Axley’s representation of locally owned telecommunications companies began in 1918 when E.J.B. Schubring represented the entrepreneurs who formed Commonwealth Telephone Company, which became GTE and is now Verizon. Axley’s representation of telecommunications companies grew in the 1940s. Floyd Brynelson, a member of the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association Hall of Fame, traveled the state helping local telephone companies obtain much needed federal loans. Since that time, Axley has expanded its client base to include competitive local exchange carriers, long distance providers, wireless carriers, cable television companies and internet service providers. Today Axley telecommunications attorneys represent over 70 such entities, primarily in Wisconsin, but also in Illinois, Iowa and Michigan.
Axley has been at the forefront in not only creating the laws that shape the telecommunications, cable and internet industries but in developing and implementing business plans that seek to take advantage of new rules and regulations. Daniel Hardy served on the industry task force that participated in creation of the Wisconsin Telecommunications Act in the early 1990s. Later, when the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 was enacted, Mr. Hardy helped create the first ILEC affiliated CLEC in Wisconsin. Axley attorneys prepared and obtained approval of the first alternative regulation plan in Wisconsin and were involved in the first proceeding seeking interconnection from a rural ILEC. In more recent years, through Dan Hardy and Judd Genda, Axley has served as counsel for telecommunications providers seeking to have a voice in generic policymaking dockets at the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) and numerous disputes regarding CLEC certifications as well as lead negotiator in an industry attempt to resolve interconnection disputes with wireless carriers.
As the fast-paced and highly technical telecommunications, cable and internet industries evolve and converge, Axley telecommunications attorneys have represented clients with respect to a wide array of matters.
Matters Axley telecommunications attorneys have experience with include:
- Contract drafting
- Development of regulating business strategies
- Negotiations with PSC and FCC staff, competitors and suppliers
- Preparation of applications to regulatory commissions and federal, state and local governmental bodies
- Preparation of comments, motions to intervene, testimony and briefs, etc., in PSC and FCC dockets
- Representation of and advising clients regarding telecommunications, cable and internet law, including orders, decisions, and rulings of the PSC and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as well as state and federal court decisions interpreting the same
- Representation of and advising clients with respect to labor and employment matters, including union negotiations
- Representation of and advising clients with respect to RUS financing
- Representation of and counseling clients with respect to corporate reorganization, commercial transactions, financing, real estate, tax planning, intellectual property, anti-trust and environmental law
- Representation of cable companies in negotiations of cable franchise agreements with municipalities and in agreements with content providers and equipment manufacturers
- Representation of clients before the FCC with respect to matters such as complaints, assignments and transfer of control and compliance issues
- Representation of clients before the PSC in public hearings, arbitrations, and contested cases involving a wide array of matters, including pricing plans, complaints, compliance issues and certification issues
- Representation of clients in all aspects of mergers, acquisitions and sales
- Representation of clients with respect to challenging PSC decisions at the appellate level
- Representation of telecommunications providers in interconnection agreement negotiations, mediations and arbitrations