FCC Updates International Section 214 Final Order and NPRM

The FCC has released the final version of its proposed international Section 214 updates, with a few minor but notable changes compared to the draft version we wrote about here. Specifically:

    • The final version clarifies the information that international Section 214 authorization holders will need to provide when updating their ownership information. Holders must report both their equity and voting interests, and specifically their “10% or greater direct or indirect foreign interest holders that hold such equity and/or voting interests.”

    • The draft version had sought comment on whether applicants for new authorizations or transfers of control should disclose whether they have agreements with “Managed Network Service Providers” (MNSPs), defined as “third parties with access to telecommunications network, systems, or records to provide Managed Services that support core domestic and international telecommunications services, functions, or operations.” The final version strengthens this to an actual proposal. The FCC is now proposing that applicants provide information concerning foreign-owned MNSPs, and also “on the facilities [applicants] use and/or will use to provide services between the United States and Canada and/or Mexico (cross border).” Additionally, the FCC wants applicants to disclose if they use equipment or services on the Commission’s “Covered List.”

In sum, when the FCC overhauls its rules, applicants should expect to provide substantially more information about their operations than was required in the past.

As explained in our earlier alert, the ownership update required by the Order will not be effective until it clears Office of Management and Budget review, which is not expected before late 2023 or early 2024.

Comments on the proposals will be due 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, and reply comments will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Publication tends to take three to four weeks, so comments are likely to be due at the end of July.

If you have questions about the updated draft or the Section 214 authorization proceeding in general, please contact an attorney in our Broadband, Spectrum, and Communications Infrastructure practice group.