John T. Nakahata



John Nakahata, Chair of HWG, is widely regarded as one of the leading telecom lawyers in the United States. Ranked by Chambers USA in its top “tier one: band for telecommunication, John provides strategic regulatory advice to large and small telecommunications, Internet, hardware, software, terrestrial wireless companies and cable companies. For over two decades, John has advised clients with respect to communications rulemakings, enforcement actions, regulatory compliance and transactional diligence and regulatory approvals. He served as Chief of Staff of the Federal Communications Commission under Chairman William Kennard, and was Senior Legal Adviser to Chairman Reed Hundt.

John has had substantial involvement with major FCC competition, intercarrier compensation, and universal service proceedings since 1996. During his FCC tenure, John was one of the principal staff involved in the FCC’s implementation of the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996, including the FCC’s “competition trilogy” of interconnection, universal service and interstate access charge orders.

After leaving the FCC, John spearheaded the Coalition for Affordable Local and Long Distance Services (CALLS), which developed a comprehensive plan—adopted by the FCC—to reform telecommunications subsidy mechanisms and intercarrier pricing. He later helped a client end a rival’s long grip on a telecommunications numbering contract, positioning the client successfully to bid for the contract.

John helps many clients that receive FCC support payments navigate compliance, FCC rulemakings and FCC enforcement actions. He also has substantial experience with FCC transaction approvals. While at the FCC, he oversaw consideration of a major telecommunications merger approval. In private practice has also led major merger approvals, including a precedent-setting acquisition of a US carrier by a foreign carrier.

John also served as a subcommittee staff director and legislative counsel to United States Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-Connecticut). In that capacity, he helped to shape and to pass the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, and he organized Senate hearings that resulted in the development and widespread adoption of a voluntary content rating system for video games. John earned a B.A. from Wesleyan University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Mr. Nakahata is recognized as a leading telecommunications lawyer in numerous publications, including Chambers USAThe Legal 500Best Lawyers, and Super Lawyers.


Harvard Law School, J.D.

Wesleyan University, B.A.


Hon. John H. Pratt, U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia


Chambers USA, 2021



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