John Heitmann, chair of the Communications practice, counsels wireless, wireline and cable broadband and telephony service providers, and other entities, large and small, international and domestic, on policy, compliance and strategic initiatives involving the communications regulatory landscape on both the federal and state levels. With more than 20 years of experience, Mr. Heitmann advises clients on regulatory policy and compliance with the Communications Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, and the numerous other federal and state laws governing telecommunications, privacy and information security.
Mr. Heitmann defends communications companies in enforcement matters before the Federal Communications Commission and other federal and state regulatory agencies, and in investigations by the Office of Inspector General and State Attorneys General. He also represents clients in various dispute resolution proceedings, including before the FCC, state public utility commissions and in arbitration, as well as in appeals before federal and state courts.
The federal Universal Service Fund, (USF) and the Lifeline program in particular, is another key focus area for Mr. Heitmann. He advises eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) on all facets of the federal Lifeline program, including policy, ETC/Lifeline Broadband Provider designation, compliance, audits, enforcement and investigations. He also advises clients on issues related to the Connect America Fund and Schools and Libraries/E-Rate program.
A Certified Information Privacy Professional through the International Association of Privacy Professionals, Mr. Heitmann advises telecommunications sector clients on privacy and security issues, while working with them to develop comprehensive privacy programs, privacy statements and other privacy-related policies and processes. He counsels on compliance, product development and mobile marketing against the backdrop of myriad federal and state laws and regulations, including the FCC’s privacy rules, FTC actions, case law and guidance, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the CAN-SPAM Act, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and evolving state data protection and data breach laws and regulations.
Mr. Heitmann also represents international service providers in entry regulation and compliance matters involving the FCC, Team Telecom, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and state regulatory agencies. His experience includes work with National Security Agreements, Letters of Assurance and the defense of related site visits.
Mr. Heitmann pairs his depth of knowledge in the highly regulated communications industry with excellent transactional experience, helping clients pursuing corporate transactions―mergers and acquisitions, financings, asset transfers, and the sale and procurement of telecommunications, broadband capacity, interconnection, collocation and fiber facilities―comply with regulatory requirements, minimize regulatory approvals and obligations, and address a comprehensive range of impediments to the clients’ goals and needs.
Represented an industry association in the FCC’s Broadband Privacy rulemaking.
Represented a coalition of service providers in the Lifeline Modernization rulemaking, including stakeholder engagement with other industry members, Civil Society and Congress.
Defended multiple clients in FCC and state regulatory agency enforcement actions related to the USF Lifeline program.
Defended and advised multiple clients in the Office of Inspector General, Department of Justice and State Attorneys General investigations related to the USF Lifeline program.
Defended multiple clients in FCC enforcement actions related to privacy and the TCPA.
Defended multiple clients in FCC enforcement actions related to the FCC’s Hearing Aid Compatibility regulations.
Defended multiple clients in USF contributor audits.
Represented multiple clients in USF beneficiary audits and related appeals before the FCC and the Universal Service Administrative Company.
Obtained compliance plan approvals and ETC designations for numerous Lifeline service providers.
Secured regulatory approvals for multiple transactions involving foreign ownership, National Security Agreements, and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) review.
Defended Team Telecom site visits probing compliance with National Security Agreements.
Counseled mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) and IP-enabled service providers on business start-up strategy, regulatory compliance and product design.
Developed comprehensive privacy programs, privacy statements and other privacy-related policies for consumer-facing wireless and wireline service providers.
Developed Open Internet statements, terms and conditions, and permissible use policies for wireless and broadband service providers.
Represented MSOs and CLECs in the negotiation and arbitration of interconnection agreements with dozens of incumbent landline providers, including rural providers.
Represented wireless, wireline and cable broadband providers in interconnection and other intercarrier agreement implementation and dispute resolution matters, including representation in FCC and state dispute resolution and enforcement actions.
Represented multiple wireline service providers in litigation and appeals before the U.S. Courts of Appeal, federal district courts and multiple state PUCs.
Represented multiple clients on a wide range of financing, merger and asset transfer transactions, including the negotiation of related service arrangements, as well as the filing of applications and securing approvals from the FCC and state regulatory agencies.
Represented numerous wireline, wireless and VoIP service providers in market entry, registration and certification matters before state regulatory commissions.
Represented wireless service providers, landline providers, industry associations and others in rulemaking and other proceedings before the FCC and state regulatory agencies.
Counseled multiple clients on compliance, business strategy, litigation risk, policy development, training and product development with respect to telecom-regulatory and privacy/data security contractual requirements.
Negotiated and drafted telecommunications-related contracts for clients, including mutual traffic exchange agreements with wireless providers, commercial agreements, pole attachment agreements, indefeasible rights of use and backhaul/facility/capacity agreements.
Memberships & Associations
American Bar Association, Antitrust Section
Federal Communications Bar Association, Privacy and Data Security Committee, co-chair
IAPP, Certified Information Privacy Professional
Honors & Awards
Selected as one of The Best Lawyers in America© in the Communications Law area, 2016-2017.
Recognized as a leading attorney in Communications / Media and Advertising / Technology Transactions and Consumer Law practice areas by Washington D.C. Super Lawyers, 2016.
Ranked by Chambers USA as a leading practitioner in the Telecom, Broadcast & Satellite area, 2012-2016, and in the Privacy & Data Security area, 2013-2014.
Recommended in US Legal 500 for his work in the areas of Telecoms & Broadcast – Regulatory, 2011-2016 and Data Protection & Privacy, 2011-2013, 2015-2016.
Recognized as a Trailblazer in Regulatory & Compliance by National Law Journal, 2015
Ranked as a leading practitioner in the Privacy & Data Security area by Chambers Global, 2014-2015.
Selected as a Leading Attorney by the International Who's Who of Telecom and Media Lawyers, 2014.
Selected as a 2011 Client Service All-Star by BTI Consulting.