Federal Communications Commission

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

FCC Chairman Pai announced today that the FCC would seek public comment on the Administration’s July 27 Petition for Rulemaking on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA)—the law that to date has meant that social media companies, ISPs, and other “online intermediaries” have not been subject to liability for their users’ actions. Comments will be due on Wednesday, September 2 and reply comments will be due on Thursday, September 17.

While there is much that is novel about the Petition itself, the FCC’s decision to seek comment on it appears to follow standard operating procedures. At this point, there is no indication of whether the FCC will take more formal steps attempting to adopt any of the rules proposed by the Administration.
Continue Reading FCC Seeks Comment on Section 230 Petition

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

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

On November 30, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) hosted a forum to discuss artificial intelligence (“AI”) and machine learning. Chairman Ajit Pai moderated the forum’s two main panels “What Is AI and Where Is It Taking Us?” and “Applications of AI and Machine Learning in the Here and Now,” which invited academics, industry professionals, and government affairs specialists to weigh in on the evolving AI ecosystem.

Chairman Pai made clear in his opening remarks that the purpose of the forum was not to initiate AI regulation at the FCC. He stated: “It’s important to note that this event is about discussion and demonstration. It is not about the FCC dipping its toes in the regulatory waters. These are emerging technologies. And when dealing with emerging technologies, I believe that one of the foundational principles for government should be regulatory humility.” This sentiment of sharing information about new AI issues and best practices was lauded by many of the panelists as the correct approach in the sphere. They explained that to create “AI regulation” would be a particularly challenging endeavor because AI has so many different applications across all different sectors.

Although the Chairman is not looking to AI regulation at the FCC, he does see an important role for the agency to play: facilitating the deployment of 5G. The promise of 5G to advances in AI became a consistent theme among the Chairman, the panelists, and Commissioners Carr and Rosenworcel. The Commissioners delivered remarks at the forum as well.
Continue Reading AI Update: FCC Hosts Inaugural Forum on Artificial Intelligence

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has a key role to play in driving the development of connected and automated vehicles (“CAV”) technology. As we explained in a recent CAV IoT Update, the FCC has been studying the risks associated with specific CAV technologies that could provide unique channels for potential cyberattacks. This post examines the debate over spectrum allocation for CAV technologies.

Why the FCC Matters to Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Technology

The FCC makes critical decisions about what portions of the radio spectrum will be available for various fifth-generation (“5G”) and other new wireless services, including CAV technologies. Those decisions are part of the FCC’s authority to administer spectrum for use by states, local governments, commercial businesses, and consumers. While the FCC at one time had designated a specific band of spectrum, the 5.9 GHz band for vehicle-to-vehicle (“V2V”) communications, a debate recently was reignited over the future of that band and the best way of enabling spectrum for CAV technologies and for the broader range of next-generation technologies that will be available with deployment of 5G. Although the 5.9 GHz band is not the only portion of the spectrum that enables CAV technologies, it has attracted significant interest from, and debate among, automakers, wireless providers, chip manufacturers, WiFi advocates and others. These stakeholders are debating whether having one band dedicated to CAV is the most efficient and effective means of meeting demands in this country for spectrum access—demands that the recent Presidential Memorandum on national spectrum policy described as “never . . . greater than today, with the advent of autonomous vehicles and precision agriculture, the expansion of commercial space operations, and the burgeoning Internet of Things.”

Continue Reading IoT Update: Navigating the Course of Spectrum for Connected and Automated Vehicle Technologies

As we explained in a prior post, 5G deployment will be a critical component to the ever-evolving Internet of Things (IoT). On April 17, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Public Notice seeking comment on the competitive bidding procedures for auctions involving spectrum in the 28GHz and 24 GHz bands. The auction of 28 GHz spectrum will begin on November 14, with the 24 GHz auction following after that. But what does this mean, and why is it important?

For those new to the world of FCC Auctions, a Comment Public Notice, such as the one just released, seeks input on the application process for the auctions and the procedures to be used while bidding. It is similar in form to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, in which the FCC seeks comments on a proposal and asks a variety of questions. After the comment and reply comment deadlines pass (May 9 and May 23, respectively), the FCC will take into consideration the input on the record. Next, the FCC will release a Procedures Public Notice, akin to an Order, that will lay out the rules that will be in force for the auction. The FCC will also announce the application windows to participate in the auction, and interested parties will apply to participate. This will all take place before the start of bidding in November.
Continue Reading Covington Internet of Things Update: The FCC Gets Ready for 5G Spectrum Auctions

Updated (5/3/2018)

On April 17, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) broke new ground in the agency’s role in national security policy by voting unanimously to approve a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking captioned “Protecting Against National Security Threats to the Communications Supply Chain Through FCC Programs” (the “NPRM”).  The deadline for filing comments is June 1, 2018, and reply comments are due July 2, 2018.

As the title indicates, the NPRM seeks comment on a framework to reduce supply chain risks for telecommunications equipment and services deployed throughout the country. The item acknowledges a specific role for the FCC in this arena: to ban use of Universal Service Fund (“USF”) subsidies in ways that undermine or pose a threat to national security. In short, the FCC proposes to use the power of the purse—in the case of USF, about $9 billion in subsidies per year—to dissuade companies from using equipment sourced from companies or countries that pose a national security concern.

Although the approach is narrow in scope, in practice the NPRM could produce a final rule that would significantly affect the selections of equipment and services by some USF recipients, particularly rural and smaller providers who reportedly are more likely to have purchased equipment from targeted suppliers. Additionally, as explained below, this proposed rule could affect USF recipients that do not use prohibited equipment and service providers, depending on whether some of their subcontractors use them.
Continue Reading Covington Internet of Things Update: FCC Looks to Bolster the Communications Supply Chain

Thermostats you control remotely with your phone. Watches that track runs and provide turn-by-turn navigation. Cars that drive themselves. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a remarkable ecosystem providing innovative and sometimes unexpected functions. But as the number and sophistication of connected devices increases, so too does the need for the infrastructure to handle increased network demands—making the rollout and success of 5G networks critical to the future of IoT.

Regulators at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are keenly aware of the importance of 5G, and with that in mind are taking steps to facilitate necessary upgrades to both wireless and wireline broadband technologies and infrastructure. We highlight some of these initiatives below.
Continue Reading Covington Internet of Things Update: 5G at the FCC, and What That Means for IoT

The FCC Media Bureau’s designated May 29, 2015 “Pre-Auction Licensing Deadline” is rapidly approaching.  Full power and Class A facilities must be licensed by this deadline in order to be eligible for protection in the repacking process that will be part of the television incentive auction. For these purposes, facilities subject to a pending application