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 will hold a virtual roundtable discussion on February 12, 2021, at 10:00am ET, regarding administration of the $3.2 Billion Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund that Congress allocated in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The event will include panel discussions (participants TBD) and is expected to last “no longer than half a day.” It will be live-streamed here. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.
The FCC seeks comment on several petitions for emergency relief seeking permission to use E-rate funds for remote learning during the pandemic. Issues for comment include expansion of eligible equipment and services for off-campus broadband access, how to prioritize requests for funding, and how to ensure that E-rate funds are used in a cost-effective manner. Comments are due February 16, 2021, with reply comments due February 23, 2021. For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall. (DA 21-98, WC 21-31)
In the Courts
What comes after the @ in an email address may mean the difference between preserving and waiving the attorney-client privilege in corporate litigation matters. In a recent decision, the Delaware Court of Chancery held that several representatives of SoftBank Group Corp. (SBG) waived privilege by using their Sprint email accounts to communicate with SBG’s in-house and outside counsel. At the time of the emails, SBG owned about 84% of Sprint and the two companies shared some personnel. Nevertheless, Sprint was a separate entity from SBG and it had a clear, written policy that employees have no expectation of privacy in emails sent to and from their Sprint email accounts. Relying on these circumstances – and the fact that the custodians at issue were high-level Sprint employees who knew or should have known the company’s email policies – the court issued a letter order granting WeWork’s motion to compel the documents, which SBG had withheld and identified in a privilege log. In Re WeWork Litigation, Consol. Civ. No. 2020-0258. For more information, please contact Susan Metcalfe.
The FTC has settled its administrative claims against SkyMed International, a provider of travel-emergency services, on allegations that it had failed to secure a cloud database holding over 130,000 membership records that include dates of birth, home addresses, and health information. SkyMed must send breach notices to affected consumers and implement a security program along with submitting to biennial compliance assessments by a third party. The settlement does not provide for any fine or financial penalties. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.
The Enforcement Bureau reminds carriers and interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (i-VoIP) providers that their Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) certification is due March 1, 2021, regarding compliance with the FCC CPNI rules in 2020. For more information or assistance with this filing, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall. (DA No. 21-106, EB Docket 06-36)
The FCC has concluded that it is in the public interest to put the Universal Service Administrative Company in charge of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The FCC established this Program in March 2020 after Congress appropriated $200 Million for telehealth services in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Now that Congress has appropriated an additional $250 in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, the FCC has tapped USAC to administer the remainder of Round 1 and all of Round 2 of the Program. The FCC retains final decision-making authority. For more information, please contact Doug Bonner.
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