Wilkinson Barker Knauer advises leading Internet Service Providers, telecommunications carriers, application providers, equipment vendors, technology companies, and trade associations regarding the regulatory, transactional, and privacy implications of broadband Internet access and other new technologies, including voice over IP (“VoIP”) and other IP-enabled services. These clients face issues often distinct from those faced by traditional communications service providers, and they look to us for a sophisticated understanding of cutting-edge technological, economic, and legal issues.
Recent years have seen the convergence of many network technologies, as voice, video, and data services migrate away from traditional network architectures toward digital, broadband, IP-based platforms. This convergence has been accompanied by increasing regulatory concern regarding the proper treatment of new networks and technologies. As regulators have shifted their attention toward these new technologies, Wilkinson Barker has played a critical role in advising clients and advocating those clients’ positions before a wide array of decision-making bodies, including the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service, the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, and various state agencies.
Wilkinson Barker’s experience with respect to broadband and other next-generation services includes taking a leading role in advocating clients’ positions with regard to the FCC’s National Broadband Plan; network neutrality regulation; online privacy; the allocation and auction of wireless broadband spectrum; the transition of universal service subsidies to support broadband networks; the classification and regulatory treatment of text messaging, VoIP, conferencing, and other next-generation services and applications; IP interconnection; fiber-optic loop unbundling; the creation of a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network; and the promotion of broadband adoption. Wilkinson Barker successfully represented a wide range of clients that obtained funding for broadband deployment under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and continues to advise funding recipients regarding their ongoing obligations. In addition, the firm regularly counsels clients with respect to the regulation of next-generation offerings, and assists clients in structuring their services to minimize legal and regulatory exposure.
We also assist our broadband clients in connection with their ongoing business activities, crafting customer disclosures, addressing privacy and data security issues, resolving siting and right-of-way disputes, negotiating backhaul and other agreements for necessary services, and licensing software and technology, among other things.
In light of industry-wide convergence, Wilkinson Barker’s work on broadband and next-generation technologies necessarily routinely overlaps with our work in other areas. Indeed, the issues faced by Internet service providers and other next-generation service providers often have their roots in requirements originally applied to telephone companies, cable providers, wireless providers, or other entities. Our clients benefit from our deep and long-standing expertise in these issues, and from our attorneys’ understanding of the ways in which applicable requirements have evolved over time.