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

The Wireline Competition Bureau has released the initial milestones for providers wishing to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program, which offers reductions in the cost of high-speed broadband for eligible households during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (ETCs) that want to participate in the program in areas where they are already certified as an ETC may file their election to participate with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) starting March 11, 2021. Broadband providers who are not ETCs may apply to the FCC for approval between March 8 and March 22, 2021. Likewise, providers using a method other than USAC’s National Verifier system to verify customer eligibility must file for FCC approval of that method between March 8 and March 22, 2021.

For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall.

Compliance Alerts

The FCC has reopened the Form 477 filing portal and extended the filing deadline to March 15, 2021. Filers who had submitted their reports before February 21, 2021, do not need to take any further action, but filers who were in the process of filing their reports as of February 21 should confirm the contents in the filing portal prior to submission.

For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall.

In the Courts

Last week a jury returned a $2.175 Billion verdict against Intel Corp., finding the chip maker infringed patents covering energy-saving and speed-optimizing technology. The record-breaking verdict in VLSI Technology LLC v. Intel Corp. will likely attract even more patent litigants to the Western District of Texas, where a relatively new judge, Alan Albright, has already made news for his innovative, streamlined procedures in patent cases.

For more information, please contact Susan Metcalfe.

Legislative Affairs

The Senate Antitrust Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled “Competition Policy for the Twenty-First Century: The Case for Antitrust Reform” on March 11, 2021, at 10:00am ET. Scheduled witnesses include George Slover, Senior Policy Counsel at the Consumers Union, and Prof. Nancy Rose from MIT.

The House Consumer Protection Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled “Kids Online During COVID: Child Safety in an Increasingly Digital Age," on March 11, 2021, at 10:30am ET. The hearing will be live-streamed via Cisco Webex.

Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) have introduced the Broadband Reserve Fund Act, which would require the net proceeds from the C-Band auction, which raised over $81 Billion, to be used by the FCC and NTIA to bolster the nation’s broadband connectivity. Sen. Wicker said in a statement, “This bill marks a meaningful step toward closing the digital divide and builds on some of the Committee’s recent accomplishments, such as improving broadband mapping and securing our communications networks,” and Sen. Blackburn added, “This bill illustrates the importance of maximizing our valuable and finite spectrum resources.”

For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.


Virginia has become the second state to enact a comprehensive data privacy law, joining California. The Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act will apply to for-profit entities conducting business in Virginia, or that target products or services to Virginia residents, that process data of either (1) at least 100,000 consumers, or (2) of at least 25,000 consumers and that derive over 50 percent of gross revenue from the sale (for money) of personal data. It exempts governmental entities, entities subject to either the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act or HIPAA/HITECH, colleges, and data about employees or business contacts.  

The law includes some elements of both the California law and the European Union General Data Protection Regulation, and confers residents with rights of access, correction, deletion, portability, and to opt-out of targeted advertising, data sales, and profiling. It also requires data protection assessments for certain activities and contains specific provisions for de-identified data.

Substantive provisions Enforcement is by the state Attorney General; there is no private right of action. The law takes effect in 2013.

For more information, please contact William Baker.

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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