Welcome to the Tech & Telecom Weekly, an e-newsletter keeping you apprised of the latest developments in the telecommunications and high-tech industries.
The FCC is seeking comment for its 2021 Broadband Deployment Report in compliance with the mandate of Section 706, which requires the agency annually to “determine whether advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” Comments are due September 18, 2020, and Reply Comments are due October 5, 2020. The Notice of Inquiry is available here. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.
On August 14, 2020, California Attorney General (AG) Xavier Becerra announced that the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) has approved final regulations implementing the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which renders them effective. The CCPA has been in effect since January 1, 2020, and enforcement is entrusted to the AG. The final regulations establish compliance procedures for regulated businesses, including the clarification of transparency and accountability obligations, and endow California residents with rights to protect their information. For more information, please contact Doug Bonner.
Interstate Telecommunications Service Providers (ITSPs), which include carriers and interconnected VoIP providers, and Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) providers may now log into the FCC Fee Filer System to review the data that will be used to calculate their FCC Annual Regulatory Fee. CMRS providers are billed based on subscriber counts, and have until August 28, 2020, to revise these numbers. After that date, any revisions must be approved by the FCC on a case-by-case basis. ITSPs are assessed based upon the revenues reported on their 2020 Form 499-A filing. If the ITSP disagrees with the revenue numbers in Fee Filer, the ITSP must update its 2020 Form 499-A. More information can be found on the FCC’s release here. For questions about FCC regulatory reporting, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall.
The FCC has extended the waiver for annual recertification of Lifeline subscribers residing in rural or Tribal areas until November 30, 2020. More information can be found here. For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall.
In the Courts
The difference between a trade secret and general know-how will take center stage in a battle between Cisco Systems, Inc. and two former employees who defected to competitor Plantronics (now Poly). Cisco sued engineers James He and Wilson Chung, Ph.D. for allegedly misappropriating several trade secrets such as "vendor roadmaps” and “emerging business opportunities in the collaboration space.” After their motions to dismiss were denied on August 5, 2020, He and Chung filed counterclaims alleging that Cisco’s suit constitutes unlawful retaliation and that Cisco improperly seeks to classify their personal know-how as trade secrets, effectively imposing non-competition covenants on them that are unenforceable under California law. The full docket in Cisco Systems, Inc. v. Chung et al., 4:19-cv-07562 (N.D. Cal.), can be viewed here. For more information, please contact Susan Metcalfe.
On August 19, 2020, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to give tribes more time to apply for broadband licenses in the 2.5 GHz Band. Noting that Native American tribes “have been particularly hard hit during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the chairmen stated that the previous grant of a 30-day extension – when tribes had asked for 180 more days – was insufficient. “If you truly intend for tribes to take full advantage of the priority window,” the letter argues, Chmn. Pai should grant a full 180-day extension. His written response was requested by August 28, 2020. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.
The FCC, Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) jointly issued an advisory to “non-federal public and private entities” in the use of technical tools, capabilities, and systems to detect and mitigate Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The advisory outlines two categories of federal law that may be applicable to UAS detection: provisions of the U.S. criminal code enforced by DOJ; and federal laws and regulations administered by the FCC, DHS, and the FAA. The advisory can be found here. For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall.
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