Dow Lohnes has expertise in all substantive areas of telecommunications law. The firm’s communications practice represents wireline telecommunications service providers; providers of broadband services; other technology companies; and entities with a need to know how the telecommunications landscape affects their non-telecommunications businesses, including large users of telecommunications services. Telecommunications clients range in size from start-up companies to some of the largest carriers in the business. The group also represents investment firms, commercial banks, service providers and other telecommunications businesses in connection with private and public equity and debt financing transactions. This work includes prosecuting transfer of control applications both at the FCC and before “Team Telecom,” which includes staff from the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security who evaluate homeland security issues raised by FCC applications.
For more than 25 years, Dow Lohnes has focused its telecommunications practice on the development of competition, particularly in local telephone markets. The firm’s work has included representation on all of the key issues related to competition, including interconnection, universal service, telephone number portability, privacy and entry into rural markets. Lawyers specializing in the telecommunications industry have extensive experience in FCC and state regulatory proceedings, in legislative matters at both the federal and state level, and in federal and state courts. This work has included interconnection arbitrations, rural exemption proceedings and enforcement of interconnection terms and conditions at both the federal and state level. In many cases, Dow Lohnes clients have been pioneers, including one of the first successful contested applications for CLEC status in a rural area, the first interconnection arbitration at the FCC and some of the first successful petitions to revoke rural exemptions from the competition requirements of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
Dow Lohnes lawyers regularly counsel clients on compliance with the requirements of the FCC’s operational rules, such as the rules governing use of customer information and the federal “E-rate” program. They also provide advice on changes in laws, regulations and policies and on how those changes affect its clients’ interests. As providers have shifted to providing voice over IP and as the FCC has asserted broader regulatory authority over this service, the firm has assisted clients in navigating the regulatory landscape. Dow Lohnes lawyers have counseled clients on compliance with the evolving FCC rules, including E911 obligations, universal service contributions and CALEA requirements, and have worked with clients to address policy issues arising out of the FCC’s longstanding IP-Enabled Service proceeding.
Finally, Dow Lohnes regularly counsels clients who are engaged in communications contract negotiations. The firm assists clients in acquiring long distance service, local telephone service, equipment and advanced services from a wide variety of vendors. The firm’s engagements in this area have included advising clients on contract negotiation, preparation of RFPs and contract compliance issues. In addition to evaluating contractual language and regulatory issues affecting proposed agreements, the communications lawyers of Dow Lohnes also provide advice on industry and regulatory trends that could determine whether specific proposals will be advantageous or disadvantageous to clients.