The Telecommunications practice group has quickly become one of the largest telecommunications practices in the United States. The group has unmatched breadth and depth, and has generated valuable synergies, in its legal, transactional and technical expertise, and in knowledge of industry players in both the domestic and international markets.
Regulatory, Compliance and Litigation
State and Federal Regulatory Proceedings
- We actively practice before the Federal Communications Commission, Congress, the Department of Justice and state public utility commissions in proceedings that shape the rules under which our telecommunications carrier clients and their competitors operate. In these proceedings, we focus on both competitive public policy and operational issues.
- We routinely assist our clients in obtaining requisite state and federal authorizations to provide domestic and international wireline, wireless and resale-based telecommunications services. We have completed numerous 50-state certification projects, and have on file a variety of template tariffs for use by new entrants.
- In addition, we advise numerous United States and foreign companies in obtaining federal common carrier service authorizations, as well as in complying with complex foreign affiliation and international settlements rules. We also advise undersea cable system operators on cable landing licenses and satellite system operators on FCC licenses, spectrum allocations and applicable international regulations.
- We also represent satellite companies in spectrum allocation and assignment proceedings as well as international licensing and other policy arenas. In particular, our attorneys represent clients in the Little LEO, Big LEO and Direct Broadcast Satellite services. Additionally, we advise international and domestic undersea cable system operators on federal and state telecommunications regulatory issues as well as environmental permitting.
Arbitrations and Complaint Proceedings
- We represent numerous clients in interconnection arbitrations before state regulatory commissions across the country. In these formal regulatory proceedings, state commissions determine the rates, terms and conditions under which competitive carriers interconnect their networks with Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC) networks. On behalf of our clients, we also prosecute interconnection and Telecom Act related complaints against ILECs before state regulatory commissions and the FCC.
Enforcement and Compliance Proceedings
- The FCC, state public service commissions, the Federal Trade Commission and State Attorneys General are increasingly active in challenging telecom carrier advertising and marketing practices. We advise clients in dealing with these government offices and, where necessary, provide legal representation or litigation services.
Court Proceedings and Appellate Litigation
- We routinely represent our clients in federal and state court proceedings throughout the United States in class actions and other disputes involving carrier-to-carrier contracts, and billing issues such as "cramming" and "slamming." We also represent Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs), Interexchange Carriers (IXCs) and their trade associations in appeals of state arbitration decisions in federal district courts, and in appeals of FCC and state commission decisions before the U.S. Courts of Appeals.
- We represent numerous telecommunications companies and IXCs and their trade associations in appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals, where we have succeeded in reversals of the FCC twice in recent times, and in appeals of state arbitration decisions in federal district courts.
- We negotiate and draft contracts for a wide variety of ventures on behalf of CLECs, IXCs, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), wireless carriers, equipment manufacturers, and shared tenant service providers. We negotiate interconnection agreements with all Tier 1 ILECs (the Regional Bell Operating Companies, Rochester Tel., GTE, Southern New England Telephone, Cincinnati Bell) and Sprint on behalf of numerous clients. We also advise clients on strategic partnering, joint service provisioning, and purchases of services and network capacity.
- We offer a wide range of CLECs, IXCs, ISPs, wireless carriers, and international carriers assistance in the formulation, revision and implementation of business plans to ensure that they adequately consider the prevailing and developing competitive, legal and regulatory climate, and so that they can seek to utilize these conditions to their best advantage, while accounting appropriately for areas of risk. We regularly advise carriers on issues such as FCC and/or foreign licensing and other policies, including access charges, "universal service" contributions, interconnection and tariffing.
Internet and Emerging Growth Companies
- We represent ISPs, ASPs, content providers, telecom companies and others on the full range of Internet and e-commerce issues, including privacy and data protection, encryption exports and security, intellectual property and fair trade, commercial agreements, electronic transactions and content rules. We also work closely with other attorneys in our venture capital and finance, securities, corporate and litigation groups to provide full service to our Internet clients.
Kelley Drye maintains one of the largest international telecom practices, with full support for international transactions, acquisition of satellite and undersea cable capacity, settlements negotiations, and strategic partnering. We advise numerous foreign-owned companies on U.S. entry and foreign affiliation rules, and also advise U.S. carriers, undersea cable operators, satellite companies, equipment manufacturers, media companies and ISPs on licensing and evolving regulatory requirements in Latin America, Europe and Asia. The Telecommunications Practice Group has been involved in transactions, financings, disputes and regulatory matters in virtually every country in the world.
Corporate and Financial Transactions
We provide combined corporate, finance, securities, tax, environmental, international trade and regulatory services for clients involved in complex domestic or international transactions, such as undersea fiber optic cables and equipment project finance. We also assist many early stage companies in obtaining financing, including initial public offerings for those ready to access the public markets.