Broadcasting & Cable

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

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 29 March 2023, the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (“DCMS”) published the draft Media Bill (the “Bill”), which will deliver on a number of legislative reforms set out in the Government’s White Paper entitled “Up Next; the Government’s vision for the broadcasting sector”, published in April 2022.

The Bill forms part of the UK Government’s wider efforts to ensure the regulation of TV and radio evolves in line with changing technology.

The proposed legislative package, which is distilled into six parts, includes significant developments in the regulation of video-on-demand (“VoD”) service providers.Continue Reading Evolving Regulatory Landscape for VoD Providers: UK Government Publishes Draft Media Bill

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) unanimously adopted an order formalizing the referral and review process associated with “Team Telecom”—the group of national security and law enforcement agencies responsible for assessing foreign investment in U.S. telecommunications, submarine cable licensees, and broadcast licensees. The order adopts rules and procedures that will govern what has long been an informal process at the agency, both in connection with the issuance of such licenses and with respect to transfers of control.

The FCC’s action is consistent with the agency’s increased focus on, and involvement in, questions around national security and foreign investment in the telecommunications and media sectors. This attention to national security at the FCC is likely to continue regardless of the outcome of the election in November, given that both Republicans and Democrats at the agency have supported the agency’s heightened role in national security matters under its jurisdiction.Continue Reading FCC Formalizes Foreign Investment Reviews; More National Security Actions Likely to Follow

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission circulated a draft order that will formalize its coordination with what has been known as “Team Telecom”—the national security review process for foreign investments in U.S. telecommunications companies.  The draft order, which the FCC will consider for adoption at its September 30 Open Meeting, includes rules and procedures governing what has long been an informal process.

The FCC’s draft order adopts rules consistent with an April 4, 2020 Executive Order that rebranded the group of executive branch authorities long referred to as “Team Telecom” as the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector.  Despite the name change, Team Telecom will largely follow the existing review process; however, the new FCC rules do make a few key changes.  We highlight some of the basic changes below.Continue Reading FCC Releases Draft Order Formalizing “Team Telecom” Process

In exchange for a stay of the proceedings in both United States v. California and American Cable Association v. Becerra, California has agreed not to enforce its new net neutrality law, SB 822, pending the resolution of Mozilla Corp. v. FCC, the lawsuit challenging the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order (“Order”).  The Order had repealed Obama-era net neutrality rules.  SB 822, which we previously discussed here, was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2019, and contains the most stringent net neutrality requirements of any state.  When the law was passed on September 30, the U.S. Department of Justice immediately sued California, arguing it was preempted by the FCC’s Order.
Continue Reading Net Neutrality Update: California and the United States Agree to Stay Further Proceedings Pending Review of FCC Order

On September 30, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to apply net neutrality rules to Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) operating in that state.  California is not the first state to enact legislation on net neutrality, but its bill contains the most stringent requirements yet.  The Trump Administration and multiple ISPs have sued to prevent the new law from going into effect, arguing that it conflicts with federal law.  The first hearing on the legal challenge will take place on November 14.
Continue Reading California Adopts Net Neutrality Law; Court Hearing Scheduled for Nov. 14

On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) voted along party lines to adopt a 210-page Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order, and Order (the “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” or “Order”) geared towards overhauling the net neutrality framework established during the Obama administration in 2015 (the “2015 Order”).  On February 22nd, the Order was officially published in the Federal Register — kicking off the period for filing of court challenges to the FCC’s decision and for efforts by Democrats in Congress to signal dissent through passing a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act.

Against the backdrop of these actions at the federal level, for the past few months several states have taken matters into their own hands and begun proposing their own ways to restore the 2015 Order’s net neutrality rules within their borders.  Such efforts, even if successful at the state level, will likely be met in the courts by the Restoring Internet Freedom Order’s explicit statement that the Order preempts all “inconsistent state and local regulations.” 
Continue Reading States Battle to Resurrect Net Neutrality Rules

On 20 November, Covington hosted its webinar looking at developments in Net Neutrality and Zero-rating from both a US and a European perspective. Our presenters included ex-FCC Bureau Chief, Partner Matt DelNero from our DC office, and ex-DG Competition Head of Unit, Partner Kevin Coates and Senior Associate Siobhan Kahmann from our Brussels office. The

In a Public Notice released this week, the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau provided details regarding the procedures by which video programming distributors (including broadcasters and MVPDs) must report video programmers who refuse to provide widely available closed captioning quality certifications.

The procedures described in the Public Notice are an outgrowth of the closed