch review of telecommunications-related applications and licenses involving foreign participation in the telecommunications sector. The newly established Executive Branch committee ostensibly replaces the review currently conducted by an informal, multiagency group known as “Team Telecom.” But the Committee’s mandate includes several novel features that expand the reach and scope of national security review beyond what Team Telecom could accomplish.

Posted in Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Mark BrennanPhoto of Arpan Sura

FCC Confirms that Certain COVID-19 Communications Fall Within the TCPA’s “Emergency Purposes” Exception

Hospitals, health care providers, health officials, and other government officials may use automated calls and text messages to communicate information about COVID-19 when “necessary to protect the health and safety of citizens,” without violating the TCPA.  The FCC released the Declaratory Ruling on its own motion, without being prompted to do so by a regulated party.

Posted in Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Mark BrennanPhoto of Arpan Sura

Eleventh Cir. Rejects Broad Reading of “Autodialer”

The key issue is how to interpret ambiguous language in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (TCPA) definition of “automatic telephone dialing system.” The Eleventh Circuit panel’s decision in Glasser rejects that trend, joins the D.C. Circuit in adopting a much narrower view of the TCPA’s scope, and establishes a clear circuit split with the Ninth Circuit.

Posted in Policy & Regulation, Spectrum Photo of Trey HanburyPhoto of Ari Fitzgerald

FCC Issues Public Notice on Spectrum Allocations for UAS Operations

The FCC recently issued a Public Notice that sought comment on whether to make the 960-1164 MHz and 5030-5091 MHz bands available to support unmanned aerial system operations (UAS). The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 required the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the FCC to submit a report to Congress on whether to allow UAS communications in these frequencies. The joint agency report must discuss: (1) whether the FCC should permit, but not require, UAS operations in these bands on an unlicensed, shared,

Posted in Policy & Regulation, Spectrum Photo of Michele FarquharPhoto of Ari Fitzgerald

FCBA Event Highlights Innovative History and Future for Spectrum Auctions

On November 12, members of the Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) gathered in Washington, DC, to commemorate 25 years of spectrum auctions at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  Hosted at Hogan Lovells LLP, the event featured current and former FCC staff members and industry lawyers, who discussed the history and future of spectrum auctions. The FCC’s leadership and strong record of innovation in administering spectrum auctions was a recurrent theme of the program. The Beginning of Spectrum Auctions The first panel focused on the early days of spectrum auctions at

Posted in Policy & Regulation, Technology Photo of Trey Hanbury

FCC Announces Members of Precision Agriculture Task Force

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in consultation with the Department of Agriculture, announced the members of the Task Force for Reviewing the Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture in the United States (Task Force). The Task Force, an advisory body to the FCC, will investigate the current state of broadband access in agricultural lands and recommend policies and regulatory solutions to the FCC to promote broadband deployment and precision agriculture, standardize data collections, and target funding towards unserved areas.  The Task Force is also slated to identify ways for

Posted in Policy & Regulation, Spectrum, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Trey Hanbury

FCC Announces Participants in Auction 103

In a Public Notice released October 7, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the status of the 39 short-form applications for Auction 103, which is scheduled to begin on December 10, 2019. Auction 103 will offer 14,144 licenses covering some 3,400 megahertz of spectrum in the Upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands. The FCC announced 29 complete and 10 incomplete applications for Auction 103. All applicants with complete applications will become qualified bidders upon receipt by the FCC of the required upfront payment by October 22,

Posted in Policy & Regulation Photo of Mark BrennanPhoto of Arpan SuraPhoto of John Castle

California Enacts Another CCPA – Robocall Legislation

On October 2, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Consumer Call Protection Act of 2019 to address the rise in deceptive robocalls and protect California consumers from fraudulent calls. The law requires telecommunications service providers to implement Secure Telephony Identity Revisited (STIR) and Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs (SHAKEN) protocols by January 1, 2021.  These protocols are designed to attest to the authenticity of caller identification data and provide service providers with information to help ensure that calls are not spoofed.  

Posted in Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Mark BrennanPhoto of Arpan Sura

Eighth Circuit Finds that Bare “Technical Violations” of the TCPA Do Not Establish Standing

In St. Louis Heart Center v. Nomax, Inc., the Eighth Circuit held that an “alleged failure to provide a technically compliant opt-out notice” in a fax advertisement, without more, does not give a plaintiff Article III standing to bring a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) claim. The Eighth Circuit’s decision requires that the alleged injury be “traceable” to statutory non-compliance.  In other words, the plaintiff must show a causal connection between the harm she suffered and the defendant’s TCPA violation. By way of background, the TCPA and FCC’s TCPA regulations

Posted in Drones Photo of Mark BrennanPhoto of Lisa EllmanPhoto of Trey Hanbury

No Fly Zone: FCC Proposes $2.8 Million Penalty for Marketing Non-Compliant Drone AV Accessories

The Federal Communications Commission is proposing to bring a $2.8 million penalty against HobbyKing for marketing drone-attachable audio/video (AV) transmitters that operate on unauthorized frequencies. For marketers and retailers of unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) and attachable devices, this penalty signals that the FCC is cracking down on the makers and marketers of noncompliant UAS and UAS-attachable devices. This penalty also serves as a reminder to operators, who are required to have an FCC license to operate a drone, even if it only operates on amateur frequencies. According the FCC’s Notice of

Posted in Technology Photo of Tony LinPhoto of Sarah K. Leggin

FCC set to initiate “small satellite” Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

On 27 March 2018, the FCC released a draft of its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) (which was adopted on 17 April 2018) seeking comments on proposals to streamline the licensing process for “small satellites,” more commonly known as “smallsats.” By initiating this proceeding, which has been long-anticipated by the smallsat community, the FCC will be recognizing the growing role of smallsat systems in commercial space activities (which we’ve blogged about here and here) and that greater flexibility in the FCC’s “Part 25” satellite licensing rules would be helpful in

Posted in Policy & Regulation Photo of Hilary TompkinsPhoto of Trey HanburyPhoto of Sarah K. Leggin

Ending the Twilight Saga: FCC Proposes Slashing Regulations to Speed Broadband Deployment

The FCC has proposed to exclude so-called “Twilight Towers” from routine historic preservation review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (“NHPA”) and its regulations.  Section 106 requires a federal agency to engage in a consultation process, which involves identification of a project’s adverse effects on historic and cultural properties and engagement with various interested parties, such as state or tribal historic preservation officers, the project sponsor, and other interested stakeholders, to address such effects.  Twilight Towers are towers that were built between March 16, 2001 and March

Posted in Spectrum, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Sarah K. Leggin

Focused on 5G: Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Chief Don Stockdale Delivers Keynote Address on Top Issues Before the FCC

In his keynote address at the 6th Annual Winnik Forum, Don Stockdale, the FCC’s new Wireless Bureau Chief, described the primary issues he faces as promoting innovation, making more spectrum available for commercial use, and expanding the deployment of wireless networks.  Don began his appointment in June 2017, but has extensive experience as an economist and attorney in both the private and public sectors, with over 15 years of experience at the FCC alone. Don indicated that the biggest challenges facing the telecom industry today are: How the FCC has

Posted in Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Camillie Landron

Tom Sullivan Reflects on His Role as International Bureau Chief

During his remarks at the Winnik Forum, International Bureau Chief Tom Sullivan reflected on the challenges and opportunities of his role as the United States’ top communications diplomat.  “Everyone wants to know what the FCC is doing,” he said.  This interest affords the United States, and the FCC, significant opportunities to exert influence on the most pressing issues at the international level. According to Sullivan, however, actually convincing other countries to collaborate—or even agree—on priorities, is no easy task.  When relating recent successes sharing best practices with developing countries, Sullivan

Posted in Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Alexander MaltasPhoto of Wesley Platt

FCC Commissioners Debate Adjustments to Merger Review Standard

In the first major transaction approval under Ajit Pai’s Chairmanship, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) recently approved, subject to targeted, transaction-specific conditions, license and authorization transfers in connection with CenturyLink’s $34 billion acquisition of Level 3.  The FCC’s recitation of its merger review standard in its order (the “CenturyLink-Level 3 Order”) differed somewhat from the description of the standard used in recent transactions reviewed during the Obama administration.  The Commissioners’ separate statements debated whether the new formulation merely clarified the FCC’s existing standard or constituted a substantial alteration of the

Posted in Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Mark BrennanPhoto of Sarah K. Leggin

FCC Extends TCPA Liability to Technology Platform Provider

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has adopted a Forfeiture Order (“Order”) imposing a nearly $2.9 million penalty against Dialing Services, LLC (“Dialing Services”) for making prerecorded voice calls to wireless phones without the “prior express consent” of the called parties.  This Order is notable because the FCC targeted the technology platform provider rather than the provider’s customer.

Posted in Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Michele FarquharPhoto of Sean Spivey

FCC Proposes Increased Service Obligations on Wireless Licensees Seeking Renewal

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has released a draft Second Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on renewal requirements and permanent discontinuance rules for a variety of wireless services.[1]  The Draft Further Notice proposes new rules—such as additional renewal term construction obligations to enhance rural build-out—that, if adopted, would have far-reaching implications for wireless licensees. In 2010, the FCC proposed to “create consistent requirements for renewal of [wireless spectrum] licenses and consistent consequences for discontinuance of service, and to clarify construction obligations for spectrum licenses that have

Posted in Data Protection & Privacy, Telecoms & Broadband

FCC Chairman Announces Intent to Stay Broadband Data Security Rules

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Media Relations Office has released a statement announcing Chairman Pai’s intention to stay a data security rule adopted by the Commission late last year in its Broadband Privacy Order.  Absent a stay, the rule is set to go into effect on March 2. The data security rule at issue states in its entirety: A telecommunications carrier must take reasonable measures to protect customer proprietary information from unauthorized use, disclosure, or access. The security measures taken by a telecommunications carrier to implement the requirement set forth

Posted in Copyright, Internet, Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Mark BrennanPhoto of Tony Lin

U.S. FCC Releases Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Extend Video Programming Rights to Over-the-Top Video Providers

Note: The post below has been updated to reflect extended comment and reply comment filing deadlines. On December 19, 2014, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) proposing to give over-the-top (“OTT”) video programming providers certain legacy negotiating and carriage rights with respect to both cable programming (i.e. program access rights) and broadcast television programming (i.e. retransmission consent rights).  As we previously reported, the FCC proposes doing so to facilitate the availability of cable and broadcast television programming to OTT providers and enhance consumer

Posted in Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Mark BrennanPhoto of Tony Lin

U.S. FCC Chairman Proposes to Extend Video Programming Rights to Over-the-Top Video Providers

On October 28, 2014, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that he is proposing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) to give over-the-top (“OTT”) video providers certain legacy negotiating and carriage rights with respect to cable programming (i.e. program access rights) and broadcast television programming (i.e. retransmission consent rights).  Chairman Wheeler explained that such regulations are necessary to ensure the availability of cable and broadcast television programming to OTT video providers.  By adopting these proposed regulations, the Chairman seeks to enhance consumer choice and competition in

Posted in Licensing, Policy & Regulation, Spectrum, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Trey Hanbury

Sequestration Could Potentially Delay Telecom Deals and Slow Smartphone Offerings, But Should Not Affect Phone Subsidy and Auction Programs

When last year’s “supercommittee” failed to reach consensus on a plan to reduce the deficit, it set in motion $1.2 trillion in defense and non-defense spending cuts for 2013. If Congress does not act to prevent this “sequestration” by January 2, 2013, the budget axe will fall across virtually every element of the US government. The Office of Management and Budget has detailed how sequestration will affect individual government agencies. Like other agencies, the Federal Communications Commission would need to implement dramatic reductions in spending: sequestration will require the FCC to cut

Posted in Policy & Regulation, Spectrum, Telecoms & Broadband

FCC’s WCS Order Raises Cheers … and Questions

Written by Trey Hanbury and Phillip Berenbroick In a move that has the potential to unleash new broadband deployment across the United States, the Federal Communications Commission recently loosened technical constraints on the long-dormant 2.3 GHz band.  The rules that the FCC adopted October 17, 2012 essentially ratify a joint proposal that the two largest licensees in the band, the wireless operator AT&T and the satellite radio company Sirius XM, first advanced in June 2012. The FCC praised its decision as part of its ongoing effort to “address the continued