In this edition of Full Spectrum’s series on FCC enforcement, Partner Steve Augustino and Associate Brad Currier highlight some of the major enforcement developments in April 2018. The Pai FCC’s Enforcement Bureau seems to be hitting its stride, taking actions in several “core” focus areas. This episode discusses developments in robocalls, slamming/cramming, rural call completion and pirate radio. This episode also offers commentary on what might be on the horizon, including a prominently placed enforcement item on the May FCC Open Meeting agenda. Be sure to check back with Kelley Drye for post-meeting analysis.
Starting January 1, 2019, any new video game software that is capable of accessing or using an advanced communications service must include solutions to eliminate barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities. In this episode, Partners Steve Augustino and Josh Guyan, and Associate Avonne Bell discuss the upcoming end to a waiver for video game software products that will bring them under the purview of the FCC’s disabilities access rules for communications like voice or text chat included in video game software. This discussion will help video game software developers become better informed, plan and design appropriately, and keep adequate records for the purpose of meeting this new obligation.
Over a year into the Pai FCC, the Chairman’s enforcement priorities have come into focus. In Kelley Drye’s latest look at FCC enforcement, Partner Steve Augustino and Associate Brad Currier look at the "big ticket" FCC actions so far this year to identify enforcement trends and discuss where FCC enforcement is heading in 2018. They discuss important enforcement efforts in the first three months of the year, including efforts to combat universal service fraud, unauthorized operations, harmful interference and TCPA violations. In addition, this episode discusses the significance of recent broadcaster advertising fines at the start of 2018.
Following presentations for the Pacific Telecommunications Council and the Wireless Communications Alliance, Partners Chip Yorkgitis and Josh Guyan join Associate Ross Slutsky to discuss current domestic and international spectrum regulatory matters, focusing on those that could affect 5G rollout. In this episode, Chip, Josh and Ross cover FCC spectrum policy and proceedings, including the 3.5 GHz band, mid-band spectrum inquiry, the Spectrum Frontiers rulemaking, and two new proceedings being considered at the Commission’s February Open Meeting.
As the second session begins, the 115th Congress will pick up where it left off on some key telecommunications and technology issues. In this episode, Partner John Heitmann and Jennifer McCadney, Special Counsel in Kelley Drye’s Government Relations and Public Policy group, examine the current status of these issues and the implications for what is likely to occur in the coming months. The three categories of legislation they cover are (1) Mobile, 5G and Spectrum, (2) Rural Broadband Access, and (3) Internet, Privacy, Cybersecurity and Data Security.
Earlier this year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report focusing on the Lifeline program. Tucked away in that report was a significant discussion of Universal Service Fund (USF) contributor audits that has received little attention. In this episode, Partner Steve Augustino and Special Counsel Denise Smith discuss four trends in USF contributor audits they expect to result from the GAO report.
Advancements in communications technologies and the latest personal devices are presenting new and unconventional ways for consumers to communicate via text, voice, or video with other people and devices. The FCC and disabilities access stakeholders have generally acknowledged the potential benefits to people with disabilities of these new technologies. In this episode, Partner Josh Guyan and Associates Avonne Bell and Jameson Dempsey discuss the advancements and regulatory outlook for messaging, IoT, and many other emerging technology areas.
Our last episode took a look at the devastating impacts of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. We ended that podcast by noting that, in the aftermath of such major weather events, a “business as usual” approach often no longer applies for affected communications service providers. Now in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Nate, Associate Brad Currier provides a brief update on the FCC’s most recent response efforts and highlights that such efforts may represent a “new normal” of regulatory relief for those impacted by hurricanes and other disasters.
As communications networks continue to recover from the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and with further severe weather events on the horizon, this podcast takes a look at the impact the hurricanes have on communications service providers. In this episode, Partner Steve Augustino and Associate Brad Currier describe the outage reporting obligations applicable during disasters, caution providers on environmental reporting obligations that apply to communications service providers, and discuss the many waivers the FCC has granted in light of the events. It’s not “business as usual” after such events, and this episode outlines some of the ways the FCC can ease the impact of its rules on a service provider’s recovery efforts.
In this podcast, Kelley Drye Partner Josh Guyan and Associate Avonne Bell discuss the recent waiver of text telephony (TTY) support rules granted to TracFone for new Wi-Fi calling options until real-time text (RTT) is fully implemented. They also discuss the recent FCC rule change underlying the TracFone waiver that permits wireless service providers and device manufacturers to support RTT technology instead of TTY for IP-based voice services to meet their obligations to provide reliable telephone communications options for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or who have a speech disability.
When Ajit Pai was a Commissioner, he was a frequent critic of the FCC’s enforcement practice. Now that Chairman Pai has led the FCC for six months, his approach to enforcement is coming into better focus. In this podcast, Kelley Drye enforcement attorneys Steve Augustino and Brad Currier discuss what we know and what we’re yet to learn about Pai, the Enforcer.
On May 18, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks comment on reversing the 2015 Open Internet Order by reclassifying broadband as an “information service,” and potentially eliminating the bright line rules which ban blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. The Restoring Internet Freedom Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is expected to generate millions of public comments over the course of what will be a highly contentious debate. In this episode, partner John Heitmann and associate Ross Slutsky walk through the FCC’s proposals and the possible impacts of the proposal.
The FCC is currently undertaking several measures to foster the development of next generation wireless connectivity. In this episode, partner Chip Yorkgitis and associates Avonne Bell and Ross Slutsky provide an overview of 5G and the related spectrum and infrastructure proceedings at the FCC. While it remains to be seen when and how 5G networks will become a reality, this podcast addressed key questions such as what opportunities does 5G promise for industry and consumers, and what is the FCC doing to facilitate innovation and deployment of new wireless systems.
On April 3, President Trump signed a congressional resolution undoing the comprehensive broadband privacy rules the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted in October of 2016. The privacy rules stemmed from the FCC’s reclassification of broadband as a telecommunications service in 2015, and under the Congressional Review Act, the FCC is barred from issuing substantially the same rules in the future. Further complicating the issue is a decision by the Ninth Circuit last summer, challenging the traditional jurisdictional boundaries over common carriers between the FCC and Federal Trade Commission. In this episode, associate Ross Slutsky and partner John Heitmann explain how we got to this point, what the repeal means for consumers and providers, and what comes next for broadband privacy.
This episode is the second in our series devoted to covering noteworthy developments relating to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This series covers decisions from the FCC and federal courts, as well as any TCPA-related activity on Capitol Hill. In this episode, partner Steve Augustino and associate Jennifer Wainwright start off by discussing the 2015 Declaratory Ruling and Order. Second, they provide an update on the exemption from the TCPA for Federal debt collectors. Third, they examine Chairman Pai and his likely approach to robocalls. Fourth, they discuss the pending appeal of disclosure rules on "solicited" faxes and finally, they look at two recent TCPA petitions.
In February, Chairman Ajit Pai presided over his first major open meeting since becoming chairman, at which the Commission adopted items furthering the FCC’s reverse auctions for Universal Service funding and narrowing the applicability of the Open Internet Order’s transparency requirements. In this podcast, Steve Augustino, Avonne Bell, and Brad Currier break down the key details in the FCC’s Mobility Fund Phase II order, Connect America Fund Phase II auction order, and Open Internet small business exemption order. They also discuss some of Chairman Pai’s recent process reforms in the context of the February and March open meetings. This is the first in a semi-regular series examining noteworthy actions taken at FCC open meetings.
Significant changes in FCC enforcement personnel and practices are expected after the inauguration of President Trump. This installment of Steve Augustino’s FCC Enforcement series chronicles the last actions of the FCC Enforcement Bureau led by Travis LeBlanc.
Steve’s FCC Enforcement series regularly examines developments and trends in FCC enforcement. This episode discusses cases from November 2016 through the beginning of January 2017.
On October 27, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Report and Order that imposes a comprehensive set of privacy and data security regulations for broadband providers and replaces the existing privacy and data security rules for all other telecommunications service providers. The rules represent a significant departure from the Commission’s existing privacy and data security framework. In this episode, Kelley Drye associates Avonne Bell, Jenny Wainwright and Ross Slutsky give an overview of the new rules with respect to notice, choice, and data security, and offer key takeaways for companies impacted by the rules.
In late August, the Ninth Circuit ruled that AT&T was exempt from Federal Trade Commission oversight by virtue of its “status” as a common-carrier, and dismissed an FTC case against AT&T over its practice of “throttling” customers’ data usage. The FTC filed a request for en banc review by the full panel of the Ninth Circuit in mid-October. If the ruling stands, it could dramatically alter the jurisdictional boundaries between the FTC and FCC. In this episode, paralegal Matt Weinmann interviews partner John Heitmann on the decision and its possible implications.
With the Presidential election approaching, the Enforcement Bureau seems intent on doubling down on its legacy of aggressive, principle-based enforcement. This installment of Steve Augustino’s FCC Enforcement series features the FCC’s $48 million settlement with T-Mobile over data throttling allegations involving its mobile internet services. He also examines another unusual “admonishment” and other enforcement items from September and October.
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