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 FCC has terminated the Onboard Aircraft proceeding in which it attempted to expand passengers’ access to and use of wireless service in flight. Finding itself unable “to determine any reasonable solution that would strike an appropriate balance of competing interests,” the Commission decided that “it would not serve the public interest or be a wise use of the agency’s limited resources to continue to pursue this rulemaking proceeding.” The docket was opened in December 2013 by a 3-2 vote, with Chmn. Pai and Comm’r O’Rielly voting against. For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.
The FCC resolved a pole attachment dispute regarding what rate Verizon should pay to attach its fiber and other facilities to PEPCO’s electric utility poles. After adopting various cost inputs (such as rate of return, depreciation, occupied space, and number of poles), the FCC adopted an “Old Telecom“ pole attachment rate of $12.12 per year, about $3.00 more per attachment than what Verizon wanted to pay, and about $4.00 less than PEPCO wanted to charge. In the absence of a statute of limitations, the FCC adopted the three-year limitations period for Maryland breach of contract claims in order to determine the amount due to Verizon in refunds. For more information, please contact Doug Bonner.

In the Courts

eBay’s lawsuit against three managers at Amazon, eBay Inc. v. Sonja Boch, et al., alleging the poaching of third-party retailers, suffered a major blow recently when an arbitration panel issued a final ruling in favor of the defendants. The complaint, initially filed in the Northern District of California, alleges that defendants directed dozens of sales representatives to create fake eBay accounts in order to contact and lure away “many hundreds” of top eBay sellers. The claims are racketeering, fraud, intentional interference with contractual relations, and violation of California penal laws prohibiting unfair competition and unauthorized computer use. After a transfer to arbitration in accordance with eBay’s user agreement, the panel “concluded that eBay proved the element of breach,” but found that eBay did not prove that it suffered damages. If confirmed by the federal court, the arbitrators’ decision will likely resolve several cases filed by eBay, including eBay, Inc. v. Amazon.comFor more information, please contact Susan Metcalfe.

Compliance Alerts

The North American Numbering Council (NANC) will hold an open meeting on December 3, 2020, at 9:30am ET. The meeting is open to the public and can be accessed here. For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall.

The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) reminds Lifeline providers that the program’s new minimum service standards take effect tomorrow, December 1. The new standards include increased usage allowances for mobile data, a higher minimum speed for fixed broadband services, and a phase-down of support for voice services. More information can be found here. Please contact Katherine Barker Marshall for more information about Lifeline services.

Legislative Affairs

The Chairs of every Committee in the House of Representatives jointly sent a letter to 61 federal agencies “seeking a full accounting of political appointees who have already been hired into career positions or are being considered for such conversions” in this post-election transition. The stated purpose of the letter is “to ensure that competitive service requirements are not bypassed to inappropriately place political appointees in permanent career service positions.” For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.

Rural Broadband

On November 25, 2020, after more than three weeks of bidding and an intervening presidential election, the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction (Auction 904) concluded after 19 rounds of bidding. Of the almost 62,000 Census Block Groups eligible for bidding, 57,172 were assigned. The FCC soon will release a Closing Notice regarding post-auction procedures and obligations for winning bidders, including the deadline for a long-form application that will be required as a condition for obtaining funding. Once the Closing Notice issues, the identities of winning bidders and additional auction details will be released. For more information, please contact Doug Bonner.

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.

Media Contact

Marlene Laro

Recent News

Jump to Page

By using this site, you agree to our updated Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use