Joseph Van Eaton


Tel: (202) 370-5306


At a Glance

Joe is a leading advocate for local governments before the FCC.
His practice focuses on representing cities on a broad range of communications issues.
Prior to joining the firm in 2011, he was a founding partner of Miller & Van Eaton.

Joseph Van Eaton represents government agencies on a broad range of communications issues in federal and state courts, before federal and state agencies and at the negotiating table. Joe is a partner in Best Best & Krieger LLP’s Municipal Law practice group in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. He is also a registered federal lobbyist and a member of BB&K’s Government Relations team. Prior to joining the firm in 2011, he was a founding partner of Miller & Van Eaton, a nationally recognized telecommunications law firm.

Keeping Cities Connected
Joe helps communities develop wireline and wireless communications ordinances, negotiates franchises for cable and telecommunications service providers and assists communities in developing their own communications networks. He has successfully defended local government efforts to establish and operate municipally owned systems. He has been a leading advocate for local governments before the FCC, including in key rulemakings affecting local authority to regulate placement of wireless facilities.

Involved in the development of publicly owned and nonprofit fiber networks, Joe plays an active role in the regulatory and legal debates regarding the development of open, neutral networks. He has negotiated contracts requiring the deployment of infrastructure that can be used by multiple providers to offer communications services, in return for rights to use municipal infrastructure.

Joe has significant experience working with Congress, federal agencies and state legislatures on legislation and regulations affecting municipalities. His practice focuses on representing cities on a broad range of communications issues.

In addition to his experience working with legislative bodies and state and federal regulatory agencies, Joe has significant litigation and appellate experience, and has successfully argued cases in most of the U.S. Courts of Appeal and before several state Supreme Courts. He has served as a special appointee to the board of directors of the Alliance for Community Media and is the recipient of the George Stoney Award, the International Municipal Lawyers Association President’s Award and the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors Ovation Award.


  • University of Pennsylvania School of Law, J.D., cum laude
  • Syracuse University, B.A., magna cum laude


  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
  • New York
Legal Alerts May 26, 2021

Federal Appeals Court Partially Reverses FCC’s Cable Ruling; Preempts City of Eugene’s Broadband Fee

Offset for In-Kind Services Limited to Marginal Costs, not Market Value

Legal Alerts Aug 17, 2020

5G Infrastructure Decision Mixed for Local Governments

Ninth Circuit Takes on FCC Small Cell Orders

Legal Alerts Jun 22, 2020

FCC Adopts Rules that Could Impact Concealment of Wireless Infrastructure

How Communities Can Respond

Legal Alerts Apr 04, 2019

Ordinance Regulating Aesthetics of Wireless in Public Rights of Way OK’d by California Supreme Court

Decision in T-Mobile West LLC v. City and County of San Francisco a Victory for Local Government

Legal Alerts Jan 14, 2019

New FCC Shot Clocks and Other Rules Preempting Local Authority Over Wireless Take Effect Today

Federal Shutdown Does Not Delay Implementation

Authored Articles & Publications Jan 30, 2018

Local Government Reaction is Swift to FCC’s Wireless Regulation Actions

By Joseph Van Eaton, Gerard Lavery Lederer and Gail A. Karish

Legal Alerts Jan 30, 2018

Red Flags on Wireless: A Recent Resignation Signals Industry-Weighted Regulations Ahead

Local Governments Should Speak Up Now for Local Control

Legal Alerts Sep 05, 2017

FCC Seeking Comments on Telecommunications Deployment

UPDATED: Local Governments May Be Impacted; Comments Due Sept. 21

Authored Articles & Publications Jul 12, 2017

Good News for Public Agencies and Communities on Regulation of Cable Systems

By Joseph Van Eaton and Gerard Lavery Lederer

Legal Alerts Jan 18, 2017

The Trump Infrastructure Plan

How BB&K Can Help Your Agency Position and Respond

Legal Alerts Sep 28, 2016

Regulation of Antennas In Rights of Way Based on Aesthetic Concerns Upheld

Court Allows City’s Ordinance

Authored Articles & Publications Jun 29, 2016

Weaving Together the Strands of Big Data Policy and Practice in Local Government

BB&K Partner Joseph Van Eaton Co-Authors a Look at Data Use by Local Government in The State Bar of California Public Law Section’ Public Law Journal

Authored Articles & Publications May 27, 2016

Oregon Supreme Court: Right of Way Fee Can Be Levied on Internet Revenues

By Joseph Van Eaton

Authored Articles & Publications Apr 19, 2016

[PRESENTATION] Telecommunications 2016: The Challenges Facing Local Government

By Joseph Van Eaton and Gerard Lavery Lederer

Legal Alerts Apr 14, 2016

FCC Proposed Rule Will Change Business Data Services (Also Known as “Special Access”) Marketplace

Public and Private Agencies' Rates Could Be Impacted

Authored Articles & Publications Sep 29, 2015

[PRESENTATION] A Basic Communications Law Primer for Elected Officials

By Joseph Van Eaton

Authored Articles & Publications Aug 17, 2015

FCC Regulation of Internet Video: Implications for Local Government and Community Media

By Joseph Van Eaton

Authored Articles & Publications May 27, 2015

Cellphone Tower Regulation: Maximizing Revenue While Protecting Local Interests

By Joseph Van Eaton and Gerard Lavery Lederer

Authored Articles & Publications Nov 13, 2014

FCC: Threats and Opportunities

By Joseph Van Eaton

Authored Articles & Publications Mar 12, 2014

Municipal Cable Franchise Transfer Toolkit

By Gail A. Karish and Joseph Van Eaton

Authored Articles & Publications Mar 07, 2014

A Cable Franchise Transfer Toolkit for the Time Warner-Comcast Merger

By Gail Karish and Joseph Van Eaton

Authored Articles & Publications Nov 25, 2013

Cable Renewal – What You Need to Know

By Joseph Van Eaton

Authored Articles & Publications Sep 30, 2013

[PRESENTATION] 2013 FCC Wireless Rulemaking

By Joseph Van Eaton

Authored Articles & Publications Jun 01, 2012

Wireless Antenna Issues Paper Published at League of California Cities City Attorneys' Conference

By Gail Karish, Harriett Steiner, Joe Van Eaton

  • “Riverside County Issues RFP for Broadband Infrastructure,” BBKnowledge, April 5, 2017
  • “FCC Shot Clock Not Tolled by Applicant Delays or Vague Notice of Incompleteness, Court Finds,” BBKnowledge, Jan. 10, 2017
  • “Broadband Networks: FCC Says “One-Touch” Ordinance Does Not Violate Federal Law,” BBKnowledge, Nov. 2, 2016
  • “[Video] Responding to the Charter-Time Warner Cable-Bright House Merger,” BBKnowledge, Sept. 23, 2015
  • “Mapping Players in the Over-the-Top Universe,” BBKnowledge, Aug. 17, 2015
  • “Texas Takes Step Toward Approving Charter/TWC Cable Merger,” BBKnowledge, July 20, 2015
  • “Merging Cable Companies List Benefits for FCC Approval,” BBKnowledge, July 14, 2015
  • “Opportunity in FCC Review of Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable Merger,” BBKnowledge, June 30, 2015
  • “CityLinkLA: Broadband Access for All,” BBKnowledge, June 24, 2015
  • “Mega-Mergers and Impacts on Local Government,” BBKnowledge, Oct. 2, 2014
  • “Proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable-Charter Merger/Swaps/Sales Spark Thousands of Filings at the FCC; Responses Due Sept. 23,” BBKnowledge, Aug. 27, 2014
  • “Comments Due August 25 on Comcast-Time Warner Cable-Charter Merger/Spin Off Transactions,” BBKnowledge, July 15, 2014
  • “Public Comment Period Open on FCC’s Net Neutrality Proposed Rules,” BBKnowledge, May 19, 2014
  • “Cities Asking Congress to Support Dwindling Public, Educational and Government (PEG) Channels,” BBKnowledge, April 4, 2014
  • “The Fight Over Wireless Siting Heats Up . . . And Moves Into the Halls of the FCC,” BBKnowledge, March 10, 2014
  • “Responding to the Time Warner–Comcast Merger: Why Your Community Should Get Involved,” BBKnowledge, Feb. 14, 2014
  • “How Will Arlington v. F.C.C. Affect the Future Development of Telecommunications Law? (Or Will It Have Any Effect?),” BBKnowledge, Feb. 6, 2014
  • “Local Governments and Industry Providers Comment on FCC Rulemaking,” BBKnowledge, Feb. 5, 2014
  • “Court Decision Threatens Open Internet; Guts FCC “Net Neutrality” Rules,” BBKnowledge, Jan. 14, 2014
  • “Court Denies Cell-Tower Company’s Challenge to Initiative Requiring Voter-Approval Before City Can Lease Property,” BB&K Legal Alert, Dec. 17, 2013  

Contact Joseph Van Eaton

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