April 5, 2020

April 05, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

April 03, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

FCC Adopts NPRM Proposing to Reverse Title II Classification of Internet

Legislative Activity

House Democrats Introduce Infrastructure Bill that Includes $40 Billion for Broadband

On May 17, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) introduced H.R.2479, the Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s America Act (LIFT America Act). According to a press release on Rep. Pallone’s website, the legislation “sets out five years of funding for essential infrastructure improvements, job growth, and greater protections for public health and the environment.” The bill provides $40 billion for fiscal years 2018 through 2022 to establish a program for “the deployment of secure and resilient broadband to expand access for communities nationwide while promoting security by design.” Seventy-five percent of those funds would be available to private entities to deploy broadband in unserved areas through a “national reverse auction” to be conducted by the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information (Assistant Secretary) of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration. The remaining twenty five percent of the authorized amount would be distributed to the states, which would then be authorized to distribute funds at the state level to facilitate broadband deployment. The legislation requires that any project funded by the program “[p]rovide broadband with a download speed of at least 100 megabits per second, and a latency that is sufficiently low to allow real-time, interactive applications” except in remote areas, as defined by the Assistant Secretary, where a download speed of 25 megabits per second would be required. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources for further consideration.

Regulatory Activity

FCC Adopts NPRM Proposing to Reverse Title II Classification of the Internet

As we previously reported, on Thursday, May 18, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) took a major step toward reversing the 2015 order reclassifying the Internet as a Title II service. According to an FCC news release, the rollback will help to “restore Internet freedom and promot[e] infrastructure investment, innovation, and choice by proposing to end utility-style regulation of broadband Internet access service.” In pertinent part, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, or NPRM—which was adopted under a 2-1 party-line vote—will propose to (1) reverse Title II government regulation on Internet Service Providers; (2) “return to the Commission’s original classification of mobile broadband Internet access service as a private mobile service;” and (3) eliminate the “Internet conduct standard created by the Title II Order.”

Finally, the NRPM will also seek comment on whether the FCC should retain certain “bright-line rules” adopted under the Title II Order.

Blue Alert Proposal Likely to be Adopted at June FCC Open Meeting

At an event hosted by the Department of Justice on Friday, May 19, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced a proposal to “add an alert option to the nation’s Emergency Alert System (EAS) to help protect our nation’s law enforcement officers.” As explained in a news release issued the same day, this so-called “Blue Alert” would be used to “notify the public through television and radio of threats to law enforcement and to help apprehend dangerous suspects.”

Specifically, Blue Alerts will be used to warn the public when, among other things, “there is actionable information related to a law enforcement officer who is missing, seriously injured or killed in the line of duty, or when there is an imminent credible threat to an officer,” thereby alerting the public to violent suspects that might be in a community, and providing instructions on what to do upon encountering the suspect in question. Chairman Pai analogized the Blue Alert to Amber Alerts, noting that, “[a]s we have learned from the very successful AMBER Alert initiative for recovering missing children, an informed public can play a vital role in assisting law enforcement. . . . By expanding the Emergency Alert System to better support Blue Alerts, we could build on that success – and help protect those in law enforcement who risk their lives each day to protect us.”

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopting the Blue Alert proposal is likely to be adopted at the FCC’s June 22nd Open Meeting.

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS


About this Author

Koyulyn K. Miller, Squire Patton, Technology, Communication Lawyer, FCC
Associate

Koyulyn Miller advises clients in the communications and technology sectors, specializing in enforcement matters before government agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). She works tirelessly to unpack and analyze complex legal matters, counseling clients on how to navigate enforcement and other regulatory proceedings. Drawing from her years of experience working in the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, she educates clients on practical matters such as how to respond to Commission correspondence and enforcement actions, how and when to broach...

202 457 5321
Peter M. Bean, Squire Patton, Communication Licensing Lawyer
Associate

Peter Bean is a member of the firm’s Communications Practice Group. Peter represents public and private sector US and non-US clients in the technology and communications industries on a range of complex legal, regulatory and legislative issues, many of which are at the forefront of telecommunications law and policy. Peter’s practice is global in scope and leverages the firm’s global footprint for the benefit of clients. In the US, his practice includes varied experience practicing before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and counseling clients on matters including licensing, regulatory compliance, spectrum allocation and assignment, mergers and acquisitions, and public policy initiatives. Internationally, Peter has also developed expertise counseling foreign governments and regulatory authorities, and has advised foreign telecommunications operators on regulatory matters and disputes with regulators in their home jurisdictions.

Peter advises a diverse group of clients that includes public and private sector entities, both foreign and domestic. He has advised major technology companies and content providers, media companies, submarine cable system owners and operators, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers, broadband providers, Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), wireless and wireline telecommunications providers, real estate investment trusts, microwave networking solutions providers, foreign governments and foreign regulatory authorities.

In the US, Peter advises his clients in matters concerning licensing, spectrum allocation and use, spectrum leasing, the application of Universal Service Fund surcharges and strategies to minimize such charges, equipment authorization, the regulation of the internet and VoIP services, contracts related to MVNOs, mergers and acquisitions, the development and implementation of regulatory compliance plans, and negotiations with the executive branch agencies constituting Team Telecom. Peter provides counsel to foreign and domestic telecommunications companies desiring to enter new markets by ensuring that they have the proper federal and state operating authorities for their service offerings. Peter also facilitates mergers and acquisitions by conducting detailed due diligence reviews of the licenses and regulatory approvals held by the target company, assessing transactional risks and working to obtain the consent of the FCC and state public utility commissions to such transactions. Peter has also advised clients in matters relating to foreign ownership limitations. Finally, Peter serves as part of the firm’s team that is general counsel to the 800 MHz Transition Administrator (TA) in connection with the movement of Sprint/Nextel to new spectrum bands.

202 457 6625
Steven F. Lederman, Communications, ATtorney, Squire PAtton Boggs, law firm
Senior Associate

Steven Lederman focuses his practice on general communications law matters including issues involving regulation of wireline, wireless and cable television providers. Steve has an in-depth understanding of state and federal regulations impacting telecommunications providers and has participated in proceedings before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). He has extensive experience with respect to FCC decisions, federal statutes, and regulations affecting telecommunications and cable television providers. In addition, Steve has experience with communications-...

202-626-6283