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

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

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) unanimously adopted an order formalizing the referral and review process associated with “Team Telecom”—the group of national security and law enforcement agencies responsible for assessing foreign investment in U.S. telecommunications, submarine cable licensees, and broadcast licensees. The order adopts rules and procedures that will govern what has long been an informal process at the agency, both in connection with the issuance of such licenses and with respect to transfers of control.

The FCC’s action is consistent with the agency’s increased focus on, and involvement in, questions around national security and foreign investment in the telecommunications and media sectors. This attention to national security at the FCC is likely to continue regardless of the outcome of the election in November, given that both Republicans and Democrats at the agency have supported the agency’s heightened role in national security matters under its jurisdiction.


Continue Reading FCC Formalizes Foreign Investment Reviews; More National Security Actions Likely to Follow

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