Welcome to the Tech & Telecom Weekly, an e-newsletter keeping you apprised of the latest developments in the telecommunications and high-tech industries.

FCC Policy

On December 31, 2020, the FCC released its 2020 Communications Marketplace Report as it is required to do every two years under the Communications Act. The Report summarizes “all forms of competition” in communications services, from wireline telephony to satellite transmission. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.

Stating that “combatting robocalls [is] its top consumer protection priority,” the FCC ordered voice service providers to take steps to block illegal robocalls when notified of those calls by the Commission, to inform customers immediately upon blocking a suspicious call, and to provide a list of calls blocked upon customer request. In tandem with these additional carrier obligations, the FCC further expanded the safe harbors for network-based blocking of calls that are likely to be illegal. For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall. (FCC 20-187)

In a related Order and in compliance with the TRACED Act, the FCC reviewed exemptions on non-telemarketing robocalls made from commercial, non-commercial, and tax-exempt nonprofit organizations. After that review, the FCC amended its rules to limit an organization to three (3) calls to a given residential phone number within any 30-day period. For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall. (FCC 20-186)

Compliance Alerts

The FCC, in an effort to streamline review of transactions and license applications, seeks comment on a proposed set of “standardized national security and law enforcement questions” that will be posed to entities having “reportable foreign ownership.” Comments are due 30 days after the Public Notice is published in the Federal Register, with reply comments due 45 days after such publication. The proposed questions can be found here. Please contact Katherine Barker Marshall if you have questions regarding foreign ownership issues. (IB Docket No. 16-155, DA 20-1545)

Rural Broadband

The FCC has granted 22 more licenses in the 2.5 GHz band to entities wishing to serve rural Tribal communities. These licenses are part of “the agency’s first-of-its-kind” Rural Tribal Priority Window initiative, which FCC Chairman Pai describes as “putting this prime mid-band spectrum into the hands of Tribes so they can connect their communities to business, health care, and educational resources online.” For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.

Note: This publication is distributed with the understanding that the author, publisher and distributor of this publication and/or any linked publication are not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or opinions on specific facts or matters and, accordingly, assume no liability whatsoever in connection with its use. Pursuant to applicable rules of professional conduct, portions of this publication may constitute Attorney Advertising.

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Marlene Laro

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