EB mediates and adjudicates complex disputes filed by market participants, entities, or organizations against common carriers (47 U.S.C. ยง 208), commercial mobile data services providers (47 CFR ยง 20.12), or utility pole owners (47 U.S.C. ยง 224).

Before parties enter into formal litigation at the FCC, parties are strongly encouraged to settle or narrow the dispute on an informal basis. To assist the parties, EB attorneys are available to conduct voluntary mediations. Parties may initiate confidential mediation before filing a formal complaint by submitting a request in writing.

Market participants, entities, or organizations may file a Section 208 complaint against common carriers (wireline, wireless or international carriers). Section 208 of the Act provides that any person complaining of anything done or omitted to be done by any common carrier in contravention of the Act may file a complaint with the Commission. Section 208 complaints may be filed using the informal or formal complaint process or, in certain instances, the Accelerated Docket.

The informal common carrier complaint process enables complainants to resolve disputes without the time and expense associated with formal complaint adjudication. In addition, filing an informal complaint will toll the statute of limitations deadline that otherwise would apply to the dispute.

Formal complaints are subject to detailed procedural rules and filing requirements. In most cases, parties to formal complaints are represented by attorneys familiar with FCC procedures, and a filing fee is required for all formal complaints. The formal complaint process is similar to federal court litigation in that it involves a complaint, answer, and reply, and often discovery, motions, and briefs. A formal complaint must contain as much factual support as possible at the initial filing stage. Because the FCC has discretion to reject later briefing, parties must provide well-reasoned legal arguments in their initial pleadings. Formal complaint proceedings result in a written order issued by the Enforcement Bureau or the full Commission.

Lastly, section 224 of the Communications Act authorizes the FCC to regulate attachments by cable television systems or providers of telecommunications service to utility poles, ducts, conduits, and rights-of-way. The FCC has a statutory duty to ensure that the rates, terms, and conditions for attachments are just and reasonable, and that cable television systems and telecommunications carriers have non-discriminatory access to utility poles, ducts, conduits, and rights-of-way.

Specific Adjudicatory Processes and Services

Major Adjudicatory Areas

 

Bureau/Office: 

Updated: 
Tuesday, December 20, 2022