Closing the Digital Divide and Enabling Connected Life
Closing the Digital Divide and Enabling Connected Life
Americans who lack high-speed broadband internet access are caught on the wrong side of the “Digital Divide,” with students facing a “homework gap” and adults, and even entire communities, facing an “opportunity gap” that impacts everything from jobs, education, and healthcare to sustainability and well-being. A fiber-rich future and next generation wireless technologies hold the promise not only to bridge the Digital Divide but to enable a fully Connected Life where every person and nearly everything is connected to cutting edge applications and opportunity depends less on income and geography.

Universal Service and Government Funding Opportunities   |   Next-Generation Networks and Spectrum   |   Connected Life/Internet of Things

For more than two decades, Kelley Drye has helped service providers navigate (and create) federal funding policy and opportunities essential to building and connecting people to advanced communications networks and services.

We work with the companies that build wired and wireless networks, helping them create favorable federal policy and regulations and navigate state and local laws.

We also work with clients who deploy cutting-edge products utilizing high speed internet and other connectivity to build smarter cities, factories, and products that together make up the “internet of things.” We help them properly assess and design for advantageous outcomes, whether in the areas of regulatory classification, rule changes and waivers, or compliance and consumer protection, including privacy and cybersecurity.
 

Universal Service and Government Funding Opportunities

Our work covers all facets of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC)’s $9B Universal Service Fund and extends to counseling on other sources of federal and state government funding made available to broadband service providers.
 
  • Lifeline – Kelley Drye is the go-to regulatory and compliance resource for eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs), vendors, consultants, and others who support ETCs participating in the FCC’s low-income Universal Service Fund program known as Lifeline. Our extensive work in this space involves work before the FCC, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau and Office of Inspector General (OIG), USAC, multiple state commissions and state program administrators, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the courts and Congress.

  • High Cost (5G Fund, Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, Connect America Fund) – We advocate for a wide array of interests with respect to the development and implementation of these “high cost” funds. We also help fund recipients successfully navigate the licensing and myriad federal and state regulatory requirements governing such funding, including supply chain obligations.

  • Rural Health Care Fund (RHC), Connected Care Pilot Program & COVID-19 Telehealth Program – We are at the forefront of pairing healthcare providers with service providers to leverage these funding opportunities to launch and sustain telehealth solutions to serve rural and low-income communities using the RHC and to serve a wider range of hard-hit areas using the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.

  • E-rate – Kelley Drye lawyers work with both schools and libraries that apply for funding under the program and with service providers that provide eligible E-rate services. Our work includes mastery of the Eligible Services List, application/PIA reviews, compliance training. We represent clients facing all forms of USAC beneficiary audits and related enforcement actions, including both FCC Enforcement Bureau investigations and OIG matters. We also conduct due diligence for companies acquiring carriers with E-rate service contracts.

  • Other Sources of Federal Funding – From rural broadband funding made available by the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce/NTIA, respectively, or funding obtained through the Small Business Administration, we help our clients navigate applications, protests, and compliance issues, with an interdisciplinary team steeped in all aspects of dealing with the federal government.

  • Audits and Enforcement – With each funding source comes oversight to ensure that the funding is provided in compliance with applicable laws. We represent clients in audits, investigations, enforcement matters, and appeals involving the FCC, DOJ, and other federal agencies, state commissions, and state attorneys general. Our work includes counseling beneficiaries in Lifeline, E-rate, and other beneficiary program compliance audits, appeals, and investigations, as well as USF beneficiary withholding and repayment matters. We also counsel clients on compliance with Universal Service contribution rules, including determining assessable services, qualifying resellers and handling contributor audits, investigations, and appeals.

Click here to read and subscribe to our monthly USF Tracker.
 

Next-Generation Networks and Spectrum

We represent builders of next-generation networks, including fiber, undersea cables, wireless, high-altitude, and space-based connectivity.  We also represent industry associations and coalitions that promote fiber and wireless connectivity necessary to drive the innovations that fuel 21st century Connected Life. Our work takes us before Congress, the FCC, NTIA, and other agencies, and extends to federal and state courts.
 
  • Broadband Policy – The deployment and enhancement of broadband networks and services are critical to enabling a Connected Life for Americans separated by the Digital Divide. We represent broadband providers of all sizes (as well as leading industry associations) in navigating federal and state broadband deployment funding opportunities, including the FCC’s new $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund and $9 Billion 5G Fund. Our work includes advocacy and counselling on the policies and procedures governing federal and state broadband deployment funding programs.

  • Fiber and 5G Network Deployment – Next generation networks are made possible through access to public and private rights-of-way, poles, conduit, and other infrastructure.  Kelley Drye has a long history of assisting both wireline and wireless providers in gaining access to such infrastructure, representing clients in rulemakings before the FCC, with respect to policy proceedings and legislative initiatives at the state level, in local right-of-way franchising and licensing negotiations and hearings, in complaint and enforcement matters before federal and state regulators, as well as in federal and state courts, and in pursuit of public-private partnerships to facilitate network buildouts.

  • Spectrum Allocation and Utilization – Radiofrequency spectrum is the lifeblood of numerous technologies that make modern society and Connected Life possible. In addition to being essential to modern wireless communications, spectrum drives numerous other industry sectors, including aviation, aerospace, transportation, manufacturing, power, defense, weather forecasting, and scientific research.  We provide counsel and representation to communications providers and members of all of these industry sectors on spectrum management issues before the FCC, NTIA, numerous Federal Executive agencies, and on the Hill. We have experience serving on U.S. Delegations and representing corporate participants in multi-lateral international conferences, including the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference.

  • Supply Chain – We counsel equipment manufacturers, vendors and service providers on mandates governing network security and supply chain sustainability.  Our work includes policy advocacy, compliance counselling, and strategic advice, and involves appearances before the FCC, NTIA, and other federal agencies, Congress, and the Executive Branch.
 

Connected Life/Internet of Things

Kelley Drye’s Connected Life/Internet of Things work covers the full breadth of our clients’ needs, from regulatory classification and compliance, to equipment authorization and spectrum access, to product design and consumer-facing agreements, to intellectual property and marketing. Our attorneys work with a diverse array of clients in and around the IoT space, including wired and wireless communications and Internet service providers, automobile manufacturers and suppliers, delivery and logistics companies, chip manufacturers and technology companies, media companies, data and analytics software providers, and others involved in smart-cities and smart-manufacturing. We help them understand and navigate key regulatory classification and consumer protection issues, while keeping them up-to-date with the rapidly developing domestic and global legal framework for connected devices and IoT.
 
  • Regulatory Classification and Compliance – We work with our clients’ legal, regulatory, and product teams to assess and effectively address regulatory concerns ranging from telecommunications/information service classification, licensing and registrations, privacy and data security by design and in practice, and broadband transparency and accessibility.

  • Spectrum Access and Equipment Certification – We collaborate with our clients to understand the technical needs for their connected and IoT devices and then engage in detailed advocacy to secure spectrum and operational rules necessary to support those operations. We aid many manufacturers and product developers, as well as retailers and distributors, looking to bring their unlicensed spectrum-dependent products to market to enhance our lives and businesses with rule waivers and other equipment authorization matters.

  • Consumer Agreements and Policy Disclosures – When our clients are ready to market their new and innovative products, we create the customer-facing terms and conditions, standard contract provisions and templates, privacy policies, notice and consent guidelines and templates, and, if applicable, transparency and accessibility policies that ensure that consumers are informed and that our clients are protected.

  • Support for Product Development – Beyond our group’s foundational regulatory work, a multidisciplinary team of attorneys is available to support businesses throughout the lifecycle of Connected Life/IoT product development, including intellectual property rights, venture capital, private equity and other financing, advertising claims, billing considerations, and corporate and technology transactions.

  • Accessibility for the Disabled – Many equipment manufacturers, video game designers, and “app” developers that include over-the-top voice, video or messaging “chat” as part of their services may not realize that the FCC regulates the design and provision of their products and apps. We offer comprehensive compliance and strategic advice to telecommunications and advanced communications service (ACS) equipment manufacturers and service providers regarding the complicated and nuanced disability access requirements imposed by the Twenty First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) and the FCC’s implementing rules.

Universal Service and Government Funding Opportunities   |   Next-Generation Networks and Spectrum   |   Connected Life/Internet of Things

Universal Service and Government Funding Opportunities

Representing a leading broadband provider industry association in advocacy before the FCC, NTIA, USDA, and other federal agencies as well as state authorities regarding network deployment funding opportunities, including the Connect America Fund and its successor Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

Representing the leading fiber broadband association before the FCC and Congress on all broadband policy matters.

Representing the leading association representing America’s small broadband providers before the FCC and Congress on all broadband policy matters.

Representing the leading Lifeline trade association in perpetual Lifeline rulemakings, including stakeholder engagement with other industry members, Universal Service Administrative Company, public interest groups and Congress.

Representing the leading Lifeline trade association in D.C. Circuit appeal of FCC Order denying reimbursement for discounted Lifeline service provided to subscribers.

Representing Lifeline service providers in rulemaking, transfer of control and enforcement proceedings before multiple state public service commissions, including California, Oklahoma and others.

Advising telehealth services companies, collaboration providers, and a video equipment manufacturer on opportunities to connect healthcare and communications service providers to Rural Healthcare Fund, COVID-19 Telehealth Fund, and Connected Care Pilot funding opportunities.

Advising major university health system on opportunities to connect healthcare and communications service providers to Rural Healthcare Fund, COVID-19 Telehealth Fund, and Connected Care Pilot funding opportunities.

Representing multiple Lifeline service provider in FCC enforcement matters involving allegations of improper payments and false claims.

Representing several international wholesale telecom providers in Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) audits of their revenue reporting involving issues of the classification of international wholesale services.

Counseling e-rate service providers on “lowest corresponding price” obligation and competitive bidding rules in the e-rate program.

Counseling e-rate service providers in investigations and with respect to reimbursement matters.

Successfully appealed to the D.C. Circuit an FCC Lifeline Order that would have throttled the Tribal Lifeline program by banning wireless resellers and by sharply limiting which low-income Tribal residents are eligible.

Conducting regulatory due diligence for compliance with Universal Service Fund beneficiary and contributor regulations.

Advising a major equipment manufacturer on 5G funding opportunities and supply chain restrictions.

Advising a network technology integrator on funding administered by the Small Business Administration.

Advising broadband providers on funding programs administered by the Department of Commerce/NTIA and the Department of Agriculture.

Representing cable companies in advocacy and disputes regarding broadband funding distributed by the Department of Agriculture.

Securing FCC “Compliance Plan” and ETC designation approvals for Lifeline service providers.

Securing service provider ETC designations in California and multiple states for Lifeline and High Cost program participants.

Securing FCC approvals of transfers of control of Lifeline service providers with approved FCC Compliance Plans.

Assisting a state-chartered school district on E-rate funding approvals for broadband internet access services.

Advising a consortium purchasing organization on E-rate funding rules and opportunities.

Assisting a fixed wireless and fiber optic network-based Internet Service Provider and Voice over Internet Protocol provider, to obtain multiple eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) licenses from states, as well as additional supporting licenses, within 180 days in order to receive over $200 million in FCC funding to deploy broadband and voice services in rural unserved and underserved areas pursuant to the FCC’s Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II program.

Advising an owner of fiber networks on regulatory and contractual due diligence in the acquisition of an E-rate service provider.

Representing service providers in Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) audits, examining issues ranging from Lifeline to contributions, including treatment of international service revenues, reseller revenues, private line service revenues and non-telecom revenues.

Representing numerous Lifeline service providers in Department of Justice and FCC Office of Inspector General investigations related to Universal Service Fund program disbursements, potential “improper payments” and “false claims”.

Successfully representing multiple Lifeline service providers in defending against and settling FCC Notices of Apparent Liability.

Representing several USF contributors in appeals resulting from Universal Service Administrative Company audits, addressing issues relating to stand-alone audio bridging provider classifications, wholesale-resale distinctions, treatment of international revenues and treatment of private line revenues.  Kelley Drye led appeals resulted in at least 4 precedential FCC orders clarifying USF contribution obligations.

Securing one of the first waivers of an annual Form 499-A filing deadline, allowing a contributor to correct an erroneous filing first detected outside the revision window.

Representing the U.S. affiliate of a foreign telecom company in an administrator’s audit of their revenues.  Successfully argued that most of the revenues were foreign (non-U.S.) revenue not subject to USF assessments.

Representing a global leader in web conferencing and collaboration technology in a USF appeal, which established the ability to receive waivers for late filing of the annual true-up revenue report (Form 499-A).

Representing several MPLS providers in audits addressing the classification of advanced virtual private network services.

Representing multiple Lifeline service providers in FCC-OIG and congressional audits of Lifeline reimbursement requests.

Representing high-cost fund recipients in appeals of a USAC audits.

Representing e-rate applicant in a USAC audits of disbursements for broadband service support.
 

Next Generation Networks and Spectrum

Participating as an accredited member of United States delegations to International Telecommunications Union spectrum working groups and conference preparatory meetings, as well as at the World Radiocommunication Conference.

Representing a major global wireless industry association on matters involving spectrum and the advancement of wireless networks, including policy considerations ranging from privacy to supply chain sustainability.

Representing a major innovator in wireless connectivity solutions in spectrum allocation, rulemakings, and other proceedings before the FCC and other Federal Executive Agencies, as well as in international regional policy and regulatory conferences.

Representing manufacturers in spectrum allocation, rulemaking, and licensing matters.

Representing a major equipment manufacturer on matters relating to supply chain restrictions and federal funding of replacement services.

Representing a major delivery and logistics company on spectrum used for drones operations and for support of flight and ground operations.

Representing a coalition of global automakers and suppliers seeking to preserve spectrum allocated for intelligent transportation systems, including those necessary for crash avoidance, traffic management, and connected autonomous vehicles.

Representing major industry associations in FCC dockets covering issues ranging from broadband deployment to spectrum allocation.

Representing a number of companies and associations in the aerospace and aviation industry before the FCC, NTIA, the Executive Branch and Congress with respect to spectrum licensing, policy, and regulatory proceedings.

Representing a variety of stakeholders in the weather industry before the FCC, NTIA, the Executive Branch and Congress with respect to spectrum policy and rulemakings.

Representing a major defense contractor before the FCC, NTIA, DOD, other Executive Branch Agencies, and Congress with respect to spectrum policy on matters diverse as making new spectrum available for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), preserving and expanding spectrum used for flight testing, various spectrum bands to be shared with flexible use licensees or repurposed for commercial mobile licensing, among others.

Representing a major commercial mobile provider on issues arising with densification and expansion of mobile networks in discussions with metropolitan and other local governments as well as adjudications involving the deployment of and fees for small wireless facilities in public rights-of-way.

Representing a variety of communications providers in pole attachment and rights-of-way negotiations and disputes, included mediation, complaint proceedings, and state and federal litigation, as well as in related rulemaking proceedings.

Representing the cable industry before the FCC, Department of Agriculture and before Congress on overbuilding matters.
 

Connected Life/Internet of Things

Advising a coalition of global automakers and suppliers seeking to preserve spectrum allocated for intelligent transportation systems, including those necessary for crash avoidance, traffic management and connected autonomous vehicles.

Advising multiple international communications service providers on the regulatory classification, privacy/security and implementation-related issues related to multiple connected car and Internet of Things products.

Representing computer makers, equipment manufacturers, appliance companies, and retailers in rulemaking, compliance, and equipment authorization matters, including seeking waivers of Commission rules regarding marketing, operations, and spectrum uses, for consumer and business devices used integrating a variety of connectivity and internet of things solutions.

Advising tech start-up on establishing intellectual property protections for a suite of internet and block chain-enabled “smart” products.

Advising network security vendors on matters related to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommendations for IoT device security.

Advising a major global wireless industry association on matters related to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s privacy and cybersecurity frameworks.

Advising a mobile service provider on consumer-facing policies and web-flow related to connected, network layer safe-driving solution.

Advising multiple international service providers on regulatory classification and privacy/security issues of various telematics service offerings.
 
 
 

Overview

Americans who lack high-speed broadband internet access are caught on the wrong side of the “Digital Divide,” with students facing a “homework gap” and adults, and even entire communities, facing an “opportunity gap” that impacts everything from jobs, education, and healthcare to sustainability and well-being. A fiber-rich future and next generation wireless technologies hold the promise not only to bridge the Digital Divide but to enable a fully Connected Life where every person and nearly everything is connected to cutting edge applications and opportunity depends less on income and geography.

Universal Service and Government Funding Opportunities   |   Next-Generation Networks and Spectrum   |   Connected Life/Internet of Things

For more than two decades, Kelley Drye has helped service providers navigate (and create) federal funding policy and opportunities essential to building and connecting people to advanced communications networks and services.

We work with the companies that build wired and wireless networks, helping them create favorable federal policy and regulations and navigate state and local laws.

We also work with clients who deploy cutting-edge products utilizing high speed internet and other connectivity to build smarter cities, factories, and products that together make up the “internet of things.” We help them properly assess and design for advantageous outcomes, whether in the areas of regulatory classification, rule changes and waivers, or compliance and consumer protection, including privacy and cybersecurity.
 

Universal Service and Government Funding Opportunities

Our work covers all facets of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC)’s $9B Universal Service Fund and extends to counseling on other sources of federal and state government funding made available to broadband service providers.
 
  • Lifeline – Kelley Drye is the go-to regulatory and compliance resource for eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs), vendors, consultants, and others who support ETCs participating in the FCC’s low-income Universal Service Fund program known as Lifeline. Our extensive work in this space involves work before the FCC, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau and Office of Inspector General (OIG), USAC, multiple state commissions and state program administrators, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the courts and Congress.

  • High Cost (5G Fund, Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, Connect America Fund) – We advocate for a wide array of interests with respect to the development and implementation of these “high cost” funds. We also help fund recipients successfully navigate the licensing and myriad federal and state regulatory requirements governing such funding, including supply chain obligations.

  • Rural Health Care Fund (RHC), Connected Care Pilot Program & COVID-19 Telehealth Program – We are at the forefront of pairing healthcare providers with service providers to leverage these funding opportunities to launch and sustain telehealth solutions to serve rural and low-income communities using the RHC and to serve a wider range of hard-hit areas using the COVID-19 Telehealth Program.

  • E-rate – Kelley Drye lawyers work with both schools and libraries that apply for funding under the program and with service providers that provide eligible E-rate services. Our work includes mastery of the Eligible Services List, application/PIA reviews, compliance training. We represent clients facing all forms of USAC beneficiary audits and related enforcement actions, including both FCC Enforcement Bureau investigations and OIG matters. We also conduct due diligence for companies acquiring carriers with E-rate service contracts.

  • Other Sources of Federal Funding – From rural broadband funding made available by the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce/NTIA, respectively, or funding obtained through the Small Business Administration, we help our clients navigate applications, protests, and compliance issues, with an interdisciplinary team steeped in all aspects of dealing with the federal government.

  • Audits and Enforcement – With each funding source comes oversight to ensure that the funding is provided in compliance with applicable laws. We represent clients in audits, investigations, enforcement matters, and appeals involving the FCC, DOJ, and other federal agencies, state commissions, and state attorneys general. Our work includes counseling beneficiaries in Lifeline, E-rate, and other beneficiary program compliance audits, appeals, and investigations, as well as USF beneficiary withholding and repayment matters. We also counsel clients on compliance with Universal Service contribution rules, including determining assessable services, qualifying resellers and handling contributor audits, investigations, and appeals.

Click here to read and subscribe to our monthly USF Tracker.
 

Next-Generation Networks and Spectrum

We represent builders of next-generation networks, including fiber, undersea cables, wireless, high-altitude, and space-based connectivity.  We also represent industry associations and coalitions that promote fiber and wireless connectivity necessary to drive the innovations that fuel 21st century Connected Life. Our work takes us before Congress, the FCC, NTIA, and other agencies, and extends to federal and state courts.
 
  • Broadband Policy – The deployment and enhancement of broadband networks and services are critical to enabling a Connected Life for Americans separated by the Digital Divide. We represent broadband providers of all sizes (as well as leading industry associations) in navigating federal and state broadband deployment funding opportunities, including the FCC’s new $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund and $9 Billion 5G Fund. Our work includes advocacy and counselling on the policies and procedures governing federal and state broadband deployment funding programs.

  • Fiber and 5G Network Deployment – Next generation networks are made possible through access to public and private rights-of-way, poles, conduit, and other infrastructure.  Kelley Drye has a long history of assisting both wireline and wireless providers in gaining access to such infrastructure, representing clients in rulemakings before the FCC, with respect to policy proceedings and legislative initiatives at the state level, in local right-of-way franchising and licensing negotiations and hearings, in complaint and enforcement matters before federal and state regulators, as well as in federal and state courts, and in pursuit of public-private partnerships to facilitate network buildouts.

  • Spectrum Allocation and Utilization – Radiofrequency spectrum is the lifeblood of numerous technologies that make modern society and Connected Life possible. In addition to being essential to modern wireless communications, spectrum drives numerous other industry sectors, including aviation, aerospace, transportation, manufacturing, power, defense, weather forecasting, and scientific research.  We provide counsel and representation to communications providers and members of all of these industry sectors on spectrum management issues before the FCC, NTIA, numerous Federal Executive agencies, and on the Hill. We have experience serving on U.S. Delegations and representing corporate participants in multi-lateral international conferences, including the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference.

  • Supply Chain – We counsel equipment manufacturers, vendors and service providers on mandates governing network security and supply chain sustainability.  Our work includes policy advocacy, compliance counselling, and strategic advice, and involves appearances before the FCC, NTIA, and other federal agencies, Congress, and the Executive Branch.
 

Connected Life/Internet of Things

Kelley Drye’s Connected Life/Internet of Things work covers the full breadth of our clients’ needs, from regulatory classification and compliance, to equipment authorization and spectrum access, to product design and consumer-facing agreements, to intellectual property and marketing. Our attorneys work with a diverse array of clients in and around the IoT space, including wired and wireless communications and Internet service providers, automobile manufacturers and suppliers, delivery and logistics companies, chip manufacturers and technology companies, media companies, data and analytics software providers, and others involved in smart-cities and smart-manufacturing. We help them understand and navigate key regulatory classification and consumer protection issues, while keeping them up-to-date with the rapidly developing domestic and global legal framework for connected devices and IoT.
 
  • Regulatory Classification and Compliance – We work with our clients’ legal, regulatory, and product teams to assess and effectively address regulatory concerns ranging from telecommunications/information service classification, licensing and registrations, privacy and data security by design and in practice, and broadband transparency and accessibility.

  • Spectrum Access and Equipment Certification – We collaborate with our clients to understand the technical needs for their connected and IoT devices and then engage in detailed advocacy to secure spectrum and operational rules necessary to support those operations. We aid many manufacturers and product developers, as well as retailers and distributors, looking to bring their unlicensed spectrum-dependent products to market to enhance our lives and businesses with rule waivers and other equipment authorization matters.

  • Consumer Agreements and Policy Disclosures – When our clients are ready to market their new and innovative products, we create the customer-facing terms and conditions, standard contract provisions and templates, privacy policies, notice and consent guidelines and templates, and, if applicable, transparency and accessibility policies that ensure that consumers are informed and that our clients are protected.

  • Support for Product Development – Beyond our group’s foundational regulatory work, a multidisciplinary team of attorneys is available to support businesses throughout the lifecycle of Connected Life/IoT product development, including intellectual property rights, venture capital, private equity and other financing, advertising claims, billing considerations, and corporate and technology transactions.

  • Accessibility for the Disabled – Many equipment manufacturers, video game designers, and “app” developers that include over-the-top voice, video or messaging “chat” as part of their services may not realize that the FCC regulates the design and provision of their products and apps. We offer comprehensive compliance and strategic advice to telecommunications and advanced communications service (ACS) equipment manufacturers and service providers regarding the complicated and nuanced disability access requirements imposed by the Twenty First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) and the FCC’s implementing rules.

Experience

Universal Service and Government Funding Opportunities   |   Next-Generation Networks and Spectrum   |   Connected Life/Internet of Things

Universal Service and Government Funding Opportunities

Representing a leading broadband provider industry association in advocacy before the FCC, NTIA, USDA, and other federal agencies as well as state authorities regarding network deployment funding opportunities, including the Connect America Fund and its successor Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

Representing the leading fiber broadband association before the FCC and Congress on all broadband policy matters.

Representing the leading association representing America’s small broadband providers before the FCC and Congress on all broadband policy matters.

Representing the leading Lifeline trade association in perpetual Lifeline rulemakings, including stakeholder engagement with other industry members, Universal Service Administrative Company, public interest groups and Congress.

Representing the leading Lifeline trade association in D.C. Circuit appeal of FCC Order denying reimbursement for discounted Lifeline service provided to subscribers.

Representing Lifeline service providers in rulemaking, transfer of control and enforcement proceedings before multiple state public service commissions, including California, Oklahoma and others.

Advising telehealth services companies, collaboration providers, and a video equipment manufacturer on opportunities to connect healthcare and communications service providers to Rural Healthcare Fund, COVID-19 Telehealth Fund, and Connected Care Pilot funding opportunities.

Advising major university health system on opportunities to connect healthcare and communications service providers to Rural Healthcare Fund, COVID-19 Telehealth Fund, and Connected Care Pilot funding opportunities.

Representing multiple Lifeline service provider in FCC enforcement matters involving allegations of improper payments and false claims.

Representing several international wholesale telecom providers in Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) audits of their revenue reporting involving issues of the classification of international wholesale services.

Counseling e-rate service providers on “lowest corresponding price” obligation and competitive bidding rules in the e-rate program.

Counseling e-rate service providers in investigations and with respect to reimbursement matters.

Successfully appealed to the D.C. Circuit an FCC Lifeline Order that would have throttled the Tribal Lifeline program by banning wireless resellers and by sharply limiting which low-income Tribal residents are eligible.

Conducting regulatory due diligence for compliance with Universal Service Fund beneficiary and contributor regulations.

Advising a major equipment manufacturer on 5G funding opportunities and supply chain restrictions.

Advising a network technology integrator on funding administered by the Small Business Administration.

Advising broadband providers on funding programs administered by the Department of Commerce/NTIA and the Department of Agriculture.

Representing cable companies in advocacy and disputes regarding broadband funding distributed by the Department of Agriculture.

Securing FCC “Compliance Plan” and ETC designation approvals for Lifeline service providers.

Securing service provider ETC designations in California and multiple states for Lifeline and High Cost program participants.

Securing FCC approvals of transfers of control of Lifeline service providers with approved FCC Compliance Plans.

Assisting a state-chartered school district on E-rate funding approvals for broadband internet access services.

Advising a consortium purchasing organization on E-rate funding rules and opportunities.

Assisting a fixed wireless and fiber optic network-based Internet Service Provider and Voice over Internet Protocol provider, to obtain multiple eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) licenses from states, as well as additional supporting licenses, within 180 days in order to receive over $200 million in FCC funding to deploy broadband and voice services in rural unserved and underserved areas pursuant to the FCC’s Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II program.

Advising an owner of fiber networks on regulatory and contractual due diligence in the acquisition of an E-rate service provider.

Representing service providers in Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) audits, examining issues ranging from Lifeline to contributions, including treatment of international service revenues, reseller revenues, private line service revenues and non-telecom revenues.

Representing numerous Lifeline service providers in Department of Justice and FCC Office of Inspector General investigations related to Universal Service Fund program disbursements, potential “improper payments” and “false claims”.

Successfully representing multiple Lifeline service providers in defending against and settling FCC Notices of Apparent Liability.

Representing several USF contributors in appeals resulting from Universal Service Administrative Company audits, addressing issues relating to stand-alone audio bridging provider classifications, wholesale-resale distinctions, treatment of international revenues and treatment of private line revenues.  Kelley Drye led appeals resulted in at least 4 precedential FCC orders clarifying USF contribution obligations.

Securing one of the first waivers of an annual Form 499-A filing deadline, allowing a contributor to correct an erroneous filing first detected outside the revision window.

Representing the U.S. affiliate of a foreign telecom company in an administrator’s audit of their revenues.  Successfully argued that most of the revenues were foreign (non-U.S.) revenue not subject to USF assessments.

Representing a global leader in web conferencing and collaboration technology in a USF appeal, which established the ability to receive waivers for late filing of the annual true-up revenue report (Form 499-A).

Representing several MPLS providers in audits addressing the classification of advanced virtual private network services.

Representing multiple Lifeline service providers in FCC-OIG and congressional audits of Lifeline reimbursement requests.

Representing high-cost fund recipients in appeals of a USAC audits.

Representing e-rate applicant in a USAC audits of disbursements for broadband service support.
 

Next Generation Networks and Spectrum

Participating as an accredited member of United States delegations to International Telecommunications Union spectrum working groups and conference preparatory meetings, as well as at the World Radiocommunication Conference.

Representing a major global wireless industry association on matters involving spectrum and the advancement of wireless networks, including policy considerations ranging from privacy to supply chain sustainability.

Representing a major innovator in wireless connectivity solutions in spectrum allocation, rulemakings, and other proceedings before the FCC and other Federal Executive Agencies, as well as in international regional policy and regulatory conferences.

Representing manufacturers in spectrum allocation, rulemaking, and licensing matters.

Representing a major equipment manufacturer on matters relating to supply chain restrictions and federal funding of replacement services.

Representing a major delivery and logistics company on spectrum used for drones operations and for support of flight and ground operations.

Representing a coalition of global automakers and suppliers seeking to preserve spectrum allocated for intelligent transportation systems, including those necessary for crash avoidance, traffic management, and connected autonomous vehicles.

Representing major industry associations in FCC dockets covering issues ranging from broadband deployment to spectrum allocation.

Representing a number of companies and associations in the aerospace and aviation industry before the FCC, NTIA, the Executive Branch and Congress with respect to spectrum licensing, policy, and regulatory proceedings.

Representing a variety of stakeholders in the weather industry before the FCC, NTIA, the Executive Branch and Congress with respect to spectrum policy and rulemakings.

Representing a major defense contractor before the FCC, NTIA, DOD, other Executive Branch Agencies, and Congress with respect to spectrum policy on matters diverse as making new spectrum available for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), preserving and expanding spectrum used for flight testing, various spectrum bands to be shared with flexible use licensees or repurposed for commercial mobile licensing, among others.

Representing a major commercial mobile provider on issues arising with densification and expansion of mobile networks in discussions with metropolitan and other local governments as well as adjudications involving the deployment of and fees for small wireless facilities in public rights-of-way.

Representing a variety of communications providers in pole attachment and rights-of-way negotiations and disputes, included mediation, complaint proceedings, and state and federal litigation, as well as in related rulemaking proceedings.

Representing the cable industry before the FCC, Department of Agriculture and before Congress on overbuilding matters.
 

Connected Life/Internet of Things

Advising a coalition of global automakers and suppliers seeking to preserve spectrum allocated for intelligent transportation systems, including those necessary for crash avoidance, traffic management and connected autonomous vehicles.

Advising multiple international communications service providers on the regulatory classification, privacy/security and implementation-related issues related to multiple connected car and Internet of Things products.

Representing computer makers, equipment manufacturers, appliance companies, and retailers in rulemaking, compliance, and equipment authorization matters, including seeking waivers of Commission rules regarding marketing, operations, and spectrum uses, for consumer and business devices used integrating a variety of connectivity and internet of things solutions.

Advising tech start-up on establishing intellectual property protections for a suite of internet and block chain-enabled “smart” products.

Advising network security vendors on matters related to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommendations for IoT device security.

Advising a major global wireless industry association on matters related to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s privacy and cybersecurity frameworks.

Advising a mobile service provider on consumer-facing policies and web-flow related to connected, network layer safe-driving solution.

Advising multiple international service providers on regulatory classification and privacy/security issues of various telematics service offerings.
 
Partner
Email (202) 342-8544(202) 342-8544
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...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8612(202) 342-8612
Steve Augustino’s telecommunications practice is both broad and deep, ranging from regulatory, legislative and administrative law counsel to transactional advice, advocacy and litigation.&nbs...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8453(202) 342-8453
Aaron Burstein serves clients with a strong technical background and a passion for solving complex privacy, data security, and consumer protection law problems.  He provides legal advice on pr...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8518(202) 342-8518
Thomas Cohen’s practice focuses on providing legal counsel to further the business interests of entities engaged in the provision of wireline and wireless telecommunications, cable (video) an...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8566(202) 342-8566
Josh Guyan advises providers of wireline, wireless, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and satellite services on domestic and international experimental compliance and licensing, as well as Univer...
Partner
Email (312) 857-2350(312) 857-2350
Hank Kelly’s practice is focused exclusively on communications, energy and public utility law and regulation, where he provides clients with a deep bench of legal and business experience that...
Partner
Email (202) 342-8540(202) 342-8540
Chip Yorkgitis is a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.  He focuses his practice on telecommunications. Chip represents clients with interests and concerns related to spe...
Special Counsel
Email (202) 342-8465(202) 342-8465
Brad Currier is special counsel in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.  His practice focuses on communications matters, with an emphasis on investigations, audits, and enforcement action...
Special Counsel
Email (312) 857-7087(312) 857-7087
Michael Dover’s practice focuses on providing legal advice and unique legal perspectives on the rights of innovative technology companies.  Mike’s clients include a wide range of e...
Special Counsel
Email (202) 342-8614(202) 342-8614
Denise Smith represents telecommunications companies, including international service providers, competitive local exchange carriers, interexchange carriers, conference calling service providers an...
Associate
Email (202) 342-8635(202) 342-8635
Chris Laughlin is an associate in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. His practice focuses on regulatory, litigation, transactional, and policy matters involving communications and technology...
Associate
Email (202) 342-8825(202) 342-8825
Carolyn Mahoney is an associate in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.  Her work focuses on regulatory, transactional, litigation, and policy matters involving telecommunications and tec...