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The Telecommunications Act: Can it Rein in the FCC? - Audio/Video

Third Annual Executive Branch Review Conference
Jonathan Adelstein, Kelly Cole, Grace Koh, David B. Quinalty, Scott Belcher June 23, 2015

The communications and technology sectors have seen an explosion of growth and innovation over the last decade, and yet the primary body of law governing these areas, The Communications Act, has not been updated since the days of dial-up internet. In 2013, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (Mich.) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (Oreg.) announced that they would commence efforts to “update the law to better meet the dynamic needs of the 21st century.” In January, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (S. Dak.) announced similar plans.

Our panel will discuss recent efforts to update the Communications Act for the modern internet age. What should a new framework look like? With the convergence of technologies, should the current platform-specific regulation be replaced with a more flexible, service-based regulatory scheme? Should special considerations still apply in certain services? How could such regulations impact developing business models and evolving technologies? Should the scope of the FCC’s jurisdiction remain the same? These and other issues will be explored.

This panel was presented on June 18, 2015, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC during the Third Annual Executive Branch Review Conference.

The Telecommunications Act: Can it Rein in the FCC?
9:40 – 11:10 a.m.
Senate Room

  • Mr. Jonathan Adelstein, President & CEO, PCIA - The Wireless Infrastructure Association
  • Ms. Kelly Cole, National Association of Broadcasters
  • Ms. Grace Koh, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce
  • Mr. David B. Quinalty, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
  • Moderator: Mr. Scott Belcher, Telecommunications Industry Association

June 18, 2015
Washington, DC

The FTC and FCC: Regulatory Overlap - Podcast

Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group Podcast
Joshua D. Wright May 15, 2015

With the Federal Communications Commission's recent net neutrality regulations, the FCC has potentially entered into the Federal Trade Commission's regulatory arena in the area of antitrust regulation and consumer protection. Are the FCC's net neutrality rules an impermissible intrusion on the FTC's portfolio, or is the regulatory tension between the FTC and FCC merely an accident of overlapping jurisdiction provided by Congress in the respective statutes creating each agency?

  • Hon. Joshua D. Wright, Commissioner, United States Federal Trade Commission

The Future of Media: Is Government Regulation In Today's Media Landscape "Over-The-Top"? - Event Audio/Video

The Future of Media
Jeffrey Blum, Rick Kaplan, Barry Ohlson, Ryan Radia, Patricia J. Paoletta February 26, 2015

The Federalist Society's Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group and its George Washington University Law School Student Chapter co-sponsored a conference on the Future of Media -- examining the government's role in light of today's rapidly evolving media landscape. The conference took place at The George Washington University Law School on February 25, 2015.

Panel Presentation
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

  • Jeffrey H. Blum, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, DISH Network Corporation
  • Rick Kaplan, General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Legal Affairs, National Association of Broadcasters
  • Barry J. Ohlson, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Cox Enterprises
  • Ryan Radia, Associate Director of Technology Studies, Competitive Enterprise Institute
  • Moderator: Patricia J. Paoletta, Partner, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP

The George Washington University Law School
Washington, DC

T-Mobile v. City of Roswell - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 2-11-15 featuring Megan Brown
Megan L. Brown February 11, 2015

On January 14, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in T-Mobile South, LLC v. City of Roswell. This case concerns whether a document from a state or local government stating that an application has been denied, but listing no reasons for the denial, can satisfy the Communications Act’s “in writing” requirement.

In an opinion delivered by Justice Sotomayor, the Court held that the written document issued by a state or local government denying the application for a cell tower does not need to contain the reasons for denial as long as the reasons for denial appear in some other written record, are clearly written, and are accessible to the applicant essentially contemporaneously with the written denial notice.

Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan joined the opinion of the Court. Justice Alito filed a concurring opinion. Chief Justice Roberts filed a dissenting opinion which Justice Ginsburg joined in full and which Justice Thomas joined as to Part 1. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion. The judgment of the Eleventh Circuit was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings.

To discuss the case, we have Megan Brown, who is a partner at WileyRein.

Commissioner Ajit Pai on Net Neutrality - Podcast

Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group Podcast
Ajit V. Pai, Bryan N. Tramont January 15, 2015

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai spoke to Telecommunications & Electronic Media Practice Group Chairman Bryan Tramont about one of the hottest topics before the Commission today – Open Internet, otherwise known as Net Neutrality. The internet has become a vital platform for innovation and growth throughout the nation, and has flourished with little or no federal or state regulation. Yet the FCC is currently considering new “rules of the road” for the internet that could substantially alter the future of the web and have a profound impact on our economy. The main questions at hand are whether the FCC should regulate internet service providers’ network management practices, and if so, what those rules should be. Some have suggested that the FCC should classify broadband service as a telecommunications service and subject internet service providers to public utility regulation, otherwise known as Title II. Others believe the Commission should pursue other regulatory avenues, such as using the FCC’s existing authority under Section 706 of the Communications Act.

What is net neutrality exactly? Is there a legitimate need for a regulated internet, or is this is a solution in search of a problem? Does the Commission have legal authority to regulate the internet, or is Congressional authorization a prerequisite? What impact would regulation have on innovation and investment in broadband? Commissioner Pai explored these and other issues in this important teleforum.

  • Hon. Ajit V. Pai, Federal Communications Commission
  • Bryan N. Tramont, Managing Partner, Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer, LLP