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Matthew DelNero

Matt DelNero provides expert regulatory counsel to companies of all sizes in the telecommunications, technology and media sectors. As a former senior official with the FCC and longtime private practitioner, Matt helps clients achieve their goals and navigate complex regulatory and public policy challenges.

Matt serves as co-chair of Covington’s Technology & Communications Regulation (“TechComm”) Practice Group and co-chair of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion initiative.

Matt advises clients on the full range of issues impacting telecommunications, technology and media providers today, including:

  • Structuring and securing FCC and other regulatory approvals for media and telecommunications transactions.
  • Conducting regulatory due diligence for transactions in the telecommunications, media, and technology sectors.
  • Obtaining approval for foreign investment in broadcasters and telecommunications providers.
  • Universal Service Fund (USF) programs, including the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunities Fund (RDOF).
  • FCC enforcement actions and inquiries.
  • Online video accessibility, including under the Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Equipment authorizations for IoT and other devices.
  • Spectrum policy and auctions, including for 5G.
  • Privacy and data protection, with a focus on telecommunications and broadband providers.

Matt also maintains an active pro bono practice representing LGBTQ+ asylum seekers, as well as veterans petitioning for discharge upgrades—including discharges under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and predecessor policies that targeted LGBTQ+ servicemembers.

Prior to rejoining Covington in January 2017, Matt served as Chief of the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau. He played a leading role in development of policies around net neutrality, broadband privacy, and broadband deployment and affordability under the federal Universal Service Fund (USF).

Chambers USA has recognized Matt as a “go-to attorney for complex matters before the FCC and other federal agencies, drawing on impressive former government experience.”

On April 4, 2024, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel released a draft of the agency’s long-anticipated Safeguarding and Securing the Open Internet Order (Open Internet Order), which would reclassify broadband Internet access service as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.  The FCC is expected to consider and vote on the draft at its next Open Commission Meeting scheduled for April 25, 2024.  The FCC is expected to adopt the Open Internet Order now that Democrats hold a 3-2 majority at the agency.Continue Reading FCC Shares Draft Open Internet Order Ahead of April Meeting

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) raised the fixed broadband speed benchmark from 25/3 megabits per second (“Mbps”) to 100/20 Mbps and concluded that “advanced telecommunications capability is not being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” As a consequence, the FCC concluded that “section 706 [of the Telecommunications Act of 1996] requires [it] to ‘take immediate action to accelerate deployment of such capability by removing barriers to infrastructure investment and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market.’”Continue Reading FCC Raises Speed Benchmark for Fixed Broadband Services

On February 22, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released an Order reinstating the collection of broadcast industry workforce diversity data on FCC Form 395-B and seeking comment on a similar proposal for multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), such as cable companies and satellite television providers.  The FCC indicates that collecting this data “will allow for analysis and understanding of the broadcast industry workforce, as well as the preparation of reports to Congress about the same.” Continue Reading FCC Reinstitutes Collection of Broadcast Workforce Diversity Data

On March 14, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) is expected to approve a Report and Order (“R&O”) that would create a voluntary cybersecurity labeling program for Internet of Things (“IoT”) devices.  As previewed in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) released last August, which we covered here, this IoT Labeling Program would “provide consumers with an easy-to-understand and quickly recognizable FCC IoT Label that includes the U.S. government certification mark (referred to as the Cyber Trust Mark).”  

The R&O explains that the IoT Labeling Program would “help consumers make informed purchasing decisions, differentiate trustworthy products in the marketplace, and create incentives for manufacturers to meet higher cybersecurity standards.”  It provides details about the program and how manufacturers can seek authority to use the FCC IoT Label:Continue Reading FCC Planning to Move Forward with Voluntary IoT Labeling Program

Last month, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on a proposal that it reports is intended to incentivize the production of local media by radio and television broadcast stations.  In the NPRM, the FCC proposes to “adopt a processing policy to prioritize evaluation of those applications filed by stations that certify that they provide locally originated programming” in certain circumstances.  FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel has stated that this proposal will support local journalism, which she explained is “vital for our communities and our country.”Continue Reading FCC Seeks Comment on Proposal to Prioritize Locally Produced Media

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

In remarks yesterday at the National Press Club, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced that she will ask her fellow Commissioners to begin a rulemaking to re-assert the FCC’s authority over broadband and at the same time adopt new net neutrality rules.  With Democrats now holding a majority of the FCC’s five seats, it is widely expected that the agency will formally vote to begin the process of adopting these new rules at its next monthly meeting on October 19.  The Chairwoman’s announcement represents the latest phase in a longstanding public policy debate over the respective rights and responsibilities of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that provide mobile and fixed/residential broadband to the public.   Continue Reading FCC Chair Announces New Plans for Broadband Oversight and Net Neutrality

On August 10, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) concerning the creation of a “voluntary cybersecurity labeling program that would provide easily understood, accessible information to consumers on the relative security of an IoT device or product, and assure consumers that manufacturers of devices bearing the Commission’s IoT cybersecurity label adhere to widely accepted cybersecurity standards.” The NPRM reflects the proposal previewed in Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel’s announcement last month, which we covered here.Continue Reading FCC Proposes Voluntary Cybersecurity Labeling Program for Smart Devices

Updated August 8, 2023.  Originally posted May 1, 2023.

Last week, comment deadlines were announced for a Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) that could have significant compliance implications for all holders of international Section 214 authority (i.e., authorization to provide telecommunications services from points in the U.S. to points abroad).  The rule changes on which the FCC seeks comment are far-reaching and, if adopted as written, could result in significant future compliance burdens, both for entities holding international Section 214 authority, as well as the parties holding ownership interests in these entities.  Comments on these rule changes are due Thursday, August 31, with reply comments due October 2.Continue Reading Comments Due August 31 on FCC’s Proposal to Step Up Review of Foreign Ownership in Telecom Carriers and Establish Cybersecurity Requirements

On June 26, 2023, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) announced how it has allocated funding from the $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (“BEAD”) program to all U.S. States, the District of Columbia, and five territories to deploy affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service.  Marking the occasion in a White House ceremony, President Biden declared that this investment will “connect everyone in America to [affordable] high-speed Internet. . . by 2030.”

By way of background, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“IIJA”) became law in 2021 and directed NTIA to oversee distribution of the single greatest public investment in broadband in U.S. history.  The cornerstone of that investment is the BEAD program, which we detailed here.  In 2022, the NTIA released its Notice of Funding Opportunity (“NOFO”) for the BEAD program, marking the beginning of the program’s implementation, which we detailed here

According to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, the announced investments will increase competitiveness and spur economic growth by “connecting people to the digital economy, manufacturing fiber-optic cable in America, or creating good paying jobs building Internet infrastructure in the states.”  The NTIA announcement states that BEAD funding will be used to “deploy or upgrade broadband networks to ensure that everyone has access to reliable, affordable, high-speed Internet service.”  After meeting deployment goals, any remaining funds “can be used to pursue eligible access-, adoption-, and equity-related uses.”

The BEAD program is different from past federal broadband investments in that it will be administered by the States, D.C., and the five territories (each referred to as an “Eligible Entity”), with each jurisdiction running its own competitive process for determining the specific projects to be funded.  Under the IIJA, each Eligible Entity will have until the end of this year to submit an “initial proposal,” which will be a detailed roadmap explaining how they intend to run their grant programs in a manner consistent with the requirements of the IIJA and NTIA’s NOFO.  After approval of this initial proposal, an Eligible Entity can request access to at least 20 percent of its allocated funds. Continue Reading Biden Administration Presses Forward with $42.5 Billion Broadband Program