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.
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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.
In March the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to create privacy rules for broadband service providers. While the FCC and its supporters argue that these proposed rules will spur increased broadband use and investment through the “virtuous cycle,” many in the industry are concerned about overly prescriptive rules and the creation of an unfair playing field for broadband providers in the digital marketing place. In this podcast, John Heitmann, Kelley Drye’s communications practice group chair, explains the history and motivations behind the FCC’s recent action, and walks through the proposal’s key provisions.
New Enforcement Bureau Chief, Travis LeBlanc, took the FCC by storm when he assumed his position in 2014. In this podcast, Communications partner Steve Augustino provides a review of LeBlanc’s second year running the Enforcement Bureau. Mr. Augustino addresses the trends in enforcement over the past year and the emergence of an unlikely critic of the FCC’s enforcement practices. Subscribe to Kelley Drye’s Full Spectrum podcasts to keep up to date on the latest trends and topics in communications.
In late April, the FCC released an order undertaking a sweeping overhaul of the Lifeline Universal Service phone program, expanding supported services to include broadband, and making a number of changes to the program’s administration. In this podcast Josh Guyan will walk through these changes, and what they mean for Lifeline service providers. Be sure to check back for future podcasts taking in-depth looks at particular changes to the Lifeline program.
While the battle between the FBI and Apple over unlocking the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters has largely subsided, the dispute is only the opening act of a larger discussion of government needs versus consumer privacy. In this podcast Steve Augustino will explain the importance of the FBI’s reliance on the All Writs Act of 1789, the potential fallout of this case, and where technology is outpacing existing privacy law.
If you are a telecommunications provider in the United States, you never know when you may be audited by the Universal Service Administrative Company. In this podcast Steven Augustino and Denise Smith provide an overview of Universal Service Fund audits, detail the process and timeline of an audit, and offer helpful tips to survive an audit. For more you can also listen to Kelley Drye’s 7th Annual Universal Service Update webinar, available here.
Since late 2014, the FCC has dramatically ramped up its privacy enforcement efforts, including blockbuster forfeitures and settlements with carriers large (AT&T) and small (YourTel/Terracom). In this podcast, Jameson Dempsey will provide a case study of one recent settlement, involving Cox Communications, and will place it in the broader context of the FCC’s recent privacy-related enforcement actions.
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