We would like to ensure that you are still receiving content that you find useful – please confirm that you would like to continue to receive ILO newsletters.
15 January 2021
For the first time, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will have formal rules governing the process for Team Telecom review of licence applications involving foreign ownership. However, the FCC declined to adopt exclusions for applications that have undergone review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) on the grounds that CFIUS review analyses distinct foreign ownership concerns.
The FCC's report and order adopting new rules to formally establish the Team Telecom review process were set to take effect on 28 December 2020, for the aspects of the report and order that do not require Office of Management and Budget approval. The FCC's actions follow President Trump's 4 April 2020 executive order (EO 13913) establishing the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector to formalise the previously ad hoc Team Telecom review process (for further details please see "Team Telecom emerges from shadows and FCC cracks down on Chinese telecoms companies").
For more than 20 years, the FCC has referred certain licence applications involving foreign ownership to several executive branch agencies for their review of any national security, law enforcement, foreign policy or trade policy issues relating to those applications. In 2016 the FCC sought comment on proposals to improve aspects of this informal referral and review process, but that proceeding lay dormant until Trump issued EO 13913, which set out specific timeframes for the committee's review of certain FCC applications and the types of recommendation that the committee can make to the FCC in response to referred applications.
The report and order has four main aspects:
Notably, over executive branch objections, the FCC will generally exclude from committee referral certain applications that it believes present a low or minimal risk to national security, law enforcement, foreign policy and trade concerns. The following applications will generally be excluded from referral:
In contrast, the FCC declined to adopt other exclusions proposed by stakeholders, including applications that have undergone review by CFIUS, on the grounds that CFIUS review analyses distinct foreign ownership concerns.
Applicants, with the exception of certain broadcast petitioners, will also be required to certify that they will:
For further information on this topic please contact Adam D Bowser at Arent Fox LLP by telephone (+1 202 857 6000) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Arent Fox LLP website can be accessed at www.arentfox.com.
The materials contained on this website are for general information purposes only and are subject to the disclaimer.
ILO is a premium online legal update service for major companies and law firms worldwide. In-house corporate counsel and other users of legal services, as well as law firm partners, qualify for a free subscription.