Legislative Activity

Rep. Goodlatte Introduces Patent Litigation Reform Bill

Last Wednesday, October 23, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309), intended to curtail abusive patent litigation while fostering U.S. competitiveness. The bill has received bipartisan support from cosponsors including Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and is scheduled for a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee this Tuesday, October 29. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) commended introduction of the bill and announced that he is working with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) on a companion bill in the Senate.

Rep. Johnson Urges White House To Codify Consumer Privacy Bill Of Rights

Last Thursday, October 24, Rep. Hank Johnson (R-GA) sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to move forward with codifying the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, which the White House released last year as a blueprint for future online privacy legislation. Rep. Johnson applauded reports that the White House currently is working on draft legislation to boost online privacy safeguards for consumers. The letter urged the president to consider the Application, Privacy, Protection, and Security Act (H.R. 1913), introduced by Rep. Johnson in May, as a foundation for protecting consumers’ privacy on mobile devices.

Sen. Cruz Reportedly Scheduled To Meet With FCC Chairman Nominee

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is reportedly scheduled to meet with Tom Wheeler, President Obama’s nominee to chair the Federal Communications Committee (FCC), this Tuesday, October 29. Sen. Cruz continues to hold up Wheeler’s nomination over questions regarding Wheeler’s views on the FCC’s power to enforce disclosures of political advertising sponsorship. Sen. Cruz has vowed to block Wheeler’s nomination until he receives satisfactory answers to his questions on this issue.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, October 29: The Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet will hold a hearing titled “Broadband Adoption: The Last Mile.”

Regulatory Activity

FCC Announces Tentative Agenda For November Open Meeting

The FCC has released a tentative agenda for its November 14 open meeting. The FCC tentatively plans to consider: (1) a declaratory ruling under which the FCC could allow broadcasters to exceed the current 25 percent limit on foreign investment on a case-by-case basis; (2) a Report and Order to improve the reliability and resiliency of 911 communications networks nationwide; (3) an update on universal service reform implementation; and (4) an update on public-private initiatives seeking to boost broadband adoption and digital literacy.

CTIA President And CEO To Step Down At End Of 2014

Steve Largent, president and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association, announced last Friday, October 25, that he plans to step down at the end of 2014 when his current contract expires. The CTIA board of directors announced that it will begin the search for his replacement immediately.

FCC Releases E-rate Eligible Services List For Funding Year 2014

Last Tuesday, October 22, the FCC released the list of services eligible for E-rate funding for the 2014 funding year. The FCC adopted a number of clarifications and minor changes to the eligible services list, including a clarification that interactive communications features, such as blogging, that may be eligible as part of a web hosting package are not eligible for support as standalone services. The FCC also authorized the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to open the annual application window no earlier than December 23.

FTC Extends Comment Deadlines For COPPA Proposals

Due to the recent government shutdown, the Federal Trade Commission has extended the public comment period for two proposals under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. The comment period for the verifiable parental consent proposal from Imperium, LLC, previously scheduled to end on October 9, will now end next Monday, November 4. The comment period for the proposed kidSAFE Seal safe harbor program, previously scheduled to end October 18, also will end next Monday, November 4.

Upcoming Deadlines and Meetings:

  • Monday, October 28: The FCC will hold its rescheduled open meeting to address (1) rural call completion; (2) interoperability in the lower 700 MHz band; and (3) technical rules for the 700 MHz broadband spectrum licensed to the First Responder Network Authority.
  • Monday, November 4: Initial comments are due in response to the FCC’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) regarding closed captioning requirements for video programming delivered using Internet protocol.
  • Monday, November 4: Initial comments are due in response to the FCC’s FNPRM regarding next steps to address Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service practices threatening the Telecommunications Relay Service Fund.
  • Monday, November 4: Initial comments are due in response to the FCC’s public notice proposing a preliminary catalog of expenses for which broadcasters and multichannel video programming distributors could be reimbursed following the planned broadcast spectrum incentive auction.