Category Archives: FCC

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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 – … 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: Expanding CFIUS Jurisdiction A CFIUS Focus on Emerging Technology Effects on Chinese Investment Enhancement … Continue Reading

Commerce Prioritizes Earth Selfies as It Seeks to Improve Remote Sensing Licensing

On June 25, 2018, the Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) released an advance notice of rulemaking through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”). As an initial step before Commerce drafts proposed regulations and issues a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the notice seeks input from stakeholders on key issues relating to potential revisions to the regulations … Continue Reading

Lucia Is Likely To Have Little Impact On Waning FCC Adjudications

During its most recent Term, the Supreme Court held in Lucia v. SEC that the administrative law judges (“ALJs”) that preside over adjudications at the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) are “Officers of the United States” who must be appointed pursuant to the Appointments Clause of the Constitution. 138 S.Ct. 2044, 2055 (2018). This holding … Continue Reading

FCC Seeks “Large Step” Toward Advancing Broadband Infrastructure Goals With Draft One-Touch Make-Ready Order

Promoting infrastructure investment and broadband deployment has been a top priority for Chairman Ajit Pai’s FCC. On July 12, 2018, the Chairman took a significant stride in advancing his agenda by releasing a draft report and order that would enact, among other things, a “one-touch make-ready” (OTMR) process for most third-party communications-provider attachments to utility … Continue Reading

Back To The Future: FCC Returns To Light Touch Regulation Of The Internet

This week, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC’s”) Restoring Internet Freedom Order took effect, rolling back the public-utility style regulation of Internet service providers (“ISPs”) pursuant to title II of the Communications Act, imposed during the prior administration by the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order (“2015 Order”). The agency’s return to a light touch regulatory approach … Continue Reading

Once Bitten, Twice Shy: FCC Revisits Its Telemarketing Regulations In Light Of The DC Circuit’s Decision Striking Down Core Requirements

On March 16, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued its long awaited decision in ACA International v. FCC, in which a group of petitioners across a spectrum of industries sought review of various aspects of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) 2015 Omnibus Declaration Ruling and Order (2015 … Continue Reading

FCC Sets Sights on China

As yet another example of the U.S. government’s ongoing concerns about the potential vulnerability of U.S. telecommunications networks and supply chains, the FCC recently released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to prohibit the use of funds disbursed from the Universal Services Fund (USF) to purchase equipment or services from any providers posing a … Continue Reading

Chips on Their Shoulders: CFIUS Intervenes in Broadcom’s Hostile Takeover Bid for Qualcomm

CFIUS takes an unprecedented step to fend off a potential foreign acquisition The threat that China will eclipse the U.S. in telecommunications infrastructure and technology is central to U.S. national security Five key takeaways from the most recent CFIUS action Since late 2017, Singapore-based semiconductor company Broadcom has been pursuing a $117 billion hostile takeover … Continue Reading

FCC Proposes Expedited Treatment For New Technologies

“Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road” – Stewart Brand Last week, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing guidelines and procedures designed to “breathe life” into Section 7 of the Communications Act. A somewhat obscure part – or, as … Continue Reading

Tracking Trends in CFIUS Review Process Based on Recently Released 2015 Annual Report

Last month, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) released its annual report to Congress for 2015 (the “2015 Annual Report”) and its cumulative table summarizing foreign investment activity from 2014 through 2016 (the “Cumulative Summary Table”). These documents reflect a substantial increase in the number of CFIUS filings in recent years … Continue Reading

Dish Network to Dish Out $341M for TCPA Violations

Two recent judgements against Dish Network LLC (“Dish”) for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and similar state and federal laws demonstrate the significant liability companies may face based on the actions of their third-party contractors. Dish has been ordered to pay a total of approximately $341 million in two separate federal court … Continue Reading

TCPA Update: FCC Seeks Guidance on Proposed Robocall-Blocking Rule

Under new Chairman Ajit Pai’s leadership, the Federal Communications Commission (the “Commission”) is taking its first steps toward reforming its rules interpreting the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). On Wednesday, May 17, the Commission published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) for a proposed rule that would allow all voice service providers – including wireless … Continue Reading

FCC Vows It’s Never Gonna Give Up On Bridging Digital Divide: Opens Rulemakings To Promote Access To Broadband Infrastructure

At the end of March, new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai branded April “Infrastructure Month.” He paired this declaration with the announcement of a comprehensive agenda aimed at tackling a host of infrastructure-related challenges seen as critical to the deployment of high-speed broadband Internet access and bridging the digital divide. The FCC implemented the first steps … Continue Reading

ExteNet v City of Houston: Who pays for access to Texas rights-of-way?

On April 13, 2017, the Texas Public Utilities Commission will hear oral arguments on the issue whether companies with certificates of public convenience and necessity from the Commission may place their facilities in local rights-of-way and provide wireline backhaul and Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) service without additional local authority or the obligation to pay fees.   … Continue Reading

FCC Issues New Privacy Rules for Internet Service Providers: Safeguarding Consumers or Lulling Them Into A False Sense of Privacy?

Last Thursday, in a vote split along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) approved a new regulatory regime staking its claim to privacy regulation of both fixed and mobile Internet service providers (“ISPs”) like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.  The FCC’s rules follow its decision in the Open Internet Order, released last year and analyzed … Continue Reading

FCC Liberalizes Rules for Foreign Investment in U.S. Broadcast Licensees

On September 30, 2016, the FCC adopted an order designed to liberalize and streamline the foreign ownership review process for broadcast licensees (the “Broadcast Liberalization Order”).  Section 310(b) of the Communications Act caps at 25 percent the amount of indirect foreign investment permissible in a U.S. broadcast, common carrier, or aeronautical fixed or en route … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Removes FTC From The Beat: Agency Lacks Authority To Police Common Carriers Engaged In Non-Common Carrier Activities

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) asserted broad regulatory authority over the Internet and broadband Internet service providers when it reclassified Internet access service as a “common carrier” service under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 in its 2015 Net Neutrality Order (discussed in detail here).  One of the many important questions left unanswered … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Rejects FCC’s Effort To Preempt State Regulation Of Municipal Broadband Providers

The FCC’s February 2015 meeting yielded two significant and controversial orders premised on the agency’s authority under Section 706 of the Communications Act: its much-publicized Open Internet Order (discussed here), and its less-publicized order preempting state statutes setting limits on municipal broadband providers, including by restricting their geographic extension of service (“Municipal Broadband Order”).  In … Continue Reading

Hailing on All Frequencies: The FCC Releases the Spectrum Frontiers Order

In a move that will support the development of 5G networks, the FCC issued an Order last week in the “Spectrum Frontiers” proceeding that should open up large amounts of high-band spectrum for licensed and unlicensed use.  The Commission adopted a new framework for flexible-use licensing in several spectrum bands above 24 GHz, permitting mobile … Continue Reading

Let’s Go Crazy: The FTC and FCC Launch “Parallel” Investigations Into Security Updates of Mobile Communications Industry

Earlier this week, the FTC and FCC announced “parallel” investigations into how carriers and mobile device makers release information on vulnerabilities, and how and when mobile security patches are distributed. The regulators, who have publicly jockeyed for position on privacy and cybersecurity matters in the past year, appear to have reached a truce of sorts, … Continue Reading

They Can Be Heroes: The FCC Proposes Expansive and Detailed Privacy & Cybersecurity Regulations for Broadband ISPs

On April 1, 2016, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) that would impose new regulatory burdens on broadband Internet service providers’ use of customer data. The wide-ranging NPRM also proposes rules covering providers’ protection of customer information and their actions in the event of a data security breach.… Continue Reading
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