The telecommunications industry has been a global marketplace for some time, and one that is constantly changing due to the inherent factors of technology, regulation, and competition. But new factors now influence global communications – economic/financial turmoil and recovery, nation building and military strife, wars on terror, and strategic national interests in trade and security.
The CommLaw Group recognizes the ever evolving environment in the global telecommunications marketplace abroad and here in the U.S. and works diligently to provide creative, strategic, practical and tailored advice and counsel to those engaged in global telecommunications. Our International Telecommunications practice group has the expertise and experience necessary for today’s marketplace.
Over the past two decades the firm has represented numerous U.S. carriers with both broad and narrow footprints in the nations of the world as well as multi-national companies with U.S. carrier subsidiaries before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Administration’s NTIA, state and federal taxing authorities, USPTO – “National Telecommunications and Information Administration” and (NTIA”); “United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and other forums as client needs require. Our clients are established companies and new entrants providing a wide range of telecommunications services, Internet, Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN), new media and satellite and earth station services.
In quick summary, our firm covers a broad range of legal disciplines:
- Licensing and regulatory compliance and reporting
FCC 214 authorizations, transfers and assignments
- Cable landing licenses
Satellite and earth station licensing
- Regulatory fees, annual filings
- Auditing and true-ups
- Drafting, negotiating, enforcing or defending network and service contracts for infrastructure projects, capacity purchase, co-location and/or outsourcing, traffic exchange and brokering
- Provision of services, implementation and convergence issues in all areas of information technology, telecommunications and the Internet, e.g., VoIP telephony, VSAT, VAN, GMPCS, IASP, LMDS, wireless communications and equipment resale licenses, wireless application protocol (WAP), mobile banking, mobile commerce, satellite, interconnection agreements, VPNs, leased circuits, import and export of encryption software and hardware
- Interconnection, transit and anti-competition matters
In 2009, our firm organized The Ad Hoc Coalition of International Telecommunications Companies (Ad Hoc Coalition). The Ad Hoc Coalition is a grassroots organization comprised of both U.S. and non-U.S. companies, including a variety of international communications, traditional and IP transport carriers, prepaid service providers and numbering providers. The goal of the Coalition is to bring equitable relief to international telecommunications service providers offering services in the United States. The Ad Hoc Coalition is not beholden to the interests of any single member or group, but by the common cause shared by all members. The Ad Hoc Coalition represents a clear, unified voice for international telecommunications service providers ready to fight for fair and equitable treatment under the law.
- Opposition to the Adoption of TRS Fee Factor Inequitable to International Carriers
- Petition for Declaratory Rulings that (1) The Universal Service Administrative Company Lacks Authority to Indirectly Assess Universal Service Fund Fees on International Only Providers; and (2) The FCC Lacks Jurisdiction Over Certain NonU.S. International Providers
- Petition of theAd Hoc Coalition of International Telecommunications Companies for Rulemaking to Address Inequities in USAC’s Interpretation and Application of the Carrier’s Carrier Rule
- Comments, and in the alternative, petitions the Federal Communications Commission (the “Commission” or “FCC”) to open a rulemaking proceeding to adopt new rules related to the administration of the Universal Service Fund (“USF”) by the Universal Service Administrative Company (“USAC”)
Team Telecom and Network Security Agreement (NSA) Capabilities
We have experience assisting parties with foreign acquisitions of domestic communications facilities, operations and other assets, all of which have long been subject to prior review and approval by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). But since 9/11, a new oversight agency has arrived on the scene – “Team Telecom.”
Team Telecom is a special inter-agency group comprised of staff from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the FBI. Team Telecom is tasked with overseeing the FCC’s review of transactions involving foreign entities to ensure that foreign investment in U.S. telecommunications assets does not impair U.S. law enforcement, national security or infrastructure protection interests. DHS’s focus on infrastructure protection alone has significantly increased the scope of the network security agreements (NSAs) that the DOJ, FBI and DHS have negotiated. We are often called upon to advise and assist the parties to such transactions in dealing with Team Telecom and the FCC.
Global Market Entry
The International Telecommunications practice group advises both U.S. and overseas providers on market entry strategies in the regulated, licensed world of traditional communications services and the evolving, sometimes uncertain environment of Internet services. We advise manufacturers and importers of equipment on U.S. Customs requirements, FCC equipment certifications and labeling requirements, and have more recently noticed the interplay of new areas, such as the impact of international tax treaties and the heightened enforcement efforts under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.