Douglas G. Bonner

Partner

Washington

(202) 230-5175 phone
(202) 842-8465 fax

Douglas G. Bonner is a partner in the firm’s Government & Regulatory Affairs Practice Group, and since 1992 has focused his practice on regulatory and legal issues relating to all communications and media services and the Internet, and litigation matters involving the communications industry. 

Communications. Doug represents wireline and wireless carriers, cable TV providers, VoIP providers, communications license holders, broadcast licensees and their financial investors in federal and state regulatory proceedings and in legislative matters affecting the communications industry.

Communications Litigation.  Doug is  a recognized litigator who has represented carrier clients and new entrants deploying new technologies, including landmark issues relating to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (’96 Act) and federal rules implementing the 96 Act.  He defends carriers in litigation ranging from consumer class actions to inter-carrier interconnection disputes to FCC Enforcement Bureau proceedings.  He also represents enterprise customers in billing and other contractual disputes with carriers. 

Enterprise Customer Service Agreements.  A significant and growing segment of Doug’s practice is assisting enterprise customers in their negotiation of services contracts with leading communications and Internet service providers offering national and international communications services for their business and customer service locations.  As approximately forty percent (40%), and counting, of all individual users in the U.S. have become exclusively wireless customers, businesses have come under greater pressure to offer ubiquitous wireless coverage, including in buildings and throughout their campuses and real estate footprint, both for public safety and for customer service.  Doug has negotiated some of the first distributed antenna system (DAS) agreements for enterprise customers with a major DAS service provider, including a major medical system launching a new extended care center for long term patients.

Broadband Funding.  Doug has represented clients seeking to qualify for broadband stimulus funding under the American Recovery and Reinstatement Act of 2009 and under Universal Service reforms within the National Broadband Plan.  In July 2010, one of his clients won Commerce Department funding for the $27.6 million Iowa Healthcare Plus Broadband Extension Project, the first broadband infrastructure project funded in Iowa under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program.  He also helps rural hospitals obtain federal funding for broadband infrastructure programs in areas where commercial provider services are inadequate for advanced telemedicine applications. 

Regulatory/Privacy Issues.  Doug advises companies acquiring telecom or media assets or companies being acquired, with respect to necessary regulatory approvals, and obtains regulatory approvals for capital financing for telecommunications acquisitions or investments.  He has also guided and managed a number of nationwide service rollouts for new entrant providers, from corporate formation to local and state regulatory approvals.  An increasing aspect of Doug’s practice is advising clients on privacy issues involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI), Can-Spam Act, Stored Communications Act, and the EU Data Privacy Directive, among others, including FCC/FTC regulations and enforcement action and state consumer protection laws.  He advises carriers and businesses on compliance with state laws governing electronic transactions and billing. 

In 2011, he helped form Car Connectivity Consortium LLC, an international organization of automobile manufacturers, automotive infotainment system manufacturers and smartphone manufacturers,… which has since developed and launched a standard specification for the creation of driver-aware mobile applications that are interoperable between a majority of the world’s most popular cars and smartphones.

In General. Doug has been named in Chambers USA as a “Leading Lawyer in Telecom, Broadcast and Satellite in the District of Columbia” in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.  He is a member of the Federal Communications Bar Association and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Privacy and Data Security Committee through 2015.  He is a frequent industry speaker on issues affecting the communications industry.

Doug served on the Montgomery County, Maryland, Infill Development Task Force, organized by a Montgomery County Council member, whose recommendations to the Montgomery County Council for residential development reforms led to the enactment of new zoning legislation in 2008. He also serves on the Board of Directors of his community association.  He was elected to the Board of Admissions of the University Club of Washington, D.C. in 2013 for a 3 year term.

Representative Matters

Doug has won a number of significant litigation and arbitration cases on behalf of his clients in federal and state court, before the FCC and state regulatory agencies, and in arbitration. Examples include:

  • Currently defending a TCPA consumer class action brought against a Fortune 100 diversified media company involving alleged unlawful telemarketing calls.
  • Won a 2013 voluntary dismissal of a consumer class action against a wireless carrier for millions of dollars of alleged unlawfully billed state excise taxes.
  • Negotiated a 2012 Consent Decree of a $1.5 Million FCC enforcement proceeding against a carrier brought by the FCC.       
  • As lead litigation counsel for a national wireless carrier, won an $8.575 million AAA arbitration award for reimbursement of payments of unlawfully tariffed SS7 messaging charges. Following opposing petitions to confirm and vacate the award, in 2008 a district court entered judgment in favor of his client for $8.9 million.
  • On behalf of a national wireless carrier, filed the only significant petition for limited waiver of the FCC’s CPNI rules, obtaining a necessary extension of the deadline to implement all CPNI carrier rules, so that the carrier could complete the already pending implementation of a new uniform billing platform.
  • After winning a primary jurisdiction referral of a federal district court complaint, following an evidentiary hearing, won a Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission decision in favor of a national wireless carrier, concluding that the wireless carrier did not breach its interconnection agreement by refusing to pay $4.5 million of access charges for predominantly local wireless traffic terminating to third-party carriers.
  • As MFS’ lead arbitration and appellate counsel, briefed and argued the first interconnection appeal under the ‘96 Act before a U.S. Court of Appeals, resulting in upholding the arbitrated interconnection agreement in its entirety. US West Communications Inc. vs. MFS Intelenet, Inc., 193 F.3rd 1112 (9th Cir. 1999), cert. den. 120 S. Ct. 2471 (2000).
  • In an FCC complaint proceeding against a major long distance carrier, established FCC precedent that competitive access charges that exceed the local access charges of the corresponding ILEC are not, per se, unreasonable.
  • Successfully filed federal district court action on behalf of the owner and operator of Ricochet wireless mobile data technology against the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), which resulted in lifting of LIPA’s then-existing moratorium on new pole attachment agreements. The litigation resulted in the signing of the first new pole attachment agreement by LIPA since its inception.

Publications

8/18/2014
Client Alert
FCC Seeks Comment on Petition Concerning Prior Express Consent
7/1/2014
Practising Law Institute
Telecommunications Law Answer Book 2015
10/3/2013
PLI
Telecommunications Law Answer Book 2014
7/17/2013
Client Alert
FCC Declares Information on Mobile Devices May Qualify as CPNI
1/17/2013
Client Alert
California Attorney General Releases “Privacy On The Go” Best Practices for Mobile Business Applications
5/23/2012
Global Legal Group
The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Telecommunications Laws and Regulations 2012 – A practical cross-border insight into telecommunication laws and regulations
8/1/2008
E-Commerce Law Reports, Vol. 8, Issue 2
“Network Management - in Free Press and Public Knowledge v Comcast Corporation; the Federal Communications Commission orders Comcast Corporation to Discontinue Discriminatory Network Management Practices Against Peer-To-Peer Content"

Speaking Engagements

10/16/2014
Law Seminars International
The Telecom Transition to IP
9/20/2013
NJCCA 11th Annual CLE Conference
Health-Related Mobile Apps: Navigating the Regulatory Complexities
12/12/2012
Drinker Biddle Webinar
Mobile Health Applications: Regulatory, Privacy & Data Security Issues
4/12/2012
Law Seminars International, 17th Annual Conference on Telecommunications Law
4/7/2010
LSI Telebriefing
9/17/2009
LSI Telebriefing
5/11/2009
Federal Communications Commission
4/16/2009
LSI Speaking Engagement—Telecommunications Case Decisions
3/9/2009
Catholic University Law School
4/7/2007
University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business

Doug has won a number of significant litigation and arbitration cases on behalf of his clients in federal and state court, before the FCC and state regulatory agencies, and in arbitration. Examples include:

  • Currently defending a TCPA consumer class action brought against a Fortune 100 diversified media company involving alleged unlawful telemarketing calls.
  • Won a 2013 voluntary dismissal of a consumer class action against a wireless carrier for millions of dollars of alleged unlawfully billed state excise taxes.
  • Negotiated a 2012 Consent Decree of a $1.5 Million FCC enforcement proceeding against a carrier brought by the FCC.       
  • As lead litigation counsel for a national wireless carrier, won an $8.575 million AAA arbitration award for reimbursement of payments of unlawfully tariffed SS7 messaging charges. Following opposing petitions to confirm and vacate the award, in 2008 a district court entered judgment in favor of his client for $8.9 million.
  • On behalf of a national wireless carrier, filed the only significant petition for limited waiver of the FCC’s CPNI rules, obtaining a necessary extension of the deadline to implement all CPNI carrier rules, so that the carrier could complete the already pending implementation of a new uniform billing platform.
  • After winning a primary jurisdiction referral of a federal district court complaint, following an evidentiary hearing, won a Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission decision in favor of a national wireless carrier, concluding that the wireless carrier did not breach its interconnection agreement by refusing to pay $4.5 million of access charges for predominantly local wireless traffic terminating to third-party carriers.
  • As MFS’ lead arbitration and appellate counsel, briefed and argued the first interconnection appeal under the ‘96 Act before a U.S. Court of Appeals, resulting in upholding the arbitrated interconnection agreement in its entirety. US West Communications Inc. vs. MFS Intelenet, Inc., 193 F.3rd 1112 (9th Cir. 1999), cert. den. 120 S. Ct. 2471 (2000).
  • In an FCC complaint proceeding against a major long distance carrier, established FCC precedent that competitive access charges that exceed the local access charges of the corresponding ILEC are not, per se, unreasonable.
  • Successfully filed federal district court action on behalf of the owner and operator of Ricochet wireless mobile data technology against the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), which resulted in lifting of LIPA’s then-existing moratorium on new pole attachment agreements. The litigation resulted in the signing of the first new pole attachment agreement by LIPA since its inception.