National Broadband Plan

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

A Note by Christopher Huther and Megan Troy of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP and Christian Dippon of NERA Economic Consulting

On April 21, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that seek the public’s input on the FCC’s effort to replace the legacy high-cost universal service fund (USF) with a broadband “Connect America” fund (CAF).  In effect, the FCC seeks to implement cost-cutting measures for existing voice support and create a new fund to support the provision of broadband communications in areas that would be unserved without such support or that depend on universal service support for the maintenance of existing broadband service.


Continue Reading Replacement of the Legacy High-Cost Universal Support Fund with a Connect America Fund: Key Economic and Legal Considerations

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