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

On December 21, 2010, the FCC approved controversial net neutrality rules in a party-line vote.  Democratic Commissioners Copps and Clyburn joined Chairman Genachowski in approving the Order, despite concerns that it did not go far enough.  Republican Commissioners McDowell and Baker wrote lengthy dissents, arguing that the FCC had stepped far beyond its regulatory authority in approving Internet regulations.
 


Continue Reading FCC Approves Controversial Net Neutrality Rules

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") and the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") launched a joint initiative to clarify the approval process and regulatory requirements for converged communications and health care devices. In a two-day joint meeting held on July 26-27, 2010, the two agencies solicited comments from industry representatives "to gain a better understanding of the convergence of communications technologies and medical devices, the future of wireless health technologies, and the challenges they face." The goal of the initiative is "to enhance coordination between FDA and FCC for future devices and applications, and to clarify and delineate the respective areas of expertise and jurisdiction between the agencies."
 


Continue Reading FCC And FDA Focused On Convergence Of Communications And Medical Systems

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

The Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") released its long-awaited National Broadband Plan (the "Plan") on March 16, 2010. The Plan emphasizes that encouraging and facilitating access to infrastructure, such as utility poles, is critical to the continued deployment and enhancement of broadband facilities in America. The Plan states that, "[c]ollectively, the expense of obtaining permits and leasing pole attachments and rights-of-way can amount to 20% of the cost of fiber optic deployment." Plan at 109. The Plan notes that "[t]hese costs can be reduced directly by cutting fees" and "can also be lowered indirectly by expediting processes and decreasing the risks and complexities that companies face as they deploy broadband network infrastructure." Plan at 110.


Continue Reading National Broadband Plan Recommends Lower, Uniform Pole Attachment Rates