Telecommunications

We have represented Verizon, Covad, and other telecommunications companies in a variety of disputes. In our representation of EchoStar and DirecTV, we “took charge of the most important court case in industry history,” as reported by Multi-Channel News. Representative engagements include:

  • Verizon
    We represented Verizon in its assessment of the constitutionality of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and several related matters.
  • United States Telecommunications Association v. Federal Communications Commission, Nos. 00-1012, 00-1015, 00-1025, 01-1075, 01-1102 & 01-1103. (D.C. Cir.). 
    We represented Covad Communications Company (“Covad”) as an intervenor-defendant seeking to defend the validity of FCC rulings challenged by the nation’s largest local telephone companies and their trade association. We were engaged shortly after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs’ challenge. The decision raised a number of important questions regarding the FCC’s discretion to issue rules implementing the requirements of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
  • Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association v. Federal Communications Commission, 275 F.3d 337 (4th Cir. 2001). 
     We represented the SBCA and member companies Echostar Communications Corp. and DirecTV, Inc. in a First Amendment challenge to the must-carry provisions of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999, requiring satellite television carriers to carry all television stations in a local market if they choose to carry one station in that market.
  • Federal Communications Commission v. Nextwave, Inc., 537 U.S. 293 (2003). 
    We filed an amicus brief on behalf of Urban Communications, a minority-owned telecommunications company. At issue in the case was the validity of the FCC’s revocation of Nextwave’s spectrum licenses for wireless services, which was then valued at over $4 billion. Nextwave had failed to make timely payments to the government and filed for bankruptcy. Although the Bankruptcy Code prohibits the government from revoking regulatory licenses “solely because of nonpayment,” the FCC claimed its revocation was appropriate because it had non-pecuniary regulatory interests at stake. Our brief demonstrated that, in fact, its monetary interests animated the government’s course of conduct at every phase of the litigation. Nextwave prevailed before the Court.
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