Welcome to the inaugural edition of Venable's Communications Industry News. This monthly newsletter will feature insights from our Communications Practice Group on the latest issues affecting the wireless, telecommunications and space industries.
NTIA Requests Comments on New National Spectrum Strategy
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has issued a Request for Comment regarding the development of a new National Spectrum Strategy, one that considers a plan to study federal spectrum use to identify spectrum that could be reallocated or repurposed to commercial use. This poses an opportunity for users of wireless spectrum to have input in shaping potential access to spectrum they may need in the future.
Pending Legislation Designed to Exempt Broadband Grants from Taxation
Both houses of Congress have pending bipartisan legislation designed to relieve the federal income tax burden on entities that receive federal broadband grants. The Broadband Grant Tax Treatment Act, introduced in the House by Representatives Mike Kelly (R-PA-16) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-19), and in the Senate by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), would amend the Internal Revenue Code to ensure that federal broadband deployment grant funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the American Rescue Plan is not considered taxable income.
FCC Proposes Rule to "Close the Lead Generator Loophole," with Business-Changing Ramifications
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to "ban the practice of obtaining a single consumer consent as grounds for delivering calls and text messages from multiple marketers on subjects beyond the scope of the original consent."
You Are Now Accepting a Very Long-Distance Call: FCC to Propose Regulatory Framework for Satellite-Terrestrial Connectivity
New opportunities for wireless communication may be coming, as the Federal Communications Commission considers a new regulatory regime allowing satellite connectivity by consumer handsets on terrestrial networks. The draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, "Single Network Future: Supplemental Coverage from Space," likely to be adopted at the FCC's March 16 meeting, proposes to allow mobile service providers and satellite operators to work together to expand mobile coverage in remote, unserved, and underserved areas. The FCC is the first regulator to propose rules to allow what some term "cell towers in the sky," something that will support emergency communications, address the digital divide, and incentivize innovation in satellite and wireless technologies.
FCC Proposes Updating Its CPNI Breach Reporting Rules
The Federal Communications Commission is seeking to update and strengthen its rules governing breaches of consumer data and personal information. Public comments on the new rules were due February 22, 2023, and reply comments are due March 24, 2023.
For the First Time, Supreme Court Considers Section 230 Immunity for Third-Party Content on Internet Platforms Such as Google and YouTube
In what could be a seminal case of the Internet age, the U.S. Supreme Court this week heard arguments in Gonzalez v. Google, its first case concerning the hotly debated Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The case's potential ramifications might be gleaned from the 70-plus amicus briefs filed by major companies, states, elected officials, and organizations.