Telecom, Internet & Media

Steptoe’s Telecom, Internet & Media practice has been named “best in the field” by Legal 500 because our lawyers understand not just how to navigate the maze of laws and regulations affecting telecommunications, Internet, and media companies, but also understand how those rules were constructed and how they can be applied, or sometimes changed, to meet our clients’ business needs.

Alongside our colleagues in the Government Affairs and Litigation Groups, we work with our clients to develop legislative, judicial, and executive branch strategies for reshaping laws and regulations to conform to our clients’ business needs and interests. We also have extensive experience counseling clients on transactions involving regulatory licenses, as well as prosecuting those transactions before the FCC and state regulators.

US and International Regulatory. Steptoe represents some of the world’s leading and most innovative international companies in the telecommunications and Internet sectors on a wide array of federal regulatory matters before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the US Departments of State, Commerce, Justice, Treasury, and Defense, the US Trade Representative, and the US Congress. We are also globally recognized for our work before European and international regulators, including the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrators (CEPT), and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

  • Satellite Communications. Steptoe boasts a long and storied history in domestic and international regulation of satellite communications. Whether transferring authorizations, prosecuting satellite and earth-station applications, or pressing for reform of related FCC processes, we provide our clients with extensive experience, timely strategic advice, and practical knowledge.
  • Video Programming. As the distribution of video programming becomes further enmeshed in regulatory minutia, our clients look to us to help refine their distribution systems to meet these requirements and to advocate on their behalf to tailor those requirements to the ever-changing market.
  • Telecommunications. Our telecommunications clients rely on us to provide them with timely and sage advice on a variety of topics from general licensing matters, prosecuting transactions involving FCC licenses, and developing and implementing long-term strategies for changing FCC policy.
  • E-Commerce/Internet. Steptoe advises clients on all aspects of online trading and content provision. We have represented industry associations and high-tech companies on e-commerce legal issues, including encryption, digital signatures, domain names, privacy, information security, and Internet and e-commerce taxation.
  • Wiretapping, Data Security, and Privacy. Steptoe is at the cutting edge of law and regulations in this area, boasting some of the leading legal minds. Whether assessing internal procedures in the event of a data breach, responding to FTC investigations on privacy issues, coordinating cybersecurity operations with Homeland Security, or pressing for legislative changes on the Hill, Steptoe has expertise that cannot be found elsewhere.
  • Export Control. For our international clients, Steptoe handles numerous export-control matters. Blending legal and practical advice, Steptoe provides its clients with counseling on licensing issues, making jurisdictional assessments, responding to investigations and enforcement actions, and developing and implementing internal corporate compliance regimes.

Legislative. The US Congress is poised to make significant changes to the laws affecting communications companies, and Steptoe’s Telecom, Internet & Media practice is positioned to ensure that Congress makes the right choices for our clients with the help of the extensive experience and contacts with the Hill provided by our Government Affairs Group. Steptoe lawyers advocate to successfully protect the interests of our communications clients.

Litigation. Working hand-in-hand with our Litigation Group, Steptoe brings the full weight of its district and appellate court litigation experience to bear on behalf of our clients.

  • Appellate Litigation. When the regulatory machine breaks down, the litigators need to step in, and Steptoe has extensive appellate litigation expertise in regulatory matters and regularly appears before the Supreme Court and circuit courts on behalf of our clients.
  • Media. Steptoe represents individuals and entities engaged in national, state, and local media in defending against defamation, invasion of privacy, and related claims; prosecutes public records litigation under the Freedom of Information Act; responds to civil, criminal, and grand-jury subpoenas seeking testimony from reporters; and reviews content to minimize the likelihood of any successful defamation, privacy, or other action against the media company.
  • Bankruptcy. Steptoe provides bankruptcy counseling and litigation support to companies pursuing FCC licenses held in bankrupt entities.

Transactional. Steptoe advises clients on a wide variety of telecommunications transactional matters, from mergers and acquisitions to service agreements and equipment contracts.

  • We have counseled clients on, and prosecuted applications for, transactions involving the sale of both foreign and domestic satellite systems and authorizations.
  • Our expertise includes corporate, tax, securities, intellectual property, antitrust, bankruptcy, and related issues.
  • We can also provide our clients with introductions to sources of financing, strategic partners, and content providers.


  • Recommended, Legal 500 US, 2007, 2009-2017 — Media, Technology, & Telecoms: Telecoms and Broadcast – Regulatory
  • Recommended, Legal 500 US, 2007, 2009-2017 — Media, Technology, & Telecoms: Telecoms and Broadcast – Transactional
  • Ranked, Chambers USA, 2008-2017 - Telecom, Broadcast & Satellite: Regulatory (District of Columbia)

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