House and Senate to FCC: Did the Commission REALLY…

Yesterday (1/30/19) Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote to FCC Chairman Pai asking for information regarding allegations that FCC staff tried to game the federal judicial system in connection with the current litigation over the Commission’s 5G orders.

The letter opens with the following:

Dear Chairman Pai,

As you know, reports have surfaced that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) staff may have encouraged wireless carriers to file suit against the September 2018 FCC rule on 5G small cell deployment. It has been alleged this was done with the goal of moving litigation out of the Ninth Circuit. What’s worse, there are also allegations that FCC staff may have implicitly threatened licensees that were not helpful. If true, this represents an unprecedented level of coordination between an oversight agency and the entities it regulates for the express purpose of preventing a federal circuit court’s review. We therefore ask you provide additional information about these cases and the FCC’s role in them.

This Senate inquiry follows a 1/24/19 letter to Chairman Pai from the House’s Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Chairman, Frank Pallone, Jr., (D-NJ) and the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Mike Doyle (D-PA). That letter included the following:

It has come to our attention that certain individuals at the FCC may have urged companies to challenge the Order the Commission adopted in order to game the judicial lottery procedure and intimated the agency would look unfavorably towards entities that were not helpful. If true, it would be inappropriate for the FCC to leverage its power as a regulator to influence regulated companies to further its agenda in seeking a more friendly court.

Both letters start to dig into what appear to be the hallmarks of a captured federal agency; an agency that may have lost its independence, objectivity, and duty to protect the public in favor of coordinating and protecting with those the agency is charged with regulating, here wireless, telephone, and cable firms.

The allegations, if true, are likely to shake the FCC from top to middle, and also impact (read: scare) other regulated-friendly federal agencies.

The two letters are linked below:

1/30/19 Senate Letter to FCC Chairman Pai

1/24/19 House Letter to FCC Chairman Pai



Mo-Mobilitie and Two Major Bob Announcements

Back in October I had a few (or more) rather critical words to say about a Mobilitie presentation at AGL/Kansas City.  Here’s a link to the post: Mobilitie: Fake News; FCC Fines; and Churchill’s Barking Dog.  My aim in that post was clearly on Mr. Jason Caliento, the Executive Vice President of Network Strategy at Mobilitie.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the AGL/Newport Beach conference, where Mr. Caliento spoke once again.

Things last week were a bit different.  Mr. Caliento’s comments were focused on the progress made by Mobilitie, and a renewed commitment to working with local governments.

I found Mr. Caliento’s comments at AGL/Newport Beach this time to be more subdued, heartfelt, and informative.  More importantly, since October, I’ve seen a continuing positive change and improvement in how Mobilitie staff is addressing planning cases with our clients.  That change and improvement are welcome, and I’m pleased to acknowledge it.  I intended to say those things to Mr. Caliento directly during the Q&A portion of his presentation, but time ran out.

Here’s the first announcement: I’m going to be starting a wireless regulation podcast in coming month. That podcast will be a mix of information and interviews of industry and government wireless policy and thought leaders.  The goal of the podcast is to inform without stooping to a ‘gotcha’ approach. For that reason, I’ll be providing guest with questions and subjects in advance to give the quest time to think about and then provide complete and thoughtful answers. Of course, follow-up questions come as they may.

There’s no name for the podcast yet, so if you have any ideas you’re willing to give to me without strings please send them on to me.  In the meantime, I’ll simply refer to the podcast as “Bob.” That’s the name I tend to use for all new projects that have yet to settle on a final identification.

Here’s the second announcement, and I’m particularly pleased about this: Mr. Caliento has agreed to be my first guest on the initial podcast.

I’ll be posting Bob updates here as we get closer to the initial podcast.  The podcast will immediately be available here, and eventually on one or more of the well-known podcast platforms.


PS: If you’ve got some ideas for people I should interview on Bob, please send them along to me. -jlk




HUGE! 10th Cir Denies Stay in FCC Case then Xfers to 9th Cir.

In the ongoing sage of local governments trying to bring sense back to cell siting after the FCC’s industry-driven September Small Wireless Facilities Order, the 10th Circuit today ORDERED that (a) it would not issue a stay of the FCC’s order, but then (b) ORDERED the case to be transferred to the 9th Circuit!

This is HUGE, and places the case exactly where it should have been heard in the first place.  The denial of the stay was by a summary action, without giving a basis.  The transfer order clearly explained why the case properly belongs in the 9th Circuit.

I’ve attached both orders below.


__190110 Order Denying Motion for Stay

__10th cir order granting transfer to 9th cirFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail