On November 2, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC’s) Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (“Bureau”) published a public notice in the Federal Register focused on asking whether the 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz, 92-94 GHz, and the 94.1-95 GHz bands (“70/80/90 GHz Bands”) could be used “to provide broadband Internet access to consumers and communities that may otherwise lack robust, consistent connectivity.” The Commission is particularly interested whether stratospheric-based platforms, such as High Altitude Platform Stations (“HAPS”), which operate above twenty kilometers (approximately 65,000 feet), could be deployed for this purpose in the 70/80/90 GHz Bands.  Comments are due by December 2, 2021, and replies by January 3, 2022.

Continue Reading Looking to the Skies: The FCC Seeks Additional Information on Potential Stratospheric-Based Communications Platforms and Services

Commissioner Michael O’Reilly called for stronger enforcement action to combat unauthorized “pirate” radio broadcasters in a statement before the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on July 25, 2017.  The Commissioner’s recommendations came during the Subcommittee’s hearing on draft legislation to reauthorize the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”).  While the reauthorization bill does not focus on pirate enforcement and the issue normally is seen as non-controversial, it is a longstanding priority for the Commissioner.  In his statement, Commissioner O’Rielly not only advocated for increased fines against pirates, but also penalties against third parties that support pirates, such as building owners housing pirate stations or pirate station advertisers.  While it remains unlikely that the recommendations will result in near-term legislative action, Commissioner O’Rielly’s statement sends a clear message that pirate broadcasters and their supporters remain in his enforcement crosshairs.

Continue Reading Commissioner O’Rielly Again Targets Pirate Broadcasters and Their Supporters to Walk the Enforcement Plank

On August 18, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a $750,000 settlement with Smart City Holdings, Inc.  (Smart City) to resolve an investigation into the company’s blocking consumer Wi-Fi hotspots at multiple convention center locations across the United States.  To settle the case, Smart City agreed to cease all Wi-Fi blocking, implement a compliance plan and pay a civil penalty.  This is the second time the Commission has imposed a large fine for Wi-Fi blocking at large venues.  Last year the agency reached a similar settlement with Marriott International, Inc.

Continue Reading FCC Issues Another Fine for Wi-Fi Blocking: Smart City Fined $750,000 for Blocking Mobile Hotspots