Denise Smith represents telecommunications companies, including international service providers, competitive local exchange carriers, interexchange carriers, conference calling service providers and providers of interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and state regulatory agencies. In particular, Denise represents and counsels clients regarding numerous aspects of the Federal Universal Service Fund (USF) program, FCC regulation of international telecommunications service providers, and merger and acquisition transactions in addition to providing general FCC regulatory advice.
Denise’s USF practice includes representing carriers in all aspects of universal service administrative company (USAC) contributor audits and strategizing to limit adverse audit findings. She also counsels carriers regarding USF regulatory filings including evaluating client services to ensure accurate revenue reporting that minimizes USF assessments, understanding and complying with USF reseller exemption requirements and subscriber USF invoicing. Denise also assists clients seeking designation as ETCs, for purposes of receiving Universal Service support, including the preparation of state and federal ETC applications and compliance plans, as well as representation in related FCC meetings and state proceedings.
In addition, Denise counsels clients, including U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-based companies, regarding FCC regulation of providers of international telecommunications and submarine cable system operators on licensing, reporting, service discontinuances, and other federal and state compliance requirements. Denise also has significant experience in representing clients in the review by Executive Branch agencies (often referred to as “Team Telecom”) of license applications involving foreign ownership, negotiating and ensuring compliance with any resultant national security agreements (NSA) and letters of assurance (LOA), and drafting of procedural manuals implementing NSAs and LOAs.
Denise’s practice also includes advising clients regarding FCC and state regulations applicable to transactional matters such as transfers of control, mergers and asset purchases. Her work includes conducting regulatory due diligence reviews to identify potential compliance concerns necessitating strategic consideration in deal structure and indemnification, reviewing and editing transactional documents for necessary regulatory provisions, strategizing regarding FCC and state regulatory agency approval requirements, and drafting transactional approval applications. Denise also has experience with Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) filings potentially applicable to transactions involving foreign investment in a U.S. business. In addition, Denise counsels clients on various telecommunications industry matters such as interconnection agreements, regulatory treatment of new technologies and services, and FCC rulemaking proceedings.
In her second decade of practice, Denise is committed to consistently delivering the right result to the clients she serves. She is appreciated for her calming presence, particularly in audits, where her clients often face serious potential financial consequences. A dedicated team player, Denise designs viable approaches to problem-solving in order to overcome even the most complex challenges and/or intensive regulatory scrutiny, sharing her knowledge and skill with clients and colleagues alike at every turn.
Counseled and represented multinational telecommunications provider in all aspects of federal universal service fund (USF) contributor audit and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) appeal process.
Counseled and represented foreign-government owned telecommunications provider in obtaining FCC international Section 214 service authorization including representing the client before federal agencies during “Team Telecom” review process and negotiating a National Security Agreement.
Represented a telecommunications provider in a complex merger and financing transaction including conducting due diligence review, obtaining FCC approval, and obtaining transactional approval and new service authorizations from multiple state public utility commissions in time to meet desired closing date.
Counseled and represented a national telecommunications provider in negotiating and adopting interconnection agreements and mutual traffic exchange agreements with incumbent local exchange carriers in more than 20 states.
Advised telecommunications provider in bid for acquisition of federally-funded telecommunications infrastructure.
Counseled clients regarding proper classification of services and allocation of revenues for annual FCC Form 499-A reporting.
Advised multichannel video programming distributor in negotiation of multimillion dollar program access agreement.
Counseled international service provider regarding market entry, regulatory classification and privacy considerations for connected car product.
Assisted Hurricane Katrina victim in efforts to contest recoupment of disaster assistance funds received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Successfully obtained from FEMA a complete waiver for client of any obligations to repay any disaster assistance funds.