Communications

Venable's Communications attorneys understand the multidimensional regulatory and transactional challenges facing our clients. With a deep understanding of how the regulatory environment developed alongside evolving technologies and competitive business models, and how that has shaped our clients' businesses, we efficiently and precisely solve complex legal problems.

Our Communications team guides clients of every size and type through the maze of government regulation, laws, market forces, and ever-changing technology impacting the industry. We have experience in the legalities of almost every communications sector, including broadband Internet, wireline telecommunications, wireless services, video distribution, programming and content, infrastructure deployment, equipment manufacturing, and investments.

Our attorneys also have a long history of working with and in regulatory agencies, serving as members of Congress and on congressional staffs, and building deep relationships with key industry decision makers. As a result, we have the insight to keep our clients fully aware of state and federal legislative initiatives, proposed regulatory rules, and other developments that impact their businesses.

While dedicated to defending our clients against regulatory and market power overreach, we are equally committed to devising ways for our clients to take advantage of, and help shape, the communications landscape.

Federal and State Regulatory Proceedings and Compliance

We have deep and long-lasting relationships at all levels of the regulatory agencies, and we routinely represent clients before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and state regulatory agencies in complaint, rulemaking, and licensing proceedings. We advise clients on compliance with federal and state regulatory rules and counsel on best practices. Our attorneys have also executed multi-state rollouts and certification strategies.

Legislation

We use our broad experience and well-established relationships to craft creative legislative and public policy strategies, keeping our clients' best interests top of mind.

Enforcement Defense

We assist clients in responding to enforcement actions and investigations by the FCC, FTC, Department of Justice, state attorney general offices, and other agencies.

Broadband Internet

We partner with our clients to navigate the opaque regulatory rules governing Internet service providers, backbone providers, and content distributors.

Video Programming Distribution

We counsel video programming distributors in regulatory compliance and transactions. We negotiate and draft contracts for video content, including retransmission consent and must-carry, linear programming agreements, over-the-top (OTT) content rights, and alternative distribution technology rights.

Content Regulation

We advise clients on content regulation issues, including indecency, sponsorship identification rules, contests, copyright licensing, promotions and sweepstakes, closed captioning and accessibility, the provision of emergency information, children's television obligations, and political advertising.

Fiber Deployment

We counsel clients on deploying fiber facilities, as well as leasing, Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU), and interconnect agreements.

Wireless Deployment, Licensing, and Spectrum Use

Our Communications and Cybersecurity teams are at the forefront of the 5G wireless evolution, advising on spectrum use and auctioning, technology deployment, and standard-setting. We advise investors regarding opportunities in the wireless space, assisting them in structuring transactions to maximize financial return and to protect their capital.

Mergers and Acquisition Support

We counsel on and participate in regulatory due diligence efforts required for equity investments, asset purchases, takeovers, financings, license transfers, and media company and content acquisition transactions.

Communications Technology and Infrastructure Deployment Transactions

We handle diverse commercial contract issues specific to communications, including technology licensing, construction, asset purchase, merger, spectrum acquisitions, partnerships, reseller, leasing, interconnection, backhaul, and management agreements.

Franchising and Rights-of-Way

We obtain franchising and right-of-way rights for our clients from local and state governments, as well as private landowners.

Poles, Easements, Building Access, Towers

We counsel our clients on obtaining access to poles, conduits, easements, and rights-of-way for the installation of new facilities. We have a sophisticated understanding of the mix of federal and state regulations applicable to such deployments and help our clients draft attachment/occupancy agreements for both utilities and incumbent telephone companies. We also advise on tower agreements for occupancy, siting, and acquisition.

Communications Investing and Financing

We advise investment funds, banks, and individual and other investors regarding transaction support, ownership compliance, and investment opportunities in the communications sector.

Equipment Certification

We assist device and equipment manufacturers with FCC certification, and Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 15 and Part 18 compliance.

Communications Privacy and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act

We are a leader in Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) compliance counseling and class action defense, and have substantial experience petitioning the FCC for TCPA-related rulings. Our attorneys have litigated cases of first impression relating to calling platforms and new technologies, and Venable is the only firm to have litigated a certified TCPA class action through a jury trial and prevailed. To help our clients avoid litigation, we regularly advise on best telemarketing and other calling practices to achieve an acceptable level of risk.

Government Experience
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More than 20 attorneys experienced in communications issues, including:

  • Former FCC attorneys
  • Former state public utilities attorneys
  • Representative, Michigan House of Representatives
  • Assistant District Attorney, Office of the Bronx District Attorney
  • Assistant Attorney General and Director of the Policy Bureau, Office of the Illinois Attorney General
  • Chairman, Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, Energy and Commerce Committees
  • Congressman, United States House of Representatives
  • Staff member, United States House of Representatives, House Appropriations Committee
  • Legislative Director, United States House of Representatives, Office of Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
  • Active Duty Officer, United States Marine Corps, 1988-1993
  • Reserve Officer, United States Marine Corps, 1994-2010
  • United States Senate, Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Technology and the Law
  • Counsel, U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee
  • Counsel, U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
  • Deputy General Counsel and Chief Investigative Counsel, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Recognition
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Two attorneys recognized as “among the top 25 privacy experts” by Computerworld