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International Bureau Seeks Comment on Executive Branch Review Process

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On Monday, April 27, 2020, the Commission released a Public Notice (“Notice”) announcing that it has entered the April 4, 2020 Team Telecom Executive Order 13913 (“Executive Order”) into the Executive Branch Review Process proceeding and seeks comment on the effect of the Order on the Commission’s proposed rules and procedures in the June 2016 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“2016 NPRM”) (IB Docket No. 16-155).

As you may recall, the President signed the Executive Order establishing the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector (“Committee”). Among other things, the Order set out procedures and timeframes for the Committee’s review of applications referred by the Commission. The Committee’s main functions will be to (1) review applications and licenses for risks to national security and law enforcement interests; and (2) respond to any risks by recommending to the Commission how it should act on those applications and licenses.

The Notice seeks comment on the effect of the Executive Order on the proposals set out in the 2016 NPRM, and how it affects the specific proposals and issues raised, particularly whether the Executive Order requires any different rules to improve timeliness and transparency. The Commission specifically seeks comment from the Executive Branch on the impact of the Order in this proceeding and how the Committee should proceed with applications and certifications.

The Notice also invites interested parties to refresh the record with new facts or circumstances that have occurred since the 2016 NPRM comment period. The 2016 NPRM initially sought comment on (1) types of applications to be referred to the executive branch; (2) the information that should be provided by an applicant with reportable foreign ownership to facilitate Executive Branch review; (3) certifications to be made by an applicant that it will comply with mitigation measures; and (4) timeframes for review, suggesting a 90-day review period with one 90-day extension.