With a keen understanding of the regulatory environment and market forces, Venable’s communications law team supports leading providers of communication services and equipment. We achieve business goals, navigate complex regulations, manage challenging transactions, and pave the way for technological innovators seeking access to the U.S. market.
With far-reaching experience across the sector, our communications lawyers counsel internet service and broadband providers, wireless/wireline telecommunications providers, equipment manufacturers, video distributors and programmers, satellite operators, space exploration companies, investors, and other stakeholders on a broad range of legal, regulatory, operational, and transactional matters. When assisting with the launch of a new service or device, we provide guidance on structuring business plans, compliance, spectrum policy, licensing, rule interpretation, and policy advocacy. We also perform transactional due diligence for FCC-regulated communications entities and provide compliance support to ensure that any acquisitions or investments adhere to regulatory requirements.
Our team members have firsthand experience working with and in the relevant regulatory agencies, giving us the necessary insight to keep our clients fully aware of new legislative initiatives, proposed regulatory rules, and other developments that may impact their businesses. Clients rely on our team’s ability to understand and solve regulatory issues for new services and technologies and to advocate on their behalf if a rule waiver or change is necessary to get their service or product to market. Dedicated to defending our clients against regulatory overreach, we are equally committed to helping providers and investors shape and take advantage of the communications regulatory landscape.
We have deep and long-lasting relationships in Congress and at all levels of federal and state regulatory agencies, which we use to help our clients execute effective, complex public policy strategies.
We routinely advocate for client interests before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and other federal regulatory agencies in rulemaking proceedings.
We use our well-established bipartisan relationships in Congress to keep our clients well informed of political developments and to craft creative, business-centric legislative strategies.
We routinely represent clients before state legislatures and regulatory agencies.
We advise clients on compliance with federal and state telecommunications regulation and counsel on best practices.
We partner with our clients to navigate the opaque regulatory rules governing Internet service providers, backbone providers, and content distributors.
Emerging and New Technologies
From waivers and rule changes to product design advice, equipment certification and RF exposure rules, test licenses, and Part 15/FCC compliance, we facilitate U.S. market entry for all types of wireless and electronic devices. Our team leverages key relationships with regulators, our insider’s understanding of Washington DC, and participation in spectrum proceedings to find the best path to market for our clients.
Space and Satellite Capabilities
Our team assists clients in obtaining authority to operate satellites, earth stations, and spacecraft from the United States, including securing test licenses, launch licenses, and spectrum access. We also advise on and advocate for important policy and rule changes being made by the regulatory agencies to ensure that our clients’ business interests are protected.
Wireless Deployment, Licensing, and Spectrum Use
We are at the forefront of the 5G wireless evolution, advising on spectrum use and auctions, technology deployment, and standards-setting.
Our cybersecurity professionals are at the forefront of international business and public policy developments in this rapidly evolving area.
We guide clients in managing content regulation, 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.
Our attorneys have executed multi-state rollouts and certification strategies.
We are recognized leaders in FCC and FTC privacy and consumer protection rules governing telecommunications providers and marketers.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act
We have extensive experience in Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) compliance counseling and class action defense, and in 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.
LITIGATION AND ENFORCEMENT DEFENSE
We regularly represent telecommunications entities before trial and appellate federal and state courts on both regulatory and commercial adjudications. We also assist clients in responding to enforcement actions and investigations by the FCC, Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice, state attorney general offices, and other agencies.
Having assisted numerous clients in a variety of transactional issues specific to telecommunications, our team has the specialized knowledge required to bring such deals to a successful close.
Communications Technology and Infrastructure Deployment Transactions
Our team has extensive experience in a host of commercial contract areas relevant to telecommunications, including technology licensing, construction, asset purchase, merger, spectrum acquisitions and spectrum leases, partnerships, reseller, leasing, interconnection, backhaul, and management agreements.
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 Investing and Financing
Our attorneys counsel investors regarding opportunities in the wireless, broadband, and satellite and space industries, assisting them in structuring transactions to maximize financial return and to protect their capital. We also advise investment funds, banks, and individual and other investors regarding transaction support, ownership compliance, and investment opportunities in the communications sector.
Video Programming Distribution
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.
Our team counsels clients on deploying fiber facilities, as well as leasing, Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU), and interconnect 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 from private landowners.
Real Estate and Building Access
Leveraging our renowned real estate capabilities, we advise service providers on structuring and negotiating building and property access agreements, mindful of complex legal and regulatory constraints. We also work with building owners and management companies in structuring broadband and wireless (DAS/WiFi) building access agreements that maximize return on their building investments.
Poles, Easements, Building Access, Towers
We counsel on obtaining access to poles, conduits, easements, and rights-of-way for the installation of new facilities. Applying our sophisticated understanding of the mix of federal and state regulations applicable to such deployments, we 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.