Communications

Our Communications Group is a global leader.  Our practice is both broad in scope and deep in expertise.  We cover all sectors of Communications law.  We practice in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Africa.  Coupled with our pre-eminent Public Policy practice, we offer our clients unique solutions and unrivalled expertise.

For more than four decades, our Communications Group has been a leader in its field. From the onset of competition in the telecommunications marketplace to the introduction of new and exciting wireless services, including cellular, satellite, Wi-Fi, GPS and even self-driving cars, our lawyers have been there. We were the first on the scene in opening up and privatizing telecommunications markets in Eastern Europe; we have drafted telecommunications laws for sovereign authorities and assisted those authorities with licensing and regulating their markets. We have helped our clients gain needed licenses and permits in countries across the globe. We have negotiated major telecommunications transactions in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. We have represented clients in policy and adjudicatory proceedings before regulators around the globe. And, we have administered a major 800 MHz band reconfiguration in the US involving more than 2,000 communications systems and managed an innovative Alternative Dispute Resolution program.

Our lawyers have many years of government and private sector experience. Our lawyers have served many other leading roles in government and industry, have received client service and other awards, and have been recognized as leading practitioners in the field by all of the major legal directories. 

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Our global communications experts have worked on diverse matters and projects throughout the world. We specialize in advising clients on regulatory issues in developing and developed markets and have experience in virtually every facet of telecommunications and technology, representing major wireless service providers, equipment manufacturers, trade organizations, governments and enterprise consumers in transactional, legislative, regulatory, administrative and appellate litigation matters. Among the capabilities we offer that benefit our clients are in the areas of:

Wireless Communications

As industry consolidation, new technologies, increasing demand for broadband services and globalization continue to drive wireless communications across all sectors, clients require sophisticated legal counsel experienced in the complex nuances and fast-paced technological nature of the business. Our lawyers are involved in every facet of wireless technology, having advised governments and regulatory authorities, major wireless service providers, equipment manufacturers,  tower companies, trade organizations, and enterprise consumers in transactional, legislative, regulatory, administrative and appellate litigation matters before international, national and local regulatory authorities. 

Broadband Services

Our work in the development and use of broadband networks is as diverse and expansive as the industry itself. We advise operators and users of long-distance fiber optic networks, competitive local exchange networks, wireless communications systems and utilities. Our clients include high-profile, unregulated information and internet service providers and large enterprise consumers of broadband services. We also assist governments and regulatory authorities in their development of internet policies and regulations and their application to next generation IP-based communications services.

Communications Network Infrastructure

Owners, operators and users of communications towers that provide infrastructure support for wireless and broadband users have unique legal needs, including compliance with FCC and federal Aviation Administration regulatory requirements, state and federal agency rulemakings, legislative efforts that affect the tower industry, legal and zoning challenges regarding siting, compliance with environmental and safety laws and a host of potential liability issues.  Our Communications Group is one of the leading tower siting and infrastructure practices and leverages the experience of an interdisciplinary team dedicated and to serving all of these legal needs.

Spectrum Policy

We have an internationally renowned specialty in spectrum licensing rebanding and regulation. Our experience covers both government advisory mandates and advice to bidders on a range of spectrum auction types in jurisdictions as diverse as the US, Europe, the Middle East and Myanmar. We have considerable experience assisting clients with spectrum auctions and secondary market transactions for spectrum. This includes assisting regulatory authorities with the development of auction tender rules and the conduct of complex licensing procedures for the award of spectrum. We also advise clients on strategies for auction participation including identifying likely competitors and relevant factors that may alter market values for individual spectrum segments. In addition, we counsel clients on the procedural requirements for placing bids and participating in auctions. Finally, we assist clients in assessing auction results and preparing and filing the forms required to secure licenses .  

In secondary spectrum markets, we assist clients with the purchase and sale of spectrum rights through assignment, transfer and lease. We help ensure that secondary market transactions fulfil the commercial needs of our clients, while remaining compliant with the regulatory restrictions that are often imposed on such transactions. We have participated in major policy proceedings addressing the allocation of radio spectrum by both national and international regulatory bodies to public and private mobile service providers; an example is our role as General Counsel for the 800 MHz Transition Administrator, which oversees the US Federal Communication Commission’s 800 MHz Band Reconfiguration program. The program is the largest spectrum reconfiguration effectuated by any administration and affects over 2,000 public safety radio systems such as those used by police, fire fighters and emergency medical technicians

Intelligent Transportation Systems

Our lawyers are internationally recognized for representing clients seeking to deploy emerging intelligent transportation systems (ITS) for enhanced safety, multimedia and communications. We represent the major ITS trade group before the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the US Department of Commerce and other authorities regarding the implementation of Connected Vehicle systems and technologies, which involve vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) communications and have major legal considerations, including spectrum policy, risk management, data privacy and public private partnership issues among others.  We draw on our experience in all aspects of these new technologies including wireless communications and location, intellectual property, public and private financing, and vehicle and installed-equipment manufacturing.

Satellite Communications

We are a leader in the field of satellite and aerospace law and policy. Our lawyers have assisted a wide range of clients throughout the world in matters involving satellite communications, space sciences and aeronautical communications. We offer extensive offer extensive knowledge and experience in the licensing, financing, implementation and operation of satellite and aerospace systems and regularly assist clients in satisfying market entry conditions and obtaining authorizations in countries throughout the world to provide satellite communications services including broadband services to aeronautical, maritime, land mobile and oil and gas sectors. Drawing on the experience of our lawyers throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and the US, we provide advice and guidance regarding all aspects of global and regional satellite and aerospace law and policy.

Privatization and Creating New Regulatory Regimes

We are a longstanding leader in the privatization of state-owned communications operators and assets. Acting on behalf of both sovereign governments and bidders, we assist in creating new sector structures, establishing new regulatory bodies, drafting licenses and concession agreements, preparing and negotiating transaction documents, preparing tenders and evaluating bids. We have advised on the restructuring of national communications regulatory regimes in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas, addressing such issues as market structure, market entry, licensing, ratemaking, interconnection, spectrum allocation, interconnection, inter-jurisdictional conflicts, dispute resolution, competitive safeguards and the creation of new regulatory authorities. We have also provided expert advice to telecommunications industry players in these markets. In the private sector we work with clients to facilitate the growth and success of communications services operating domestically and across international borders. We also assist large enterprise users of communications services in navigating the transition to digital and wireless services.

Public Policy

Our industry-leading approach recognizes that policy formulation is often an iterative process, with the executive and administrative agencies, Congress and the judiciary all impacting the outcome. We have unique resources to advance client interests in these multiple forums at the same time.   

We are active in proceedings before Congress, the FCC, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), the Department of Commerce, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the Rural Utilities Service. We also advocate for clients before the Interdepartmental Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC), the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the USDepartment of State, State Public Service Commissions and Legislatures, State Attorneys General, and international bodies such as the International Telecommunication Union and foreign regulatory agencies. 

Market Access and Licensing

Our lawyers possess in-depth expertise in helping service providers to secure market access and navigate national regulatory regimes. We have secured market access through licenses and permits in over 200 nations. Our work includes addressing local corporate presence and governance requirements, restrictions of revenue repatriation and mandatory interconnection with dominant incumbents. We frequently address antitrust and competition issues, mergers and acquisitions, unbundling of equipment and services, disclosure of customer information and technical network data, discriminatory provisioning and accounting mechanisms.

Transactions 

Communications industry clients turn to us for practical and creative legal advice and strategy for international and domestic mergers and acquisitions. We can guide you through due diligence reviews of the licenses and regulatory approvals held by the target company, along with verification of contractual relationships necessary for the ongoing provision of services. We are also a longstanding leader in the privatization of state-owned communications operators and assets.

Regulatory Compliance, Enforcement Proceedings and Dispute Resolution

We routinely assist our clients in matters involving regulatory compliance and remediation, complaint investigations and enforcement actions involving licensed communications service providers, universal service support, and equipment certifications and distribution. We offer extensive knowledge in the development of regulatory compliance and training programs and in addressing regulatory enforcement proceedings and commercial disputes.

Privacy and Data Security

Many companies today work with sensitive consumer data and we provide guidance on all aspects of privacy and data security. Our lawyers have a wealth of experience with corporate privacy policies and best practices. We can help you with advertising and e-commerce, data breaches, security issues, licensing, consumer marketing, social media, due diligence and government relations. We also advise clients about compliance with domestic and international privacy-related regulations, and represent clients before Congress and other legislative bodies, state and federal regulatory agencies (the FTC and FCC) and the courts.

Universal Service Support and E-rate

We are proud to have developed one of the first and most extensive practices dedicated to helping service providers, consultants and applicants who participate in the universal service and E-rate programs. You can rely on our assistance with application advice, rulemaking proceedings, ongoing compliance, audits, preparing and filing USAC and FCC appeals, congressional outreach, litigation, and representation in FCC Inspector General, Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations and qui tam actions. Our collective expertise is unparalleled and we have an impressive track record of positive appeal decisions from the FCC, overturning dozens of negative federal funding decisions.

Telemarketing and Automated Calling/Messaging

Our lawyers are experts in application of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Junk Fax Act and the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, including use of automated calling technologies and prerecorded messaging, facsimiles and text messaging. Our efforts include enforcement and compliance cases at the FCC and FTC and participation in rule making and other proceedings at those agencies.

Foreign Ownership and Investment in Domestic Networks

Our lawyers assist large and small multinational clients on their investment in, and establishment of, technology and communications businesses in the US. We advise on and undertake the necessary federal and state approval processes to obtain or assign licenses, permits and clearances to own technology and communications assets in the US, and advise on the best form of corporate organization, taking into account federal and state regulatory requirements, foreign ownership restrictions and tax.

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