Steve Augustino’s telecommunications practice is both broad and deep, ranging from regulatory, legislative and administrative law counsel to transactional advice, advocacy and litigation. An advocate since the early days of competition in telecommunications, Steve has guided clients through the shifting policies, exponential growth and extraordinary innovation in the telecommunications industry over the last 25 years. His clients include companies and organizations from developing and established markets, including major wireless service providers, manufacturers, trade associations and emerging telecom businesses.
Steve is experienced in enforcement, investigations and audits of communications companies. He represents telecommunications service providers in Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforcement actions, including Universal Service Fund (USF) compliance investigations and Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) reporting audits. His enforcement experience includes investigations involving USF contribution obligations, Lifeline, e-rate and other USF benefit payments, customer proprietary network information (CPNI) obligations, third-party billing (“cramming”), 911 call-handling obligations, network outage reporting, prepaid card marketing, fax marketing and other carrier practices.
Notably, Steve offers unique experience with respect to the $8.5 billion per year federal USF. For more than a decade, Steve has been considered a leading lawyer in USF contribution obligations, handling complex Universal Service reporting questions, advising on USF issues in transactions and representing filers in audits and enforcement investigations relating to reporting or failure to pay. For recipients of the USF, Steve counsels his clients on all issues pertaining to the Lifeline program, e-rate and Rural Healthcare–related matters.
Regarding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Steve is involved in counseling and appeals concerning the use of auto-dialers, calls and texts to mobile telephone numbers and receipt of customer consent. Teaming with litigation colleagues in the TCPA defense practice, Steve advocates for clients in FCC petitions, waiver proceedings and declaratory ruling proceedings involving TCPA issues. Steve represented intervenors in an appeal of the FCC’s 2015 Declaratory Ruling on TCPA matters, and provides counseling and strategic advice on calling, texting and faxing practices by businesses and service providers.
Throughout his career, Steve has provided advice to emerging communications-related service and technology companies. He has been involved with a variety of new and pioneering technologies, including web-based conferencing and collaboration, mobile games and apps, hosted VoIP, texting and wi-fi management. Steve actively works with these companies to guide their practices and services according to their business objectives, and to determine which regulatory “box” is most advantageous for the client’s objectives.
Steve currently serves as co-chair of the Federal Communications Bar Association’s Internet of Things Committee, and is a frequent commentator on FCC enforcement activities. Steve is a regular contributor to the firm’s Communications team webinars, blog (CommLawMonitor
) and podcasts.