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

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 of the Chairman’s infrastructure agenda yesterday, adopting proposed rulemakings intended to decrease regulatory barriers confronted by wireline and wireless providers seeking to deploy and operate broadband networks.
Continue Reading FCC Vows It’s Never Gonna Give Up On Bridging Digital Divide: Opens Rulemakings To Promote Access To Broadband Infrastructure

The FCC voted yesterday 3-2 along party lines to promulgate new rules necessary to protect the “Open Internet.”  At the core of the Commission’s action lies its decision to reclassify Internet services as a “telecommunications” instead of “information” services and regulate the services under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.  This reclassification, led by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, expands the FCC’s regulation of fixed wireline and mobile broadband Internet services as “common carriers.”  This move is grounded in the notion that control of the Internet is too important not to be regulated, and it marks a dramatic reversal in the way Internet services have historically been regulated.  The FCC has not yet released the Order, but the FCC’s statement, remarks made by the Commissioners, and the Fact Sheet distributed by the Chairman’s office on February 4th reveal what appear to be the core elements of the Commission’s action.
Continue Reading Cyberspace Oddity: The FCC Regulates Internet Services as Common Carrier Telecommunications Services, “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet”

Cuba Map

Historic changes in relations between the United States and Cuba (that touch nerves in Hip-Hop and on Capitol Hill) and new U.S. sanctions against Venezuela may provide increased opportunities for U.S. business generally, and electronic communications technologies and infrastructure providers in particular.  This week’s Cuba and Venezuela headlines, combined with recent and historic shifts in telecommunications and broadcasting markets in Mexico, on which we reported here, herald historic changes in Latin American electronic communications and infrastructure markets.


Continue Reading Turnin’ Havana to Atlanta: The White House Opens Doors for U.S. Telecommunications Investment in Cuba and Latin America

Following the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Verizon v. FCC, which struck down several key elements of the Federal Communication Commission’s 2010 Open Internet Order, the Commission yesterday released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that initiated a renewed effort to foster and protect an “open” Internet. In what is likely to become a highly-contested proceeding, the FCC is proposing regulations to guard against the “real threat” posed by the power of broadband providers while remaining within the bounds of its authority as recently clarified by the D.C. Circuit.[1]
Continue Reading Once More Unto the Breach: the FCC Calls for Comments on Revamping Net Neutrality Regulations

As policymakers and regulators struggle to keep pace with corporate deal makers (read Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger and Comcast-Netflix deal) and address the structures undergirding our Nation’s electronic communications laws, no two aspects of that undertaking (with the possible exception of cybersecurity) are more fundamental to economic vitality, competitiveness and “the pursuit of happiness” than spectrum and infrastructure.  Spectrum without the infrastructure – and, conversely, infrastructure without the spectrum – does little good.  We cannot use one without the other; they are two sides of the same coin. And while the focus on spectrum battles at times has been blinding, until recently at least, infrastructure has made few headlines.
Continue Reading Sleeper “Small” Cells: The Battle Over The FCC’s Wireless Infrastructure Proceeding

On Tuesday, January 14, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the FCC’s latest effort to mandate “net neutrality”– or promote internet “openness” – under the auspices of implementing the Communications Act.  At issue in the case is the Commission’s Open Internet Order, which imposed disclosure, anti-blocking, and anti-discrimination requirements on broadband providers.  These requirements were intended to promote investment in broadband deployment by guarding against possible anti-competitive conduct limiting consumer access to internet edge services (e.g., Amazon).  The Court, in a decision written by Judge David S. Tatel, noted the narrowness of the Court’s inquiry—not to assess the wisdom of the FCC’s net neutrality regulations, but to determine whether the Commission had proven that the rules were within the scope of the Commission’s statutory grant of authority. With that in mind, the Court invalidated all but the first (and least intrusive) FCC requirement: disclosure of internet traffic management practices.
Continue Reading Twice Bitten But Not Shy, The FCC Is Handed The DC Circuit’s Prescription for Internet Regulation

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 Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (“SDARS”) operations in the adjacent portion of the 2.3 GHz band.


Continue Reading FCC Adopts New Rules Governing WCS Spectrum

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 a long way from being adopted, DISH Network Corporation stands to gain tremendously now that it has become the only 2 GHz licensee after acquiring both DBSD and TerreStar out of bankruptcy earlier this month. The FCC postponed for another day the question as to what to do about the ATC rules for Big LEO MSS (i.e., Globalstar) and L-band MSS (i.e., LightSquared).


Continue Reading FCC Proposes to Grant DISH’s Wish

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 regulate a broadband service provider’s network management practicesSee FCC Law Blog Post  (Apr. 7, 2010).
Continue Reading Comments Received In FCC Reclassification Proceeding

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 neutrality"). The ruling may also hinder the FCC’s efforts to move forward with key aspects of its National Broadband Plan for expanding high-speed Internet service nationwide. 


Continue Reading FCC Loses Net Neutrality Suit