Category Archives: Federal & State Regulatory

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A Change of Pace? Pirate Radio Actions Signal A Possible Shift to Accelerated Issuance of Forfeiture Orders

On Thursday, February 23, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a pair of forfeiture orders against pirate radio operators.  Each was subject to a $25,000 fine for allegedly continually operating unlicensed radio stations in violation of Section 301 of the Communications Act. … Continue Reading

FCC Issues First Commission-level Consent Decree Order Since Removing Authority from Enforcement Bureau

On February 15, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued its first Commission-level consent decree since Chairman Pai’s process reform measure, discussed in our earlier blog post, which removed the Enforcement Bureau’s (Bureau) power to settle monetary enforcement actions originally issued by the FCC.  Settlement of this matter had been in the works for some … Continue Reading

FCC Strips Enforcement Bureau of Authority to Settle Commission-Level Actions

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau will no longer have the power to settle monetary enforcement actions originally issued by the Commission under a process reform announced by Chairman Pai on Wednesday.  Settlements of forfeitures proposed or imposed by the Commission will now be subject to a full Commission vote, as was the NAL that initiated the … Continue Reading

Chairman Pai Launches Rollback of Recent FCC Actions

*J. Bradford Currier co-authored this post. The FCC retracted actions related to net neutrality, network security, media ownership, and other hot-topic issues in a series of orders issued late Friday. The orders represent the first major salvo in Chairman Pai’s promised rollback of actions undertaken during the final days of former Chairman Wheeler’s tenure. Chairman … Continue Reading

FCC Chairman Pai Announces Creation of a Broadband Deployment Advisory Council

Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) Chairman Ajit Pai marked his first open meeting as Chairman by announcing a new Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (Committee), which is intended to advise the FCC on accelerating the deployment of high-speed internet access in communities across the country.  Designed to make recommendations to reduce and remove regulatory barriers … Continue Reading

The Month in FCC Enforcement: The Midnight Ride of Travis LeBlanc

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 on Kelley Drye’s Full Spectrum podcast 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. … Continue Reading

FCC Chairman Pai Offers Ideas for “Aggressive Action” on TCPA Issues

To close out his first week as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai spoke briefly at a meeting of the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee on Friday, January 27, 2017 and made clear that one of his priorities will be to address “robocalls,” which are the number one source of complaints to the FCC.  … Continue Reading

Pai FCC’s First Commission-Level Vote Targets Rural Broadband Access

On January 26, 2017, in its first action under the leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or the Commission) voted to allow the State Of NY to award up to $170 million in Connect America Fund (CAF) fuding to expand broadband access in unserved, rural portions of New York State.  These … Continue Reading

Ajit Pai Selected as Next FCC Chairman

On January 20, 2017, Politico Pro reported that President Trump selected Republican Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Ajit Pai to serve as the next permanent FCC Chairman.  According to the report, Commissioner Pai will not need to go through Senate confirmation in order to become Chairman.  Instead, he will simply need the Senate to reappoint … Continue Reading

FTC Announces Two Telemarketing Cases

On January 13, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it filed two lawsuits against more than a dozen individual and corporate defendants allegedly coordinated by two individuals.  In the complaints, the FTC alleges multiple violations of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR).  Specifically, the complaints allege that over a period several years, the … Continue Reading

Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Releases Draft Framework for Analyzing Zero-Rated and Sponsored Data Programs

On January 11, 2017, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB or Bureau) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) issued an informal report—“Policy Review of Mobile Broadband Operators’ Sponsored Data Offerings for Zero-Rated Content and Services”—that establishes a draft framework for reviewing mobile broadband providers’ sponsored data and zero-rated offerings and analyzes the zero-rated and … Continue Reading

Sessions Commits to Enforcing USA FREEDOM Act

On Tuesday, January 10, 2017, in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Jeff Sessions, (R., AL), the president-elect’s nominee to lead the Department of Justice (DOJ), said that he intends to follow the USA FREEDOM Act, which prohibits the National Security Agency (NSA) from bulk collection of phone records.  For more on … Continue Reading

Honda Waiver Request Highlights FCC’s Broad Disabilities Access Authority and Requirements

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC or Commission) Media Bureau released a Public Notice (Notice) seeking comment on a petition for limited waiver of the Commission’s rules filed by Honda Motor Company (Honda). Honda seeks a limited 20 month waiver of the requirement for the user interfaces on its rear entertainment systems to be … Continue Reading

FCC Public Safety Bureau Inquires About How to Ensure 5G Network Security

Ahead of the upcoming administration change, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has continued its efforts focused on security and privacy. On December 16, 2016, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB or Bureau) released a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) intended to facilitate dialogue and initiate action on the part of the communications … Continue Reading

FCC Continues TCPA Promotional Campaign

With just under one month left in Chairman Tom Wheeler’s tenure, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has continued to publicize the agency’s focus on enforcing and increasing awareness of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  Most recently, Chairman Wheeler issued a statement on December 21, 2016 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the TCPA, in … Continue Reading

FCC Denies Petition for Declaratory Ruling on Fax Advertisements

On December 21, 2016, the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) released an order denying a request by Kohll’s Pharmacy & Homecare, Inc. (Kohll’s) for a declaratory ruling that facsimiles sent on its behalf did not violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) “where the facsimiles simply informed businesses of the health benefits of … Continue Reading

DOT Weighs Whether to Permit Voice Calls on Airlines with Advance Notice to Passengers

Imagine boarding a cross-country flight and finding yourself next to someone who will be talking on his or her cell phone for the next three hours. Would it make a difference if you knew ahead of time that the flight allowed voice calls?  This scenario is exactly what the Department of Transportation (DOT) is proposing.… Continue Reading

Rhode Island Wants to be the First State to Offer 5G; Releases RFI

The state of Rhode Island plans to be the first state to test and launch next generation 5G networks, seeking to make 5G available to all of its communities.  This past week, Governor Gina Raimondo announced a joint effort by the Public Utilities Commission, Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, and the Office of Innovation … Continue Reading

FCC Announces MOU with Canadian Counterpart to Combat Robocalls, Issues Enforcement Advisory on Automated Texts

Heading into the holiday season, the FCC shows no signs of slowing down in its consumer-focused initiatives, in particular those related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  Earlier this month, for instance, the Commission sponsored a Twitter town hall to clarify TCPA restrictions, and announced that on December 14th, it will host a webinar … Continue Reading

FCC Denies TCPA Exemption for “Mortgage Servicing Calls”

On November 15, 2016, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) released an order denying a request by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) for an exemption of the prior-express-consent requirement of the TCPA for “mortgage servicing calls” to wireless phone numbers, such as calls to inform borrowers of their options should they become delinquent or … Continue Reading

Decrypting the Broadband Privacy Order

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 … Continue Reading

Client Advisory: The FCC’s Broadband Privacy Order

On Wednesday, November 2, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the text of its long-awaited Broadband Privacy Order, which it adopted on October 27, 2016. For an overview of the Order, you may read our client advisory here. The practical impact and reach of the rules will not be known for some time, but … Continue Reading

FCC Reaches Out to Consumers on TCPA Issues

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is increasing its visibility in response to what it has repeatedly cited as its largest source of consumer complaints to the Commission: autodialed and prerecorded calls (which the FCC groups together as so-called “robocalls”).  In addition to pushing for industry-based solutions to unwanted calls to consumers through initiatives such as the “Robocall Strike … Continue Reading
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