Telecommunications

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

Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that the agency will officially establish a new Space Bureau with a kickoff event scheduled for Tuesday, April 11.  The announcement, though largely a symbolic move (it likely will take additional time for the actual reorganization to occur), highlights the agency’s commitment to increasing its role in regulating a fast-growing space economy. 

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in November announced plans to form the new Space Bureau, which will be spun off from the agency’s International Bureau, the bureau currently responsible for satellite and earth station licensing matters.  A new Office of International Affairs will take over the non-space-related duties currently handled by the International Bureau, which will cease to exist following the reorganization.Continue Reading FCC Announces Launch of New Space Bureau, Advancing Plans for Increased Regulatory Role in Growing Space Economy

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, 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

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

Last Friday, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) took a major step in furtherance of the Biden Administration’s goal of connecting all Americans to broadband by releasing its widely anticipated Notice of Funding Opportunity (“NOFO”) for the landmark $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (“BEAD”) Program, along with NOFOs for two smaller programs. 

On November 15, 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“IIJA”) became law, authorizing $65 billion in federal broadband investments with the goal of connecting all Americans to reliable, high speed, and affordable broadband.  The IIJA directed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) to oversee the distribution of $48.2 billion in infrastructure grants to

Last week, the office of Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel released a draft Notice of Inquiry (NOI) regarding spectrum availability and requirements to support the growth of Internet of Things (IoT).  The FCC will consider this NOI, which is intended to collect information and does not propose rules, in its next Open Commission Meeting scheduled for September 30, 2021. This proposed NOI is the latest in a series of FCC actions that will affect the future deployment of IoT products and services in the United States.
Continue Reading IoT Update: FCC to Open Inquiry into Spectrum Needs for Growth of the Internet of Things

Last Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announced that it will consider a Report and Order at its June 21, 2021 open meeting that would permit the importation and conditional sale of radiofrequency (RF) devices prior to obtaining equipment authorization in some circumstances.  The consumer electronics industry has advocated for this rule change, which will facilitate pre-sales and other marketing of new devices in the marketplace.

If adopted, the Report and Order would afford manufacturers and developers of RF devices significant flexibility in conducting pre-sale activities and potentially reduce the time required to deliver devices to market.  These revisions represent a significant change to the FCC’s equipment and marketing rules and bring the FCC’s equipment marketing and pre-sales regime in line with many other industries.   
Continue Reading FCC Set to Ease Rules that Have Limited Pre-Sales and Other Marketing of Some New Electronic Devices