Monday, November 3, 2014

Telecommunications Law Professionals Ranked in 2015 "Best Law Firms"

Washington, DC, United States -- Monday, November 03, 2014 -- Telecommunications Law Professionals has been ranked in the 2015 "Best Law Firms" list by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® in the following areas:

National Awards 
 Tier 2, Communications Law
 
Metropolitan Awards
Tier 1, Washington DC, Communications Law
 
Tier 2, Washington DC, Corporate Law
 

Firms included in the 2015 "Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

The 2015 Edition of "Best Law Firms” includes rankings in 74 national practice areas and 120 metropolitan-based practice areas.

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings, for the fifth consecutive year, are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. Clients and peers were asked to evaluate firms based on the following criteria: responsiveness, understanding of a business and its needs, cost-effectiveness, integrity and civility, as well as whether they would refer a matter to the firm and/or consider the firm a worthy competitor.
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About Telecommunications Law Professionals
Telecommunications Law Professionals PLLC (“TLP”) is committed to assisting clients in meeting the substantial challenges they face in the rapidly changing wireless, wired, high-tech, and media industries. The convergence of voice, data and video services through wireless and wired networks presents major business opportunities and significant risks. Landmark legislative and regulatory initiatives, and unprecedented industry developments, affect both the providers and consumers of media, telecommunications and information services regardless of whether they are provided by wire, terrestrial wireless networks or satellite. All TLP professionals have devoted their professional careers to communications law issues, and the diverse staff offers all levels of practice experience. The result of this diversity of experience is that TLP can staff any matter in an appropriate manner designed to produce a cost-effective result.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Two Telecommunications Law Professionals Attorneys Named to 2015 Best Lawyers® in America List


Washington, DC, United States -- Monday, August 18, 2014 -- Telecommunications Law Professionals is pleased to announce that two lawyers have been named to the 2015 Edition of Best Lawyers, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession.

Best Lawyers has published their list for over three decades, earning the respect of the profession, the media, and the public as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. Its first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 65 countries.

Best Lawyers is the most effective tool in identifying critical legal expertise,” said President and Co-Founder Steven Naifeh. “Inclusion on this list shows that an attorney is respected by his or her peers for professional success.”

Lawyers on the Best Lawyers in America list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.

Telecommunications Law Professionals would like to congratulate the following attorneys named to the 2015 Best Lawyers in America list:

Michael Lazarus, Communications Law
Carl W. Northrop, Communications Law
Carl W. Northrop, Corporate Law

Friday, March 14, 2014

Andy Morentz Published in The CCA Voice

TLP Member Andy Morentz's article on 4G Data Roaming has been featured in the 2014 Spring/Summer edition of The CCA Voice.  The article discusses the difficulties that competitive carriers face when attempting to obtain access to nationwide data roaming, particularly for 4G LTE, at reasonable rates and with reasonable terms and conditions.  Mr. Morentz outlines steps that carriers can take to lay the groundwork for a persuasive FCC complaint and further combat the unequal roaming playing field.     

Read more at: Beat 'Em or Join 'Em: Data Roaming in a 4G LTE World

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

DoD Emphasizes the Need to Share Spectrum




The Department of Defense (“DoD”) released an “Electromagnetic Spectrum Strategy” Report that provides a framework for how the DoD may increase available spectrum to meet growing demands from the commercial wireless industry while maintaining critical military capabilities.  The spectrum strategy and action plan establishes key goals and objectives that focus on developing systems that are efficient, flexible, and adaptable in their use of the spectrum; increasing the operational agility in the use of the spectrum; and participating in the development of national and international policies and regulations needed to enable these improvements.  The Report recognizes that consumer demand for commercial wireless services is continuing to rise, and “as a result of these pressures on the spectrum, in the near term, there is a high probability that DoD could lose dedicated access to portions of spectrum available to it today.”  The Report acknowledges that new technologies will provide DoD with the opportunity to leverage commercial technologies and wireless services to meet DoD requirements, and emphasizes the need to share spectrum to promote both government and commercial interests.

Goal 1: Expedite the Development of SDS Capabilities with Increased Spectrum Efficiency, Flexibility, and Adaptability. DoD “will exploit technology advances to access less-used spectrum and seek to use commercial services and technologies to meet DoD requirements where possible,” while exploring increased spectrum sharing opportunities. DoD lists several objectives to reach this goal, including:
  • DoD will identify systems that can share spectrum and/or operate compatibly with systems in adjacent spectrum bands without affecting system effectiveness or compromising operational safety. Investments will focus on this flexible spectrum usage and interference mitigation technologies
  • DoD will participate in national, international, and industry-specific standards bodies associated with wireless innovation to collaborate on emerging technologies, including national security preemption and priority mechanisms for commercial wireless systems. 
  • DoD will cultivate and adopt commercial service capabilities.
Goal 2: Increase the Agility of DoD Spectrum Operations. DoD will “improve its capabilities to plan, manage, and control all dimensions of spectrum use to preserve access to and maneuver” within the spectrum environment, and will explore sharing and other new spectrum use paradigms while advocating for exclusive spectrum access for military capabilities. The Report notes that maintaining a comprehensive spectrum database is essential to “access and maneuver.” DoD objectives to increase the agility of its spectrum operations include:
  • DoD will develop the ability to perform near-real-time spectrum operations.
  • DoD will improve its ability to identify, predict, and mitigate harmful interference.
  • DoD will identify and evaluate incentives for spectrum sharing while developing spectrum policy.
Goal 3: Sharpen the Responsiveness to On-Going Spectrum Regulatory and Policy Changes. DoD will sharpen its ability to assess, contribute to, and adjust to worldwide regulatory and policy changes being proposed (e.g., re-purposing spectrum to accommodate wireless services). DoD objectives associated with this goal include:
  • DoD will reform its ability to assess proposed national and international regulatory and policy changes.
  • DoD will expand its participation in and contributions to regulatory and policy discussions.
  • DoD will develop executable transition plans that accommodate new spectrum uses while maintaining full military capability.
Please feel free to contact TLP if you have any questions.

FCC Rural Broadband Workshop Scheduled For March 19


The FCC has announced that the Rural Broadband Workshop will be held on Wednesday, March 19, 2014.  The Workshop will focus on the importance of broadband in rural America and include presentations designed to elicit information to help develop “ideas about how to structure experiments that will inform [the Commission’s] policy decisions regarding the deployment of next generation networks in rural, high-cost areas.”  The workshop will examine different business models that have been used to deploy broadband in rural areas, including a discussion of the factors that drive investment decisions and technology choices of different types of providers in rural communities. The workshop will also explore the role that states have played, and can continue to play, in meeting the rural broadband challenge. Additional details concerning the workshop agenda and panelists will be forthcoming. 

The workshop will be free and open to the public, and may be streamed live at http://www.fcc.gov/live.

Commission Establishes Comment Cycle for Technology Transitions FNPRMs and the AT&T Proposal


During the FCC's February Open Meeting, the Commission adopted an Order, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Report and Order, Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Proposal for Ongoing Data Initiative (FCC 14-5) that authorizes voluntary experiments to measure the impact of technology transitions in communications networks on customers. 
The Commission takes several initiatives:

(1)    Solicits service-based experiments to test real-world applications of planned changes in technology that are likely to have tangible effects on consumers.  Specifically, to examine the impacts of replacing existing legal services with IP-based alternatives in discrete geographic areas or way.
(2)    Adopts targeted experiments and cooperative research and development initiatives to explore the impact of technology transitions on universal access, rural areas, individuals with disabilities and number assignments in an all-IP world. 
(3)    Initiates a proposal for ongoing data initiatives and seeks feedback on a number of other efforts to improve data collection regarding the impact of technological evolutions on network values. 
(4)    Seeks further comment on numbering research.
(5)    Seeks further comment on rural broadband experiments

Deadlines and Other Important Dates

Service Experiment Proposals
Initial Round of Service Experiment Proposals Due: February 20, 2014
Comments on Service Experiment Proposals Due: March 21, 2014
Replies on Experiment Proposals Due: March 31, 2014

Rural Broadband Experiments
Rural Broadband Experiment Expressions of Interest Due: March 7, 2014
Comments on Proposal for Ongoing Data Initiative Due: March 14, 2014
Replies on Proposal for Ongoing Data Initiative Due: April 14, 2014

Further Notices of Proposed Rulemakings
Comments: March 31, 2014
Reply Comment: April 14, 2014

The AT&T Proposal
Comments:  March 31, 2014
Reply Comment:  April 10, 2014

The Commission has released a Public Notice seeking comment on AT&T’s proposal for service-based technology transitions experiments.  On February 27, 2014, AT&T submitted such a proposal for Wire Center Trials for experiments involving the transition of two wire centers – one rural and one suburban – to all IP services and, in part, to wireless-based service.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, or are interested in more information on this proceeding.

Monday, March 3, 2014

March Open Meeting Schedule Change


The March Open Commission Meeting has been rescheduled from Wednesday, March 19, 2014 to Monday, March 31, 2014. 

While no tentative or official agenda has been released yet, it has been reported that the extra time is needed for coordinating and finalizing rules for unlicensed use in the 5 GHz band and for the auction of the AWS-3 spectrum.

Please feel free to contact TLP if you have any questions. 

DISH Wins Big in H Block Auction


The Commission has released a Public Notice announcing “American H Block Wireless LLC” (DISH) as the single winning bidder of 176 licenses in the H Block Auction.  The auction raised a total of $1,564,000,000. 

Attachment A: lists the total winning bid amount.
 
Attachment B: lists down payments and final payments owed by the winning bidder and refunds due to other applicants.
 
Attachment C: lists bid withdrawal payments owed by bidders, if any.  

Attachment D: information for the winning bidder on how to complete the long form application and ownership disclosure report.

Please feel free to contact TLP if you have any questions.

Monday, February 24, 2014

CPNI Certifications Due Monday, March 3


All telecommunications and interconnected VoIP providers must file an annual Customer Proprietary Network Information (“CPNI”) report for calendar year 2013 by March 3, 2014 (these reports are usually due on March 1, but this date falls on a weekend this year so the deadline is rolled over to the next business day).  The CPNI reports certify that telecommunications providers are in compliance with the Commission’s CPNI rules.

The FCC’s CPNI rules protect the security of personal data, like phone numbers and call log information, that consumers disclose to their service providers as a result of their business relationships.  The rules require telecommunications providers to establish and maintain systems that protect this CPNI.  The rules also require providers to file an annual certification that documents (1) their compliance with the rules, (2) complaints they received from consumers regarding CPNI, and (3) actions they took against data brokers.  The FCC intends to strictly enforce its CPNI rules, and if a telecommunications provider fails to comply with the rules or the certification requirement, then the Commission may impose a forfeiture of up to $160,000 for each violation, or each day of a continuing violation, up to a maximum fine of $1,575,000.

The FCC’s most recent Enforcement Advisory contains Frequently Asked Questions, a draft CPNI certification template, and the full text of the CPNI rules.  Certifications may be filed online at http://apps.fcc.gov/eb/CPNI.

If you have any questions about this filing, or the Commission's filing procedures, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

FCC Seeking Comment on FCC Process Reform


The Commission is seeking comment on a Report on FCC Process Reform prepared by a Commission staff working group.  The Report furthers the objective of having the agency operate in the most effective, efficient and transparent way possible.  The Report includes recommendations to advance the following goals: 
  • Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the FCC’s decision-making process by streamlining the internal FCC review process, improving tracking accountability, and reducing backlogs; 
  • Processing items before the agency more quickly and more transparently by accelerating the overall speed of disposal of both routine and more complex matters, and ensuring the public is provided more information regarding the status of particular matters; 
  • Streamlining agency processes and data collections, including reworking essential processes such as licensing activities, internal distribution and release procedures, handling of informal consumer complaints, compliance with statutory requirements such as the Paperwork Reduction Act, and examining the FCC’s data collection practices to lessen burdens where possible, while ensuring the agency’s data collection practices are effectively tailored to evolving market conditions; 
  • Eliminating or streamlining outdated rules that are candidates for modification or elimination as a result of marketplace or technology changes that render the rules no longer necessary in the public interest;
  • Improving interactions with external stakeholders by enhancing the FCC’s public outreach and transparency, exploring innovative mechanisms for developing policy proposals, and updating the drafting process for policy documents; 
  • Maximizing the Commission’s tools and resources by ensuring effective internal communications, human resource management, and training; and
  • Modernizing the Commission’s information technology infrastructure to improve its website functionality, data management, and tracking capability. 
Comments are due March 31, 2014 in GN Docket No. 14-25.  Please feel free to contact TLP if you have any questions about this matter, or would like to discuss participating in this proceeding.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chairman Wheeler Outlines the FCC's Next Steps for Net Neutrality

FCC Chairman Wheeler has released a statement charting a course for the Commission to follow in the wake of last month’s court decision striking down, in part, the FCC’s Net Neutrality/Open Internet rules. Specifically, the Commission has opened a new docket (“Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet” - GN Docket No. 14-28) to seek comment on the issues raised by the recent D.C. Circuit Verizon v. FCC decision. In addition, the Chairman intends to craft new rules that will prevent blocking, curb discrimination and ensure transparency within the confines of the court’s decision. The initial approach will be to seek a way to accomplish these goals without reclassifying broadband internet access as a Title II telecommunication service, drawing in particular on the successful approach the FCC took in the Data Roaming Order. But, the statement makes clear that reclassification remains “on the table” if warranted to accomplish the FCC’s goals.

Here is a brief summary of the statement:

New Docket:  In a separate Public Notice released today, the Wireline Competition Bureau announced the new docket, the initial focus of which is to seek comment on the issues raised by the D.C. Circuit opinion and how the Commission can lawfully proceed. The Bureau invites comments from interested parties, and notes that comments filed within the next thirty days (or by March 21) will be especially helpful, but did not set any deadlines.
New Rules:  The Chairman announced his intention to initiate a formal rulemaking proceeding with the goal of:
  • Enforcing and enhancing the transparency rule:  the FCC will consider ways to make this rule requiring disclosure of traffic management approaches more effective.
  • Fulfilling the “no blocking” goal:  the FCC will consider how to ensure that edge providers are not unfairly blocked, explicitly or implicitly, from reaching consumers, as well as ensuring that consumers can continue to access any lawful content and services they choose.
  • Fulfilling the goals of the non-discrimination rule:  the FCC will consider (1) setting an enforceable legal standard that provides guidance and predictability to edge providers, consumers and broadband providers; (2) evaluating on a case-by-case basis whether that standard is met; and (3) identifying key behaviors by broadband providers that the Commission should view with particular skepticism.
New Docket:  The initial focus in the new docket opened today is to seek comment on the issues raised by the D.C. Circuit opinion and how the Commission can lawfully proceed.  The Public Notice invites comments from interested parties, and notes that comments filed within the next thirty days (or by March 21) will be especially helpful.

FCC Authority:  Chairman Wheeler stated that the Commission will seek to rely on Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act to establish enforceable predictable rules and to identify behavior that would be disfavored.  The plan is to enforce the rules through case-by-case adjudication. The Chairman is keeping open the possibility of reclassifying broadband internet access as a Title II service and intends to keep the Title II authority open.

No Appeal of Verizon v. FCC:  The Commission will not appeal the Verizon decision.

Internet Service Providers’ Commitments:  Chairman Wheeler also intends to hold major ISPs to their commitments to honor the safeguard provisions of the Open Internet Order until new rules are put in place.

Enhance Competition:  Finally, Chairman Wheeler announced that the Commission will continue to seek opportunities to enhance Internet access competition, with one potential area of focus being legal restrictions on the ability of cities and towns to offer broadband services to consumers in their communities (as recognized by Judge Silberman’s separate opinion).  

Other Commissioners’ Statements:  In separate Statements released today, Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel indicated agreement with the Chairman’s approach, while Commissioners Pai and O'Rielly expressed opposition to new rules.
TLP represented MetroPCS as a co-appellant with Verizon in the appeal of the Net Neutrality order.  (The MetroPCS appeal was dropped shortly before the oral argument when T-Mobile assumed control of MetroPCS.)  TLP also was an early proponent of the individualized decision-making approach that was upheld in the Data Roaming Order.  Consequently, we are well-versed in the legal issues that lie at the core of the new docket and look forward to assisting clients with an ongoing interest in this important proceeding. 

Please feel free to contact TLP if you have any questions or would like to discuss participating in this proceeding.


Monday, February 10, 2014

TLP Practice Expansion

For Immediate Release
Telecommunications Law Professionals PLLC (TLP) is pleased to announce that Ash Johnston has joined the Firm as a Member and Helen Disenhaus has joined the Firm as Of Counsel.

Mr. Johnston and Ms. Disenhaus have practiced together for the past seven years at Communications Law Counsel, P.C. and its predecessor Lampert, O'Connor & Johnston, P.C., where Mr. Johnston served as President.

“Both Ash and Helen have distinguished themselves as top-notch telecommunications attorneys” said Carl Northrop, Founding Member of TLP.  “The legal skills they bring and clients they are introducing to TLP will expand the capabilities of the Firm’s attorneys and the scope of the Firm’s practice.  In addition, their philosophies of providing excellent client service on a cost-effective basis make for a perfect fit at TLP.”

Messrs. Johnston and Northrop previously practiced together for 8 years, first at Bryan Cave and then at Paul Hastings.  “Both of us are glad to be back practicing together in a boutique telecommunications law firm setting,” said Johnston.

In addition, TLP is pleased to announce that Michael Lazarus, one of the original Members of TLP, has been named the Managing Member of the Firm.

TLP, whose website can be found at www.telecomlawpros.com, is a boutique communications law specialty firm formed in 2011 whose members all specialize in communications law.  TLP helps a diverse cross-section of industry participants meet challenges in the rapidly changing, wireless, wired, high tech and media industries by providing expert, timely and cost-effective advice. The Firm has been favorably ranked in the communications law specialty area by Chambers, US News and World Report, The Legal 500 and other peer rating groups.