Effective Immediately! – FAR Amended to Include Prohibition on Chinese Telecommunications Equipment and Services in Government Contracts

In accordance with Section 889(a)(1)(A) of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (Pub. L. No. 115-232) (the “2019 NDAA”), which required imposition of broad restrictions on procurements involving certain Chinese telecommunications hardware manufacturers such as Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp within one year, the FAR Council has released an interim rule implementing these restrictions. Today, the FAR Council released Federal Acquisition Circular 2019-05 (84 Fed. Reg. 40,216), creating a new FAR Subpart 4.21, as well as two new contract clauses, FAR 52.204-24 and 52.204-25, all of which are effective August 13, 2019. These restrictions apply not only to prime contractors, but also to all subcontractors and throughout the supply chain. Government contractors need to know that these new requirements are effective immediately and that opportunities for waivers are very limited. Continue Reading

Virgil Quick Come See: FCC Drives Down Local Government Regulation of Cable Operators

On Thursday, August 1, 2019, the FCC took several actions to address persistent, decades-long efforts by local governments to convert their control over local rights-of-way into ever-increasing revenue streams from cable operators and other communications companies relying on those critical corridors for the provision of electronic communications. The FCC clarified that:

  • Federal law and FCC regulations preempt any state or local action of a cable operator’s non-cable services (e.g., voice, broadband, wireless) that imposes obligations on franchised cable operators beyond what the Communications Act allows;
  • In-kind grants of equipment and capital items must be calculated as an offset to the Cable Act’s 5% cap on franchise fees payable to local franchising authorities (“LFAs”), with limited statutory exceptions for costs associated with Public Educational and Governmental (“PEG”) channels;
  • LFA demands that cable operators renounce or waive federal limits on local oversight of cable are unlawful; and
  • Federal protections apply to state-level franchising authorities as well as to local governments.

Continue Reading

Maine Passes Broadband Privacy Bill

Maine entered the privacy fray last week when Governor Janet T. Mills signed legislation targeting internet service providers by prohibiting the sale of information about customers’ internet use. The new restriction covers, in part, customer web browsing history, application usage history, and geolocation information. An internet service provider may only use, disclose, sell or permit access to such information with either the customer’s consent or by complying with one of the few outlined exceptions in the statute. Continue Reading

Clear for More Takeoffs: Now is the Time to Have Your Voice Heard on New Satellite and Launch Regulations

On March 8, the U.S. government signaled regulatory changes that may create new opportunities for international collaboration on satellite development, global sales of satellite and launch equipment, and even sharing launch technology.

. . . and the Government wants you to weigh in. Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Hears Challenge To Federal Communications Commission’s 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order

On Friday, February 1, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held a marathon oral argument in Mozilla Corp. v. FCC, No. 18-1051 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 22, 2018), in which various petitioners challenged the Federal Communications Commission’s (“Commission’s”) 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order (“2018 Order”). Continue Reading

Supreme Court Poised To Alter TCPA Landscape With Review Of Key Term “Advertisement”

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court decided to review a case that potentially carries far reaching ramifications for litigation under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), which places restrictions on phone and fax solicitations and imposes serious penalties for violations. See 47 U.S.C. § 227, et seq. By granting certiorari in PDR Network, LLC v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, Inc., No. 17-1705, the Court is set to resolve the question whether the Hobbs Act requires district courts to accept the FCC’s interpretation of the TCPA’s key statutory term “advertisement.” Continue Reading

As The “Net Neutrality” World Turns . . . .

Earlier this week, the United States Supreme Court denied requests by the Trump Administration and telecommunications industry players to vacate a prior decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC’s”) 2015 Open Internet Order, which adopted a suite of Net Neutrality regulations. As a result, the D.C. Circuit’s earlier decision remains standing while challenges to the FCC’s 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which repealed the earlier Net Neutrality regulations, proceed before the D.C. Circuit. Continue Reading

FIRRMA Takes Form as CFIUS Enacts a New Pilot Program Targeting “Critical Technologies”

  • On October 10, 2018, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States put into effect the first mandatory filing requirement ever imposed by CFIUS. The Department of Treasury’s summary of the Pilot Program is available here.
  • Effective November 10, 2018, CFIUS will require reviews of critical technology investments – including certain non-controlling investments – from any country.
  • A failure to file notice or a new short form declaration to CFIUS may result in a civil monetary penalty up to the value of the transaction.
  • The requirements will not apply to any transaction that is completed prior to November 10, 2018 or any transaction for which the material terms were established prior to October 11, 2018.

Background

On August 13, 2018, President Trump signed FIRRMA into law. FIRRMA is a transformational expansion of the authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to review certain transactions that previously eluded the Committee’s jurisdiction (discussed in our blog, here). Congress left many critical aspects of the FIRRMA framework to be addressed through regulations promulgated by the Department of Treasury. Although we do not expect final rules to be forthcoming until late 2019 or early 2020, Congress empowered the Department of Treasury to “test-drive” parts of FIRRMA through Pilot Programs. Those programs can be implemented simply, taking effect 30 days after publication of the program requirements in the Federal Register. The adoption and implementation of the Pilot Program for critical technologies represents the Department of Treasury’s first attempt to implement substantive parts of FIRRMA prior to issuing formal regulations. Continue Reading

Expanding CFIUS: New Law Strengthens And Slows Investment Review

This week, you have likely heard about FIRRMA, the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, the law that will expand CFIUS. We have written about a number of aspects of the new law as it was being made, including the following:

In this alert, we provide a quick overview of the major points of that law. Continue Reading

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