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Last week, the office of Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel released a draft Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding spectrum availability and requirements to support the growth of Internet of Things (IoT).  The FCC will consider this NOI, which is intended to collect information and does not propose rules, in its next Open Commission Meeting scheduled for September 30, 2021. This proposed NOI is the latest in a series of FCC actions that will affect the future deployment of IoT products and services in the United States.
Continue Reading IoT Update: FCC to Open Inquiry into Spectrum Needs for Growth of the Internet of Things

Last Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announced that it will consider a Report and Order at its June 21, 2021 open meeting that would permit the importation and conditional sale of radiofrequency (RF) devices prior to obtaining equipment authorization in some circumstances.  The consumer electronics industry has advocated for this rule change, which will facilitate pre-sales and other marketing of new devices in the marketplace.

If adopted, the Report and Order would afford manufacturers and developers of RF devices significant flexibility in conducting pre-sale activities and potentially reduce the time required to deliver devices to market.  These revisions represent a significant change to the FCC’s equipment and marketing rules and bring the FCC’s equipment marketing and pre-sales regime in line with many other industries.   
Continue Reading FCC Set to Ease Rules that Have Limited Pre-Sales and Other Marketing of Some New Electronic Devices

Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has announced that at its next monthly public meeting on June 17, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) will kick off a process to change its equipment authorization rules and competitive bidding procedures to address national security threats.

The draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”), released Thursday, proposes changes to the FCC’s rules on equipment authorization that could restrict and revoke the authorization of devices determined to pose a threat to national security—effectively banning them from the U.S. marketplace.  The NPRM also proposes updates that would effectively require parties bidding for spectrum licenses or FCC broadband funding to certify that they will not rely on financial support from entities designated by the FCC as a national security threat.


Continue Reading FCC Announces New Efforts to Block “Insecure Devices” from the U.S. Market

As has been widely reported, there is an ongoing global shortage of semiconductor chips that enable products and services throughout many sectors of the economy.  On Tuesday, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Public Notice seeking public comment on the impact of this chip shortage on the U.S. communications sector specifically.

The Public Notice does not propose new rules, rather, it seeks input from stakeholders in the communications sector to guide the FCC’s priorities and initiatives as it seeks to help build a more secure and resilient communications supply chain.  In issuing the Public Notice, acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel pointed out that “these tiny pieces of technology are the basic building blocks of modern communications—including 5G, Wi-Fi, satellites, and more.”


Continue Reading FCC Seeks Input on Impact of Global Semiconductor Shortage

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding its Emergency Alert Service (“EAS”) rules.  These rules govern how emergency alerts are transmitted by federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial officials to the public over mobile phones, radios, and televisions.

Continue Reading FCC Considering Changes to Emergency Alert Service Rules; Collecting Information About Potential Application to Streaming Services

On December 30, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Report and Order (“Order”) that imposed certain new restrictions on nonmarketing prerecorded calls to residential lines.  The action was in response to Congress’s mandate in the TRACED Act that the FCC reevaluate certain exemptions the agency previously granted regarding the consent requirements for prerecorded calls under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).


Continue Reading FCC Imposes New Requirements on Nonmarketing Prerecorded Calls to Residential Lines

Connected and automated vehicle (“CAV”) developments in Washington are likely to pick up speed as 2021 rolls in. Indeed, a new presidential administration, new agency leadership, and a new Congress may drive new CAV regulation while also spurring innovation in an industry that many believe can enhance road safety, mobility, and accessibility. For instance, John Porcari, a Biden-Harris campaign advisor and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation under President Barack Obama, recently indicated that transportation agencies under President Biden would prioritize innovation and technological change and adopt a federal framework for autonomous vehicles.

Lawmakers and regulators, furthermore, will have the opportunity to build on some of the initiatives that picked up speed during the fall of 2020, such as the Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution Act (H.R. 8350) (“SELF DRIVE Act”), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (“NHTSA”) AV TEST tool, and NHTSA’s request for comment on its proposed framework for Automated Driving Systems (“ADS”) safety. Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) adoption of rules to modernize the 5.9 GHz Band could spur the deployment of CAV technology, and the new administration may reinvigorate inter-agency efforts to examine consumer data privacy and security issues posed by CAVs, as well as CAV-related developments in infrastructure. This post looks down the road ahead for CAV developments in Washington.
Continue Reading IoT Update: The Road Ahead for Connected and Automated Vehicle Developments in Washington

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

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on a proposal to review and potentially revise a number of existing exemptions that the FCC has adopted with respect to certain Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requirements.  The FCC’s review could end up narrowing or eliminating some of these longstanding exemptions, imposing consent requirements or other obligations that today are not required for certain kinds of calls and texts.

Continue Reading FCC Reevaluating Certain TCPA Compliance Exemptions

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