July 30, 2015
Partner Steven A. Augustino was quoted in the Law360 article “AT&T $100M Fine Challenge Stresses FCC Enforcement Issues.” The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently proposed a $100 million fine of AT&T through a notice of apparent liability (NAL) that accused the company of violating the 2010 Open Internet Order's transparency rule by failing to adequately inform customers about its data speed-reduction policy. AT&T lambasted the FCC's NAL, calling it "unprecedented and indefensible." In reference to the possibility of AT&T taking the action to court, Mr. Augustino notes that, “If AT&T were to go this route, it really would be unprecedented. It would be the first time we would get a court opinion on things like how the statute of limitations works, how you count violations, things like that.” Mr. Augustino also commented on AT&T’s claim that the FCC did not provide fair notice of the prohibited conduct prior to the enforcement action. "The courts have been clear that the regulated entity has to have a reasonable idea of what conduct is permitted and what is prohibited," Augustino said, noting that lack of notice is an issue in several recent enforcement actions.
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