Category Archives: FCC

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FCC Reminds Advanced Communications Services Providers and Equipment Manufacturers of CVAA Recordkeeping Obligations and Compliance Certification

Recently, the FCC issued a Public Notice reminding the providers and equipment manufacturers of advanced communications services (ACS) of their obligation to maintain records evidencing their efforts to comply with the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). In addition, these entities are also required to submit an annual certification stating that such records … Continue Reading

FCC Adopts New Rules Governing WCS Spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) recently adopted new rules governing the Wireless Communications Service (“WCS”) in the 2.3 GHz band. The new rules largely follow those proposed by AT&T and Sirius XM earlier this year and are designed to both encourage the development of new broadband services and mitigate the potential for harmful interference to … Continue Reading

FCC’s New Closed Captioning Rules Kick Into Gear

New FCC regulations on closed captioning of IP-delivered video programming have caught many by surprise even though they have been in the works for the past two years. Many of those who will be directly impacted by the new rules may still be unaware of the rapidly approaching compliance deadline of September 30, 2012. Most … Continue Reading

Proposed Easing of Satellite Export Controls Could Benefit U.S. Satellite Industry

By Curt Dombek, Brian Weimer, Dan Brooks, and Reid Whitten Since 1999, strict controls on the export of U.S. satellites and satellite components have drastically eroded U.S. manufacturers’ market share in the global satellite industry. On April 18, 2012, the U.S. Departments of State and Defense released the “1248 Report” containing findings related to reducing … Continue Reading

FCC Proposes to Grant DISH’s Wish

By Brian Weimer and Dan Brooks In a striking move by the FCC, the Commission has proposed to eliminate the ancillary terrestrial component ("ATC") rules from the 2 GHz Mobile Satellite Service ("MSS") band and repurpose the spectrum for pure terrestrial use (while retaining the mobile satellite allocation in the band). While the proposal is … Continue Reading

CFIUS Submits Annual Report To Congress

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS” or the “Committee”) recently submitted its annual report to Congress for calendar year 2010. The report, which provides general information on notices filed, reviews and investigations completed by CFIUS during the year, and the types of security arrangements and conditions that the Committee has employed … Continue Reading

Proposed ITAR Rule To Relax ITAR Licensing For Components Incorporated Into Commercial Products

The author is a member of the Firm’s Government Contracts & Regulated Industries Practice Group. For additional articles and postings concerning this and related topics, please refer to Sheppard Mullin’s Government Contracts Blog, which can be found at On March 15, 2011, the State Department Directorate of Defense Trade Controls published a proposed new rule that marks a … Continue Reading

FCC Approves Controversial Net Neutrality Rules

On December 21, 2010, the FCC approved controversial net neutrality rules in a party-line vote.  Democratic Commissioners Copps and Clyburn joined Chairman Genachowski in approving the Order, despite concerns that it did not go far enough.  Republican Commissioners McDowell and Baker wrote lengthy dissents, arguing that the FCC had stepped far beyond its regulatory authority … Continue Reading

FCC And FDA Focused On Convergence Of Communications And Medical Systems

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") and the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") launched a joint initiative to clarify the approval process and regulatory requirements for converged communications and health care devices. In a two-day joint meeting held on July 26-27, 2010, the two agencies solicited comments from industry representatives "to gain a better understanding … Continue Reading

Comments Received In FCC Reclassification Proceeding

The FCC received thousands of comments last week in response to its Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding the appropriate regulatory classification for broadband Internet service. At issue is the hotly-debated topic of whether and how broadband services should be regulated after the DC Circuit’s recent Comcast decision, which held that the FCC lacked the authority to … Continue Reading

Replacement of the Legacy High-Cost Universal Support Fund with a Connect America Fund: Key Economic and Legal Considerations

A Note by Christopher Huther and Megan Troy of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP and Christian Dippon of NERA Economic Consulting On April 21, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that seek the public’s input on the FCC’s effort to replace the … Continue Reading

FCC Loses Net Neutrality Suit

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the FCC lacks the authority to regulate Internet service providers’ network management practices.  The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel immediately throws into question the FCC’s ability to require Internet providers to treat all network traffic equally (a concept known as "net … Continue Reading

National Broadband Plan Recommends Lower, Uniform Pole Attachment Rates

The Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") released its long-awaited National Broadband Plan (the "Plan") on March 16, 2010. The Plan emphasizes that encouraging and facilitating access to infrastructure, such as utility poles, is critical to the continued deployment and enhancement of broadband facilities in America. The Plan states that, "[c]ollectively, the expense of obtaining permits and leasing pole attachments … Continue Reading

FCC Initiates Net Neutrality Rulemaking

In its latest move in the "net neutrality" debate, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in late October 2009 that breaks from the FCC’s historically restrained approach to Internet regulation and proposes a host of new prohibitions and requirements on broadband providers. While some have praised the move as a … Continue Reading

Increased Prospects for Broadband Deployment under Obama

A broad coalition of telecommunications companies and organizations has called upon President-elect Barack Obama to prioritize broadband deployment and stimulate investment in broadband services.  This large coalition – which includes AT&T, Verizon, Google, Alcatel-Lucent, organizations representing the cable and wireless industries, organizations representing state and local governments, as well as consumer groups – emphasizes both … Continue Reading

Senate Passes FISA Bill With Telecom Immunity

The Senate recently voted 69-28 in favor of a bill (H.R. 6304) that will provide retroactive legal immunity to telephone companies that participated in the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program.  The bill’s passage ended more than a year of legislative debate over whether to immunize phone companies from lawsuits filed by subscribers alleging that the … Continue Reading

FCC Steps Up DTV Enforcement

The FCC’s recent DTV enforcement actions made one thing clear – the Commission is being vigilant in the enforcement of its digital television (or “DTV”) regulations.  On April 9, 2008, the FCC adopted notices of apparent liability (“NALs”) against eleven companies for mislabeling analog-only television sets with no digital tuners, leaving full V-chip functionality out … Continue Reading

Incumbents Big Winners in 700 MHz Auction

The FCC recently announced the results of auctions for newly available 700 MHz radio spectrum.  Altogether, 1090 licenses were sold to 101 different bidders.  Over $19 billion was raised by the auction – an amount that far exceeds the sum raised in any single spectrum previously conducted and went beyond Congressional estimates by about $9 … Continue Reading

Washington Update – July/August 2007

I. Legislative Branch Activity A. Senate Committee Passes Three Telecom Bills. On July 19, the Senate Commerce Committee approved three telecommunications bills: a broadband data bill (S-1492), a number porting measure (S-1769), and an indecency bill (S-1780). The broadband data bill, as passed by the Committee, directs the Commission to use Form 477 data to determine … Continue Reading

Washington Update – June 2007

I. Legislative Branch Activity A. Senate Committee Passes Caller ID Spoofing Bill. On June 28, the Senate Commerce Committee, by a voice vote, passed an anti-spoofing bill (S-704). This bill orders the FCC to write rules within 6 months of enactment and would impose civil and criminal penalties up to $10,000 per violation, capped at $1 million. The House … Continue Reading

Washington Update – May 2007

I. Legislative Branch Activity A. Inouye Introduces Broadband Deployment Bills. On May 24, Sen. Inouye (D-HI) presented a bill (S.1492), which seeks to improve upon the quality of data collection used for FCC broadband status reports. Instead of the current standard use of 5 digit zip codes, the bill calls for expansion to 9 digit codes, … Continue Reading

Washington Update – March/April 2007

I. Legislative Branch Activity A. Senate Commerce Committee Meets to Discuss Universal Service. On March 1, the Senate Commerce Committee invited Commissioners Tate and Copps, as well as other regulatory officials, to discuss the Universal Service Fund (USF). Senators from rural areas demanded that broadband needs to play a part in the USF program. Commissioner Copps endorsed adding broadband, … Continue Reading

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