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Volume XII, Number 183

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Telecom Alert: Ninth Circuit Upholds CA Net Neutrality Mandate; Auction Communications Investigation; FCC Broadband Nutrition Labels; Section 253 Petition; Order to Dismantle [Vol. XIX, Issue 5]

Ninth Circuit Upholds CA Net Neutrality Mandate

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California’s ruling denying a preliminary injunction against implementation of California’s net neutrality mandate.  After the FCC found in 2018 that it lacked statutory authority to enact federal network neutrality requirements and that States were preempted from adopted such measures as well, California passed a law that prohibits internet service providers from blocking, throttling, or granting paid priority to web content.  The Ninth Circuit ruled that the FCC’s determination that it lacked statutory authority over broadband internet access service also had the effect of depriving it of authority to preempt states from enacting and enforcing their own network neutrality rules.  This decision could spur other states to develop their own net neutrality laws. 

FCC Settles Auction Communications Investigation 

The FCC entered into a Consent Decree with Lumen Technologies, Inc. (“Lumen”) last week following the Commission’s investigation into whether Lumen engaged in prohibited communications of its bidding and bidding strategies to other Auction 105 participants and failed to report prohibited communications to the FCC.  On May 8, 2020, the second day of the Auction 105 Quiet Period, a site-acquisition consultant retained by Lumen submitted a colocation application for the potential placement of 3.5 GHz band transmitters to a tower owner in Cambridge, Minnesota that also happened to be an Auction 105 applicant.  The application then became an exhibit to a site license agreement that was provided to Lumen by its consultant on August 6, 2020.  Although Lumen did not have knowledge of the May 8 submission of the colocation agreement by its consultant, Lumen is now required to pay a $75,000 settlement, implement a compliance plan, and submit annual reports to the Commission over the next three years. 

FCC Issues Proposal on Broadband Nutrition Labels

Last week, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would require broadband Internet providers to display easy-to-understand “Broadband Nutrition Labels” to allow consumers to comparison shop for broadband services.  The proposal, required under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, would require broadband providers to display, at the point of sale, labels that show prices, including introductory rates, as well as speeds, data allowances, network management practices, and other critical broadband service information.  The proposal builds off the voluntary labels the FCC approved in 2016.  

Section 253 Petition Terminated

Last week, the FCC issued an Order granting a joint motion filed by Mediacom and the City of West Des Moines, Iowa to withdraw Mediacom’s petition against the City.  Mediacom alleged that the City’s propoed conduit lease agreement with Google Fiber was discriminatory right-of-way practice in violation of Section 253 of the Federal Communications Act.  The parties have reached a settlement. 

FCC Issues Order to Dismantle

Last week, the FCC issued an Order to Dismantle against the owners of an antenna structure located in Pine Bluff, Arkansas that was deemed a menace to aviation by the Federal Aviation Admission (“FAA”).  The structure, which was built in connection with an FM broadcast station, was originally registered with the Commission in 1998 and required to have obstruction and flashing lights operating on it.  Since then, the structure has been sold to several different entities over time and remained unlit for several years.  Accordingly, the FCC is now ordering the land owners to dismantle the structure within 90 days. 

© 2022 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 31
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About this Author

Jim Baller Communications Attorney Keller & Heckman Washington, DC
Partner

James (Jim) Baller represents clients across the U.S. in a broad range of communications matters including high-capacity broadband network projects, public-private broadband partnerships, telecommunications, wireless facility siting, right-of-way management, pole and conduit attachments, and barriers to community broadband initiatives.

Jim was the founder and president of the U.S. Broadband Coalition, a diverse group of more than 160 communications service providers, high technology companies, labor unions, public interest and consumer groups, state and local government entities,...

202-434-4175
Casey Lide Communication Attorney Keller & Heckman Washington, DC
Partner

Casey Lide represents clients on a broad range of communications matters including telecommunications, cable television, broadband Internet access service, wireless communications, right-of-way management, pole and conduit attachments, and barriers to community broadband initiatives.

Casey counsels public- and private-sector clients on contract drafting and negotiation matters, including fiber optic IRUs and leases, easements, franchises, attachment agreements, ISP service agreements, interconnection and collocation agreements, strategic MoUs and others.   

He collaborates...

202-434-4186
Timothy A. Doughty, Keller Heckman, Telecommunications Licensing Specialist, Lawyer, FCC Matters Attorney
Associate

Timothy Doughty joined Keller and Heckman in 2009 as a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Licensing Specialist.

Mr. Doughty assists clients with the preparation of FCC applications, modifications, special temporary authorities, requests for rule waiver, renewals and spectrum leases in various radio services including Private Land Mobile, Microwave, Coast and Ground and Aircraft. His capabilities also include the preparation of tower registrations with the FCC and Obstruction Evaluations and Aeronautical Studies with the Federal Aviation...

202.434.4271
Sean Stokes Communications Attorney Keller and Heckman Washington, DC
Partner

Sean Stokes represents clients nationally on a wide range of communications matters including broadband, cable television, wireless communications, right-of-way management, pole attachments, barriers to community broadband initiatives, and public-private partnerships. He counsels clients in developing and negotiating agreements involving access to poles, ducts, conduits, dark fiber, and towers. He has represented municipal utilities and local governments in complex negotiations developing city-wide fiber-to-the-home networks and wireless small cell siting agreements.

Sean has...

202-434-4193
Wesley K. Wright, Keller Heckman, Telecommunications Lawyer, FCC Enforcement Attorney, DC
Partner

Wesley Wright joined Keller and Heckman in 2006 and practices in the areas of telecommunications law.  He assists corporate clients and trade associations with various legal and regulatory matters before the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, courts and state agencies.

Mr. Wright’s practice includes private wireless licensing, FCC enforcement, and related transactional matters.  He counsels clients on internal operations and governance matters and has drafted and negotiated asset purchase agreements,...

202.434.4239
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