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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This podcast is the first in what will be a regular series devoted to covering noteworthy developments relating to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This series will cover decisions from the FCC and federal courts, as well as any TCPA-related activity on Capitol Hill. In this podcast, partners Steve Augustino and Alysa Hutnik and associate Jennifer Wainwright start off by discussing two recent FCC orders related to calls made by government contractors or for the purposes of collecting debts owed to the federal government. The panel then reviews a declaratory ruling issued this summer that loosened TCPA restrictions on calls placed by schools and utility companies. The podcast concludes with an overview of TCPA-related things to watch out for over the next few months.
Please help us improve Kelley Drye’s Full Spectrum podcast by taking our survey! Thank you for listening!
Be sure to also to check out Kelley Drye's monthly TCPA Tracker.
July was a busy month for the Enforcement Bureau, bucking the cliché of a quiet summertime in Washington D.C. In this podcast, partner Steve Augustino examines five enforcement actions: an NAL issued against AT&T for E-rate violations, a consent decree with AT&T over cramming practices, an unusual “admonishment” of Momentum Telecom Inc. for failing to pay Universal Service Fund Assessments, a consent decree agreed to by Towerstream Corporation for operating wireless facilities without a license, and two NALs issued against individuals for Caller ID spoofing.
When the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s 2015 Open Internet Order in June, it extensively applied Chevron deference in its decision. The controversial case has re-ignited the debate about whether Chevron provides too much deference to federal agencies, even as they are left applying aging statutes to new technologies and situations. In this podcast, communications partner Hank Kelly and associate Jennifer Holtz talk about the Chevron doctrine, its origins, and some key public policy considerations in light of the Open Internet decision.
As our blog, CommLaw Monitor, has frequently covered, FCC Enforcement has been a significant and controversial area under Chairman Wheeler. We have seen a trend toward higher profile enforcement actions, often with proposed fines in the tens of millions of dollars, and settlements with stricter terms than in the past. In this podcast, partner Steve Augustino introduces a new monthly Kelley Drye Full Spectrum series in which we will examine two or three interesting actions recently released by the FCC. This episode features an “Order to Pay or Show Cause” directed to LDC Telecommunications, a Consent Decree with Puerto Rico Telephone Company and America Movil involving foreign ownership restrictions, and a Consent Decree with General Communication, Inc. regarding a 911 outage.
On June 14, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order, which classified broadband Internet access service (BIAS) as a “telecommunications service” under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, and imposed on providers a slate of “open Internet” and traditional common-carrier regulations. In this podcast, Jennifer Holtz and Jameson Dempsey, associates in Kelley Drye & Warren’s Communications Group, review the challenges to the FCC’s order, and unpack the decision and its reasoning. Listeners should also check out our client advisory on the decision.