Category Archives: FCC

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Washington Update – February 2007

I. Legislative Branch Activity A. FCC Commissioners Go Before Senate Commerce Committee. On February 1, all five FCC Commissioners met with the newly Democratically controlled Senate Commerce Committee. Committee Chairman Senator Inouye (D-HI) expressed concern over a special access provision in the AT&T/BellSouth merger and questioned Chairman Martin about his stated qualms over its legality. Many lawmakers were eager … Continue Reading

Washington Update – January 2007

I. Legislative Branch Activity A. Optimism for Major Telecom Legislation Waning. As Congressmen settled into the new Congress in January, staffers for Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye confirmed that he will seek to pass smaller, more targeted communications bills in this session. The key telecom companies such as Verizon, BellSouth, and AT&T, who supported GOP-led legislation, … Continue Reading

Washington Update – December 2006

I. Legislative Branch Activity A. Congress Passes Pretexting, Two Other Bills in Lame Duck Session. As the 109th Congress drew to a close in December, three telecom bills managed their way through the halls of Congress. First and foremost, the Senate finally approved a ban on pretexting (HR-4709), which the House had passed in April. In addition to banning … Continue Reading

Sheppard Mullin Announces New FCC Law Blog

We are pleased to announce that the Communications Group at Sheppard Mullin has launched a new Communications Law Blog. You can access it at A blog is an online web journal. You will now be able to access up-to-date information on Communications Law. FCC Blog updates will come from You may wish to … Continue Reading

Washington Update – November 2006

I. Legislative Branch Activity A. EchoStar Pleas for Congressional Help. Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit found EchoStar in violation of the Satellite Home Viewer Act by regularly and unlawfully delivering out-of-market stations in competition to local stations that carry the same network programming. The Court set a deadline of December 1 … Continue Reading

Washington Update – October 2006

I. Legislative Branch Activity A. Surveillance Bill Stalls in Senate. There was little activity in Congress this month as most members were out on the campaign trail. The Senate did not address the surveillance bill (HR-5825) passed by the House in September, 232-191. The bill, in effect, would authorize an existing National Security Agency surveillance program by setting … Continue Reading

Washington Update – September 2006

I. Legislative Branch Activity A. Port Security Bill Clears Conference. In probably its last major action before the mid-term election recess, Congress approved the Security and Accountability for Every (SAFE) Port Act of 2006 by a vote of 409-2. The relevant FCC provisions are in Title VI. Section 602 directs the FCC to adopt a protocol to enable Commercial … Continue Reading

Washington Update – August 2006

I.  Legislative Branch Activity A. Senate Fails to Pass Telecom Bill Before August Recess. The Senate shut down for August recess without passing the telecom bill (HR-5252), despite Commerce Committee Chairman Stevens’ (R-AK) week-long drive to round up the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster. Sen. Sununu (R-NH) was helping Stevens to round up votes. According … Continue Reading

Washington Update – July 2006

I. Legislative Branch Activity A. House Passes Interoperability Bill. On July 25, the House passed 414-2 a bill (HR-5852) that would coordinate national, state, and local emergency communications efforts through a new Department of Homeland Security. The head of the new DHS emergency communications office would oversee all such communications nationwide. States would have to write plans and coordinate … Continue Reading

Washington Update – June 2006

I. Legislative Branch Activity The legislative news of the month surrounded the three-day markup and subsequent passage on June 28 of the Senate telecom bill (S.2686) by the Commerce Committee. The bill passed by a vote of 15-7. Perhaps more importantly, there was an 11-11 tie on the primary network neutrality amendment offered, which Chairman … Continue Reading

Washington Update – May 2006

I. Legislative Branch Activity To no one’s surprise, this month Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK) introduced comprehensive telecommunications legislation. Meanwhile, in the House, a jurisdictional battle intensified between the Commerce and Judiciary Committees over "net neutrality" provisions in the House bill. Time is growing short, however, for Congress to pass any communications legislation. … Continue Reading

“Hard” Deadline For Digital Television Established

On February 8, 2006, President Bush signed into law the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 (the “DTV Act”).  The DTV Act contains provisions relating to the nation’s transition from analog to digital television broadcasting.  Most significantly, the DTV Act establishes February 18, 2009 as the “hard” deadline by which full-power television … Continue Reading

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