While Net Neutrality remains the highest profile issue involving the Federal Communications Commission, the FCC continues to receive a significant volume of comments from industry officials and lobbying groups about a range of other topics.
The FCC’s staff has received more than 170 ex parte filings in recent weeks, according to a new Law360 article. In that article, Womble Carlyle Telecom attorney Marty Stern discussed some of the pressing topics facing the FCC that were the subject of significant advocacy activity according to the Law360 article.
For example, two providers of telecommunications services for the hearing impaired have been among the most active FCC lobbyists in recent weeks. The FCC recently approved new rules for these services and since then, Sorenson Communications LLC and ZVRS Holding Co. have disagreed about a number of issues, including provider compensation rates.
“VRS compensation rates turns out to be a rather contentious issue, and there is really…a lot of back-and-forth between two of the providers,” Stern tells Law360.
NCTA – The Internet & Television Association is another organization with a high volume of ex parte filings in recent weeks. NCTA’s filings concern a wide variety of topics, such as spectrum policy issues and paper versus electronic notice requirements for consumers.
Other active lobbyists before the FCC include the Benton Foundation (Net Neutrality) and NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association (expanding rural broadband access).
Stern tells Law360 that the Net Neutrality issue will continue to be contentious and the FCC will need to take steps to ensure its final plan isn’t overturned by the federal courts
“Whatever support is needed, including investment data, economic data, whatever as to the harm being caused by the current rules, it's obviously the task for the broadband providers to provide the necessary support for that,” he tells Law360. No surprise here, “The issue will remain contentious” and in just the last few weeks, the FCC’s new “Restoring Internet Freedom” docket has received almost 5 million submissions.
Referring to the fact that the current rules have already been sustained by the D.C. Circuit, Stern noted that the FCC will need to be "legally creative" to ensure the courts don’t reverse its final plan.
Marty Stern provides legal and strategic counsel on regulatory, policy and commercial matters to telecommunications, information technology and media firms, including network operators, programmers, and technology companies, in the United States and globally. He also develops and executes regulatory and legislative strategies, including through trade associations and the formation and implementation of industry coalitions, and engages in associated advocacy.