Keep up with the latest developments and legal issues in the telecommunications and emerging technology sectors, with exclusive access to a comprehensive collection of telecommunications law news,...
By Lydia Beyoud
Nov. 28 — The Federal Communications Commission has shelved an effort to streamline an interagency review process for proposed mergers involving foreign businesses, the agency confirmed to Bloomberg BNA on Nov. 28.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler decided to halt the effort regarding “Team Telecom” merger reviews after a Nov. 10 letter from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration opposing a proposed 90-day review deadline.
The NTIA represents a host of federal agencies involved in such efforts to review telecom mergers involving foreign entities. The review process typically includes the U.S. Commerce, Homeland Security, Justice, and State departments, among others, that review mergers for national security and trade issues. Industry groups have criticized the process as a “black box” that can add months to an already lengthy FCC review process.
“We believe that establishing rigid time periods for processing applications would be premature, and reiterate our proposal that the Commission issue the rule without timeframes so that it can assess its impact on the Executive Branch’s ability to expedite its reviews,” the NTIA said in its letter.
The NTIA’s strong opposition to the proposed 90-day deadline made it unlikely the two agencies would have been able to reach a compromise on a final set of rules before the FCC’s Dec. 15 meeting. The NTIA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The number of applications involving foreign ownership interests has increased in recent years. International telecom companies and their U.S. subsidiaries, including T-Mobile US Inc.'s parent company, Deutsche Telekom, Inc., as well as BT Americas Inc., Orange Business Services U.S. Inc. and Telefonica Internacional USA, Inc., urged the FCC to impose even shorter 75-day deadlines, according to an Aug. 18 filing.
The Republican FCC chairman to be appointed by President-elect Donald Trump may resume the streamlining effort, which the telecom industry widely backs, several industry sources told Bloomberg BNA on background.
Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly was spearheading the effort to speed up the Team Telecom review process, and had advocated for hard deadlines in order to make it easier for U.S. companies to gain foreign investment. Wheeler also supported stricter Team Telecom response times, saying June 24 that the deadlines would make the process “more predictable and transparent” for everyone involved.
To contact the reporter on this story: Lydia Beyoud in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at email@example.com
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)