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Wrong Number! D.C. Circuit Rules on Challenges to the FCC’s 2015 TCPA Order Part IV: What’s Next – New FCC Rulemakings and Impact on Litigation

Robocalls – everyone has strong feelings about them. In many cases they serve a useful function, but they are often unwanted and/or fraudulent, and they are the largest source of consumer complaints to the FCC. In response, the FCC in 2015 issued a Declaratory Ruling and Order intended to broaden the number of calls subject … Continue Reading

FCC Issues Big Fines to Sprint and Mobilitie for Siting Violations

(But Doesn’t Offer Much Explanation as to Details or Guidance for Future Acceptable Action) On April 10, the FCC released Orders and associated Consent Decrees resolving investigations into alleged violations of the site registration and/or pre-construction environmental review procedures by Sprint and Mobilitie. In the past, the Commission has made it clear that it means … Continue Reading

Wrong Number!  D.C. Circuit Rules on Challenges to the FCC’s 2015 TCPA Order Part III: The Problem of Reassigned Phone Numbers

Robocalls – everyone has strong feelings about them. In many cases robocalls, or automated calls and text messages, serve a useful function (and not just for telemarketing). But unfortunately, they are often unwanted and/or fraudulent, and they are the largest source of consumer complaints to the FCC. In response, the FCC in 2015 issued a … Continue Reading

Wrong Number! D.C. Circuit Rules on Challenges to the FCC’s 2015 TCPA Order Part II: Revocation of Consumer Consent

Robocalls – everyone has strong feelings about them. In many cases robocalls, or automated calls and text messages, serve a useful function (and not just for telemarketing). But unfortunately, they are often unwanted and/or fraudulent, and they are the largest source of consumer complaints to the FCC. In response, the FCC in 2015 issued a … Continue Reading

Reply Comments on FCC Incubator Diversity Program Due April 9

On Nov. 20, 2017, the FCC released an Order on Reconsideration of several of its broadcast multiple and cross-ownership rules, which included a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) looking toward increasing minority, female, and small business ownership by establishing an “incubator” program which incentives established broadcasters to help those types of entities. Comments on the … Continue Reading

Wrong Number! D.C. Circuit Rules on Challenges to the FCC’s 2015 TCPA Order Part I: The Debate Over Defining ‘Autodialer’

Robocalls – everyone has strong feelings about them. In many cases robocalls, or automated calls and text messages, serve a useful function (and not just for telemarketing). But unfortunately, they are often unwanted and/or fraudulent, and they are the largest source of consumer complaints to the FCC. In response, the FCC in 2015 issued a … Continue Reading

FCC Officially Publishes Net Neutrality Rollback Rule; Will Take Effect on April 23

Well, it’s official: the Open Internet rule, better known as Net Neutrality, will go bye-bye starting April 23. Today, the hotly debated final notice of the Open Internet Rule (better known as Net Neutrality) was published in the Federal Register. Net neutrality goes away as of April 23 except for certain provisions that require review … Continue Reading

DataConnex Gets Hit with $18.7M Fine for Violation of the Rural Health Care Program

As it has for many months now, the FCC at its January Open Meeting continued its review of the Rural Health Care Program (RHCP). This time, it issued a proposed $18.7M fine against health care telecommunications service provider DataConnex. A reseller of telecommunications services, DataConnex is alleged to have taken in millions of dollars from … Continue Reading

FCC Annual CPNI Certifications Are Back After One Year Off – Due March 1

It’s that time of year again! (Well, again after a one-year hiatus, that is.) Time for our annual reminder that the annual customer proprietary network information (CPNI) certifications are due by March 1 for most (but not necessarily all) telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers. CPNI includes a variety of sensitive customer data such as, … Continue Reading

Noncommercial Stations Beware: When ‘Underwriting’ Spots Turn into Advertising, a Big Penalty Can Follow

Many noncommercial educational (NCE) stations – and their lawyers – were caught by surprise last week when the FCC issued a $115,000 civil penalty against an NCE licensee. The Cesar Chavez Foundation (CCF) was hit for running underwriting spots promoting for-profit entities. CCF agreed to the monetary penalty as part of an FCC approved consent … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Asked to Delay Implementation of Media Ownership Rules

As we previously reported, the deregulatory changes the FCC recently adopted to its media ownership rules are due to take effect on Feb. 7. Prometheus Radio Project and Media Mobilizing Project, however, have filed an appeal of those rule changes in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and, as expected, have now … Continue Reading

NOW AVAILABLE: 2018 Political Broadcast Webinar

On the eve of the 2018 mid-term elections, broadcasters will soon have to navigate the FCC’s rules on political broadcasting. To assist with this, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth’s Dan Kirkpatrick, Frank Montero, and Scott Johnson, were joined by the FCC’s Bobby Baker and Gary Schonman to present, in collaboration with the Colorado Broadcasters Association, a webinar on … Continue Reading

FCC Begins Process for Permitting Collocations on Twilight Towers

On Dec.14, the FCC released a Public Notice unveiling a draft Program Comment that will supposedly resolve the longstanding issues surrounding collocating equipment on so-called “Twilight Towers.” Twilight Towers have been stuck in limbo as a result of an ambiguity in the Commission’s rules. Since 2001, the Commission has had rules in place that require … Continue Reading

The FCC’s Open Internet Order – Which Freedom?  

The fight over the Open Internet (better known as net neutrality) continued Thursday with the Federal Communications Commission voting to reverse the 2015 Title II Order, which reclassified broadband Internet access as a “telecommunications service.” This decision means that the Internet will return to its pre-2015 Title I “information service” classification (For a history of how … Continue Reading

FCC Fines Maker of Light Fixtures. Really.

The FCC proposed a fine of $25,000 against a manufacturer of fluorescent lighting fixtures. Wait a minute. Lighting fixtures? Well, sure, the FCC regulates radio transmitters. And digital devices, which produce radio waves as a by-product that can interfere with communications. But lighting fixtures? Will the bathroom plumbing be next? In fact fluorescent fixtures are … Continue Reading

One Small Step for Cell Sites: FCC Finds that Replacing Utility Poles is Unlikely to Affect Historical Properties

The Federal Communications Commission has taken a very tiny step toward eliminating unnecessary obstacles to the installation of communications facilities on existing structures without triggering historic review obligations. For the last year, the FCC has been reviewing the various regulatory obstacles that are hindering, delaying, and making more expensive the process of establishing new cell … Continue Reading

New Equipment Rules Take Effect

Changes to the equipment authorization rules the FCC adopted last July appeared in the Federal Register this morning and take effect today. Major changes include the option of putting required labeling on a device’s display screen, and combination of the former verification and Declaration of Conformity procedures into a new procedure called Supplier’s Declaration of … Continue Reading
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