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Communications Regulatory

The attorneys in Davis Wright Tremaine’s national communications and media practice have decades of extensive federal and state regulatory experience regarding clients in every area of today’s widespread and increasingly convergent communications industry. We represent communications carriers—including wireless, local and long-distance and broadband—in addition to VoIP and Internet providers, large telecommunications users and telemarketing companies. Our lawyers also represent television and radio broadcasters, cable operators and program networks, digital media clients, and industry trade organizations.

We help clients with the daily regulatory compliance that is key to their operations. We do a significant amount of transactions in the communications space on both business deals and the accompanying regulatory approvals. We lobby government officials and agencies to help shape laws that affect our clients' businesses. We also litigate for clients who desire lawyers who understand the complex and dynamic regulatory and competitive environment of a dispute.

With more than 120 attorneys in seven cities working every day in virtually every area of communications law, we offer regulatory experience that is as far-reaching as the industry itself.

Federal regulation
Our attorneys have held senior positions in government and industry, and are familiar faces where federal communications policy is weighed and decided: in Congress, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the executive branch, including the Commerce Department, the Department of Justice and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). We assist clients in many ways with every type of regulatory issue, including:

  • Regulatory approvals essential to operations and transactions
  • Filings with the FCC on rulemaking and policy matters
  • Acquisition and transfer of spectrum and other FCC licenses
  • Compliance with FCC technical and operating rules and policies
  • Compliance with FCC ownership rules 
  • Complaint and enforcement proceedings 
  • Competitive pricing and advertising
  • Consumer protection issues
  • Representation before the FTC and the Justice Department
  • Representation in Congress and at the executive branch
  • U.S. Copyright Office matters
  • Litigation in all courts

State regulation
We have appeared before most of the state public utility commissions and are frequently engaged to represent clients in state matters nationally and regionally, including multistate proceedings. We can help you work successfully in a full range of state regulatory matters, including:

  • Entry and exit, certification and tariffs
  • Interconnection agreements and arbitration
  • Consumer protection and service quality complaints and rulemakings
  • Regulatory fees and surcharges
  • Right-of-way access and pole top proceedings
  • Enforcement, audits and complaint proceedings
  • Universal service proceedings, including obtaining ETC status
  • Numbering compliance and acquisition
  • VoIP issues
  • Cost dockets

In addition to guiding you in regulatory compliance and other proceedings, we can help you avoid problems by anticipating them and work with you to capitalize on the business opportunities that often accompany regulatory changes.

Read our advisory on the FCC's regulatory fees for fiscal year 2014
blog for insight and commentary on the deployment of communications infrastructure
 e-rate program blog