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Gerard J. Waldron

Gerry Waldron represents communications, media, and technology clients before the Federal Communications Commission and Congress, and in commercial transactions. Gerry served as chair of the firm’s Communications and Media Practice Group from 1998 to 2008. Prior to joining Covington, Gerry served as the senior counsel on the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications. During his work for Congress, he was deeply involved in the drafting of the 1993 Spectrum Auction legislation, the 1992 Cable Act, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), CALEA, and key provisions that became part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

Gerry’s practice includes working closely on strategic and regulatory issues with leading IT companies, high-quality content providers in the broadcasting and sports industries, telephone and cable companies on FCC proceedings, spectrum entrepreneurs, purchasers of telecommunications services, and companies across an array of industries facing privacy, TCPA and online content, gaming, and online gambling and sports betting-related issues.

Gerry has testified on communications and Internet issues before the FCC, U.S. House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee, the House Judiciary Committee, the Maryland Public Utility Commission, and the Nevada Gaming Commission.

Updated May 28, 2024.  Originally posted May 10, 2024.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to reopen the public comment period on potential further amendments to its orbital debris mitigation rules, providing space industry stakeholders with a new opportunity to provide input on regulations with far-reaching implications.  Further illustrating the FCC’s commitment to leadership in regulating commercial space operations, stakeholders have until Thursday, June 27 to provide input on the agency’s regulation of orbital debris.  Today’s Federal Register sets this comment deadline, as well as a cutoff of Friday, July 12 for any reply comments.Continue Reading FCC’s Space Bureau Seeks Further Input on Regulation of Orbital Debris; Comments Due June 27

Updated April 30, 2024.  Originally posted March 18, 2024.

In March, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a licensing framework that authorizes satellite operators to partner with terrestrial wireless providers to develop hybrid satellite-terrestrial networks intended to provide ubiquitous network connectivity, including in “dead zones” and other hard-to-reach areas.  Today’s Federal Register publication confirms that this new “Supplemental Coverage from Space” (SCS) regime will become effective Thursday, May 30, 2024, which will enable satellite operators to serve as a gap-filler in the networks of their wireless provider partners by using their satellite capability combined with spectrum previously allocated exclusively to terrestrial service.Continue Reading FCC’s “Supplemental Coverage from Space” Rules Take Effect May 30; New Licensing Framework Expands Satellite-to-Smartphone Coverage

On April 2, 2024, the FCC released a Report and Order (the “Order”) and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (the “Further Notice”) approving a rule change on a bipartisan, unanimous basis to allow radio broadcasters to use FM boosters to direct hyper-local programming for a portion of each hour at specific geographic areas rather than to do what radio stations have done for a century, which is sending the same broadcast stream over the entire market.  Prior to the rule change, radio stations could only use FM boosters to retransmit the main signal to areas not well covered by the primary antenna. Continue Reading FCC Approves Rule Change Revolutionizing Radio Industry

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announced a deadline of Monday, January 22, 2024 for all holders of international Section 214 authority to respond to a one-time information request concerning their foreign ownership.  Most telecommunications carriers hold international Section 214 authority (i.e., authorization to provide telecommunications services from points in the United States to points abroad), so virtually all carriers should prepare to respond by next month’s deadline.  Financial or strategic investors focused on the telecommunications space should prepare, as well – e.g., private equity funds with investments in telecommunications companies may be asked by these portfolio companies to provide ownership information necessary to comply with the FCC’s reporting requirement by the January 22, 2024 deadline.Continue Reading FCC Sets January 22, 2024 Deadline for All International Section 214 Holders to Provide Updated Foreign Ownership Information

On Tuesday, July 25, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that it has finalized a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) to establish clear technical accessibility standards for state and local governments’ websites and mobile applications (“apps”).  Although the text of the proposed rule has not yet been released, according to the White House, it “suggests clear technical standards, like including text descriptions of images so people using screen readers can understand the content, providing captions on videos, and enabling navigation through use of a keyboard instead of a mouse for those with limited use of their hands.”  Note that the proposed rule would apply to state and local government websites and apps only, but as discussed below this rulemaking could have a shadow effect on disputes about the accessibility of commercial websites and apps. Continue Reading Biden Administration Announces Rulemaking to Improve the Accessibility of Online Public Services for Americans with Disabilities

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Report and Order, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Order that seeks “to ensure that video conferencing is accessible to all.”  The action establishes that video conferencing services, including popular platforms used by millions of Americans every day for work, school, healthcare, and more, fall within the definition of “interoperable video conferencing service” set forth in the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (“CVAA”).  It also seeks comment on performance standards for interoperable video conferencing services and proposes to amend the FCC’s telecommunications relay services (“TRS”) rules to facilitate the use of video relay services (“VRS”) in video conferences.  Finally, the FCC granted a partial waiver of the VRS privacy screen rule to allow VRS users participating in a video conference to turn off their cameras when not presenting.  The item garnered unanimous support from the Commission.Continue Reading FCC Updates Rules to “Ensure that Video Conferencing is Accessible to All”

Updated April 12, 2023. Originally posted March 23, 2023.

In March, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that seeks public comment on a proposed licensing framework that would enable multiple satellite operators to supplement the network coverage of terrestrial wireless service providers.  Termed “Supplemental Coverage from Space” (SCS), this service would authorize certain satellite systems to use spectrum licensed to a terrestrial network provider partner to provide expanded coverage to the provider’s wireless customers, even in remote areas. Comments on the NPRM, which appeared in today’s Federal Register, are due Friday, May 12, with reply comments due the following month, on Monday, June 12.Continue Reading FCC Seeks Comment on “Supplemental Coverage from Space” Rules, Responding to Growing Trend towards Partnerships between Satellite Operators and Wireless Network Providers

Yesterday, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued a Request for Comment that seeks input on a “National Spectrum Strategy,” which would include a plan to study federal spectrum usage to identify spectrum that could be reallocated or repurposed to commercial or shared federal/commercial use. This National Spectrum Strategy also would include a process for identifying the spectrum bands best suited for repurposing (a “Spectrum Pipeline”).  NTIA seeks input in creating a Spectrum Pipeline for the next decade, with the goal of identifying at least 1,500 megahertz of spectrum to study for potential repurposing to meet the future requirements of both commercial and federal users.  Continue Reading NTIA Seeks Public Comment on the Development of a National Spectrum Strategy and Spectrum-Sharing “Pipeline”

Last week, in remarks at an industry conference, Republican FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington proposed that the FCC consider requiring electronic device manufacturers to “take reasonable steps” to protect device security, including requiring them to issue software or firmware updates to patch security flaws and ensure that devices are designed to be easily patched.

His remarks

On November 25, 2022, the FCC effectively banned certain Chinese telecom and video surveillance devices from the U.S. market – demonstrating the power of its authority over virtually all electronics equipment, which until last week’s decision had been exercised only to address technical, scientific and engineering concerns. With Congressional backing, the FCC now has established