Clifford M. Harrington
Pillsbury has been involved with the full scope of satellite law since the 1970s. We actively represent our clients before the FCC and other federal agencies and international organizations with jurisdiction over satellite issues. We advise our clients on regulatory issues concerning domestic and international spectrum allocation and coordination that arise in implementing a communications satellite program.
Satellite radio is a new consumer service. The firm has represented XM, the nation’s first and largest provider of satellite radio service, since its formation almost 15 years ago. We advise the company on FCC and international regulatory issues, federal legislation, and transactional, procurement, export control, and intellectual property matters.
Mobile Satellite Service
The firm has represented the first entity licensed by the FCC to provide mobile satellite service (MSS) since its formation in the 1980s, including its recent successful efforts to provide ancillary terrestrial service. We regularly provide advice on FCC and international regulatory issues, as well as transactional, export control, and intellectual property matters. Our team members have also represented MSS consortium participants in structuring joint ventures in a number of countries around the world.
Direct Broadcast Satellite
In the multi channel video programming marketplace, satellite providers have emerged as a competitive alternative to cable systems. Our firm helped the first direct broadcast satellite operator obtain its initial licenses and has successfully represented those seeking the orbital and spectrum resources needed to launch direct broadcast satellites or direct-to-home video services, and in forging partnerships with other industry participants.
Earth Station Licensing
Our firm is involved in all aspects of preparing and prosecuting applications with the FCC for authority to operate transmit/receive earth stations and to register receive-only earth stations in Fixed Satellite Service bands (such as C-band, Ku-band, and Ka-band) and in Mobile Satellite Service bands (L-band and S-band). We also assist earth station operators in negotiating coordination agreements with other spectrum users and obtaining local zoning approvals.
Broadband Radio and Educational Broadband Services (Multipoint Distribution Service and Instructional Television Fixed Service)
For over 20 years we have provided regulatory and transactional assistance to clients involved in the Broadband Radio Service (BRS)—formerly known as Multipoint Distribution Service (MMDS or MDS) and Educational Broadband Service (EBS)—formerly known as Instructional Television Fixed Service (ITFS). The firm has been actively engaged in the recent FCC proceedings to transition these frequencies into spectrum capable of providing advanced two-way broadband service.
New Communications Technologies
Due to recent technological, competitive and regulatory developments, the communications industry has never been more dynamic. Pillsbury is at the cutting-edge of these important changes. We represent some of the most innovative companies in the industry, including developers of the equipment, software and components that enable next-generation networks and services, as well as providers of new applications and services. We guide our clients through the regulatory process of obtaining governmental approval for new technologies, and help them to protect their intellectual property, raise financing and establish important partnerships and alliances. For example, as spectrum becomes increasingly scarce, innovators have developed ways to make more efficient uses of these resources. The firm successfully represented two satellite operators (one MSS operator and one satellite radio operator) in obtaining the authority to operate terrestrial base stations to more effectively reuse satellite spectrum in urban areas. We also represented one of the first entities to propose the use of broadcast television channels for ancillary data services.