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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.”

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

On June 20, 2023, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) to require cable operators and direct broadcast satellite (“DBS”) providers to display an “all-in” price for their video programming services in their billing and marketing materials.  The White House issued a press release that same day expressing its support for the proposed new rules, noting that the proposal is consistent with the Administration’s efforts “to crack down on junk fees in order to increase transparency.” Continue Reading FCC Proposes “All-In” Pricing Rules for Cable/Satellite TV

On May 25, 2023, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that, on behalf of the U.S. government, it filed responses to the European Commission’s public consultation on The Future of the Electronic Communications Sector and Its Infrastructure.  The consultation explores the issue of how to best promote connectivity and ensure reliable broadband access throughout the EU, as well as the kinds of infrastructure and investments needed to support the evolving telecommunications landscape.  Among other things, the consultation seeks feedback on whether content and application providers (also referred to as Over-The-Top (OTT) services in the U.S.) should make mandated “fair share” payments to telecom operators to subsidize current and future connectivity needs.  NTIA’s filing comes amid an ongoing debate surrounding the future of the U.S. Universal Service Fund (USF) and whether and how to expand its contribution base.Continue Reading Biden Administration Weighs in on European Commission’s “Fair Share” Telecoms Consultation

Last week, Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that she expects to circulate a proposal shortly that will authorize the FCC and/or certain national security agencies to periodically evaluate the foreign ownership of FCC licensees in light of national security considerations.  She made this announcement in a speech that focused on

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