• Why us?

    We know wireless.

    And we help our clients hit above their weight.

    The attorneys and engineers of LLGS are tightly focused on the wireless industry, providing guidance in a complex and dynamic regulatory environment. Within those rules we identify opportunities to build innovative business models while ensuring compliance.

    We firmly believe this “new frontier” of wireless should be accessible to small and midsize companies, as well as industry giants. We are pleased to assist the FCC, Congress and state public utility commissions in doing the important work of developing transparent laws that promote efficient business practices.

    CURRENTLY


    SEPTEMBER 12, 2012
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  • “There is an underlying, fundamental reliance on the Internet, which continues to grow in the number of users, country penetration and both fixed and wireless broadband access.”

    Vinton Cerf

    FATHER OF THE INTERNET

  • KEY PROFESSIONALS

    Attorneys & Engineers

    Focused on wireless and new technologies since 1985.

    • staff-lukas

      Russell D. Lukas

      Partner

    • staff-lafuria

      David LaFuria

      Partner

    • staff-gutierrez

      Thomas Gutierrez

      Partner

    • staff-sachs

      Elizabeth Sachs

      Partner

    • staff-lantor

      Todd Lantor

      Partner

    • z-staff-gist

      Pamela Gist

      Principal

    • staff-harlow

      Brooks Harlow

      Principal

    • staff-slamowitz

      Todd Slamowitz

      Principal

    • z-staff-chernoff

      Steven Chernoff

      Principal

    • staff-mitchell

      Jeffrey Mitchell

      Of Counsel

    • staff-cimko

      John Cimko

      Of Counsel

    • z-staff-koppel

      Robert Koppel

      Of Counsel

    • GeraldMcGowan

      Gerald McGowan

      Of Counsel

    • z-staff-mcavoy

      John McAvoy

      Of Counsel

    • staff-patsas-nevitt

      Katherine P Nevitt

      Associate

    • staff-lyon

      George Lyon, Jr.

      Of Counsel

    • z-staff-hage

      J.K. Hage

      Of Counsel

    • staff-kuzehkanani

      Ali Kuzehkanani

      Engineer

    • staff-rezanavaz

      Leila Rezanavaz

      Engineer

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  • WHAT WE DO BEST

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      November 29, 2017

      U.S. CELLULAR FILES REPLY COMMENTS URGING CHANGES IN THE MOBILITY FUND PHASE II CHALLENGE PROCESS

      On behalf of United States Cellular Corporation, LLGS filed REPLY COMMENTS with the FCC in a proceeding seeking comment on parameters and procedures for implementing the Mobility Fund Phase II challenge process. U.S. Cellular supported a number of changes to the challenge process that will make the process less burdensome and more accessible for smaller rural carriers. U.S. Cellular argued that these revisions would promote the FCC’s objective of ensuring that 4G LTE broadband service is deployed in areas of the country that lack access to broadband.

       

      LLGS Contacts: DAVID LAFURIA and JOHN CIMKO


      October 9, 2017

      SMITH BAGLEY, INC., URGES FCC TO GIVE PRIORITY TO IMPROVING BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT ON TRIBAL LANDS

      On behalf of Smith Bagley, Inc. (SBI), LLGS filed REPLY COMMENTS in an FCC proceeding examining whether broadband services are being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely manner. SBI presented data and analysis showing that broadband deployment on Tribal lands falls far short of this “reasonable and timely” standard. SBI encouraged the FCC to take steps to remove barriers to infrastructure investment, and to promote competition on Tribal lands, by establishing a targeted Tribal high-cost universal service mechanism and by making Tribal Lifeline support available exclusively to facilities-based carriers.

       

      LLGS Contacts: DAVID LAFURIA and JOHN CIMKO


      September 29, 2017

      SMITH BAGLEY, INC. SUBMITS INFORMATION INTO THE RECORD OF SENATE LIFELINE HEARING

      On September 14, 2017, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing titled, “FCC’s Lifeline Program: A Case Study of Government Waste and Mismanagement.” On September 29, Smith Bagley, Inc. submitted information for the record in the proceeding, explaining how the Lifeline program has been instrumental in increasing telephone penetration on Tribal lands. SBI recommended Committee oversight and reforms that will strengthen the program, minimize waste, and expand broadband for people living in our nation’s most remote Tribal lands.  

       

      LLGS Contact:  David LaFuria


      September 18, 2017

      U.S. CELLULAR FILES COMMENTS OPPOSING PACKAGE BIDDING IN CONNECT AMERICA FUND PHASE II AUCTION

      On behalf of United States Cellular Corporation (U.S. Cellular), LLGS filed COMMENTS with the FCC in a proceeding addressing competitive bidding procedures for Auction 903 (the CAF-II reverse auction). U.S. Cellular opposed the FCC’s proposal to include a package bidding option in the auction, demonstrating that such an option would provide an unfair advantage to large bidders, would make it difficult for small rural wireline and wireless carriers to compete for funding in the auction, and would introduce substantial bidding complexities that small carriers would lack the resources to navigate. U.S. Cellular also argued that, if the FCC does adopt a package bidding option, it should not apply on a statewide basis (as proposed by the FCC), but instead the scope of package bidding should be limited to counties.

       

      LLGS Contacts: DAVID LAFURIA and JOHN CIMKO


      September 18, 2017

      MICROSOFT CORPORATION URGES INCLUSION OF TV WHITE SPACES SPECTRUM IN CONNECT AMERICA FUND PHASE II

      On behalf of Microsoft Corporation, on September 18, 2017, LLGS filed Comments in the FCC’s Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF II) Auction proceeding. Microsoft urged the Commission to list TV White Spaces spectrum as being suitable for the provision of broadband services in rural and remote areas in the upcoming CAF II auction. Microsoft noted that it has already launched TV White Spaces broadband service pilot projects with local partners in several rural areas in the U.S. Including TV White Spaces spectrum will offer service providers an important option when considering whether to participate in the CAF II auction.

       

      LLGS Contacts: DAVID LAFURIA and ROBERT KOPPEL


      August 9, 2017

      VIAERO WIRELESS FILES REPLY COMMENTS IN CITIZENS BROADBAND RADIO SERVICE PROCEEDING

      On behalf of NE Colorado Cellular, Inc., d/b/a Viaero Wireless, LLGS filed REPLY COMMENTS responding to rulemaking petitions filed by CTIA and T-Mobile USA, Inc., that seek to make sweeping changes in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service regulatory framework adopted by the FCC two years ago for the 3.5 GHz band. Viaero Wireless criticized T-Mobile’s proposal to auction the upper 50 megahertz of spectrum in the band, which the FCC reserved to promote innovative, low-power uses by small operators. Viaero explained that T-Mobile’s attempt to hijack this spectrum would harm rural consumers who are currently benefiting from fixed wireless networks deployed by Viaero Wireless and other small carriers to deliver high-speed broadband services. Rejecting the T-Mobile proposal will enable small carriers to expand these networks to serve more consumers in rural America.

       

      LLGS Contacts: DAVID LAFURIA and JOHN CIMKO


      May 30, 2017

      RURAL WIRELESS CARRIERS FILE REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF FCC’S MOBILITY FUND PHASE II REPORT AND ORDER

      On behalf of the Rural Wireless Carriers, LLGS submitted a REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION filed by Verizon, in the FCC’s Mobility Fund Phase II rulemaking proceeding. RWC reiterated that the benchmark for determining whether geographic areas are eligible for Phase II support should be 10 Mbps so that rural areas of the nation have access to mobile broadband services that are reasonably comparable to those in urban areas.

       

      LLGS Contacts: David LaFuria and John Cimko


      April 27, 2017

      RURAL WIRELESS CARRIERS FILE PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF FCC’S MOBILITY FUND PHASE II REPORT AND ORDER

      On behalf of the Rural Wireless Carriers, LLGS filed A PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION of the FCC’s Report and Order in the Mobility Fund Phase II rulemaking proceeding. RWC argued that (1) the FCC should reconsider its decision to use a 5 Mbps broadband speed as the benchmark for determining whether geographic areas are eligible for Phase II support, (2) the FCC should increase the inadequate Phase II budget for broadband deployment in rural America, (3) the FCC should take steps to eliminate numerous flaws in the collection and reporting of FCC Form 477 data that make the data unreliable for use in determining eligibility for Phase II support, (4) service by a carrier collocating facilities on a tower built with support must not be considered “unsubsidized competition,” and (5) the letter of credit requirement to secure performance is a wasteful and unnecessary burden on program participants.

       

      LLGS Contacts: DAVID LAFURIA and JOHN CIMKO


      March 21, 2017

      U.S. CELLULAR PRESENTS TESTIMONY AT HOUSE HEARING ON BROADBAND IN THE 21st CENTURY

      On March 21, 2017, LeRoy T. Carlson, Jr. appeared before the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology at a hearing titled, “Broadband: Deploying America’s 21st Century Infrastructure.” Mr. Carlson discussed the need for bold action to improve mobile broadband infrastructure in rural areas, and to improve the FCC’s data collection process to accurately target resources to areas most in need. Mr. Carlson’s testimony can be found here.  The Subcommittee’s hearing page is here.

       

      LLGS Contacts: David Lafuria


      January 13, 2017

      U.S. CELLULAR COMMENTS ON IMPROVING MOBILE BROADBAND IN RURAL AMERICA IN FCC #SOLUTIONS 2020

      United States Cellular Corporation filed comments in response to FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn’s #Solutions2020 proceeding, urging the Commission to improve the quality of its FCC Form 477 data collection and to increase the budget for Mobility Fund Phase II. U.S. Cellular noted that the quality of data in the most recent FCC Form 477 submission varies widely and does not accurately depict where mobile broadband service is available in rural America.

       

      Regarding the Mobility Fund budget, even using the most conservative of projections, the cost of providing mobile broadband to the remaining road miles in rural America that lack coverage is at least $22 billion. U.S. Cellular urged the Commission to analyze how long it intends to take to complete the task of providing high-quality mobile broadband service to rural areas, and adjust its annual budget accordingly. A copy of U.S. Cellular’s comments can be found here.

       

      LLGS Contacts: David LaFuria


      December 31, 2016

      LNGS ANNOUNCES DEPARTURE OF FOUNDING PARTNER DAVID L. NACE AND PROMOTION OF TODD B. LANTOR TO PARTNER

      Lukas, Nace, Gutierrez & Sachs, LLP today released two announcements.

       

      David Nace, a founding member of our firm going back to 1985, has left the firm to explore a wide variety of enjoyable pursuits. “We’re very happy for David. For over thirty years he’s been at the core of our success and has been a dear friend, colleague, and mentor to many lawyers here,” said Russell Lukas. “We’re all looking forward to hearing about David’s new adventures, and will miss him each day.” As of January 1, 2017, the firm will be renamed Lukas, LaFuria, Gutierrez & Sachs, LLP.

       

      Separately, the firm announced the selection of Todd B. Lantor for promotion to partner, effective January 1, 2017. Mr. Lukas noted, “Mr. Lantor has consistently demonstrated an ability to increase revenues for clients, and to assure compliance with complex and evolving regulations. He has earned this promotion through hard work, and he represents the firm’s bright future in the telecommunications industry.”


      November 14, 2016

      DAVID LAFURIA’S PRESENTATION TO THE NEW MEXICO LEGISLATURE ON THE NEED FOR MOBILE BROADBAND INVESTMENT IN RURAL AREAS

      On November 14, 2016, David LaFuria appeared before the Science, Technology and Telecommunications Committee of the New Mexico Legislature, to discuss the wireless industry. Mr. LaFuria urged legislators to repurpose the state’s $24 million dollar rural universal service fund, currently used for fixed voice communications, to broadband. Mr. LaFuria provided evidence that there remain substantial areas within the state that require additional mobile broadband deployment, and described the public safety, health care, and economic benefits of mobile broadband in rural areas. A copy of Mr. LaFuria’s presentation is here.

       

      LNGS Contact: David LaFuria


      November 13, 2016

      DAVID LAFURIA DISCUSSES STATE MOBILE BROADBAND REFORMS AT NARUC’S 2016 ANNUAL MEETING

      On November 13, 2016, David LaFuria participated in a panel discussion at NARUC's annual meeting in Palm Springs, California titled, “Rural Wireless and Consumers: New Proposals and Issues.” Mr. LaFuria outlined the significant need for additional mobile broadband in rural America and the public safety, health care, and economic benefits of mobile broadband infrastructure. He also discussed problems with the FCC's recent Form 477 data collection which overstates mobile coverage, making areas ineligible for federal support that otherwise need improved service. Mr. LaFuria outlined the FCC's Mobility Fund Phase II, describing it as inadequate to meet the statutory directive that rural citizens should have access to services that are reasonably comparable to those in urban areas. Finally, Mr. LaFuria provided a draft broadband grant program rule for consideration, to assist states in developing their own universal service mechanisms to meet the needs of their rural citizens. A copy of Mr. LaFuria's presentation is here, and a copy of the proposed broadband grant rule is here.

       

      LNGS Contacts: David LaFuria


      October 3, 2016

      AIRVOICE WIRELESS SUPPORTS A STAY OR DEFERRAL OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE REVISED LIFELINE “NON-USAGE” RULE

      On behalf of Airvoice Wireless, LLC, LNGS filed an EX PARTE LETTER in the FCC’s Lifeline Modernization rulemaking proceeding, supporting a motion filed by TracFone Wireless, Inc., to stay or defer the effective date of revised Section 54.507(c)(2) of the FCC’s rules, which cuts the period for low-income customers’ de-enrollment from the Lifeline program, due to non-usage of service, from 60 days to 30 days. Airvoice argued that the revised rule will harm consumers who depend on Lifeline service, that it will also impose undue burdens on Lifeline service providers, and that smaller carriers such as Airvoice will find it particularly difficult to meet the increased burdens caused by the revised rule. Airvoice also explained that the revision is unwarranted because there is no evidence it will reduce waste in the Lifeline program or conserve universal service resources.

       

      LNGS Contacts: DAVID LAFURIATODD LANTOR and JOHN CIMKO


      September 23, 2016

      U.S. CELLULAR FILES REPLY COMMENTS IN THE FCC’S BROADBAND PROGRESS PROCEEDING

      On behalf of United States Cellular Corporation, LNGS filed REPLY COMMENTS in the FCC’s Twelfth Broadband Progress Notice of Inquiry proceeding, criticizing the FCC’s continuing reliance on flawed mobile broadband data, and recommending that the FCC initiate a proceeding to establish a single, standardized system for collecting and analyzing data related to mobile broadband deployment. U.S. Cellular also discussed support in the record for adopting a 10 Mbps/1 Mbps speed benchmark for mobile broadband, for using drive testing to measure mobile broadband coverage, and for an FCC finding that mobile broadband is not being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely manner.

       

      LNGS Contacts: DAVID LAFURIA and JOHN CIMKO

       


      September 6, 2016

      U.S. CELLULAR FILES COMMENTS IN 12th BROADBAND PROGRESS NOTICE OF INQUIRY PROCEEDING

      On behalf of United States Cellular Corporation, LNGS filed COMMENTS in response to the FCC’s Twelfth Broadband Progress Notice of Inquiry, arguing that the FCC should fix problems caused by flawed data that overstates mobile broadband coverage in rural areas, and that the FCC should adopt a 10 Mbps/1 Mbps speed benchmark for mobile broadband, applied throughout a service area, including all measured cell edges in the area. In addition, U.S. Cellular argued that, if the FCC determines that mobile broadband networks are not being reasonably deployed in rural areas, it should create incentives for carriers to accelerate broadband network deployment, such as providing adequate universal service funding.

       

      LNGS Contacts: DAVID LAFURIA and JOHN CIMKO

       


      August 1, 2016

      VIAERO WIRELESS FILES PETITION REQUESTING WAIVER OF MOBILITY FUND PHASE I PERFORMANCE DEFAULT PENALTY

      On behalf of N.E. Colorado Cellular, Inc., d/b/a Viaero Wireless (Viaero), LNGS filed a PETITION with the FCC requesting a waiver of the FCC’s performance default penalty for three Census Tracts on which it was the high bidder in Mobility Fund Phase I. Viaero demonstrated that changes to the U.S. Forest Service’s forest plan for the Rio Grande Forest in Colorado rendered it impossible for Viaero to construct a sufficient number of cell sites to cover 75% of the road miles in three tracts as required by the FCC’s rules.

       

      LNGS Contacts: DAVID LAFURIA and JOHN CIMKO

       


      July 25, 2016

      NARUC PANEL EXAMINES MOBILE BROADBAND IN RURAL AMERICA

      On July 24, 2016, David LaFuria participated in a panel discussion held at NARUC’s summer meeting titled, “Rural Wireless and Consumers on the Ground in the States: New Proposals and Issues.” In large part, the panel examined an ex parte presentation made to the FCC in February, comparing the National Broadband Map and other FCC data depicting mobile coverage and broadband data in rural areas with actual drive tests conducted by a third-party testing company. The panel also discussed U.S. Cellular’s proposal for a state broadband grant fund, that would streamline federal funding for mobile broadband and provide an incentive for states to create their own broadband funds. A copy of Mr. LaFuria’s presentation slides is here.

       

      FCC Contacts: David LaFuria


      May 31, 2016

      U.S. CELLULAR FILES COMMENTS ON THE STATE OF MOBILE WIRELESS COMPETITION IN AMERICA

      On behalf of United States Cellular Corporation (U.S. Cellular), LNGS filed COMMENTS with the FCC in a proceeding examining the level of competition in the mobile wireless marketplace. U.S. Cellular explained that the FCC is using inaccurate network coverage data and a flawed measurement methodology, preventing it from determining with any precision the extent of coverage provided by mobile wireless networks. U.S. Cellular argued that the unreliable coverage data is undermining the FCC’s competitive analysis, and also hampering its efforts to preserve and promote mobile wireless competition and to ensure that all Americans have access to mobile voice and broadband services.

       

      LNGS Contacts: DAVID LAFURIA  and JOHN CIMKO

       


      May 5, 2016

      U.S. CELLULAR FILES PETITION REQUESTING LIMITED WAIVER OF MOBILITY FUND PHASE I BUILD-OUT DEADLINE

      On behalf of United States Cellular Corporation (U.S. Cellular), LNGS filed a PETITION with the FCC requesting a limited waiver of the deadline for 75% LTE 4G coverage in Census Tracts receiving Mobility Fund Phase I support. U.S. Cellular demonstrated that various unforeseen circumstances beyond its control made it necessary to seek extensions for three of the 26 Census Tracts for which it received support. U.S. Cellular indicated that, if the FCC grants its petition, it will use its own funds to construct additional cell sites to meet the coverage requirements.

       

      LNGS Contacts: DAVID LAFURIA and JOHN CIMKO


      March 25, 2016

      SMITH BAGLEY FILES EXPARTE ON LIFELINE REFORM

      Smith Bagley, Inc. urged the FCC to increase Lifeline Support for Tribal Lands in its upcoming Lifeline Reform item, expected to be adopted March 31, 2016. The company noted that the FCC’s previous action to increase Tribal Lifeline resulted in household telephone penetration more than doubling on the Navajo and Hopi Tribal Lands, and that increased support for broadband would spur new investment and adoption of affordable services for low-income residents. A copy of the company’s public presentation is here.

       

      LNGS Contacts: David LaFuria

       


      February 22, 2016

      U.S. CELLULAR PRESENTS TESTIMONY ON THE STATE OF MOBILE BROADBAND IN AMERICA

      On February 4, 2016, the Senate’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet held a hearing focused on the need to improve mobile broadband in rural America. A link to the Senate’s hearing page is here.  Among other things, witnesses focused on the importance of mobility to rural economic development, agriculture, public safety, and health care. Appearing on behalf of United States Cellular Corporation was their Chairman, Ted Carlson. Mr. Carlson focused much of his testimony on the extraordinary demand for high-quality mobile broadband services in the coming years, how areas without coverage are affected, and the fact that coverage levels and mobile broadband availability in rural America are not nearly as robust as the FCC’s mapping data shows. A copy of Mr. Carlson’s written statement, containing a wealth of data on mobile broadband, is here

       

      LNGS Contact: David LaFuria

       

       


      January 29, 2016

      LNGS PROVIDES ENGINEERING, COMPLIANCE EXPERTISE FOR CARRIERS COMPLETING SEMI-ANNUAL FCC FORM 477 DUE MARCH 1

      In 2014, the FCC radically overhauled its Local Competition and Broadband Reporting form (FCC Form 477), adding complex data reporting obligations and requiring carriers to use a brand-new electronic form. The form must be filed twice annually, with the next filing due March 1, 2016. The FCC’s online filing system is now accepting data for the March 1 filing, reporting data as of December 31, 2015.

       

      The following types of entities are required to file Form 477:

       

      • Common carriers and their affiliates providing telephone exchange or exchange access service;

      • Facilities-based CMRS providers offering mobile phone service;

      • Interconnected VoIP providers; and

      • Facilities-based broadband Internet service providers, including, but not limited to Wireless ISPs (WISPs).

       

      After taking a relatively hands-off approach as providers adjusted to the new requirements, the FCC has begun to monitor these filings more aggressively. Recently, the FCC issued an Enforcement Advisory reminding providers of the importance of filing timely and accurate Form 477 data, and warning that providers who do not comply will be subject to financial penalties.

       

      Please note that Form 477 is a time-intensive undertaking. When it developed the current version of Form 477, the FCC estimated that it would take respondents an average of 387 hours to complete a filing. Some parts of the form require analysis by engineering experts and preparation of maps and other files using specialized software. Therefore, all providers who are subject to Form 477 reporting should begin reviewing and compiling their data as early as possible. 

       

      LNGS Contacts: David Lafuria and Steven Chernoff

       


      December 3, 2015

      SMITH BAGLEY, INC., ADVOCATES MAKING CAF PHASE II SUPPORT AVAILABLE FOR 4G LTE NETWORKS SERVING TRIBAL LANDS

      On behalf of Smith Bagley, Inc. (SBI), LNGS filed a LETTER with the FCC urging the agency to make Connect America Fund Phase II support available to mobile broadband providers in the Phase II competitive bidding process, and to reject proposals to adopt bidding preferences for fiber to the home or other wireline broadband services. SBI explained that deployment of wireline broadband on Tribal lands and in remote areas is prohibitively expensive, that there is a strong demand from consumers in these areas for 4G LTE broadband, and that opening up the Phase II auction for mobile broadband providers will help to meet this consumer demand and will promote the efficient use of Phase II funding.

       

      LNGS Contacts: DAVID LAFURIA, JOHN CIMKO


      October 1, 2015

      U.S. CELLULAR CITES STRONG SUPPORT FOR INCREASED FCC EFFORTS TO PROMOTE MOBILE BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT IN RURAL AMERICA

      On behalf of United States Cellular Corporation (U.S. Cellular) LNGS filed REPLY COMMENTS in response to comments in the FCC’s proceeding pursuant to Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, reviewing the status of advanced broadband network deployment. U.S. Cellular cited strong support in the record for including mobile broadband in the FCC’s Section 706 analysis and findings, and for an FCC finding that mobile broadband currently is not being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion, especially in rural areas. U.S. Cellular criticized contrary claims made by some commenters, demonstrating that these claims were based on faulty data and failed to account for the large gaps in mobile broadband deployment in rural areas. Citing significant support from other commenters, U.S. Cellular also renewed its advocacy for the FCC to exercise its Section 706 mandate by allocating additional universal service support to help bring mobile broadband to rural America.

       

      LNGS Contacts: DAVID LAFURIA, JOHN CIMKO


      September 16, 2015

      U.S. CELLULAR URGES THE FCC TO INCLUDE MOBILE BROADBAND IN ITS ANALYSIS OF PROGRESS IN BROADBAND NETWORK DEPLOYMENT

      On behalf of United States Cellular Corporation (U.S. Cellular) LNGS filed COMMENTS in response to a Notice of Inquiry in the FCC’s proceeding pursuant to Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, examining the deployment of advanced broadband networks. U.S. Cellular argued that the growing importance of mobile broadband warrants its inclusion in the FCC’s analysis of progress in broadband deployment, that the FCC will likely find that mobile broadband is not currently being deployed in a reasonable and timely manner, and that the FCC should take steps to promote the deployment of mobile broadband networks, especially in rural areas. These steps should include adjusting the FCC’s Universal Service Fund budget to provide greater support for mobile broadband deployment, and developing universal service policies for the Mobility Fund that encourage competition.

       

      LNGS Contacts: David LaFuria and John Cimko


      September 1, 2015

      SMITH BAGLEY, INC., ADVOCATES LIFELINE REFORMS TO BRING MODERN COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES TO CITIZENS ON TRIBAL LANDS

      On behalf of Smith Bagley, Inc. (SBI), LNGS filed COMMENTS in the FCC’s Lifeline reform rulemaking proceeding, providing a blueprint for FCC actions that will help to ensure that mobile voice services and advanced mobile broadband services will be available in Tribal communities. SBI documented the daunting economic challenges faced by many citizens living on Tribal reservations, where levels of poverty and unemployment far exceed national averages. Explaining that access to advanced telecommunications services is a key factor in improving living conditions and providing economic opportunities in Tribal communities, SBI advocated several steps the FCC should take to enable carriers to utilize Lifeline as a means of delivering these services, including providing Lifeline support to facilities-based Lifeline providers to encourage deployment of broadband-capable networks.

       

      LNGS Contacts: DAVID LAFURIA, STEVEN CHERNOFF, JOHN CIMKO


      August 11, 2015

      THE COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE FILES AN AMICUS BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF THE PETITIONERS CHALLENGING THE FCC’S OPEN INTERNET RULES

      On behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) as an amicus curiae, LNG&S filed a brief with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the petitioners challenge to the FCC’s “Open Internet” rules. CEI showed that Congress did not empower the FCC to adopt rules to implement Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which the FCC relied upon for its authority to promulgate its Open Internet rules. CEI demonstrated that Congress has consistently withheld Internet rulemaking authority from the FCC.

       

      LNGS Contacts: Russell Lukas


      June 29, 2015

      SMITH BAGLEY, INC. FILES AN ANSWER BRIEF IN SUPREME COURT OF NEW MEXICO

      On behalf of Smith Bagley, Inc., LNGS filed an Answer Brief at the Supreme Court of New Mexico in response to an appeal filed by the New Mexico Exchange Carrier Group (NMECG) cutting annual state universal service support by $9.6 million.  Smith Bagley demonstrated that the applicable state statute established a universal service support mechanism for NMECG members that provides revenue neutral subsidies in exchange for per-minute reductions in intrastate access support rates, but not for lost business.  Intrastate access minutes fell by 40% over the past eight years, however $24 million in annual subsidies to NMECG member companies has remained steady.  Smith Bagley also demonstrated that the Public Regulation Commission reformed the state’s universal service mechanism in a careful and appropriate manner, fully consistent with its delegation of authority under the statute.  The case is expected to be decided in early 2016.

       

      LNGS Contacts: David Lafuria


      May 5, 2015

      FCC SEEKS COMMENTS ON DEVELOPMENT OF LTE-U AND LAA IN THE 3.5 GHz and 5.0 GHz BANDS

      The FCC has released a Public Notice seeking comments regarding the LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) and Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technologies and the techniques that will be implemented to share spectrum with unlicensed operations and technologies. The Public Notice focuses on the development of LTE-U and LAA in the 3.5 GHz and 5 GHz bands, which make spectrum available for general access and unlicensed use, respectively. While some believe that the LTE-U and LAA technologies are more efficient than other currently available technologies, others have expressed concern that these technologies will have a harmful impact on existing and future use of unlicensed or shared spectrum in the 3.5 GHz and 5 GHz bands. The FCC is using the Public Notice to begin an open and transparent discussion about LTE-U and LAA and the ability of these technologies to coexist with other technologies, including Wi-Fi.

       

      Comments in response to the Public Notice are due by June 11, 2015 and reply comments by June 26, 2015. If you are interested in filling any comments/reply comments or would like to discuss further, please let us know.

       

      LNGS Contacts: David LaFuria and Marc Paul

       


      April 8, 2015

      US CELLULAR FILES REPLY WITH SUPREME COURT

      LNGS filed a reply brief with the Supreme Court responding to the FCC’s opposition to the petition for a writ of certiorari filed by United States Cellular Corporation.

       

      LNGS Contacts: Russell Lukas and David Lafuria


      March 31, 2015

      LNGS CLIENT PREVAILS OVER CONNECT AMERICA FUND CHALLENGE

      In an FCC Order released yesterday, LNGS client TV Service, Inc. (TVS), an affiliate of Thacker-Grigsby Telephone Company in Kentucky, prevailed over a price cap telephone company’s attempt to draw federal subsidies to provide wireline broadband in an area where TVS already provides broadband service without federal subsidies.

       

      The price cap company, Windstream Corporation, had asked the FCC to add 95 census blocks within the TVS service territory to the FCC’s initial list of areas in which Windstream could receive ongoing support under Phase II of the Connect America Fund program. Among other things, Windstream purported to show that there was no IP traffic or recent porting activity in those areas. In response, TVS made a detailed factual case and provided web-based advertising, customer bills, and a map of customer locations showing that the company provides broadband service in the areas in question. TVS also provided the results of speed tests showing that the company provides the requisite grade of service across its network. In addition, TVS argued that the IP traffic and porting activity studies referenced by Windstream lacked evidentiary value.

       

      The FCC ruled entirely in TVS’s favor, finding that TVS provides broadband service in each of the areas claimed by Windstream. As part of its ruling, the FCC granted a request by TVS to waive the requirement that a census block have current or former broadband customers in order to qualify as “served”, finding that TVS provided ample evidence of its ability to provide broadband service in a timely manner in all of the challenged areas.

       

      LNGS Contacts: David Nace, Pamela Gist, Steven Chernoff

       


      March 10, 2015

      MINORITY CELLULAR PARTNERS COALITION ASKS THE FCC TO EXAMINE AT&T’S ROLE IN THE NSA’S WARRANTLESS SURVEILLANCE PROGRAMS

      On March 4, 2015, LNG&S filed a letter with the FCC on behalf of the Minority Cellular Partners Coalition asking the agency to determine whether AT&T violated the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act in its role in the warrantless domestic surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

       

      LNGS Contact: Russell Lukas


      February 5, 2015

      C SPIRE WIRELESS FILES IN SUPPORT OF A DATA ROAMING DECLARATORY RULING

      On February 4, 2015, LNGS FILED AN OPPOSITION on behalf of C Spire Wireless in support of a data roaming Declaratory Ruling issued by the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. C Spire Wireless demonstrated in its Opposition that AT&T and Verizon, in their applications for review of the Ruling, failed to show that the Ruling conflicts with, or substantively changes, the FCC’s Data Roaming Order.

      LNGS Contacts: DAVID NACE and JOHN CIMKO

       

       


      November 26, 2014

      US CELLULAR PETITIONS THE SUPREME COURT TO OVERTURN THE FCC’S CONNECT AMERICA FUND ORDER

      On November 25, 2014, LNGS filed a petition for a writ of certiorari on behalf of United States Cellular Corporation asking the United States Supreme Court to overturn the FCC’s Connect America Fund decision by which it redirected the Universal Service program from supporting telecommunications services to funding and regulating broadband Internet access service.

       

      LNGS Contacts: Russell Lukas and David Lafuria


      November 13, 2014

      FCC GRANTS WAIVER TO EXPAND USE OF TRIBAL LAND BIDDING CREDITS IN AWS-3 AUCTION

      The FCC has granted the waiver Petition of LNGS client Smith Bagley, Inc. (SBI) to apply Tribal Land Bidding credits in the AWS-3 auction to the Eastern Navajo Agency in New Mexico. Under existing rules, a winning bidder in Auction 97 (for the AWS-3 bands) that intends to use its licenses to deploy facilities and provide services to federally recognized Tribal lands is eligible to receive a Tribal lands bidding credit. SBI asked the FCC to apply their Tribal Lands bidding credit to the Eastern Navajo Agency of the Navajo Nation, which is not treated as federally recognized Tribal land. SBI argued that a waiver was appropriate because the Eastern Navajo Agency is regarded as an integral part of the Navajo Nation -- residents of the Eastern Navajo Agency are Navajo National Tribal members with full citizenship rights, including the right to vote in Navajo elections. In its Order, the FCC agreed with SBI, waived its rules and granted the SBI Petition so that the Eastern Navajo Agency is now eligible for Tribal land bidding credits in the AWS-3 auction.

       

      LNGS Contacts: David LaFuria and Marc Paul


      October 24, 2014

      THE FCC’S REVISED OPEN INTERNET RULES COULD IMPOSE MORE STRINGENT DUTIES ON MOBILE BROADBAND PROVIDERS AND RECLASSIFY BROADBAND AS A TITLE II SERVICE

      FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler suggested in a recent SPEECH that he may not support any continuation of the FCC’s different and more lenient Internet rules for mobile broadband providers. The FCC’s old Internet rules were vacated by a federal court of appeals in January, and FCC action on new Open Internet rules, based on an NPRM issued in May, is currently pending. LNGS has prepared an ADVISORY that examines the implications of the rulemaking for mobile broadband providers, and also discusses the increasing possibility that the FCC will reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service subject to regulation under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.

       

      Please contact us if you would like to discuss further.

       

      LNGS contacts: DAVID LAFURIA and JOHN CIMKO


      September 19, 2014

      U.S. CELLULAR FILES REPLY COMMENTS ARGUING THAT THE FCC SHOULD TAKE STEPS TO ACCELERATE MOBILE BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT IN RURAL COMMUNITIES

      On September 19, 2014, LNGS client U.S. Cellular filed REPLY COMMENTS arguing that the FCC should examine mobile broadband deployment in rural areas in its tenth annual broadband progress report. U.S. Cellular demonstrated that, although consumers place a high value on the unique services provided by mobile broadband, further efforts to promote mobile broadband deployment in rural areas are needed because availability for rural consumers is dramatically lower than availability in central cities and suburbs. U.S. Cellular explained that certain FCC actions have hindered carriers’ efforts to bring mobile broadband to rural consumers, and argued that the FCC should set a new course by taking several steps to accelerate mobile broadband deployment throughout rural America.

       

      LNGS Contacts: DAVID LAFURIA and JOHN CIMKO

       


      September 8, 2014

      LNGS CLIENTS FILE REPLY COMMENTS CITING OPPOSITION TO MOBILITY FUND BUDGET CUTS, AND SUPPORT FOR OPENING UP THE CONNECT AMERICA FUND TO MOBILE BROADBAND PROVIDERS

      On September 8, 2014, the Rural Wireless Carriers (a group comprised of LNGS clients receiving universal service support) filed REPLY COMMENTS with the FCC concerning proposals for cutting and reallocating the Mobility Fund Phase II budget. The Rural Carriers oppose reduced funding for mobile broadband and cites support in the record for permitting carriers providing mobile broadband services to participate in the FCC’s reverse auction for Connect America Fund Phase II support. The Rural Carriers also pointed to support for their argument that the FCC must give priority to fixing its methods for measuring mobile broadband coverage because its current estimates substantially overstate the extent of mobile broadband availability in rural America.

       

      LNGS Contacts: David LaFuria and John Cimko


      September 5, 2014

      REPLY COMMENTS FILED FOR MIMOSA NETWORKS

      LNGS client Mimosa Networks filed Reply Comments in support of its Petition for Partial Reconsideration of the unduly restrictive out-of-band emissions (OOBE) restrictions applicable to devices operating in the U-NII-1 (5150 – 5250 MHz) and U-NII-3 (5725 – 5850 MHz) bands.  Mimosa is an innovator in next-generation Internet access, including the use of the 5 GHz band for wireless broadband operations, including broadband backhaul.  The Reply Comments urged the FCC to revise its rules to adopt Mimosa’s proposal to increase the OOBE limit by the amount in dB that the directional gain of the antenna exceeds 6 dBi.  Mimosa emphasized that adoption of its proposal would preserve the ability of fixed wireless users to utilize the U-NII-1 and U-NII-3 bands for long-distance links that are critical to the provision of broadband service to rural Americans.

       

      LNGS Contacts:  Russell D. Lukas and Robert Koppel


      August 19, 2014

      LNGS WINS SIGNIFICANT ROLL-BACK OF SPECIAL ACCESS REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

      The Small Purchasers’ Coalition, a group of eleven LNGS clients, has won a significant victory on behalf of small carriers across the country, in connection with the FCC’s requirements to report the use of special access facilities. Following the FCC’s December 2012 Order, the Small Purchaser’s Coalition filed an objection with the Office of Management and Budget, demonstrating that the FCC’s reporting requirements would place extraordinary burdens on small businesses, requiring thousands of hours to compile and submit the required data.

       

      With the help of our clients, LNGS attorneys submitted a petition and met with OMB officials to explain why small entities would find the requirements overwhelming, and that the data provided by small carriers would be insignificant to the FCC’s larger inquiry.

       

      The OMB approved the FCC’s data request, but granted every exemption and limitation requested by the Small Purchasers’ Coalition.

       

      • Any carrier that purchased less than $5 million in special access services in 2013 is exempted from all reporting requirements.

       

      • Carriers need not report data for 2010 and 2012, as requested by the FCC, but need only report data for 2013.

       

      • Instead of reporting detailed information in numerous categories, wireless purchasers are only required to provide basic information about the location of facilities and the type and capacity of special access provided.

       

      The FCC has announced that it now plans to move forward with the special access data collection requirements, as modified by OMB.

       

      We expect the FCC to require the submission of special access data, as modified above for small carriers, in the fourth quarter of this year.

       

      A copy of the OMB’s decision can be found here: http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=201311-3060-001

       

      LNGS CONTACTS: David Nace, David LaFuria and Bob Koppel

       


      August 8, 2014

      LNGS CLIENT C SPIRE WIRELESS FILES COMMENTS URGING FCC TO ENSURE SUFFICIENT SUPPORT TO BRING MOBILE BROADBAND TO RURAL CONSUMERS

      On August 8, 2014, Cellular South, Inc. (d/b/a C Spire Wireless) filed COMMENTS with the FCC arguing for increased support for Mobility Fund Phase II because current funding levels are not enough to meet the growing demand for 4G LTE services and improved mobile broadband coverage throughout rural America. C Spire also urged the FCC to take other steps to ensure that universal service support is effectively used to bring the public safety and economic development benefits of mobile broadband networks to rural consumers.

       

      LNGS Contacts: David LaFuria and Steve Chernoff


      August 8, 2014

      LNGS CLIENTS FILE COMMENTS URGING FCC TO PRESERVE MOBILITY FUND BUDGET AND SPEED MOBILE BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT IN RURAL AMERICA

      On August 8, 2014, the Rural Wireless Carriers (a group comprised of LNGS clients receiving universal service support) filed COMMENTS with the FCC opposing any reductions in, or reallocations of, the Mobility Fund Phase II budget, urging the FCC to open up the Connect America Phase II competitive bidding process to wireless carriers, and arguing for other measures to ensure continuity of service to rural consumers currently using mobile broadband services and to promote the efficient use of universal service funding to bring advanced mobile broadband networks to unserved rural areas.

       

      LNGS Contacts: David LaFuria and John Cimko


      August 5, 2014

      LNGS CLIENT PR WIRELESS INC. WINS USF AUDIT APPEAL

      The FCC has granted an appeal filed by LNGS on behalf of PR Wireless, Inc., saving the company more than $500,000. In a 2009 audit of the company’s high-cost Universal Service Fund line counts, a USAC auditor found that certain lines could not be assigned to the correct geographic area. The auditor concluded that the company was liable for more than $500,000 in high-cost support corresponding to those lines.

       

      On appeal, the FCC agreed with PR Wireless’s argument that no overpayment occurred because the lines had all been reported in the geographic area with the lower level of support per line associated with it. In addition, the FCC concluded that there was no justification for disqualifying the lines merely because they lacked billing addresses. Accordingly, the FCC found that the company need not repay any support.

       

      LNGS Contacts:  David LaFuria and Steven Chernoff


      July 10, 2014

      LNGS CLIENT C SPIRE WIRELESS FILES COMMENTS URGING ACTION TO LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD FOR DATA ROAMING

      On July 10, 2014, Cellular South, Inc. (d/b/a C Spire Wireless) filed comments with the FCC supporting a petition for declaratory ruling submitted by T-Mobile USA in the FCC’s data roaming rulemaking proceeding. C Spire Wireless argued that competitive mobile wireless carriers continue to face substantial difficulties in their efforts to provide seamless data services to their customers, and urged the FCC to act on T-Mobile’s request to provide guidance and clarification regarding the criteria used to determine whether the terms of data roaming agreements meet the “commercially reasonable” standard prescribed by the FCC.

       

      LNGS Contacts: David Nace and John Cimko


      July 6, 2014

      SBI URGES FCC TO FOCUS ON TRIBAL LANDS IN E-RATE REFORM PROCEEDING

      On July 7, 2014, Smith Bagley, Inc. filed a letter with the FCC concerning its plan to modernize the Schools and Libraries Program (E-rate). SBI asked the FCC to define tribal areas of extreme poverty and to ensure that such areas are not denied access by the proposal to require schools and libraries to provide a 20% match. SBI urged the FCC to retain its 5% match, or limit any increase to 10%.

       

      LNGS Contact: David LaFuria


      May 28, 2014

      LNGS CLIENTS URGE FCC TO ADOPT NEUTRAL RULES FOR E-RATE PROGRAM

      Nationwide, thousands of cellular towers with fiber connectivity are located just a few miles of a community anchor institution. Fixed wireless can efficiently bridge the last mile to schools and libraries, connecting them to the Internet with throughput in excess of 1 Gbps and meeting the FCC’s long-term broadband goals immediately.

      A group of eight carriers filed an ex parte letter urging the FCC to adopt competitively neutral rules in the E-rate rulemaking proceeding, to ensure that fixed wireless technology has a fair opportunity to bid for E-rate contracts. Participation by wireless carriers will increase competition and the number of schools that can be connected, which is critical to stretching universal service program funds.

       

      LNGS Contact: David LaFuria


      May 22, 2014

      LNGS COUNSEL BOB KOPPEL APPOINTED TO WRC-15 ADVISORY COMMITTEE

      FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler appoints LNGS Counsel Robert Koppel to serve on the Federal Advisory Committee for the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference, representing the interests of Mimosa Networks, Inc.

       

      LNGS Contact: Bob Koppel


      April 15, 2014

      UPCOMING FCC ACTION UNIVERSAL SERVICE REFORM – EX PARTE MEETINGS

      David LaFuria met with the FCC’s 8th Floor legal advisors to discuss the upcoming April 23 item proposing further reforms to the federal universal service mechanism. A summary of the meetings is here. Among other things, proposed reforms must be supported by record evidence, and there is no evidence that large wireless carriers are completing the job of serving 98% of Americans with 4G LTE without the need for universal service support. To the extent that the FCC considers moving support from the Mobility Fund into other programs, leaving wireless carriers to compete in the Connect America Fund, then the right of first refusal afforded to price cap carriers must be immediately eliminated. A number of other discussion points are summarized in the attached letter.

       

      LNGS Contact: David LaFuria


      April 8, 2014

      DAVID LAFURIA TALKS ABOUT THE TENTH CIRCUIT CASE AT LAW SEMINARS INTERNATIONAL EVENT IN SEATTLE

      On April 7, David LaFuria discussed FCC jurisdiction over the Internet and the Connect America Fund appeal pending at the Tenth Circuit. In addition, he explored whether universal service obligations can be enforced in an all-IP world in the absence of either legislation or FCC reclassification of broadband to be a Title II service. A short overview of FCC jurisdiction is here and the program slides are here.

       

      LNGS Contact:  David LaFuria


      April 4, 2014

      FCC ANNOUNCES AUCTION OF AWS-3 SPECTRUM

      The FCC released its Report and Order adopting rules governing the use of spectrum in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands (“AWS-3 bands”) that will make available significantly more commercial spectrum for Advanced Wireless Services (“AWS”). The FCC is required by statute to grant new initial licenses for the AWS-3 bands by February, 2015.  Here is a link to an LNGS report summarizing the Commission’s action.     

       

      LNGS Contacts: Tom Gutierrez, David Lafuria and Todd Slamowitz


      March 10, 2014

      LNGS ATTORNEY MARC PAUL TO MODERATE A PANEL DISCUSSION AT GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS POLICY AND THE U.S. CONGRESS

      On Tuesday March 18, 2014 (6:30-8pm), LNGS Attorney Marc Paul will be moderating a panel discussion on communications and technology policy in the 113th Congress and Beyond. The panel will consist of leading Hill staffers from both the House and Senate who will share their thoughts on the different paths that communications and technology policy is likely to take in this Congress and in the near future. This event is being sponsored by the Federal Communications Bar Association and Georgetown University Law School. This program will be held at Georgetown University Law School, Hart Auditorium, 600 New Jersey Avenue, NW. Additional details can be found at www.fcba.org.

       

      LNGS Contacts: Marc Paul


      February 20, 2014

      FCC RELEASES 2014 FORM 499-A AND INSTRUCTIONS WITH IMPORTANT CHANGES IN DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS

      The FCC has released the Form 499-A annual telecommunications revenue reporting worksheet and instructions for the annual filing due April 1, 2014. Telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers must use this updated version of the form to report their Calendar Year 2013 revenues.

       

      The new form and instructions contain important changes that must be implemented before this year’s April 1 reporting deadline. Most significantly, the FCC has strengthened its documentation requirements that carriers must follow in order to justify reporting revenue from resellers as “carrier’s carrier” revenue that is exempt from USF contributions.

       

      LNGS contacts: Steven Chernoff and Bob Koppel


      February 14, 2014

      FEDERAL AND STATE LEGISLATION INTRODUCED TO ADOPT KILL-SWITCH TECHNOLOGY

      U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) recently introduced legislation to require a “kill switch” on smartphones to help protect consumers and deter thieves. The Smartphone Theft Prevention Act (S. 2032) would require all phones sold in the United States to include kill switch type technology free of charge that would allow the consumer to wipe their personal data off the phone, render the phone permanently inoperable to anyone but the owner, and prevent it from being reactivated on a network by anyone but the owner. On February 7, 2014, California state Senator Mark Leno introduced a bill in the California Senate which if adopted would require all smartphones and tablets sold in California to come pre-equipped with theft-deterring technological solutions enabled to render the device useless if stolen. If you have any questions regarding these bills, please let us know.

       

      LNGS Contacts: David Nace, David LaFuria, Marc Paul and Steven Chernoff


      February 11, 2014

      RESPONSES FILED TO HOUSE COMMITTEE WHITE PAPER ON TELECOM ACT REFORM

      Over 100 responses were filed to the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee's recently released white paper seeking industry input on how best to modernize the laws governing the communications and technology sector. Included among the responses were those filed by LNGS clients Smith Bagley, Inc. d/b/a Cellular One ("Cellular One"), Cellular Network Partnership d/b/a Pioneer Cellular ("Pioneer Cellular") and East Kentucky Network, LLC d/b/a Appalachian Wireless (“Appalachian Wireless”). A copy of the SBI, Cellular One and Appalachian Wireless response is found here. The carriers noted that a critical element of any rewrite of the nation's telecommunications laws must be that the nation's citizens living in rural and more remote areas of the country are not ignored or underserved, but are provided access to the same competitive telecommunications and broadband services that are being deployed throughout the country at a rapid pace. Additional white papers are expected to be released this year as the House Energy & Commerce Committee continues exploring how best to update the nation's telecommunications laws.

       

      LNGS Contacts: David LaFuria and Marc Paul


      February 1, 2014

      FCC RELEASES MAJOR ORDER TO KICK-OFF IP TRANSITION

      The FCC has released an Order inviting carriers to propose broadband experiments to evaluate the impact of the transition of communications networks from plain old telephone service delivered over copper lines to a feature-rich voice service using Internet Protocols, delivered over wireless, coaxial cable and fiber networks. The trials will offer Universal Service funding to assist carriers in conducting these experiments. The trials will gather information in two main areas: (1) "service-based experiments" (at a carrier's own expense) to test real-world applications of planned changes in technology that are likely to have tangible effects on consumers; and (2) "targeted experiments" (funded with Universal Service funds) to explore the impact of technology transitions in rural or remote areas of the country. The FCC has established a deadline of March 7th for nonbinding "expressions of interest" from carriers interested in participating in a targeted experiment. Also included with the FCC order is a request for comments on a variety of issues related to the best way to implement these experiments. LNGS is following this new FCC proposal closely as it is likely to have a significant impact on both the transition to IP networks and how Universal Service funds are distributed in the future.

       

      Please contact us if you would like to discuss further.

       

      LNGS contacts: David LaFuria and Marc Paul   


      January 10, 2014

      LNGS CLIENTS WIN CONNECT AMERICA FUND CHALLENGES

      In an order released today, the FCC found in favor of LNGS clients Bluegrass Cellular and Viaero Wireless who had challenged the funding request of wireline companies seeking to build wireline broadband in certain areas of the country.  In proposing to provide universal service support to price-cap carriers in various rural areas, the FCC permitted challenges if a carrier could demonstrate that broadband is already being provided in the area proposed to be funded.  Both Bluegrass Cellular and Viaero Wireless challenged preliminary funding decisions on the basis that they currently offer fixed wireless broadband offerings in areas the FCC proposed to fund.  LNGS prepared the challenges, providing both legal analysis and arguments, as well as engineering support.  The FCC granted the challenges, in their entirety.  The FCC decision establishes an important FCC precedent that broadband service provided over a mobile wireless network can be a legitimate substitute for wireline broadband service.

       

      LNGS Contacts: David Nace, David LaFuria, Todd Lantor and Marc Paul


      January 8, 2014

      LNGS FILES COMMENTS WITH OMB TO SCALE BACK FCC DATA COLLECTION REQUIREMENTS

      On behalf of 11 small wireless carriers, LNGS filed Comments with the Office of Management and Budget, urging that agency to require the FCC to scale back the vast scope of the mandatory data collections requirements for purchasers of special access.  Special access includes the facilities connecting cell sites to a carrier’s central switch.  The Comments urge the FCC to exempt from the new requirements any carrier that purchases less than $5 million annually in special access facilities.  In the alternative, the Comments propose that the FCC only require data for calendar year 2013, and eliminate the requirement to file data for calendar year 2010. 

       

      LNGS Contacts:  David Nace, David LaFuria and Bob Koppel  


      January 2, 2014

      HEARING AID COMPATABILITY STATUS REPORTS DUE JANUARY 15, 2014

      Today the Enforcement Bureau reminded wireless service providers, including resellers, of their obligation to report on their compliance with the Hearing Aid Compatibility rules on or before January 15, 2014. The HAC rules ensure that individuals with hearing loss can fully access advanced wireless phone services without excessive feedback or noise.

       

      Click here [PDF] to download the full enforcement alert.

       

      LNGS Contacts:  Todd Slamowitz and Steven Chernoff


      December 31, 2013

      SENATOR URGES WIRELESS CARRIERS TO TAKE ADDITIONAL ANTI-THEFT MEASURES, INCLUDING “KILL SWITCH”

      United States Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) sent a letter to the nation’s five largest wireless carriers urging them to take action to curb the theft of mobile wireless phones.  While praising the measures carriers have taken to date, Sen. Klobuchar wrote that additional steps – such as “kill switch” technology that would deter thieves from reselling stolen phones on the black market – are needed.

       

      Sen. Klobuchar’s letter directed each carrier to provide the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights with detailed information on the following issues by January 9, 2014:

       

      • Information explaining whether the carrier has had offers by handset manufacturers to install “kill switch” technology, and, if so, why the carrier has or has not adopted such technology.

       

      • Information about whether the carrier has considered including this solution on handsets made by manufacturers now competing with Apple’s activation lock technology that operates as a “kill switch” on iPhones. If not, the carrier is asked to describe the reasoning behind its decision.

       

      • How the carrier will include such technology options at no cost to consumers in the future and how its phone security offerings differ from those of its competitors.

       

      LNGS Contacts: David LaFuriaand Steven Chernoff


      December 20, 2013

      LNGS CLIENT CALIFORNIA TELEHEALTH NETWORK FILES APPEAL OF USAC DECISION

      On behalf of California Telehealth Network, LNGS has filed an appeal with the FCC of Rural Health Care program site eligibility determinations made by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). The appeal asks the FCC to reverse a USAC decision which denied eligibility in the Rural Health Care program to 29 non-rural health clinics. While USAC has long considered such clinics eligible, USAC claims the FCC's recent Healthcare Connect Fund Order changed the rules regarding health care provider eligibility. The appeal argues that USAC has failed to identify any language in the recent FCC order that can be construed to make such a change, and accordingly, USAC's decision should be reversed.

       

      LNGS Contact: Jeff Mitchell


      December 13, 2013

      LNGS CLIENT SMITH BAGLEY, INC. FILES COMMENTS ON FCC’s PROPOSED LIFELINE AUDIT PLAN

      Today Smith Bagley, Inc. (SBI) filed comments on the FCC’s proposed audit plan for the biennial independent audit requirement adopted as part of the FCC’s Lifeline reforms.  Under the FCC’s new rules, providers of Lifeline telephone service receiving at least $5 million per year in Low Income support must engage an independent auditor every two years to conduct an audit of their Lifeline compliance.  SBI’s comments highlight the FCC’s core objective that the independent audits are intended as a high-level review of a company’s procedures and internal controls, not as a comprehensive and unnecessarily burdensome form of review duplicating the audit mechanisms already in place.   

       

      LNGS Contacts: David LaFuria and Steven Chernoff


      December 11, 2013

      LNGS CLIENT VIAERO WIRELESS CHALLENGES ELIGIBLE CAF CENSUS BLOCKS

      In a letter filed today, LNGS client Viaero Wireless continues its challenge of the eligibility of census blocks designated by CenturyLink as being entitled to Connect America Fund ("CAF") Phase I round 2 funding.  Viaero Wireless argues that there is no need to subsidize the census blocks listed by CenturyLink because Viaero Wireless is already providing a viable broadband service in the same blocks. 

       

      LNGS Contacts: David A. LaFuria,  Todd B. Lantor and Marc A. Paul  


      December 9, 2013

      LNGS FILES PETITION TO SCALE BACK FCC DATA COLLECTION REQUIREMENTS

      On behalf of 11 small wireless carriers, LNGS has filed a Petition urging the FCC to scale back the vast scope of the mandatory data collections requirements for all providers and purchasers of special access.  Special access includes the facilities connecting cell sites to a carrier’s central switch.  The Petition urges the FCC to exempt from the new requirements any carrier that purchases less than $5 million annually in special access facilities. 

       

      LNGS Contacts:  David Nace and Bob Koppel


      December 9, 2013

      LNGS CLIENT ADVOCATES FOR THE USE OF CELLULAR MARKETING AREAS TO LICENSED SPECTRUM IN THE 600 MHz INCENTIVE AUCTION

      LNGS filed an ex parte letter on behalf of N.E. Colorado Cellular, Inc., d/b/a Viaero Wireless, in the Incentive Auction rulemaking proceeding urging the FCC to distribute 600 MHz licenses using Cellular Marketing Areas. Viaero Wireless and other small wireless carriers serving rural areas would not have the financial resources necessary to compete for spectrum in the auction if they are forced to bid for licenses for larger geographic areas, such as Economic Areas.

       

      LNGS contacts: David LaFuria and John Cimko


      November 15, 2013

      LNGS ATTORNEY MARC PAUL TO SPEAK AT ANNUAL NARUC CONFERENCE

      LNGS Attorney Marc Paul will be speaking at the upcoming National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.  On November 17, 2013, Mr. Paul will be participating in a panel discussion entitled "Mobility Fund Auction - Where Do We Go From Here?"  Joining Mr. Paul on the panel are representatives from the National Regulatory Research Institute and T-Mobile. 

       

      LNGS contact: Marc Paul


      November 5, 2013

      LNGS clients file Petition To Modify Mobility Fund Drive Testing Requirements

      On November 5, 2013, LNGS clients Texas 10, LLC d/b/a Cellular One, Central Louisiana Cellular, LLC d/b/a Cellular One, Union Telephone Company d/b/a Union Wireless, N.E. Colorado Cellular, Inc., d/b/a Viaero Wireless, Pine Cellular Phones, Inc., Carolina West Wireless, Inc. and East Kentucky Network, LLC d/b/a Appalachian Wireless filed a Petition for Rulemaking with the FCC to modify the drive testing requirements for Mobility Fund Phase I participants. Petitioners seek modification of the FCC's Mobility Fund Phase I drive testing rules in order to allow support to be provided in areas where a carrier can demonstrate coverage, but it is extremely difficult and costly, or simply not possible, to conduct a drive test.

       

      LNGS contacts: David LaFuria and Marc Paul


      October 21, 2013

      Brooks Harlow Presents at the 2013 ATM, Debit & PrePaid Forum

      On October 23, 2013, LNGS Principal Brooks E. Harlow will present “Mobile Wallet Legal Issues from A to Z” at the 2013 ATM, Debit & PrePaid Forum at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. As the mobile wallet evolves, so do the legal issues relating to the development, implementation and operation of mobile wallets and other mobile payments platforms. The presentation will help business new to mobile payments spot potential legal issues and pitfalls. It will particularly help emerging businesses adopt corporate forms and contractual relationships that minimize legal and regulatory exposures and compliance costs. Harlow wraps up the “Track Mobile” track, which is sponsored by PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

       

      View the AGENDA for the Forum here: http://www.paymentssource.com/conferences/1_18/

       

      LNGS contact: Brooks Harlow


      September 27, 2013

      FCC GRANTS SMITH BAGLEY PETITION TO ADD MORE ELIGIBLE AREAS TO THE TRIBAL MOBILTY FUND AUCTION

      In response to a Petition filed by LNGS for Smith Bagley, Inc. (SBI), the FCC has added 40 additional census blocks in northwestern New Mexico to the list of eligible areas for the upcoming Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I auction. 

       

       A copy of the FCC's decision can be found here.

       

       LNGS contact:  David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com)


      September 26, 2013

      Smith Bagley Granted Expanded Conditional Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier in New Mexico

      On September 18, 2013, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (“NM PRC”) designated LNGS client Smith Bagley as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (“ETC”) for the limited purpose of participating in the FCC’s Tribal Mobility Fund (Auction 902) which will provide one-time support to deploy mobile voice and broadband services to unserved Tribal lands. This is the fourth designation of Smith Bagley as a limited or conditional ETC in New Mexico, each obtained with the help of LNGS. This designation of Smith Bagley recognizes the importance of bringing better telecommunications services to unserved and underserved Tribal lands in New Mexico.

       

      Link to Smith Bagley's Designation Order.

       

      LNGS contact: David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com)

       


      September 23, 2013

      U.S. CELLULAR ASKS FCC TO AWARD RETURNED AUCTION 901 FUNDS TO NEXT-IN-LINE BIDDERS

      Approximately $66 million of $300 million made available for funding mobile broadband investments in unserved areas as part of the Mobility Fund Phase I Auction (Auction 901) remains unclaimed due to winning bidders defaulting on their bids.  On behalf of U.S. Cellular, LNGS is seeking that these returned funds are awarded to the Auction 901 next-in-line bidders. 

       

      A copy of recent ex parte notices related to this effort can be found here and here.

       

      LNGS contacts: David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com) and Bob Koppel (rkoppel@fcclaw.com)


      September 18, 2013

      Health Information Exchange of Montana Comments on E-Rate Reform

      LNGS filed comments on behalf of the Health Information Exchange of Montana, a consortium of health care providers participating in the Rural Health Care (“RHC”) program, in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s NPRM on modernizing the E-rate universal service program dedicated to schools and libraries. The RHC program is the sister universal service program to E-rate.

       

      HIEM asked the Commission to empower schools to determine the most cost effective way to utilize those facilities. Increased competition will ensure the most cost effective use of limited E-rate funding. In these respects, E-rate should follow the RHC program and allow E-rate beneficiaries to own network facilities when doing so proves more cost effective than available alternatives. In addition, RHC networks should be permitted to make broadband facilities available to either E-rate funded beneficiaries or to service providers seeking to serve E-rate beneficiaries. These policies will further the Commission’s goals for the E-rate modernization effort by (1) stimulating the deployment of high-speed broadband, (2) increasing competition to promote cost-effective utilization of limited facilities with limited funding, and (3) decreasing administrative burdens for applicants by making long-term investments that reduce dependence on recurring support.

       

      Read HIEM's Comments on E-Rate Reform.

       

      LNGS contact: Jeff Mitchell (jmitchell@fcclaw.com) or David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com)


      September 16, 2013

      U.S. CELLULAR FILES COMMENTS ON E-RATE NPRM

      LNGS filed comments on behalf of U.S. Cellular in the FCC's E-Rate Modernization NPRM.  While generally supportive of the E-Rate program, U.S. Cellular's comments expressed concern regarding proposals under consideration by the FCC that would phase out existing E-rate support for voice communications services and limit E-rate funding to services that are directly available, at least in part, to students and library patrons.  In its comments, U.S. Cellular points out that such proposals would be harmful since cellular service plays an important role in the efficient and safe operation of schools and libraries.  

       

      A copy of U.S. Cellular's comments can be found here.

       

      LNGS contacts: David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com) and John Cimko (jcimko@fcclaw.com)


      September 12, 2013

      SMITH BAGLEY FILES APPLICATION TO EXPAND SERVICES IN TRIBAL LANDS

      LNGS filed an application with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (“NM PRC”) for Smith Bagley, Inc. (SBI) for the limited purpose of participating in the FCC’s Tribal Mobility Fund (AUCTION 902) which will provide one-time support to deploy mobile voice and broadband services to unserved Tribal lands.  

       

       A copy of SBI's application can be found here.

       

       LNGS contact: David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com)


      September 11, 2013

      FCC Announces OMB Approval of Healthcare Connect Fund Program Forms

      The FCC yesterday announced that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved use of the new Healthcare Connect Program forms: Form 460 (HCP Eligibility and Registration), Form 461 (Request for Services), Form 462 (Funding Request), and Form 463 (Invoicing). The approval is for a three-year period and represents a significant milestone for implementation of the new program. The paper versions of the final forms should be available very soon on the USAC HCF forms website (http://www.usac.org/rhc/healthcare-connect/tools/forms/default.aspx). Although USAC is moving rapidly to an all-electronic forms submission process, the hard-copy forms and instructions contain important information that all program participants should be familiar with.

       

      Approval of the new forms is very timely given that the USAC training event for the Health Care Connect Fund is less than two weeks away: Monday September 23, and Tuesday September 24 (http://www.usac.org/rhc/healthcare-connect/outreach/default.aspx).

       

      For those of you traveling to D.C. for the trainings, please join us and the Schools Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB) on Monday from 6:00 to 7:30 pm for a drink and some hors d'oeuvres at the Churchill Hotel (just north of Dupont Circle, across from the Wash. Hilton, and one block from the USAC training). We will also be inviting FCC and USAC staff involved with the Rural Health Care program. If you plan to attend the event, please RSVP Emily Olson at eolson@shlb.org.

       

      LNGS contact: Jeff Mitchell (jmitchell@fcclaw.com)


      September 6, 2013

      SMITH BAGLEY CHALLENGES FCC DECISION TO EXCLUDE CERTAIN AREAS FROM THE TRIBAL MOBILITY FUND

      LNGS filed a Petition for Smith Bagley, Inc. (SBI) seeking reconsideration of a recent FCC decision to exclude certain census blocks in the northwestern region of New Mexico from the list of potentially eligible blocks for the upcoming Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I auction.  SBI's Petition argues that the FCC's decision was in error since SBI provided sufficient information to the FCC to demonstrate that the census blocks at issue should be eligible for bidding in the upcoming auction. 

       

      A copy of SBI's Petition can be found here.

       

      LNGS contact: David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com)


      August 27, 2013

      FCC Seeks Comment on Bill Cramming

      Today, the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau released a Public Notice Seeking Comments to Refresh the Record Regarding “Cramming”.

       

      Due to recent developments in the “cramming” docket such as the voluntary commitments by major wireline carriers to cease including most third-party charges on telephone bills and workshops held by the FCC and FTC in April and May, the FCC is seeking comments in order to refresh the record.

       

      The FCC seeks comment on the current extent of cramming for consumers of wireline and CMRS services; whether or not there is a need for an opt-in requirement; the mechanics of an opt-in process for wireline and/or CMRS services; details on how wireline carriers have implemented certain voluntary commitments; the efficacy of CMRS industry efforts to combat cramming; and the extent to which wireline cramming remains a problem for subscribers of carriers that have not voluntarily ceased including most third-party charges on their bills. The FCC also seeks comment on whether different measures to combat cramming are appropriate for small and rural wireline carriers.

       

      The deadlines for comments and reply comments are still to be determined. If you have any questions regarding the FCC’s Public Notice or want to file comments in the proceeding, please contact LNGS.

       

      LNGS contact:  Todd B. Lantor (tlantor@fcclaw.com)


      August 19, 2013

      LNGS Client Texas 10, LLC Authorized to Receive First Installment in Phase I Mobility Fund Support

      LNGS client Texas 10, LLC was authorized by the FCC to receive their first installment of PHASE I MOBILITY FUND SUPPORT to construct new networks in Texas. Texas 10 was authorized to receive nearly $2 million in support by the FCC. In October 2012, the FCC auctioned off $300 million in one-time Mobility Fund (Phase I) support to carriers that agreed to provide 3G or LTE service to areas that do not currently have mobile voice and broadband coverage. With the help of LNGS, Texas 10 submitted winning bids for nearly $6 million of the available Mobility Fund Phase I support. [PUBLIC NOTICE and AWARDS]. On August 16, 2013, the FCC authorized the INITIAL DISTRIBUTION OF PHASE I SUPPORT TO TEXAS 10.

       

      LNGS contacts: David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com), Todd Slamowitz (tslamowitz@fcclaw.com) and Marc Paul (mpaul@fcclaw.com)


      August 9, 2013

      LNGS Client Central Louisiana Cellular Authorized to Receive First Installment in Phase I Mobility Fund Support

      LNGS client Central Louisiana Cellular, LLC was authorized by the FCC to receive their first installment of PHASE I MOBILITY FUND SUPPORT to construct new networks in Louisiana. Central Louisiana Cellular was authorized to receive over $1 million in support by the FCC. In October 2012, the FCC auctioned off $300 million in one-time Mobility Fund (Phase I) support to carriers that agreed to provide 3G or LTE service to areas that do not currently have mobile voice and broadband coverage. With the help of LNGS, Central Louisiana submitted winning bids for over $3 million of the available Mobility Fund Phase I support. [PUBLIC NOTICE and AWARDS]. On August 8, 2013, the FCC authorized the INITIAL DISTRIBUTION OF PHASE I SUPPORT TO CENTRAL LOUISIANA CELLULAR.

       

      LNGS contacts: David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com), Todd Slamowitz (tslamowitz@fcclaw.com) and Marc Paul (mpaul@fcclaw.com)


      August 2, 2013

      New Voluntary Guidelines For Mobile Applications

      Late last month two trade organizations issued “guidance” and a “code” of conduct for mobile applications. On July 24th, the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) issued its 2013 Mobile Application Code, addressing data collection, cross-app advertising and ad delivery and reporting. On July 25th, the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) issued guidance on giving consumers the ability to “see and exercise control over the use of cross-app, personal directory, and precise location data in mobile apps.” Both the Code and the guidelines are voluntary. Many people are surprised to learn how little government regulation there is in these areas in the U.S.

       

      Apart from the business reasons, there are good legal reasons for application providers to pay attention to what is often broadly referred to as “privacy and data security,” particularly if they are handling money or financial data. Costly or high profile privacy or security breaches attract the attention of government regulators and class action plaintiffs’ lawyers who may try to shoehorn perceived bad acts or omissions in cyberspace into traditional regulations and tort theories. An investigation or lawsuit can be costly and damage a reputation irreparably, even if the defense prevails. Agreement and adherence to a recognized standard, even a voluntary one, may provide a defense. But the key qualifier is “adherence.” For most companies that have faced liability for data and privacy breaches it was because the company adopted or published a standard and then failed to meet it. Whether you opt-in to NAI, DAA, another standard, or draft your own policies, it is essential that you adhere to them. A standard that is ignored could lead to greater liability than no standard at all.

       

      Finally, extensive and complex rules—not addressed here—apply to activities of common carriers regulated by the FCC and their agents and affiliates. We can advise you on FCC regulations if you fall under them.

       

      The NAI Mobile Application Code can be reviewed here: [PDF]
      The DAA Mobile Guidance can be reviewed here: [PDF]

       

      LNGS contact: Brooks Harlow (bharlow@fcclaw.com)


      July 30, 2013

      LNGS Clients Viaero, Pine Cellular, and Union Telephone Authorized to Receive First Installment in Phase I Mobility Fund Support

      LNGS clients Viaero, Pine Cellular, and Union Telephone were authorized by the FCC to receive their first installment of Phase I Mobility Fund Support to construct new networks in Colorado and Nebraska; Oklahoma; and Wyoming, respectively. Viaero was authorized to receive over $7.1 million in support by the FCC; Pine Cellular was authorized to receive almost $1.7 million; and Union Telephone was authorized to receive over $7.6 million. In October 2012, the FCC auctioned off $300 million in one-time Mobility Fund (Phase I) support to carriers that agreed to provide 3G or LTE service to areas that do not currently have mobile voice and broadband coverage. LNGS clients Viaero, Pine Cellular, and Union Telephone collectively submitted winning bids for close to $50 million of the $300 million in available Mobility Fund Phase I support. [PUBLIC NOTICE and AWARDS]. On July 29, 2013, the FCC authorized the initial distribution of Phase I support to Viaero, Pine Cellular, and Union Telephone.

       

      LNGS contacts: David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com), Todd Slamowitz (tslamowitz@fcclaw.com) and Marc Paul (mpaul@fcclaw.com)


      July 29, 2013

      160 Million Credit Cards Stolen: Lessons For Mobile Payments

      Last Thursday, the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey announced indictments in Newark against a gang of Russian and Ukrainian Hackers. The hackers allegedly obtained 160 million credit card numbers from retailers such as J.C. Penney, 7-Eleven, and JetBlue and even a large credit and debit processing company, Heartland Payment Systems. The ring followed a modern version of the lesson taught by famed bank robber Willie Sutton, to “go where the money is.” As money moves from paper, to plastic, to digital transmissions from our smart phones, the crooks are sure to follow. So what is the lesson for companies in the mobile payments space? Obviously, the main business consideration is to make security of your systems paramount. But your business may just be one link in a long line of vendors and service providers. You can’t directly control the security precautions upstream or downstream. Accordingly, when you enter into contracts it is essential that you do your “due diligence” and pay particular attention to fraud and security issues in negotiating the contract. Your goal should be to disclaim as much liability as you can for your own breaches and get as much indemnification as you can for the breaches of others. That’s easier said than done, but we can help guide you through this and other legal issues in mobile payments.

       

      LNGS contact: Brooks Harlow (bharlow@fcclaw.com)


      July 26, 2013

      LNGS Attorneys Help Obtain Lifeline ETC Designation Order in Hawaii for Budget PrePay, Inc.

      On July 26, 2013, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission designated LNGS client, Budget PrePay, Inc., as a Lifeline-only Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) throughout the State of Hawaii. This ETC designation will enable Budget PrePay to obtain Lifeline support from the federal Universal Service Fund for eligible low-income customers in Hawaii.

      With the assistance of LNGS, Budget PrePay has already been designated an ETC for its wireless operations in 33 states and Puerto Rico.

      LNGS attorneys are helping Budget PrePay obtain additional ETC designations in more states, including California, New Jersey and Oregon.

       

      LNGS contact: Todd Lantor (tlantor@fcclaw.com)
      Press Release - LNGS Attorneys Help Obtain Lifeline ETC Designation Order in Hawaii for Budget PrePay


      July 25, 2013

      EU Proposes Debit and Credit Interchange Fee Caps

      On July 24th, the European Commission proposed to cap interchange fees charged by banks to merchants at 0.2% for debit cards and 0.3% for credit cards based on the value of the transaction. For a $100 (about €75.26) transaction, the fee would be capped at 20¢, very close to the cap that the U.S. Federal Reserve has set on debit transactions under the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act. Companies trying to gain traction in mobile payments both here and abroad may find it ironic that just when a new platform is emerging that could challenge the big card brands and big banks, government intervention may substantially reduce what could have been a major economic driver toward both platform development and merchant acceptance of mobile payments. The EU estimates that the caps would save retailers €6 billion ($7.93 billion) and that all of the savings would eventually be passed on to consumers. But if the reduced prices for use of “plastic” retard the expansion of new and potentially more efficient technology for processing payments by a few years, the reforms might actually cost retailers and consumers in the long run.

       

      LNGS contact: Brooks Harlow (bharlow@fcclaw.com)


      July 18, 2013

      LNGS Clients Carolina West and East Kentucky Authorized to Receive First Installment in Phase I Mobility Fund Support

      LNGS clients Carolina West and East Kentucky were authorized by the FCC to receive their first installment of Phase I Mobility Fund Support  to construct new networks in North Carolina and Kentucky, respectively. Carolina West was authorized to receive close to $7 million in support by the FCC and East Kentucky was authorized to receive almost $1.5 million. In October 2012, the FCC auctioned off $300 million in one-time Mobility Fund (Phase I) support to carriers that agreed to provide 3G or LTE service to areas that do not currently have mobile voice and broadband coverage. LNGS clients Carolina West and East Kentucky collectively submitted winning bids for over $25 million of the $300 million in available Mobility Fund Phase I support. [PUBLIC NOTICE and AWARDS]. On July 18, 2013, the FCC authorized the initial distribution of Phase I support to Carolina West and East Kentucky [PUBLIC NOTICE].

       

      LNGS contacts: David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com), Todd Slamowitz (tslamowitz@fcclaw.com) and Marc Paul (mpaul@fcclaw.com)


      July 9, 2013

      LNGS Client U.S. Cellular Authorized to Receive First Installment in Phase I Mobility Fund Support

      LNGS Client U.S. Cellular (and its affiliates) was authorized by the FCC to receive its first installment of $13 million in Phase I Mobility Fund Support [link] to construct new networks in West Virginia, Illinois, Maine, Iowa, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. In October 2012, the FCC auctioned off $300 million in one-time Mobility Fund (Phase I) support to carriers that agreed to provide 3G or LTE service to areas that do not currently have mobile voice and broadband coverage. LNGS client U.S. Cellular submitted winning bids for over $40 million of the $300 million in available Mobility Fund Phase I support. [Public Notice and Awards] At the end of June, the FCC began to authorize the initial distribution of Phase I support for auction winners [Public Notice].

       

      LNGS contacts: David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com), Todd Slamowitz (tslamowitz@fcclaw.com) and Marc Paul (mpaul@fcclaw.com)


      July 9, 2013

      LNGS Files U.S. Cellular’s Comments on OMB June 6 PRA Notice re Form 481

      As the Commission rushes forward with efforts to secure Office of Management and Budget approval of a wide range of burdensome and costly information collection requirements applicable to eligible telecommunications carriers receiving universal service support, in Comments filed by LNGS, U.S. Cellular urges OMB to subject the Commission’s submission to careful scrutiny. In particular, OMB must be cognizant of the fact that the Commission has failed to address or resolve several issues raised by interested parties concerning information collection requirements that are reflected in the proposed FCC Form 481, that extend beyond the scope of the Commission’s orders and rules transforming its universal service support mechanisms, and do not comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

       

      LNGS contacts: David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com), Steven Chernoff (schernoff@fcclaw.com) and John Cimko (jcimko@fcclaw.com)


      July 2, 2013

      FCC Declaratory Ruling on CPNI May Impact Certain Mobile Payment Applications

      A declaratory ruling the FCC announced last week clarifying its customer proprietary network information (CPNI) policies could impact the practices of some carriers and/or their “designees” operating or controlling mobile payments platforms that use CPNI. The FCC ruling [PDF] affects the practice of mobile carriers who use customers’ devices to collect information about customers’ use of the network, including through the use of preinstalled apps. Some carriers involved in mobile payments may not have previously considered information gathered by applications—as opposed to the network itself—to be covered by FCC rules. This ruling may merit a review of information gathering and usage practices by carriers involved in the mobile payments process, whether directly or indirectly with third parties which might qualify as “designees.” Please let us know if you have questions or may need assistance with these issues.

       

      LNGS contact: Brooks Harlow (bharlow@fcclaw.com)


      June 27, 2013

      Jeff Mitchell Presents at ATA Federal Telemedicine Policy Summit

      On June 27, 2013, LNGS attorney Jeff Mitchell co-presented with Trent Harkrader, Associate Bureau Chief of the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau, at the ATA Federal Telemedicine Policy Summit in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Harkrader discussed the FCC’s launch of the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCCF) to expand access by health care providers to robust broadband networks. Building on lessons learned from 50 Pilot projects testing how to most effectively use broadband to improve the quality and reduce costs of health care in rural areas, the HCCF reforms modernize the FCC’s existing universal service Rural Health Care Program to expand the benefits of telemedicine nationwide.

       

      View the AGENDA for the panel and the Summit Overview for the ATA Federal Telemedicine Policy Summit.

       

      LNGS contact: Jeff Mitchell (jmitchell@fcclaw.com)


      June 27, 2013

      FCC Releases H Block Order

      The FCC has adopted rules to implement the requirement in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 to grant new licenses for the 1915-1920 MHz and the 1995-2000 MHz bands, referred to as the H Block. The service, licensing and technical rules adopted make available spectrum for flexible use and extend the widely deployed broadband PCS band.

       

      LNGS contacts: Todd Slamowitz (tslamowitz@fcclaw.com) and Marc Paul (mpaul@fcclaw.com).


      June 25, 2013

      LNGS Attorneys Meet with FCC re Mobility Fund Phase II

      On June 24, 2013, LNGS partner David LaFuria and attorney Marc Paul, along with Eric Woody of Union Wireless; Jonathan Foxman and Julia Tanner of MTPCS, LLC d/b/a Cellular One; and Slayton Stewart of Carolina West Wireless, Inc., met with Priscilla Delgado Argeris in the Office of Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to discuss issues related to the design and implementation of Mobility Fund Phase II.

       

      To view the notice of ex parte and the slides presented at the meeting, click [HERE].

       

      LNGS contacts: David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com) and Marc Paul (mpaul@fcclaw.com)


      June 24, 2013

      FCC Begins to Authorize Mobility Fund Support For LNGS Clients

      In October 2012, the FCC auctioned off $300 million in one-time Mobility Fund (Phase I) [link] support to carriers that agreed to provide 3G or LTE service to areas that do not currently have mobile voice and broadband coverage. LNGS clients submitted winning bids for over $125 million of the $300 million in available Mobility Fund Phase I support [Public Notice and Awards]. At the end of June, the FCC began the process of authorizing the initial distribution of Phase I support for auction winners.

       

      LNGS contacts: David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com), Todd Slamowitz (tslamowitz@fcclaw.com) and Marc Paul (mpaul@fcclaw.com)


      June 17, 2013

      FCC Should Reject TracFone’s Lifeline Petition

      On June 17, 2013, LNGS partner David LaFuria and attorney Steven Chernoff, on behalf of Smith Bagley, Inc., filed Comments [PDF] setting forth why the FCC should reject TracFone’s proposal to prohibit in-person distribution of handsets to prospective Lifeline customers.

      TracFone’s proposal would prohibit the very types of consumer outreach activities that have helped bring critical telecommunications service to unserved and underserved populations on Tribal lands.

       

      LNGS contacts: David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com) and Steven Chernoff (schernoff@fcclaw.com)


      June 14, 2013

      David LaFuria and Client C Spire Meet with FCC Commissioners’ Offices re Mobility Fund Phase II

      On June 12, LNGS partner David LaFuria and Ben Moncrief of C Spire Wireless met with Priscilla Argeris in Commissioner Rosenworcel’s office, Nicholas Degani in Commissioner Pai’s office, and Rebekah Goodheart in Commissioner Clyburn’s office. C Spire advocated targeting the upcoming Phase II Mobility Fund auction funding to those areas that lack 4G service.

       

      LNGS contact: David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com)


      May 31, 2013

      “Bounce-Back” Text Messages Required Where Text-to-911 is Unavailable

      The FCC has adopted rules requiring wireless carriers to send an automatic “bounce-back” text message to consumers who try to text 911 where text-to-911 service is not available. The FCC has established an implementation deadline of September 30, 2013 for this requirement. A copy of the FCC's full decision can be found here. The FCC’s bounce-back requirement is intended to protect the public by substantially reducing the risk of consumers sending a text message to 911 and mistakenly believing that 911 authorities have received it.

       

      LNGS contact: Marc Paul (mpaul@fcclaw.com)


      May 29, 2013

      FCC Seeks to Supplement the Record on 600 MHz Band Plan for Incentive Auctions

      The FCC recently announced that it is seeking additional public comment on the proposed 600 MHz wireless band plan that will consist of the spectrum made available through the FCC's forthcoming broadcast television incentive auctions. As reflected in the comments filed to date, certain parties support a "Down From 51" band plan proposal in which the uplink band would begin at channel 51 (698 MHz), followed by a duplex gap, and then the downlink band. Some have expressed concern that the Down From 51 proposal provides limited options for how to offer less spectrum in constrained markets, or additional spectrum in individual markets that are less spectrum constrained. Accordingly, the FCC is seeking further comment on how different variations on the Down From 51 band plan may be able to best address market variation.

       

      Comments are due on June 14, 2013 and Reply Comments are due on June 28, 2013.

       

      LNGS contacts: David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com) and Marc Paul (mpaul@fcclaw.com).


      May 2, 2013

      Jeff Mitchell Moderates Workshop at 2013 Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition Conference

      On May 2, 2013, LNGS attorney Jeff Mitchell moderated a workshop at the SHLB conference “Getting to Gigabit: The Future of Broadband for Anchor Institutions and their Communities”.

       

      The workshop, Applying for FCC Healthcare Connect Funding: Forming a Consortium, discussed the FCC’s new Healthcare Connect Fund and how it offers important new opportunities for health care providers to obtain better broadband service at lower cost. The new funding mechanism provides significant benefits only to those health care providers that apply together as a consortium.

       

      LNGS contact: Jeff Mitchell (jmitchell@fcclaw.com)


      April 17, 2013

      LNGS Files Joint Comments Urging FCC to Scale Back Mandatory Data Collection Requirements for Small Purchasers of Special Access Facilities

      On April 15, LNGS filed Joint Comments on behalf of five clients urging the FCC to exempt any carrier that purchases less than $5 million annually in special access facilities from the onerous new data collection requirements. Alternatively, the Joint Comments urge the FCC to significantly scale back the vast scope of the data collection requirements. The FCC recently adopted these mandatory data reporting requirements, which apply to all carriers – regardless of their size -- that provide or purchase special access facilities. The Joint Comments note that the mandatory data collection requirements impose an enormous burden and substantial cost on small carriers that is utterly disproportionate to any possible public benefit.

       

      LNGS contacts: David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com), David Nace (dnace@fcclaw.com), Todd Lantor (tlantor@fcclaw.com) and Bob Koppel (bkoppel@fcclaw.com)

       

       


      April 4, 2013

      LNGS Attorneys Play Leading Role at Seattle Telecommunications Conference

      LNGS founding partner Russell Lukas and LNGS principal Brooks Harlow are playing leading roles at this year's Law Seminars International 18th Annual Comprehensive Conference on Telecommunications Law taking place April 4th and 5th in Seattle, Washington. This annual conference has become one of the leading gatherings on telecommunications law and developments in the country. The conference assembles a distinguished faculty that includes nationally recognized practitioners, federal and state regulators and representatives from affected industries.

       

      LNGS principal Brooks Harlow is a Program Co-Chair of the Conference. LNGS founding partner Russell Lukas is participating on a panel focused on significant court cases affecting the telecommunications industry, including the high-profile 10th Circuit court appeal related to the FCC's order on inter-carrier compensation and Universal Service reform. With its representation of numerous plaintiffs, LNGS has played an active and leading role in shaping strategy for the 10th Circuit case.

       

      To view Russell Lukas's presentation please click here.

      Russ Lukas


      March 22, 2013

      FCC Chairman Announces He Will Step Down

      Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced today that he will be stepping down in the “coming weeks.” Chairman Genachowski has led the FCC since 2009. A new FCC Chairman has not yet been announced.

       

      For additional information, click here to read the [FCC’s Press Release] or contact Lukas, Nace, Gutierrez & Sachs, LLP to discuss the impact of the changing leadership at the FCC.


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