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

The German Federal States are likely to adopt a new law in 2020, known as the Interstate Media Treaty (Medienstaatsvertrag – “MStV”). The MStV will impose new regulations on firms or technologies that serve as intermediaries to online media services. It will also introduce new rules in other areas, e.g., for online content providers and advertising, but the rules for intermediaries are likely to generate the most interest.

After intense debate and two public consultations, which prompted over 1,200 comments, the prime ministers of the German Federal States agreed on a draft of the new law on December 5, 2019. Because the law also implements certain provisions of the latest revision of the EU Audiovisual Media Directive, which Member States must implement by September 2020, it is expected that the Federal State parliaments will adopt the MStV in the first half of this year. Germany notified the MStV to the EU under Directive 2015/1535 in January, and the European Commission is currently reviewing it.
Continue Reading Germany Likely to Adopt Unique Regulatory Regime for Intermediaries to Media Services

With all the current excitement around emerging high-tech autonomous vehicles and internet of things (IoT) devices, it may surprise some observers that around 20 years ago the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), at Congress’s direction, was already taking some important steps with respect to these technologies.  Most notably, the FCC set aside the 5.9 GHz band, which is a swath of highly-valued mid-band spectrum, for vehicle related communications and transportation safety features.  At that time, the FCC pursued Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) as the standard to develop critical safety services, but over time, similar technologies outside of the 5.9 GHz band have developed.  More recently, a number of manufacturers and developers have been focused on a new technology called Cellular Vehicle to Everything (C-V2X), which proponents argue should be the standard going forward.

The FCC has decided to weigh in on the issues in the 5.9 GHz band in a draft notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to be voted on at its December 12 Commission Open Meeting.  The 5.9 GHz band has been a political issue subject to disagreements among the FCC, Department of Transportation, and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, regarding the best path forward, which technologies should be pursued, and whether there is enough spectrum that can safely be shared among different use cases. 
Continue Reading IoT Update: FCC Proposes New Spectrum Plan for Vehicle Safety and Unlicensed Uses

In a long-awaited decision, today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a January 2018 decision by the FCC to repeal most net neutrality rules and classify broadband as an unregulated “information service,” despite requiring the FCC to conduct further proceedings to justify certain aspects of its decision.  At the same time, the Court found that the FCC exceeded its authority in attempting to preempt any state net neutrality or similar laws regulating broadband.
Continue Reading Federal Appellate Court Largely Upholds FCC’s Order Repealing Most Net Neutrality Rules and De-Regulating Broadband; Holds that FCC Does Not Have Authority to Preempt All State Net Neutrality Laws

IoT Update: Federal Lawmakers Focus on Smart Cities

Since the beginning of the year, lawmakers in this Congress have introduced a number of  proposals to study, cultivate, and guide the growth of smart cities.  This blog post summarizes seven smart cities bills introduced in this Congress.  Some bills focus broadly on Federal efforts to prioritize smart cities, whereas others focus on specific topics, like transportation and smart utilities.

Interestingly, most smart cities legislation introduced this year includes a grant program, which could reflect Congressional interest in demonstrating best practices capable of being replicated, as well as interest in providing financial support to accelerate smart cities growth.  The size of these grant programs typically hovers around $20-50M, though some bills leave the funding amount to the grant administrator.


Continue Reading IoT Update: Federal Lawmakers Focus on Smart Cities

Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, Inc. v. PDR Network, LLC, No. 17-1705.  The case began when Carlton & Harris sued PDR Network for alleged violations of the commercial fax provisions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).  The Fourth Circuit ruled in Carlton & Harris’s favor, relying on an interpretation of the TCPA issued by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”).  The Supreme Court granted PDR Network’s petition to review that ruling, but limited its review to a single question: whether federal courts are bound to accept a federal agency’s interpretation of a statute such as the TCPA without considering the validity of that interpretation.  The case has important implications for administrative law that are not limited to the TCPA or to the FCC.
Continue Reading Supreme Court to Hear Case Regarding Deference to Federal Agencies on Statutory Interpretation

In April 2018, China released its nationwide automatic vehicle road testing rules, the Intelligent Internet-connected Vehicles Road Test Administrative Rules (for Trial Implementation) (the “National Rules”), which took effect on May 1, 2018. “Intelligent Internet-connected vehicles,” as defined under the National Rules, are commonly referred to as “intelligent vehicles” or “autonomous vehicles,” which involve a system of advanced sensors, controllers, actuators, etc. that may ultimately become a substitute for human drivers. The National Rules governs three categories of autonomous vehicles depending on the level of automation and human interaction required, i.e., conditional automation, high-level automation and full automation.

Prior to the release of the national Rules, selected Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Baoding and Chongqing had already implemented their own respective local road test rules for autonomous vehicles, and Shenzhen’s local proposals were at public consultation phase. The National Rules are largely consistent with the already existing various local rules, and provide an example for additional local governments to formulate their own detailed implementation rules.
Continue Reading IoT Update: China Releases National Automatic Vehicle Road Testing Rules

Two hundred billion IoT devices could be in use by 2020, according to one estimate cited in the World Economic Forum’s recent report, Mitigating Risk in the Innovation Economy.  This rapid integration of the digital world and the physical world presents unprecedented opportunities for businesses in a wide array of industries.  But it also

Inflection Point for IoT

In a relatively short amount of time, the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its applications— from smart cars to the myriad of interconnected sensors in the General Service Administration building reminiscent of HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey— has rapidly proliferated, providing significant opportunities and benefits. However,

By Fredericka Argent and Hannah Edmonds-Camara

This is the final instalment in our series looking at accessibility in the workplace. Part 1 looked at the importance of deploying accessible IT in order to benefit employees and businesses. Part 2 examined national equality laws requiring businesses to make “reasonable accommodations” for employees in the workplace. In part 3, we set out how industry standards are playing an increasingly important role in helping organizations demonstrate compliance with accessibility requirements.

In this final instalment, we look at practical steps businesses can take to improve their accessibility credentials.

Practical steps

In light of the increasing importance of ensuring workplace accessibility and diversity, both as good business practice and in order to meet legal obligations, it is advisable that enterprises start pushing accessibility higher up the agenda. Companies can kickstart this process by reviewing their policies on workplace inclusion, procurement of IT and accessibility in the recruitment process.


Continue Reading Accessibility In The Workplace: What Businesses Need To Know: Part 4