Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for May – July

Broadcast Deadlines:

June 1, 2021

Radio License Renewal Applications Due – Applications for renewal of license for radio stations located in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming must be filed in Licensing and Management System (LMS). These applications must be accompanied by Schedule 396, the Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity Program Report (EEO), also filed in LMS, regardless of the number of full-time employees. Under the new public notice rules, radio stations filing renewal applications must begin broadcasts of their post-filing announcements concerning their license renewal applications between the date the application is accepted for filing and five business days thereafter and must continue for a period of four weeks. Once complete, a certification of broadcast, with a copy of the announcement’s text, must be posted to the Online Public Inspection File (OPIF). Continue Reading

Dates Announced for Non-Commercial Educational Station Filing Window 

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announced that the next Full Power Non-Commercial Educational Station (“NCE”) Filing Window would take place from November 2, 2021 to November 9, 2021. Those that wish to apply must file a Form 2100, Schedule 340 electronically through the FCC’s Licensing & Management System (“LMS”). The FCC is limiting each applicant to no more than 10 applications.

Keep an eye on CommLawBlog as we will be providing a more substantive update on the new NCE window soon.

Now Available: Writing Contracts for a Post-Covid World Webinar

On March 23, Fletcher Heald attorney Thomas Urban presented a webinar on how COVID-19 has affected contract litigation and how companies should be prepared for future public health emergencies. During the presentation, Tom broke down the differences in contract doctrines and provided viewers with specific case law that could be applicable in potential lawsuits. The webinar ended with an in-depth look at where contract law could be moving post-COVID as well as many other challenges businesses could face. If you have not updated your contracts or are just interested in learning more about the law, this is an exceptional educational opportunity.

If you would like a copy of the PowerPoint, please reach out to potischman@fhhlaw.com. Otherwise, you can watch the webinar on our YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe to receive all the latest legal webinar content and feel free to ask us any questions you may have.

Selected New Developments in Broadband – Through March 30

Capitol Hill

President Biden on March 11, 2021 signed a further Coronavirus emergency spending package into law – the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act ($1.9 trillion). A very high-level summary of the major spending components of the legislation can be found here (courtesy of CTC Technology & Energy) – but the notable highlights include a $10 billion “capital projects” grant fund for states[1] (made available through the Department of Treasury) and $7.1 billion appropriated to the E-rate Program to support broadband to students outside of the classroom (more below on this in the E-rate section). The Treasury Department’s regulations for the capital projects grant fund are due by May 10, 2021. Continue Reading

The Supreme Court Overturns Third Circuit on Media Ownership Rules

On Thursday, April 1, 2021 the Supreme Court unanimously voted to overturn the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia (“Third Circuit”) in the case of Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) v. Prometheus Radio Project, No. 19-1231. The possibility of this result was something we had considered in a previous post, which includes background on media ownership rules. By overturning the Third Circuit, the changes the FCC adopted in 2017 will likely go into effect soon.  Those changes included eliminating the newspaper-broadcast and the radio-TV cross-ownership rules and allowing dual TV station ownership in markets with fewer than eight independent voices, creating an opportunity for ownership of two of the top four TV stations in a market on a case-by-case basis (the FCC did not call it a waiver), eliminating attribution of joint sales agreements for multiple ownership purposes, and creating an incubator program. Continue Reading

Upcoming FCC Broadcast and Telecom Deadlines for April – June

Broadcast Deadlines:

April 1, 2021

Radio License Renewal Applications Due – Applications for renewal of license for radio stations located in Texas must be filed in Licensing and Management System (LMS). These applications must be accompanied by Schedule 396, the Broadcast Equal Employment Opportunity Program Report (EEO), also filed in LMS, regardless of the number of full-time employees. Under the new public notice rules, radio stations filing renewal applications must begin broadcasts of their post-filing announcements concerning their license renewal applications between the date the application is accepted for filing and five business days thereafter and must continue for a period of four weeks. Once complete, a certification of broadcast, with a copy of the announcement’s text, must be posted to the Online Public Inspection File (OPIF). Continue Reading

Kansas Corporation Commission Rules on Interconnection and Porting Obligations Applicable to VoIP Services

On March 23, 2021, the Kansas Corporation Commission (“KCC”) issued a long-awaited Order resolving jurisdictional and other issues surrounding interconnection and porting issues between Voice over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”) providers and rural local exchange carriers (“LECs”) in Kansas. VoIP providers and rural LECs in Kansas have had a long‑running and contentious battle regarding number porting requests made by VoIP carriers to rural LECs. VoIP providers argued that because the FCC has ruled that VoIP carriers are entitled to local number portability (“LNP”) just like traditional landline carriers, rural LECs were obligated to port numbers without unreasonable delay. Rural LECs, on the other hand, asserted that unless a requesting VoIP provider had its own facilities located within a LEC’s exchange area, the port requests were a bridge too far. This was because the rural LEC would be required to route calls outside of its exchange and incur expensive out-of-area transport charges from other carriers in order to send those calls to the VoIP carrier. This fight raged on for years, with some rural LECs giving in to the VoIP carriers’ demands, while other LECs dug in their heels to avoid third-party transport charges and passing on those costs to their rural local telephone service customers. Continue Reading

Final Reminder: Writing Contracts for a Post-COVID World on Tuesday, March 23

For over a year, COVID-19 has created immeasurable change to our way of life and the global economy. By now, you have probably already heard of or dealt with contractual disputes—from advertising to insurance and many other fields—related to non-performance caused by the pandemic. While many cases are still being litigated, it is important to understand the direction in which these may go. Just as important is answering the question: How will future contracts be written to account for potential public health emergencies?  

On Tuesday, March 23 (12 noon EST), join Fletcher Heald Attorney Thomas Urban for a complimentary, hour-long update on the complexity of contract litigation in our COVID-19 world and anticipating where we go from here. This will include a Q & A session, so bring any lingering questions you may have.  

What Will You Learn?  

  • How COVID-19 is impacting pending litigation  
  • The contract doctrines that will determine who shoulders the cost of non-performance  
  • Differences in state-level enforcement of several clauses  
  • Where contract litigation is headed with a new administration in Washington 

REGISTER HERE 

Thomas F. Urban II Elected Member of Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth

Washington, DC – The Members of telecommunications, media, and technology law firm Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, PLC are proud to announce that they have elected Thomas F. Urban II as a Member of the Firm effective immediately.  Joining the firm in January 2020, Mr. Urban had an impactful first year with his active litigation practice, especially in response to COVID-19.  Not only has Mr. Urban continued to have a substantial hearing and deposition schedule (remotely); he has even written on the effect of the COVID pandemic on contract law and is in the process of authoring a piece on the proposed adoption of class actions in Virginia.

“It is an honor to join the membership at FHH,” said Mr. Urban. “I am looking forward to bolstering the firm’s already outstanding litigation practice for many years to come.” Continue Reading

FCC Warns Inactive/Non-Responsive C-Band Earth Stations: File or Be Terminated

As readers of CommLawBlog know, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) has reallocated the lower portion of the C-Band used for satellite communications and auctioned that portion of the spectrum for wireless services. In connection with that auction, operators of C-Band Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) earth stations will have to modify their operations out of (“transition”) the lower portion of the C-Band. The FCC structured the nationwide transition plan to include the involvement of the FSS Satellite operators as well as RSM US LLP (RSM), the designated C-Band Relocation Coordinator. Recently, the FCC’s International Bureau published a Public Notice regarding (1) operators of incumbent FSS C-Band earth station antennas that have been reported as no longer operational and (2) incumbent FSS C-Band earth station operators that have not responded to communications from RSM and/or incumbent C-Band satellite operators. That Public Notice requires C-Band Earth Station operators listed in attachments to the Notice to submit to the FCC by April 19, 2021, a statement affirming the continued operation of the identified earth station antennas and their intent to participate in the C-Band transition. Failure by those identified operators to make that submission will result in automatic termination of the earth station authorizations, and removal from the list of “incumbent” earth stations entitled to protection from interference, and may not be entitled to assistance and reimbursement in connection with the transition. Continue Reading

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