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 is requesting comment on a Petition For Declaratory Ruling asking that it “clarify that delivery of a voice message directly to a voicemail box through ringless voicemail (‘RVM’) technology does not constitute a ‘call’ subject to prohibitions on the use of an automatic telephone dialing system (‘ATDS’) or an artificial or prerecorded voice under Section 227(b)(1)(A)(iii) of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (‘TCPA’) or Section 64.1200(a)(1)(iii) of the [Commission’s] rules.” The Perdue for Senate, Inc. (Perdue) campaign filed this petition in response to a TCPA lawsuit, joining several pending petitions seeking a similar ruling. Perdue argues that because RVM is a server-to server technology, the called party’s phone does not ring and therefore is not intrusive, in contrast to TCPA-regulated calls. Perdue also argues that because RVM is not a call for which consumers are charged under their wireless call plans, there is no concrete harm establishing an Article III injury. Comments are due October 4, 2021; Reply Comments are due October 19, 2021For more information, please contact Doug Bonner.

Compliance Alerts

The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) will hold a webinar updating the FY2021 Rural Healthcare Program on September 23, 2021, at 2:00pm ET. Registration can be found here.

The FCC will hold a webinar to provide an overview of the $1.9 billion Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program on September 27, 2021, at 10:30am ET. The Commission established this program, as directed by the Secure and Trusted Communications Network Act of 2019, to reimburse providers of advanced communications services having ten million or fewer customers for the costs incurred in the removal, replacement, and disposal of communications equipment and services that pose a national security risk. Pre-registration is not required to attend the webinar, which will be live-streamed here.

For more information, please contact Katherine Barker Marshall.

FTC Items

The FTC has filed a proposed settlement with seven defendants involved in a scheme to offer free cruises on Grand Bahama Cruise Line via millions of illegal robocalls. The agency had filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in January 2020, lodging six claims for alleged violations of the Telemarketing Sales Rule and the Do-Not-Call Rule. The proposed settlement permanently bans defendants from abusive telemarketing and making robocalls and includes a $6.4 Million civil penalty.  For more information, please contact Stephanie Joyce.

Legislative Affairs

The Senate Antitrust Subcommittee is holding a hearing todaySeptember 21, 2021, titled “Big Data, Big Questions: Implications for Competition and Consumers.” It begins at 2:30pm ET. Scheduled witnesses include Steve Satterfield, VP Privacy & Public Policy at Facebook, and Charlotte Slaiman, Competition Policy Director at Public Knowledge. It will be live-streamed on the Committee website.

The House Antitrust Subcommittee will hold a hearing September 23, 2021, at 10:00am ET, titled “Reviving Competition, Part 4: 21st Century Antitrust Reforms and the American Worker.” It will be live-streamed on the Committee website. 

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.

Media Contact

Marlene Laro

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