Following an explosion in September in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City and discovery of other unexploded homemade bomb devices, the New York Police Department identified a suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahami, who was sought in connection with the bombings and attempted bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey. For the first time ever in this circumstance, the NYPD used a communications tool initially known as the “Commercial Mobile Alert System” (CMAS) and later renamed to be “Wireless Emergency Alerts” or WEA to function as an electronic wanted poster. This was in contrast to more familiar uses of this emergency communications capability, such as the localized transmission of severe weather advisories or Amber Alerts. Under FCC rules, these alerts are originated by authorized federal, state and local governments, and they currently are used to geographically target 90-character messages that fall into three distinct categories: Presidential, Imminent Threat, and Amber Alerts. Continue reading The New York Police Department’s Use of Wireless Emergency Alert System to Seek Help in Locating Bombing Suspect: A New Use for these Alerts
On July 18, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that there will be a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on September 28, 2016, at 2:20pm Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). All EAS Participants are required to participate during the National EAS Test, and they must register with the FCC’s new EAS reporting system by August 26, 2016. Continue reading EAS National Test Deadlines Announced
Each year, Drinker Biddle lawyers contribute to the Practising Law Institute (PLI) Telecommunications Law Answer Book, an annually published, 600-plus page comprehensive overview of the legal and regulatory issues faced by the telecommunications industry.
Washington, D.C., partner Laura Phillips served as Editor. This year’s contributors include: partners Darren Cahr, Michael Daly, Mark Dever, Seamus Duffy, Eduardo Guzmán, Andrew Kassner and Joanne Lewers; counsel Katherine Armstrong; of counsel Lee Petro and Michael Remington; and associates Anthony Glosson, Cynthia Irani, Camillie Landrón, Nathan Pollard, Jeremiah Posedel, Jennifer Roussil and Patrick Thompson.
The book provides a comprehensive overview of the recent Congressional and FCC initiatives on data privacy and security and the restrictions on foreign ownership of U.S. communications companies regulated by the FCC, as well as other topics, including:
- A full discussion of the 2015 Open Internet rules, recently upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on June 14, 2016;
- An update on the FCC’s actions to permit ILECs to retire their copper plants and the consumer information requirements when ILECs reduce or discontinue traditional wireline services;
- A review of the new rules for radio stations transitioning their public files to an online database;
- An update on recent social media issues, including ownership of social media accounts and the FTC’s regulation of native advertising practices; and
- A discussion of the FCC’s recent actions regarding the Incentive Auction, and new opportunities for the experimental use of spectrum.
For more information on the book, please click here.
On May 26, 2016, the FCC’s Media Bureau issued a Public Notice with the stated purpose of providing advance notice of the eligibility standards for Low Power television (“LPTV”) and TV Translator licensees seeking to file displacement applications in a future filing window. With the commencement of the Incentive Auction, the Media Bureau sought to provide permittees sufficient time to construct their authorized facilities if they wish to participate in the first displacement filing window to be opened shortly after the end of the Incentive Auction.
On May 25, 2016, the FCC released a Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) seeking comment on two proposed modifications to the local public file requirements for commercial broadcast stations and cable operators. The proposed changes come on the heels of the FCC’s decision in January 2016 to implement the Online Public Inspection File system for radio broadcast stations and cable operators with more than 1,000 subscribers, as well as DBS and satellite radio licensees.
In an earlier post, we discussed the adoption of rules requiring all radio stations, cable systems, and satellite radio and television licensees to transition their public inspection file onto an online database to be maintained by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
On May 12, 2016, the FCC announced the timeline for the migration for the affected parties. In particular, the following parties will need to commence using the new database on June 24, 2016: Continue reading Transition to New Online Public File Database Announced
With the TCPA dockets remaining active going into 2016, we decided to put together a list of notable petitions pending at the FCC. The following list provides details on most petitions that the FCC has yet to rule on, including links to the petition and, where applicable, the public notice, some background on the issues implicated by the petitions, and details on important dates associated with the proceeding.
Nonpublic draft FCC orders on the following petitions are currently on circulation before the Commission for a vote:
- Blackboard Inc. Petition for Expedited Declaratory Ruling
- Edison Electric Institute Petition for Declaratory Ruling
- Broadnet Teleservices LLC Declaratory Ruling Petition
- National Employment Network Association Declaratory Ruling Petition
- RTI International Declaratory Ruling Petition
Further details on these petitions are included below. Continue reading Currently Pending FCC Petitions in TCPA Matters
In a highly anticipated action, the Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines on March 31 to adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice) seeking comment on a range of privacy guidelines for broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs). FCC Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel each voted to adopt the Notice, while Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly dissented.