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

Last Thursday, in a vote split along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) approved a new regulatory regime staking its claim to privacy regulation of both fixed and mobile Internet service providers (“ISPs”) like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.  The FCC’s rules follow its decision in the Open Internet Order, released last year and analyzed here, to classify broadband Internet access service as a common-carrier telecommunications service.  The FCC’s new rules are intended to give consumers control over the ways in which ISPs use and share their customers’ private information.  While the FCC has yet to release its Report and Order, the FCC’s Fact Sheet and statements by the commissioners indicate that the new privacy rules in many respects track the proposed rules the FCC put forward earlier this year, which seek to make the FCC the “toughest” privacy regulator in the Internet ecosystem by imposing on ISPs significantly more onerous and restrictive requirements for use and collection of consumer data than the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) imposes on its non-ISP competitors.
Continue Reading FCC Issues New Privacy Rules for Internet Service Providers: Safeguarding Consumers or Lulling Them Into A False Sense of Privacy?

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) asserted broad regulatory authority over the Internet and broadband Internet service providers when it reclassified Internet access service as a “common carrier” service under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 in its 2015 Net Neutrality Order (discussed in detail here).  One of the many important questions left unanswered by the FCC’s reclassification decision was whether and to what extent the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) retained authority under Section 5 of the FTC Act to prohibit deceptive or unfair acts and practices by Internet service providers, in light of Section 5’s exemption of “common carriers” subject to the Communications Act.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Removes FTC From The Beat: Agency Lacks Authority To Police Common Carriers Engaged In Non-Common Carrier Activities

On December 12, 2014, Judge Sue E. Myerscough issued an epic 238-page order granting in part and denying in part cross summary judgment motions filed in United States of America, et al. v. Dish Network, L.L.C. (“Dish Network”). United States v. Dish Network, L.L.C., No. 09-3073, 2014 WL 7013223 (C.D. Ill. Dec. 12, 2014). Despite finding that Dish was liable for over 50 million phone calls, there was a silver lining for both Dish and future TCPA defendants.
Continue Reading Hold the Phone: Judge Holds Dish Network on the Line for Tens of Millions of Calls, but Leaves Silver Lining for TCPA Defendants

Unexpectedly, the government of Argentina has decided to enforce law 23,316, enacted on May 23, 1986, regarding certain requirements for dubbing motion pictures and television programming (the “Dubbing Act”), which was only in the books and never implemented… until today. President Kirchner issued decree 933/2013, which after 27 years explains and expands the Dubbing Act (the “Decree”). Both regulations are full of confusing and contradictory clauses which will cause more than a headache to the film & TV industry and will be an invitation for litigation.
Continue Reading Film distributors will face new administrative hurdles in Argentina

On May 23, after the approval of 24 Mexican states (Aguascalientes, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Durango, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Jalisco, México, Morelos, Nayarit, Puebla, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis, Potosí, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Yucatán and Zacatecas) the president of the Permanent Commission (Comisión Permanente) has declared constitutional the Telecommunications’ Reform and sent the bill to President Peña Nieto for his signature and publication in the Official Gazette.
Continue Reading Mexico’s Telecommunications’ reform ready to be signed by President Peña Nieto

In August 2012, the Coalition for Broadcast Investment (“CBI”), a group comprising national broadcast networks, radio and television station licensees, and community and consumer organizations, filed a letter with the FCC requesting clarification of the foreign ownership rules contained in Section 310(b)(4) of the Communications Act. Specifically, CBI requested clarification that “the FCC will conduct a substantive, facts, and circumstances evaluation of proposals for foreign investment in excess of 25 percent in the parent company of a broadcast licensee.…” If adopted, this approach would represent a marked change of course for the FCC, which has in the past “categorically refused” to consider transactions involving investment in broadcasters above the 25% benchmark, according to CBI.
Continue Reading FCC Considers Proposal To Lift 25% Cap On Indirect Foreign Investment In Broadcast Licensees

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 are being kept in accordance with the statute. The CVAA is a 2010 law ensuring access to ACS for people with disabilities, and the FCC began issuing regulations implementing the legislation in 2011.
Continue Reading FCC Reminds Advanced Communications Services Providers and Equipment Manufacturers of CVAA Recordkeeping Obligations and Compliance Certification

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