Telecommunications

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Overview

The firm’s telecommunications practice dates to its founding and is consistently ranked by Chambers USA in the top tier nationwide. The firm’s founders and partners literally wrote the book on telecommunication law, including the leading treatise in the field, Federal Telecommunication Law, the groundbreaking Federal Broadband Law, and numerous other books and articles. One of the firm's partners served as the General Counsel of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) through 2013; two former firm attorneys also served in that role. 

The firm is well known for representing Verizon and AT&T on a wide variety of regulatory, appellate, antitrust, litigation, and intellectual property matters. The firm also advises a wide variety of other telecom clients, ranging from emerging start-ups to some of the largest U.S. corporations. The firm’s lawyers have been at the epicenter of virtually every major industry proceeding over the past decade and have spearheaded many of the most significant legal challenges during this period.

The firm has extensive experience in regulatory, merger, and enforcement proceedings before the FCC and state agencies; we have represented clients on mergers and investigations before the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission; we handle a range of high-profile litigation and appellate matters in federal and state trial and appellate courts, and before arbitrators and agencies; we advise clients with contracts, transactions, regulatory advice, and developing strategies.

Noteworthy Representations

Successfully represented Verizon and AT&T, and argued on behalf of a group of six intervenors, in defending the FCC's third attempt to adopt an order governing the payments due between telephone companies for Internet access calls; the court had rejected the prior two rulings.  Core Communications, Inc. v. FCC, 592 F.3d 193 (D.C. Cir. 2010).

Successfully represented Verizon in challenging a FCC order that denied Verizon relief from mandates to provide certain competitors with forced access to Verizon’s network.  Verizon Telephone Cos. v. FCC, 570 F.3d 294 (D.C. Cir. 2009).

Successfully represented Verizon in overturning a district court order holding that state public utility commissions have authority to enforce the provisions of federal law that govern former Bell operating companies’ authority to sell long-distance service. Represented Verizon and AT&T in subsequent cases in which four other courts of appeals followed the First Circuit’s decision.  Verizon New England Inc. v. Maine Public Utilities Commission, 509 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2007).

Represented TCR (doing business as the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network) in groundbreaking proceeding that resulted in successful negotiation for carriage of Washington Nationals baseball games on Comcast’s cable distribution network.  TCR Sports Broadcasting Holding, L.L.P. v. Comcast Corp., MB Docket No. 06-148 (FCC).

Represented AT&T Texas in defending, against the incumbent cable industry’s constitutional challenges, the 2005 Texas video franchising law that established a national model for opening the video services business to new entry by historical telephone companies.  Texas Cable & Telecommunications Ass’n v. Hudson, No. 1:05-CV-00721 (W.D. Tex.).

Successfully represented all of the former Bell operating companies in four successive challenges to the FCC's regulations implementing one of the centerpieces of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, with the courts vacating three sets of FCC rules imposing unbundling requirements on the former Bell operating companies and upholding all FCC determinations not to impose unbundling requirements.  AT&T Corp. v. Iowa Utilities Board, 525 U.S. 366 (1999); United States Telecom Ass’n v. FCC, 290 F.3d 415 (D.C. Cir. 2002), cert. denied, 538 U.S. 940 (2003); United States Telecom Ass’n v. FCC, 359 F.3d 554 (D.C. Cir.), cert. denied, 543 U.S. 925 (2004); Covad Communications Co. v. FCC, 450 F.3d 528 (D.C. Cir. 2006).