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The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) is seeking comment on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) that would modify certain aspects of the FCC’s device authorization rules.  Specifically, the FCC is seeking comment on a proposed revision to its device authorization rules to allow the importation of limited quantities of radiofrequency (“RF”) devices prior to authorization for pre-sale activities, including imaging, packaging, and delivery to retail locations.  The FCC also is proposing rule revisions that would allow conditional sales, but not delivery, of RF devices to consumers prior to authorization.

Continue Reading FCC Seeks Comment on Proposal to Change Device Marketing Rules

In what is expected to be one of the last meetings under the leadership of current Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Chairman Ajit Pai, the agency will consider adopting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) that proposes to modify certain aspects of the FCC’s device authorization rules.  Specifically, the NPRM will propose to allow the importation and conditional marketing and sales of radiofrequency (“RF”) devices that have not yet been approved under the FCC’s rules.  If the rule is ultimately changed, that means companies marketing RF devices for the first time will have the same flexibility enjoyed by some car companies and many other manufacturers to offer a product to the public before it actually can be shipped for use.

Continue Reading FCC Plans to Advance Proposal to Change Device Marketing Rules

FCC Chairman Pai announced today that the FCC will move forward with a rulemaking to clarify the meaning of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA).  To date, Section 230 generally has been interpreted to mean that social media companies, ISPs, and other “online intermediaries” have not been subject to liability for their users’ actions.

On July 27, the Trump Administration—acting through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration—submitted a Petition for Rulemaking on Section 230, and Chairman Pai announced on August 3 that the FCC would seek public comment on the petition.  That petition asked the FCC to adopt rules to “clarify” the circumstances under which the liability shield of Section 230 applies.  Citing the FCC General Counsel’s reported position that the Commission has the legal authority to interpret Section 230, Chairman Pai today stated that a forthcoming agency rulemaking will strive to “clarify its meaning.”


Continue Reading FCC Announces Section 230 Rulemaking

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) circulated a new Net Neutrality Order for consideration at its October meeting.  This draft Order on Remand does not mark a change in the FCC’s Net Neutrality policy; rather, it responds to several issues raised by the D.C. Circuit in Mozilla v. FCC, which reviewed the 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom Order.

The draft Order on Remand addresses the points raised by the D.C. Circuit in Mozilla but otherwise affirms the outcome of the Restoring Internet Freedom Order.  That Order rolled back Obama-era Net Neutrality regulations and largely deregulated broadband Internet service provider practices.


Continue Reading Order Responding to Net Neutrality Court Decision Circulated for Consideration at FCC’s October Meeting

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission circulated a draft order that will formalize its coordination with what has been known as “Team Telecom”—the national security review process for foreign investments in U.S. telecommunications companies.  The draft order, which the FCC will consider for adoption at its September 30 Open Meeting, includes rules and procedures governing what has long been an informal process.

The FCC’s draft order adopts rules consistent with an April 4, 2020 Executive Order that rebranded the group of executive branch authorities long referred to as “Team Telecom” as the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector.  Despite the name change, Team Telecom will largely follow the existing review process; however, the new FCC rules do make a few key changes.  We highlight some of the basic changes below.


Continue Reading FCC Releases Draft Order Formalizing “Team Telecom” Process

A little over a month ago, the deadline for appealing the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Mozilla v. FCC expired.  The Mozilla decision upheld the FCC’s 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom Order (“Order”), which rolled back Obama-era net neutrality regulations to largely deregulate broadband internet service provider (“ISP”) practices.  No party sought Supreme Court review

Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) asked for comment on a Petition for Rulemaking filed by the Consumer Technology Association (“CTA”) that proposes to modify the FCC’s device authorization rules to allow the importation and conditional, preauthorization marketing and sales of radiofrequency (“RF”) devices that have not yet been approved under the FCC’s rules.  The deadline for filing comments supporting or opposing the petition is July 9, 2020.
Continue Reading IoT Update: FCC Considering Changes to Device Rules

Reflecting the heightened interest in 5G and related cybersecurity concerns, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has requested public comment on the implementation of its National Strategy to Secure 5G. Stakeholders with interests in telecommunications infrastructure and security—and any parties interested in 5G generally—currently have the opportunity to provide input on the plan that will carry out the Administration’s 5G strategy.

From now until June 18, 2020, the NTIA will accept public comments as part of its efforts to develop a rollout for its National Strategy to Secure 5G. This implementation plan is being developed per the Secure 5G and Beyond Act of 2020, which President Trump signed into law on March 23. The NTIA published its National Strategy the same day.
Continue Reading IoT Update: Administration Seeks Public Input on Rollout of 5G Strategy

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has again demonstrated that enabling the 5G ecosystem that, among other things, will drive breakthroughs in the Internet of Things (IoT), remains an agency priority.

In a meeting late last week, the FCC adopted multiple items aimed at expanding spectrum availability and access for 5G applications and services, as well as IoT devices. We will report separately on the FCC’s headline-grabbing action to partially reallocate the C-band. In the meantime, the three items addressing television White Spaces, the 3.5 GHz band, and the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund all have relevance for IoT stakeholders.
Continue Reading IoT Update: FCC’s February Meeting Features Several 5G and IoT-Related Items

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) formally adopted a draft order aimed at supporting the buildout of robust wired broadband networks in underserved rural areas. The Commission created the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which targets up to $20.4 billion over ten years for investment in high-speed broadband networks. In addition to narrowing the digital