We represent stakeholders with a vested interest in federal and state regulation of communications and technology. Our clients include communications services providers, communications services equipment manufacturers or users, businesses that sell consumer communications devices or contact consumers, and those who invest in these entities. We also serve clients who license, acquire or distribute content, and those who invest in or finance any of these entities.
Our team is comprised of attorneys with a strong combination of regulatory, transactional, litigation, dispute resolution and investigation experience in the communications field. We practice before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of State and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as rulemaking advocates and represent clients in enforcement actions, appeals and administrative litigation. We also guide clients in transactions, due diligence and through counseling in areas central to their businesses. We authored the Practising Law Institute’s Telecommunications Law Answer Book and regularly share our insights via our DBR on Data blog, as well as the firm’s TCPA Blog, a preeminent public resource analyzing Telephone Consumer Protection Act regulation and litigation matters.
Our lawyers have significant experience serving communications clients in the following areas:
- Wireless regulation, licensing and spectrum management Internet and broadband regulation and disputes
- Interconnection and intercarrier disputes
- Dispute resolution
- Government investigations and enforcement Emerging media and broadcasting
- The Telephone Consumer Protection Act
- Regulatory issues with communications buildout; smart cities and IoT
- Privacy and data security
- FCC compliance, audit and enforcement matters
- Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) audits and appeals
- FCC equipment authorizations and new technologies
Wireless Regulation, Licensing and Spectrum Management
We routinely advise clients on wireless policy, corporate strategy and regulatory matters before the FCC and other federal and state regulatory agencies, spanning licensing, rulemaking, interference and band management, intercarrier disputes, enforcement and universal service. We have represented and counseled bidders in nearly every major FCC spectrum auction and have worked with entities seeking to deploy services on unlicensed spectrum. Effective ways of acquiring, financing, managing and deploying federal spectrum usage rights is a focus of our practice.
Internet and Broadband Regulation
We actively help carriers and cloud, hosted platform, and other service providers understand the scope and manage the details of the evolving regulatory and privacy frameworks for broadband Internet services and related offerings. This includes guidance on complying with and anticipating changes to the FCC’s Internet rules regulating retail broadband offerings, managing the relationship between broadband providers and edge providers, leveraging available universal service resources to promote broadband expansion, planning for and executing IP interconnection, and satisfying privacy-related obligations in all of these cases.
Interconnection, Intercarrier Disputes and Peering
We have more than two decades of experience advising and representing telecommunications carriers in negotiations, arbitrations and federal court proceedings arising under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. We advise telecommunications carriers on compliance with the overlapping web of federal and state regulations in this space, including, more recently, those related to interconnection obligations between broadband service providers and edge providers and the regulatory implications of the transition of copper-based legacy networks to networks based on Internet Protocol (IP). Our deep experience has allowed us to play a significant, influencing role in many of the complex first-impressions issues that have arisen, including those involving rate-setting, cost recovery, cross-subsidy, jurisdictional boundaries and the intersection between traditional intercarrier interconnection and IP-based peering technologies.
We work with telecommunications, media and technology clients to avoid dispute resolution and obtain favorable terms before engaging in often costly arbitration or litigation. When more formal dispute resolution is inevitable, we work strategically to identify or resolve complex jurisdictional issues and defend our clients’ interests cost-effectively. Our broad experience includes intercarrier disputes over issues such as pricing, rate setting, cost recovery, intercarrier compensation and breaches of commercial agreements. We have litigated these issues and defended our clients’ interests in proceedings before the FCC, state regulatory agencies, and state and federal courts. We have deep experience as national counsel to a wireless carrier in implementing and providing the legal support for a nationwide rebanding project that required the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution in a number of cases.
Government Investigations and Enforcement
Investigations by government agencies and related enforcement actions are increasingly a part of the environment for businesses in the communications field. We routinely represent clients in matters involving notices of apparent liability, investigations, audits, data productions and enforcement-related activities. We have particular experience representing clients in universal service program compliance matters, audits by the USAC, Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act–related investigations and license eligibility proceedings.
Emerging Media and Broadcasting
We successfully advise entities entering the video market, which involves guidance on navigating the regulatory challenges, and sometimes uncharted waters, of providing video or new media services by way of IP technology and other emerging technologies to deliver video content to homes and mobile devices. We’re involved in every aspect of television and radio operations, including regulatory compliance and appeals of FCC decisions, transactions, intellectual property, real estate and employment matters. We advise clients on acquisitions and sales of non-commercial broadcast stations and provide more routine counseling to non-commercial broadcasters on matters such as underwriting issues and station upgrades. We also assist broadcasters and new entrants to acquire spectrum in commercial broadcast auctions and non-commercial broadcast filing windows.
Customer Privacy and Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
We represent a broad range of clients on existing and emerging customer privacy issues, counseling on trends and compliance options. A major area of focus is the delivery of compliance options for client operations subject to the requirements of the TCPA. We have guided national retailers, energy companies, telecommunications providers, insurance companies, financial institutions and media companies to help them minimize risk and improve their internal procedures to comply with these requirements. This representation includes drafting and tailoring contracts with vendors and customers, and advocating before regulators. We participate in FCC rulemakings for our clients and routinely work with our class action colleagues to defend businesses in individual and putative TCPA class actions in courts across the country. Our work routinely appears on the Drinker Biddle TCPA Blog, a preeminent online resource analyzing TCPA-related litigation and regulatory developments.
We advise telecommunications, media and technology companies that are operating, or contemplating operating, internationally on how to navigate challenges introduced by U.S. regulations governing these activities, the regulations of the host state or by international accords. We also counsel U.S. licensees and investors on matters relating to foreign ownership of U.S. radio and broadcast applicants and licensees, including the structure of domestic equity investment and debt transactions, to comply with federal law.
Equipment Authorization and New Technologies
We advise consumer product and industrial companies on equipment authorization issues, including responding to FCC audit letters and compliance matters. We also assist companies in the introduction of new technologies, including innovative new uses of the spectrum, through the use of experimental licensing and non-licensed spectrum.
Privacy and Data Security
We regularly advise large clients and startups on a broad range of privacy and data security issues across all industry sectors and help them navigate the dynamic privacy and data security regulatory landscape in the U.S. and the E.U. The U.S. regulatory landscape is segmented at both the state and federal level and there are multiple federal laws and agencies with authority over a variety of aspects of privacy and data security. In addition, the states are actively asserting their authority through regulation and law enforcement. We help our clients navigate this regulatory patchwork to achieve legal compliance with applicable laws or regulations, and also help them achieve operational efficiency.