Telecommunications Professionals

For over twenty years, Schwaninger & Associates has been providing high quality, cost effective representation of individuals and companies before the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Court of Appeals, and Congress. Our assistance for clients goes beyond regulatory issues, and extends into both the business and technical aspects of telecommunications. Indeed, we have negotiated and prepared thousands of contracts to support our clients' efforts in making higher revenues and often identify and help clients take advantage of new opportunities.

Appellate Practice

When an aggrieved party has exhausted all available remedies at the agency level, the only remaining means for seeking relief is via appellate review of the agency's decision. Appellate work is labor intensive and procedurally sensitive. However, there are times when it is the only avenue of relief and we are prepared to help when that is your only alternative.

Assignments/Transfers of Control

Any sale of a license or change in ownership of a licensed entity requires the filing of an assignment or transfer of control application with the FCC. Conducting these types of filings is a lengthy and time consuming process, as there are multiple stages to the application process before final grant. Also, asset purchases incorporating the assignment of licenses usually provide for certain time requirements for the assignment, as well as representations and warranties. The failure of a party to conduct a proper assignment or transfer can lead to an array of problems not only before the FCC, but also in contract. An improper assignment can undermine an asset sale and potentially subject a party to litigation for breach of contract. Also, many of the uninitiated mistakenly believe that no further action is required once an assignment is consented to by the FCC; and we have been witness to the FCC canceling licenses for a party failing to file a simple consummation notice. Without the filing of a consummation notice and subsequent FCC grant, an assignee who begins operating under the parameters of the alleged assigned license may find itself subjected to an enforcement action for unauthorized operation. This is just one example of the problems that can result from faulty assignments. Our firm's years of experience in assignments and transfers of control provide us with the knowledge to avoid those small, careless errors that might lead to rather huge ramifications.


The FCC employs a unique method of auctioning channels, bands of spectrum and other wireless opportunities. Our firm has successfully represented dozens of entities in numerous FCC auctions and is fully adept in representing clients' interests in FCC auctions. We understand and apply correctly the attribution rules and polices for obtaining small business credits for eligible clients. If you are in the business or are looking to enter via an FCC spectrum auction, we are prepared to help.


This area of telecommunications has heated up, and the rules continue to be in flux as the FCC attempts to move the market into a new, deregulated arena. Our clients rely on us to assist them in drafting the agreements and filing the documents which will assure them smooth sailing through the churning seas of broadcast.

Commercial Radio

Companies that provide commercial radio service, like paging, cellular, and other CMRS operations, must be vigilant in their efforts to maintain operations within the boundaries of regulation. Our many years of service in assuring that licensing, contracts, and site acquisitions are performed in a manner which increases opportunity, while decreasing business risk, has helped our clients improve their bottom lines and prevent problems before the FCC. We are one of the industry leaders in negotiations with local exchange carriers (LEC) to assure fairness under law in our clients' interconnection agreements.

Enforcement Matters

With the Enforcement Bureau now its own, distinct body within the FCC, it has become readily apparent that enforcement of the Commission's rules and regulations has become a priority. Although the Enforcement Bureau does not come calling unless there are violations of federal laws and policies, often these violations are unintentional and, indeed, unknown to licensees who find themselves within the cross hairs of the Bureau. Schwaninger & Associates has represented parties in many monetary forfeiture proceedings, wherein the Enforcement Bureau has invoked hefty fines for certain rule violations. In many cases, when facts and circumstances warrant, our firm has successfully caused the FCC to reduce or eliminate those fines imposed on an unsuspecting party. We have also represented companies that find themselves the victims of occasional license revocation proceedings and even disqualification proceedings by the Enforcement Bureau - actions which could result in the potential loss of a license or the outright disqualification from ever holding an FCC license again.

Equipment Authorization

One of the biggest mistakes that many manufacturers make is forgetting that the FCC rules for equipment authorizations are laws, not engineering specifications. The assistance of a skilled, qualified legal professional can sometimes be vital in accelerating your company's speed to market as it transverses the expanse between prototype and authorized equipment for import or sale. Our firm represents many foreign and domestic manufacturers of radio frequency emitting equipment, ensuring that their devices comply with the technical specifications, rules and policies of the Federal Communications Commission. There are also times when informal internal FCC policies, although unsupported by law, can halt the processing of a manufacturer's application. We employ our expertise and the law to overcome these often unanticipated impediments.

Experimental Licensing

Unorthodox uses of wireless devices are sometimes necessary to forward your company, university, scientific group, or organization's efforts. For instance, there are times when the only solution to a desired radio use is experimental licensing. Qualifying for this type of authorization can be complex and frustrating for the uninitiated. Schwaninger & Associates has years of experience in navigating the maze of rules and regulatory policies behind this particular authorization method.

Harmful Interference Issues

A growing area of frustration for many radio operators is the increasing incidence of harmful electrical interference. With our help, we can turn your frustration into action to obtain a remedy for your problems. Employing the FCC, courts, or just a letter explaining to the offending party that their system is operating in violation of law, we will employ the necessary and appropriate resources to assist in resolving your interference problem.

Industrial Radio

Maintaining a company's portfolio of vital FCC licenses can be a daunting task and with constant changes in regulation, a company's technical adviser may not be equipped to assure that the company's license portfolio is kept current, efficient, and in accord with FCC rule changes. We have helped fleet operators, utility companies, distribution plants, and others understand and navigate complex and ever-changing FCC regulations and build on their portfolios to increase the efficiencies gained through good licensing methods.

Informal and Formal Complaints

Starting only few short years ago, the FCC finally began devoting the resources and personnel to its complaint proceedings, reducing the amount of time in which decisions might be obtained. This beneficial change has created a valuable avenue for remedies to aggrieved persons who may have a claim against a telecommunications carrier. We have tremendous experience in both prosecuting and defending against claims, employing the FCC's complaint procedures, and are fully familiar with the complex rules and policies associated with complaints before the FCC.

Interconnection Agreements

For those operators who rely on telephone services, such as DID lines, SS-7 facilities, and the like, the terms of your agreements with the Local Exchange Carriers (LEC) are critical to the success of your business. In negotiating these agreements, whether Type I or II, you must be supported by persons who are knowledgeable about the law and types of agreements offered by the various LECs, to assure that your deal provides maximum value and protection to your business.

ITFS Licensing

Our firm has represented numerous school districts and educational institutions in preparing, filing and processing to receive grants from the FCC for these valuable licenses for Instructional Television Fixed Systems. Following grant, we have negotiated successfully numerous excess capacity lease agreements, creating highly beneficial private-public partnerships that result in high quality remote learning possibilities, while generating additional revenues to support school budgets. We take great pleasure in helping schools identify and take advantage of these opportunities.


Our firm has extensive experience in obtaining all forms of FCC authority for operation of wireless communications facilities. From amateur radio to the sophisticated licensing which is required for fully integrated personal communications systems, we are skilled and prepared to provide licensees and applicants with quality representation. The task of filing new FCC applications, modifications and renewals may seem relatively simple and straightforward. However, when done improperly the results can have a detrimental impact on a business. Ineffective renewals can cause the cancellation of a license. Improper modifications can create operating discrepancies and, consequently, result in unwanted FCC audits and potential demands for monetary forfeitures. New applications can be rejected by frequency coordinators and the FCC, resulting in needless delays to one's implementation of service and problems and complaints from customers. Those who go it alone often find themselves frustrated with the licensing process, having made an investment, but gotten no closer to acquiring their desired licenses. Schwaninger & Associates can help if you have become mired in the confusion and inconvenience of wireless licensing procedures, or if you simply wish to avoid it.


The FCC's rules regarding microwave can vary from rule part to rule part, and rules have been changing yearly, further complicating the issue. Also, there are often engineering problems to be overcome depending on frequency, location and uses. It sometimes requires a professional skilled in both engineering and law to bring them togther seamlessly to assure that a microwave system provides a company with the greatest efficiency in microwave use and authority. Our firm assists in assuring that a company's intended use and business plans for microwave are forwarded properly before the Federal Communications Commission.

Public Safety

Our firm assists public safety entities, both private and governmental, with the proper maintenance of their FCC licenses. More importantly, we strive to keep these entities well informed as to changes in regulation that are affecting everything from bandwidth to interoperability. Even in areas of great spectrum congestion, we have helped entities increase their channel portfolios through creative means. We understand that public safety operations are of vital societal importance, especially in these turbulent times. Commercial and private radio interference with public safety operations is simply unacceptable and, with the serious safety of life concerns related to their operations, we believe public safety operators - large or small - should be represented with the utmost diligence.


Schwaninger & Associates recognizes that the telecommunications industry relies on resellers, distributors, and independent representatives of equipment manufacturers and carriers. We help resellers assure that their relationships with manufacturers and carriers is equitable and that the products and services sold into the market do not carry with them unnecessary risk or liability.

Resale of Broadband Facilities

As this area grows with the advent of a variety of competing resellers of T-1 and T-3 lines, resellers must assure that both their contracts with the telephone providers and their customers provide the necessary protections for the long-term stability of their businesses. We are experienced in assuring that your business will not be saddled with unwanted liability arising out of the crossfire between your duties to the carrier and to your customers.

Rule Makings

Rule makings, a cornerstone of administrative law, is probably one of the most predominant roles of the Federal Communications Commission, and it is rule makings that generate the ever changing laws of the telecommunications industry. However, the FCC cannot institute new rules and policies without first soliciting comments from the marketplace. A commenting party's participation in rule making proceedings can have an overwhelmingly persuasive effect on the final outcome, but perseverance supported by fact and law are pivotal to success. Schwaninger & Associates has extensive experience representing parties' interests with absolute diligence in rule making proceedings. It is our firm's role to be vigilant in tracking the Commission's rule makings, keep clients up to date on all matters that may effect their business interests and, when necessary, intensely represent those interests through the comment process. On several occasions, we have also placed before the FCC petitions for rule making, requesting that the FCC initiate rule making proceedings addressing certain matters that would better the industry as a whole.

School and Library Fund Issues

When your educational institution is attempting to obtain necessary grant money from the Fund, it is important to know your rights and duties in applying for this valuable opportunity. We have represented hundreds of schools in assuring that their applications to the Fund received the greatest advantage in terms of timing and acceptability.

Special Temporary Authority

The normal FCC licensing process and procedures can take a good deal of time, and in some situations an entity may not have the luxury of time. In these cases, the use of an STA may be the solution. For instance, certain events may require a licensee to relocate existing facilities, and the use of an STA can ensure that the licensee's service can continue during the often lengthy license modification procedure. Or, one may wish to employ radio communications for a short term, non-recurring service where the regular 5 or 10 year authorization is not appropriate. For example, temporary operating authority is often sought in conjunction with sporting and large community events. When a wireless facility needs to be up and running quickly or for a short term, Schwaninger & Associates can rapidly prepare and file those FCC documents necessary to gain authority to conduct temporary operations.

Spectrum Use Agreements

Although always in popular use throughout the industry, these agreements are subject to strict scrutiny by the FCC to determine whether your contract is enforceable. With the advent of secondary markets via disaggregation and partitioning, the formation of these agreements is becoming more important. However, many of these agreements might not be created in accord with FCC regulation and some are, themselves, a violation of law. Before you risk your business on a contract which might land you before the FCC Enforcement Bureau, it would serve you well to check with a professional who can assure that the deal you make today, you will not regret tomorrow.

Universal Service Fund Issues

Ever since the FCC created its Universal Service initiative to first, provide telephone service to rural America, and then later, to derive financing to augment bringing internet service to schools and libraries, telecommunications providers of all kinds have been required to contribute to this effort. Schwaninger & Associates is available to discuss and advise a company regarding its obligations to the fund, or how an institution might benefit from the fund.


For over a decade, our firm has prepared valuations of telecommunications assets, with an emphasis on spectrum, radio systems, towers, and the businesses that own them. A business' assets are its lifesource, and our thorough valuations help our clients to better understand and appreciate the value of their assets as well as to decide when is the right time to invest, expand, sell or stand pat as their business matures. Our expertise in private and commercial radio matters, as well as our vast experience with communications towers, has allowed us to develop valuation methods accepted throughout the industry, and we pride ourselves on our ability to offer this important service in an objective manner and in a way that is clear, concise and effective.


The Federal Communications Commission's rules do not always fit every circumstance and situation. In light of this, the FCC allows for the filing for a waiver of rules when appropriate and justified - often in a situation where a waiver is in the public interest. Such a waiver can be a valuable tool for avoiding violation of FCC rules, allowing more effective use of your radio system and perhaps even helping to garner a competitive advantage in the marketplace.


This explosive area of services and technology sets atop precarious legal history. Despite the promises of flexible application for wireless data transfer, persons relying on the long-term viability of their system must be aware of the possible pitfalls and problems which can arise without notice in this emerging area of FCC regulation, amid market explosion. Before you invest thousands of dollars in your Wi-Fi use, it is important that you get all of the facts to assure that your decision is the right one for you.