Deadlines & Headlines

Featuring the latest news, trends, and legal developments in the telecommunications and technology space.

Deadlines & Headlines

Licensing & Regulatory Compliance

The regulatory requirements affecting communications companies are difficult to navigate alone. With a vast amount of experience at both the state and federal level, the Arent Fox Communications, Mobile, and Technology practice can help guide your company safely through any regulatory issues that may arise, and aid your company in maintaining compliance to avoid problems in the future. We routinely assist clients with regulatory matters, such as:

Licensing – We have assisted companies of all shapes and sizes, both domestic and foreign, with their licensing requirements. From startup companies providing competitive local exchange services to established carriers expanding their service territories into new areas, to wireless carriers and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers, we obtain licenses and certifications at the state and federal levels. We also routinely represent non-carriers who use private wireless licenses in their manufacturing or mining operations.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Capitalization – Business transactions, such as mergers, acquisitions, or additional capitalization in a regulated industry, often require regulatory clearance prior to closing. We routinely guide companies through that process on both the state and federal levels. In addition, we frequently collaborate with the firm’s Corporate practice to handle other aspects of the transaction.

Compliance – Our group has developed a tremendous background in all areas of compliance for carriers, including Universal Service, state and federal tariffs, telephone numbering resources, and number portability, privacy, Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS), and E-911. Our team also regularly conducts compliance audits and assists companies in obtaining necessary industry codes in order to commence operations.

Complaints – Every carrier must be prepared to respond to complaints initiated by a customer or a regulatory agency. Our attorneys represent carriers before the FCC and state utility commissions in complaint proceedings. Working with our clients, we are able to resolve disputes in a timely and effective manner.

Interconnection – For many carriers and VoIP providers, interconnection with other carriers in a cost-effective manner is key to doing business. We have a vast background in reviewing, negotiating, and arbitrating interconnection agreements.

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REMINDER — FCC Annual Regulatory Fees Due Thursday, September 24, 2015

The FCC Annual Regulatory Fees are due Thursday, September 24, 2015. All FCC licensees, with some very limited exceptions, must pay this fee. In addition, for the first time, the FCC is requiring that US Responsible Organizations (RespOrgs) that provision toll-free numbers pay the FCC’s Annual Regulatory Fees. Non-US RespOrgs (e.g. Canadian RespOrgs) are not required to pay the FCC’s Annual Regulatory Fees.
 

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Accessibility Compliance Recordkeeping Certificates Due Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Telecommunications carriers, equipment manufacturers, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers, non-interconnected VoIP providers, wireless carriers, and advanced communications service providers are required to file a certificate annually with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), confirming pursuant to Sections 255, 716, and 718 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the Act) that the company maintains records of any and all efforts undertaken to ensure its products and services are accessible to those with disabilities.

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FCC Form 499-A to Report 2014 Revenue is Due Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Companies that provide telecommunications and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service are reminded that FCC Form 499-A is due Wednesday, April 1, 2015. FCC Form 499-A reports annual revenue to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as well as other fund administrators.

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REMINDER — FCC Annual Regulatory Fee Due Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The FCC Annual Regulatory Fees are due Tuesday, September 23, 2014. All FCC licensees, with some very limited exceptions, must pay this fee. Payments must be received by the FCC by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on that day or be subject to a mandatory 25 percent late payment fee. All Interstate Telecommunications Service Providers (ITSPs) and other FCC licensees must log into the Commission’s Fee Filer System in order to review their invoices. No paper bills will be sent. Further, the FCC will only accept payment of the Annual Regulatory Fee electronically.

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FCC Sets Comment Deadlines for TCPA Petition Addressing Text-Messaging App

Yesterday, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a public notice seeking comment on TextMe, Inc.’s petition for expedited declaratory ruling and clarification filed on March 18, 2014. Comments are due May 7, 2014, and reply comments are due May 22, 2014.

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FCC Releases Audit Plan for Certain Lifeline Service Providers

On April 2, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau released the Lifeline Biennial Audit Plan, which establishes a uniform set of audit procedures by which certain Lifeline service providers must be reviewed.

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FCC Open Meeting Focuses on Establishing New Broadband Spectrum

On March 31, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held its monthly Open Meeting and adopted two orders that will make a tremendous amount of new spectrum available for wireless broadband access. In one Report and Order, the FCC designated high-frequency spectrum at the 5 Gigahertz (GHz) frequency for new unlicensed use, meaning that the spectrum will not be auctioned for money and will not require special applications to the FCC. This 5GHz spectrum can be used for Wi-Fi and similar services.

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FCC Rules Free-to-the-End-User Package-Delivery Notifications to Wireless Phones are Exempt from TCPA

Continuing its run of incremental, common-sense clarifications on the reach of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has held that delivery notifications for which consumers are not charged do not subject the delivery company to TCPA liability.

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FCC Sets Deadlines and Procedures for Filing Annual Access Tariffs by Incumbent Carriers

On March 25, 2014, the Pricing Policy Division of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau issued an Order that outlines the deadlines and procedures for price-cap and rate-of-return incumbent carriers (ILECs) subject to §§61.382 and 61.393 of the FCC’s Rules for filing their 2014 annual access charge tariffs and Tariff Review Plans (TRPs). Tariffs will go into effect July 1, 2014.

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FCC Rules GroupMe Does Not Need Impossible Business Model: Message Senders Can Rely on Consent Obtained Through Intermediaries

On March 27, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted, in part, the petition for expedited declaratory ruling filed by GroupMe, Inc./Skype Communications S.A.R.L. (GroupMe) on March 1, 2012, ruling that GroupMe does not need to obtain a message recipient’s consent directly, but can instead rely on intermediaries to obtain the necessary consent.

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ABOUT ARENT FOX LLP

Arent Fox LLP, founded in 1942, is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and government intersect. With more than 350 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to clients that range from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.