The International Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a Public Notice describing a change in the procedure and timing for United States Department of State (State Department) review of submarine cable landing license applications. Submarine cable landing license applications must be approved by both the FCC and the State Department under the Cable Landing License Act of 1921. In addition, such applications must be referred to the Committee for the Assessment of Foreign Participation in the United States Telecommunications Services Sector (Committee, commonly referred to as Team Telecom) for its review and any recommendations where the application may raise national security or law enforcement concerns.
Going forward, all cable landing license applications pending as of February 23, 2022 will be reviewed by the State Department in one of two ways:
- Where the FCC refers the application to both the State Department and the Committee, the State Department will begin an initial 10-day review after the FCC notifies it of the Committee’s review and any recommendations. If the State Department notifies the FCC it needs more time during that 10-day period, the application may not be considered approved until the State Department sends written notification of its approval to the FCC.
- Where the FCC refers the application to the State Department but not the Committee, the State Department will begin a 30-day review period. The application will be deemed approved by the State Department if it does not notify the FCC of objections within that 30-day period. An application may not be considered approved while any State Department objection is pending.
These procedures and timelines are in addition to the procedures and timelines applicable to FCC and/or Committee review.