Douglas Bonner has more than 25 years of experience representing wireline and wireless providers, cable TV, VoIP and broadcast companies in regulatory matters before the FCC, FTC, DOJ, U.S. Department of Commerce/NTIA, DOT/NHTSA and other federal agencies, and in state regulatory proceedings, as well as in telecommunications-related litigation. His practice ranges from litigating telecommunications industry disputes and defending regulatory enforcement proceedings to advising clients on mergers & acquisitions. Mr. Bonner also helps clients negotiate beneficial terms in their communications service, distributed antenna system and other service agreements.
Mr. Bonner’s practice also involves counseling clients on privacy and data security issues arising under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act or Truth in Caller ID Act, or international transfers of personal data, including organizing and presenting corporate compliance programs relating to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or helping clients evaluate and comply with various options to satisfy EU regulations protecting the personal data of EU citizens.
Mr. Bonner’s telecom litigation experience includes representing telecommunications carriers in interconnection, submarine cable and other disputes, cases involving claims under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, access charge disputes, and FCC and state regulatory enforcement and contested case proceedings. Mr. Bonner has also defended businesses engaged in telemarketing in private actions involving alleged breaches of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and other privacy laws.
In addition, Mr. Bonner assists enterprise customers in negotiating services contracts with wireless communications and Internet service providers. This includes negotiating distributed antenna system (DAS), master service agreements and subtending service agreements. Mr. Bonner has successfully assisted clients terminating agreements for cause without termination liability, and resolved disputes under contractual dispute resolution provisions under advantageous terms.
He is a frequent speaker, moderator and author on issues facing the communications industry. Mr. Bonner has served for three years as Co-Chair of the Federal Communications Bar Association’s Privacy and Data Security Committee (2014-2017). Mr. Bonner has been frequently recognized as a leading lawyer in Telecom, Broadcast & Satellite by Chambers, USA.
- Defended a TCPA consumer class action brought against a Fortune 100 diversified media company involving alleged unlawful telemarketing calls.
- Won a 2013 voluntary dismissal of a consumer class action against a wireless carrier for millions of dollars of alleged unlawfully billed state excise taxes.
- Negotiated a 2012 Consent Decree of a $1.5 Million FCC enforcement proceedings against a carrier brought by the FCC.
- Won an $8.575 million AAA arbitration award for reimbursement of payments of unlawfully tariffed SS7 messaging charges. Following opposing petitions to confirm and vacate the award, a federal district court entered judgment in favor of his client for $8.9 million.
- On behalf of a national wireless carrier, filed a successful petition for limited waiver of the FCC’s CPNI rules, to enable the requesting carrier to complete a pending implementation of a new uniform billing platform.
- After winning a primary jurisdiction referral of a federal district court complaint, won a Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission decision in favor of a national wireless carrier, concluding that the wireless carrier did not breach its interconnection agreement by refusing to pay $4.5 million of access charges for predominantly local wireless traffic terminating to third-party carriers.
- Briefed and argued the first interconnection appeal under the ’96 Act before a U.S. Court of Appeals, resulting in upholding the arbitrated interconnection agreement in its entirety.
- In an FCC compliant proceeding against a major long distance carrier, established FCC precedent that competitive access charges that exceed the local access charges of the corresponding ILEC are not, per se, unreasonable.
- Successfully filed federal court preliminary injunction action on behalf of the owner of Ricochet wireless mobile data technology against the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), ending LIPA’s then-existing moratorium on new pole attachment agreements. The litigation settlement resulted in the first new pole attachment agreement by LIPA since its inception.
- Established FCC precedent in winning an Order granting Eligible Telecommunications Carrier status to a Tribally-owned carrier making it eligible for High Cost support throughout its 400 square mile reservation.
Honors & Awards
- MCI Communications Office of the General Counsel, Commendation Award (1994)
Publications and Speeches
- Author, “Privacy and Data Security”, Telecommunications Law Answer Book (2014, 2015 & 2016 Editions), Practicing Law Institute
- Co-author, Douglas Bonner and Todd Daubert, The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Telecommunications
- Law and Regulations 2012: A practical cross-border insight into telecommunication laws and regulations, August 2011
- Presenter, Cybersecurity Issue-Spotting in Vendor Agreements, ACC NCR Privacy Forum, July 30, 2019
- Co-Moderator, Developments in Privacy and Cybersecurity, 34th Annual Institute on Telecommunications Policy & Regulation, Practicing Law Institute, Washington, D.C., December 2016
- Speaker, Privacy Shield and the Communications Sector, FCBA CLE, November 2016
- Speaker, Winning Contract Disputes: Tips for Drafting, Negotiation and Litigation, NTCA 2016 Legal Seminar, November 2016
- Moderator, The FCC’s Broadband Privacy NPRM: What’s In It and What’s At Stake, FCBA CLE, April 2016
- CLE, “Electric Cooperative and Current TCPA Issues,” October 9, 2015
- Telebriefing, The FCC’s IP Technology Transition Order, Law Seminars International, August 25, 2015 (reported in Communications Daily, August 26, 2015)
- Moderator, Technology and Cloud Transactions: State and Federal Regulatory Developments CLE, Atlanta, GA, Law Seminars International, April 28, 2015
- Moderator, FCBA Privacy and Data Security Committee CLE: Connected Cars and other Web-Connected Devices: How Will Your Data be Protected?, January 26, 2015
- The Telecom Transition to IP, Law Seminars International, October 16, 2014
- Health-Related Mobile Apps: Navigating the Regulatory Complexities, NJCCA 11th Annual CLE Conference, September 20, 2013
- Law Seminars International, 17th Annual Conference on Telecommunications Law, April 12, 2012
- Chair, Catholic University Law School Board of Visitors (2021-22)
- Vice President, Board of Governors, University Club of Washington (2021 to Present)
- Community Representative, Montgomery County Infill Development Task Force (appointed by Montgomery County Councilmember) (2007-2008)
Memberships and Affiliations
- District of Columbia
- Federal Communications Bar Association
News, Events & Insights
Catholic University, Columbus School of Law, J.D.
- Catholic University Law Review, Associate Editor
Bucknell University, B.A.
- Attended Universite de Paris, Paris IV and L’Institut d’Etudes Europeenes
- Womble Carlyle, Partner
- SNR Denton (now Dentons), Partner
Areas of Practice
- District of Columbia
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
- U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida