On November 13, 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration issued a National Spectrum Strategy (the Strategy) and Presidential Memorandum on the modernization of U.S. spectrum policy. The Strategy, developed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in close coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other Executive Branch agencies, seeks to “guide decisions about how to allocate limited spectrum resources and ensure these decisions are made through a rigorous, transparent process.” The Strategy represents the Administration’s attempt to chart a “whole-of-Nation” approach to achieve national spectrum policy objectives.Continue Reading The Biden-Harris Administration Releases National Spectrum Strategy
Brian Weimer is a corporate partner in the firm's Washington, D.C. office and Leader of the firm's Communications Practice Group.
On November 16, 2023, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Report & Order (“Order”) and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“FNPRM”), adopting measures to address two techniques bad actors frequently use to access victims’ cell phone accounts: (1) SIM swapping and (2) port-out fraud.Continue Reading Shutting Down the Cell Phone Scammers: The FCC Adopts Rules to Crack Down on Fraudulent Practices against Wireless Phone Users
On January 4, 2023, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) setting forth proposed rules for the operation of unmanned aircraft systems in the 5030-5091 MHz band. At present, unmanned aircraft systems primarily operate under the FCC’s rules for unlicensed and low-power communications or according to experimental licenses. Neither of these spectrum resources provide the user with the right to protection from harmful interference, meaning that communications using such resources can be unreliable. The FCC’s proposed rules attempt to address this issue by granting unmanned aircraft systems access to licensed spectrum with the resilience to support more advanced and secure communications.Continue Reading ALERT: FCC Opens Rulemaking on Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Licensed Spectrum
On November 3, 2022, Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced plans to reorganize the International Bureau into a new Space Bureau and a standalone Office of International Affairs. The changes are intended to help ensure FCC resources are aligned to meet the needs of FCC licensees and regulatees by “elevat[ing] the significance of satellite programs and policy within the agency to a level that reflects the importance of the emerging space economy.” Continue Reading ALERT: FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel Announces Plans to Create a Space Bureau
- The FCC recently adopted a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) requiring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to display consumer-friendly “nutrition labels” allowing consumers to comparison shop for broadband services;
- The FCC proposes that these nutrition labels display information about price, speed, data allowances, and other relevant aspects of the proposed broadband service; and
- Following-up on its first hearing on these potential nutritional labels, the FCC will conduct a second hearing on April 7, 2022.
On December 28, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC’s” or “Commission’s”) authority to permit unlicensed wireless devices, such as internet routers, smart phones, and laptops, to operate in the 6 GHz band.
Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Allows FCC To Open 6 GHz Band For Unlicensed Use
On Monday, January 10, 2022, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) commenced a public comment period for interested parties to submit comments on the development and implementation of three forthcoming broadband grant programs established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021(“IIJA”): (1) the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (“BEAD”) program, (2) the Middle-Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program, and (3) the Digital Equity Planning Grant Program.
Continue Reading ALERT: NTIA Seeks Public Comment on Implementation of Upcoming Broadband Grant Programs
As wireless airwaves fill-up to meet a surge in demand, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is actively considering new technologies and changes to its rules to promote the most productive use of spectrum resources.
Continue Reading Look Up In The Sky! It’s Not A Bird. It’s Not A Plane. It’s A Haps!
On October 13, 2021, William Shatner (aka, Captain Kirk from Star Trek) flew where few have gone before, taking a ten minute jaunt to the edge of outer space. The successful flight comes on the heels of other highly-publicized, successful commercial space flights, including the September 15, 2021, SpaceX mission dubbed “Inspiration4” that made history as the first orbital spaceflight with no professional astronauts onboard. As the era of commercial spaceflight draws ever closer, the space industry is building toward expanded commercial opportunities in space, including private space stations, space hotels, and colonies on the moon and Mars. So now, as we stand on the precipice of the commercial space revolution, it is important to reflect on the regulatory “learning period” that enabled U.S. commercial space flight to reach this juncture and consider the timing and substance of the regulatory framework necessary to spur our next great leap forward.
Continue Reading Captain’s Blog: Fly Me To The Moon
Earlier this month, the FCC adopted a Report & Order (“R&O”) streamlining the application review process for transactions involving foreign investment or participation in U.S. telecommunications companies (commonly known as “Team Telecom” but also referred to as “the Committee” in the R&O). Team Telecom is comprised of a committee of Executive Branch agencies (including the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice) tasked with assessing the national security, law enforcement, foreign policy, and trade policy concerns in these cross-border M&A transactions involving U.S. telecom companies. The FCC issued the R&O to formalize a decades-long practice and update its rules governing Team Telecom review consistent with the President’s April 4, 2020 Executive Order No. 13913 (the “EO”). The FCC builds upon the initial procedural requirements set by the EO to add certainty and transparency to the Team Telecom review process in a manner that protects national security interests without discouraging foreign investment.
Continue Reading Formalizing Team Telecom
The Takeaway: Severe restrictions on ByteDance’s Sale of TikTok should be a warning to media and tech companies with foreign ownership, particularly Chinese investment, to know your risks and mitigate them before the government comes knocking.
Continue Reading UPDATE: National Security Meets Teenage Dance Battles: U.S. Increases Pressure on ByteDance Sale of TikTok