FCC Inching Closer to Tightening Rules Governing Holders of International Section 214 Authorization and Requiring One-Time Submission of Up-to-Date Ownership Information
Back in April, we informed clients that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) with significant implications for telecommunications carriers, in particular those holding FCC Section 214 international authorizations (“214 authority”). The NPRM suggests that carriers renew their international Section 214 authority every ten years and periodically update their information, allowing the FCC to review public interest and national security implications. Additionally, the FCC ordered a one-time data collection effort from international Section 214 authorization holders.
The details of this Order, NPRM, and data collection requirement are detailed in our earlier advisory and summarized below:
Background: In 1999, the FCC granted telecommunications carriers blanket authority under Section 214 for domestic services but did not extend this to international services due to national security concerns. Entities seeking to offer U.S.-international common carrier telecommunications services must obtain FCC approval by applying for international Section 214 authority. While international authorization holders must seek approval for substantial assignment or transfer of control, the FCC lacks updated information on non-substantial ownership changes.
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM): The FCC proposes a ten-year renewal requirement for international authorization holders, emphasizing the public interest. Prioritization will be based on factors like foreign ownership and duration since the last review. An alternative three-year periodic review system is also under consideration. The FCC seeks input on whether different rules should apply to new and existing authorization holders.
Proposals Applicable to Both Renewal and Periodic Review: The FCC suggests additional application requirements, including information on services, geographic markets, foreign-owned managed network service providers, cross-border facilities, facility cybersecurity standards, and ownership reporting thresholds. Changes to FCC rules include limitations on holding multiple authorizations, requiring service commencement within one year of grant, and periodic updates.
Order: The FCC issued an Order requiring all international Section 214 authority holders to respond to a one-time information collection. The response should identify foreign interest holders of 10 percent or more and those holding equity and voting interests. The filing deadline is pending OMB review, publication in the Federal Register, and a Public Notice from the Office of International Affairs. Failure to comply may result in authorization cancellation and forfeitures.
If you have questions or need assistance with the information collection, please contact the attorney assigned to your account or, alternatively, you may seek assistance by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.