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Dave Thomas is a partner in the Business Trial Practice Group in the firm's Washington, D.C. office.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on April 25, 2024 to reinstate its net neutrality rules by reclassifying broadband internet access service (BIAS) as a “telecommunications service” under Title II of the Communications Act (Act). The FCC’s rules now afford stand-alone BIAS providers with the same statutory protections under Section 224 of the Act for accessing poles and other utility infrastructure that cable and telecommunications providers receive. This could be particularly important considering the anticipated deployments driven by the Broadband Equity And Deployment (“BEAD”) program and other subsidy programs.Continue Reading With Net Neutrality Order, FCC Grants Broadband-Only ISPs New Pole Attachment Protections

On December 15, 2023, after more than three years of consideration, and amid the largest ever federal investment in broadband, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) unanimously adopted a new pole-attachment order that dramatically reforms the Commission’s rules and policies governing communications attachments to utility poles.Continue Reading FCC Adopts New Pole Attachment Rules to Promote Broadband Expansion

After more than three years of consideration, amidst the largest federal and state investment in broadband deployment, and anticipating disputes between broadband providers and utility pole owners concerning the terms and conditions of new attachments particularly in broadband expansion areas, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has released a new pole-attachment order If adopted, the order would dramatically reform the Commission’s rules and policies governing communications attachments to utility poles.Continue Reading FCC To Vote on New Pole Attachments Rules to Promote Broadband Expansion

Who knew that state sovereignty and urging states’ rights meant prompting federal agencies to bring about change at the local level? That seems to be happening in the field of pole attachment regulation.Continue Reading FCC Assures State Lawmakers of Commitment to Pole Attachment Rules Promoting Broadband Deployment and Competition

On September 21, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued the latest single in its anthology of decisions regulating the relationship between incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) and electric utilities, ensuring ILECS are charged rates comparable to similarly situated communications attachers.
Continue Reading The FCC’s Latest Pole Attachment Ruling: “Just Another Brick In The Wall” for Electric Utilities, or “Satisfaction” for ILECS?

On May 26, 2021, a Sixth Circuit panel rejected challenges by numerous municipalities to a 2019 order by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that most “in kind” (non-cash) contributions required by cable franchisees qualify as franchise fees subject to the federal Cable Act’s 5% cap.
Continue Reading Sixth Circuit Affirms FCC Rule That Most In Kind Contributions Are Franchise Fees

Plan Provides Subsidies for Device Purchases and Internet Service Subscriptions

On May 12, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) began enrolling eligible households in its Emergency Broadband Benefit (“EBB”) program.  The EBB program provides eligible households with up to a $50 monthly discount on their internet plans (and up to $75 a month discounted for households located on Tribal lands).[1]  The EBB also includes funding for a one-time discount of up to $100 for a tablet, computer, or other specified device for qualifying households.[2]
Continue Reading FCC Launches Consumer Broadband Device and Service Program