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Inside the TCPA, Episode 4: FCC Enforcement and the Policy Puzzle

Alex Cimon

The FCC has now proposed, or imposed, over $200 million in fines for unlawful caller ID spoofing and TCPA violations. In this edition of “Inside the TCPA,” Partner Steve Augustino and Associate Brad Currier discuss how enforcement fits in as part of the overall FCC TCPA policy strategy. This discussion features an overview of recent enforcement actions, including those against Best Insurance Contracts/Philip Roesel and Affordable Enterprises of Arizona. Steve and Brad also explain the difference between spoofing and TCPA violations as they look at trends and possible next steps for the FCC.

Conference Wrap-Up: 8th Annual SHLB Conference

Alex Cimon

In this new series, our attorneys will provide a recap of recent industry conferences and their takeaways. This episode focuses on the 8th Annual SHLB Conference “Building the Future Bit x Bit” which took place October 10th-12th. The two and a half day conference attracted more attendees than any other year. Partner Josh Guyan attended with Partner Steve Augustino, who moderated the “E-Rate Service Provider Toolkit” panel at the event. Josh and Steve talk about key issues in E-Rate and rural healthcare, interesting panels, the Schools Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition in general, and more.

FCC Enforcement Update, Episode 11: Perils for the Unwary

Alex Cimon

In this edition of Full Spectrum’s recurring series on FCC enforcement, Partner Steve Augustino and Associate Brad Currier address the legal dangers facing entities that may be unfamiliar with telecommunications regulation. Steve and Brad focus on a multi-million dollar DOJ fraud prosecution involving the E-rate fund and a settlement of inadvertent transfers of FCC licenses occurring as a result of a transaction between two entities that are not traditionally seen as communications entities (in this case, two hospitality companies). They also look ahead to two enforcement items on the agenda for the FCC’s September 26, 2018 Open Meeting.

Inside the TCPA: Call Blocking

Alex Cimon

“Inside the TCPA” offers a deeper focus on TCPA issues and petitions pending before the FCC. Each episode tackles a single TCPA topic or petition that is in the news or affecting cases around the country. In this episode, partner Steve Augustino and associate Jenny Wainwright discuss efforts by the FCC and private industry to limit the number of illegal calls that reach consumers’ phones. In particular, they give an overview of a 2017 FCC order that authorized carriers to block certain types of calls, discuss the basics of private industry call blocking and call labelling services, and review suggestions from both industry and consumer groups on how to address this issue going forward.

Spectrum Update: C-Band Opportunities

Alex Cimon

Our "Spectrum Update" series takes a close look at hot topics and issues in wireless spectrum. In this episode, Partners Chip Yorkgitis and Josh Guyan discuss the hotly contested changes that are proposed and ongoing in the spectrum between 3.1 and 4.2 GHz in the U.S. There appear to be potential opportunities for commercial mobile to share these bands with current uses, but there are also calls for greater use of the bands for unlicensed and fixed wireless services. In many countries in Europe and Asia, in particular, these bands have been identified for 5G use already and the FCC is considering doing the same in the U.S.

August 2018 Enforcement Update: FCC Reaches Settlement with AT&T

Alex Cimon

The FCC recently reached a $5.25 million settlement with AT&T to resolve investigations into two 911 service outages that resulted in thousands of failed emergency calls. This edition of Full Spectrum’s series on FCC enforcement discusses the unexpected settlement and its implications on carrier network practices and the FCC's enforcement priorities. Partner Steve Augustino and Associate Brad Currier also cover LED sign enforcement, which has recently become an area of focus for the Pai FCC as the signs interfere with communications services. Finally, they cover a rare amateur radio settlement involving both the FCC and the Department of Justice.

Inside the TCPA: Consumer Consent

Alex Cimon

“Inside the TCPA” offers a deeper focus on TCPA issues and petitions pending before the FCC. Each episode will tackle a single TCPA topic or petition that is in the news or affecting cases around the country. In this episode, partner Steve Augustino and associate Jenny Wainwright discuss the consent issues before the FCC in the agency’s remand proceeding after the 2018 D.C. Circuit decision in ACA International. In addition, Steve and Jenny examine three other petitions pending before the agency that could be resolved with the remand proceeding.

June 2018 Enforcement Update: The FCC Goes Back to Basics

Alex Cimon

The FCC returned to bread-and-butter enforcement issues such as cramming/slamming and equipment authorization while issuing a record fine for robocalling at the midway point of 2018.  In this edition of Full Spectrum’s series on FCC enforcement, Partner Steve Augustino and Associate Brad Currier tackle how the FCC’s “back to basics” approach compares to past administrations and why the FCC sometimes issues large fines that violators cannot pay.  The discussion also highlights the dangers for lighting manufactures and retailers as the FCC takes aim at wireless interference issues involving uncommon targets.

Inside the TCPA: Autodialers

Alex Cimon

Kelley Drye introduces a new Full Spectrum series, “Inside the TCPA,” which will offer a deeper focus on TCPA issues and petitions pending before the FCC.  Each episode will tackle a single TCPA topic or petition that is in the news or affecting cases around the country.  In this inaugural episode, partner Steve Augustino and associate Jenny Wainwright discuss the definition of an autodialer or ATDS.  This episode addresses the 2018 D.C. Circuit decision in ACA International and the FCC’s new proceeding to examine the definition.  With initial comments having been filed on June 13th, Steve and Jenny analyze the principal arguments made by commenters and discuss whether Congress will weigh in on the matter.   

Future episodes of “Inside the TCPA” will tackle reassigned numbers, consent, and other topics raised before the FCC.  This is a companion to Kelley Drye’s comprehensive list of petitions before the Commission available in our monthly TCPA Tracker newsletter.  Please contact us if we can assist you with any of the FCC proceedings.

Hitting Their Stride: FCC Enforcement Update May 2018

Alex Cimon

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.

Communications Accessibility In Games: What Game Developers Need To Know

Alex Cimon

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.

FCC Enforcement Spotlight 2018: Pai’s Priorities Come into Focus

Alex Cimon

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.

Spectrum: A Look Ahead

Alex Cimon

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.

Legislative Outlook for 2018

Alex Cimon

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.

What's On The Horizon For USF Audits?

Alex Cimon

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.

Emerging Communications Technologies and Regulatory Implications for Disabilities Access

Alex Cimon

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.

FCC Hurricane Response Update

Alex Cimon

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.

Communications Impacts Of Hurricanes Harvey And Irma

Alex Cimon

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.

Wi-Fi Calling and the Transition from TTY to RTT for People with Hearing Disabilities

Alex Cimon

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.

Pai the Enforcer

Alex Cimon

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.