Monday, January 28, 2013

Government Spectrum Reallocation and Sharing Slowly Moves Forward: NTIA Issues Rules Governing the Technical Panel and Dispute Resolution Process Established by Congress

On January 25, 2012, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) published in the Federal Register the final rule of its regulations "governing the Technical Panel and dispute resolution process established by Congress to facilitate the relocation of, and spectrum sharing with, U.S. Government stations in spectrum bands reallocated from Federal use to non-Federal use or to shared use."  According to the NTIA, the "action is necessary to ensure the timely relocation of Federal entities' spectrum-related operations and, where applicable, the timely implementation of arrangements for the sharing of radio frequencies" and was required to implement "certain additions and modifications to the NTIA Organization Act as amended by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012" (the Spectrum Act).

If you have any questions regarding this development or any other activity regarding efforts to reallocated or share government spectrum, please contact Vance Schuemann or any member of the TLP team.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments in City of Arlington v. FCC case on January 16th: Outcome of Case Could Limit FCC's Power and Shift Important Issues Back to Congress

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the City of Arlington v. FCC case on Wednesday, January 16, 2013. At issue is the important question of "whether a federal agency’s interpretation of its own jurisdiction controlling statutory provisions should be eligible for deference under the two-step inquiry articulated in Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. NRDC, Inc." The Supreme Court should issue its decision in this case before the end of July.

If the Supreme Court limits the ability of federal agencies to use Chevron deference over the interpretation of their own statutory authority, it may significantly limit the power and rulemaking capacity of Executive Branch and independent agencies operating under older statutory authority from Congress and shift the many ongoing and future regulatory and policy issues back to Congress for clarification or resolution. Moreover, such a ruling would likely increase the calls for Congress to update the outdated provisions of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, as well as debate and determine the proper scope of the FCC's authority as pertains to the Internet and other innovative communications technologies and services that did not exist until well after the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was enacted.

Should you have any questions concerning this Supreme Court case or any other FCC regulatory or legal activites, please contact the TLP team. For specific questions on how the outcome of the City of Arlington case may impact the legislative outlook in Congress, please contact Vance Schuemann.