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Paul Merrell

FCC Turns Itself into a Deregulatory Agency - WhoWhatWhy - 0 views

  • Since taking office, President Donald Trump has wasted no time in proposing rollbacks to Obama-era federal regulations. So, it should come as no surprise that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted last month to propose changes to current regulations on Internet service providers.

    Spearheaded by Ajit Pai — the Trump-appointed FCC chairman and former lawyer for Verizon — the 2-1 vote is the first step in dismantling the Open Internet Order. The lone FCC Democrat, Mignon Clyburn, was overruled by Pai and fellow commissioner Michael O’Reilly.

    The 2015 order classified broadband internet as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Opponents of the current state of net neutrality argue that the rules are archaic and place unnecessary — even harmful — restrictions on internet service providers (ISPs), leading to lack of innovation and investment.

    While it’s true that policies conceived in the 1930s could hardly anticipate the complexities of the modern Internet, a complete rollback of Title II protections would leave ISPs free to favor their own services and whichever company pays for upgraded service. Considering relaxed FEC rules on media ownership and lack of antitrust enforcement, some could argue that a rollback of net neutrality is even more toxic to innovation and affordable pricing.

    That is, fast lanes could be created for companies with deeper pockets, effectively giving them an advantage over companies and individuals who can’t pay extra. This approach effectively penalizes small businesses, nonprofits and innovative start-ups.

    Today’s Internet is so vast and so pervasive that it’s hard to grasp the impact that an abandonment of net neutrality would have on every aspect of our culture.

  • While the FCC’s proposed change will touch most Americans, net neutrality remains a mystifying concept to non-techies. To help our readers better understand the issue, we have compiled some videos that explain net neutrality and its importance.

    The FCC will be accepting comments from the public on their website until August 16, 2017.

Paul Merrell

FCC Votes To Start Slashing Net Neutrality Protections - 0 views

  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under President Donald Trump on Thursday afternoon voted to begin slashing regulations protecting a free and open internet.

    The decision (pdf) ran along party lines, with the FCC’s two Republican members voting to dismantle net neutrality. Mignon Clyburn, the Commission’s Democratic member, was the sole dissenting vote.

    “While the majority engages in flowery rhetoric about light-touch regulation and so on, the endgame appears to be no-touch regulation and a wholesale destruction of the FCC’s public interest authority in the 21st century,” Clyburn wrote in her dissent, according to The Hill.

Paul Merrell

Comcast hit with FCC's biggest cable fine ever - Oct. 11, 2016 - 0 views

  • Comcast is being forced to pay the largest fine the FCC has ever levied against a cable operator. Its offense: Charging customers for services and equipment they didn't ask for.

    The company agreed to pay a $2.3 million civil penalty and to submit to a "compliance plan," in which regulators will monitor Comcast for the next five years to ensure it cleans up its act.

  • The FCC said it received over 1,000 complaints from customers, who said Comcast charged them for premium channels, cable boxes, DVRs or other products that they never ordered.

    In many cases, the FCC said, customers expressly told Comcast that they didn't want the add-on options, but they were charged anyway.

    Complaints also describe how customers spent "significant time and energy to attempt to remove the unauthorized charges" and get refunds, the commission said.

    The complaints spurred the FCC to launch an investigation nearly two years ago. Today's settlement marks the conclusion of the probe.

    Under the five-year compliance plan, Comcast must begin sending customers special notifications every time a new charge or service is added to their bill. The company also has to add a way for customers to easily "block the addition of new services or equipment to their accounts," according to an FCC press release.

  • Comcast (CMCSA) will also be required to compensate or address complaints from customers who have disputed charges, and it will be barred from referring an account to collections or suspending an account that has a disputed charge.

    Comcast agreed to the fine without admitting any guilt.

  •  
    Investigation was instigated by Sen. Ron Wyden after receiving constituent complaints.
Paul Merrell

The Attack on Net Neutrality Begins | The Fifth Column - 0 views

  •  The United States Telecom Association has filed a lawsuit to overturn the net neutrality rules set by the Federal Communications Commission this past February. In its Monday morning Press Release USTelecom, who represents Verizon and AT&T among others, said it filed a lawsuit in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia joining a similar law suit filed by Alamo Broadband Inc.
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published its net neutrality rules in the Federal Register on Monday and, according to procedure, that began a 60-day countdown until they go into effect (June 12). Their publication also opened a 30-day window for Internet service providers to appeal.  USTelecom and Alamo Broadband wasted no time.  USTelecom filed a previous action preserving the issue according to local court rule prior to the formal petition in March.
  • The rules, which were voted on in February, reclassify broadband under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act and require that ISPs transmit all Web traffic at the same speed. Over 400 pages long, USTelecom filed a CD of the rules as an exhibit with its action.

    This suit is predicted to be the first of many, as broadband groups like AT&T to congressional Republicans have signaled that they plan to fight the decision.

Paul Merrell

FCC votes to protect the internet with Title II regulation | The Verge - 0 views

  • Net neutrality has won at the FCC. In a 3-to-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission today established a new Open Internet Order that implements strict net neutrality rules, including prohibitions on site and app blocking, speed throttling, and paid fast lanes.
  • Critically, the order also reclassifies internet providers' offerings as telecommunications services under Title II of the Communications Act. Though this is likely to provoke a challenge in court, Title II gives the commission the tools it needs to enforce these strict rules.

    This is also the first time that net neutrality rules will apply, in full, to mobile internet service. Additionally, the commission uses the new order to assert its ability to investigate and address complaints about "interconnect" agreements — deals made between internet providers like Comcast and content companies like Netflix, which has regularly complained that these deals are unfair.

    The FCC's new order establishes a standard that requires internet providers to take no actions that unreasonably interfere with or disadvantage consumers or the companies whose sites and apps they're trying to access. At most, internet providers may slow down service only for the purpose of "reasonable network management" — not a business purpose.

Paul Merrell

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: This Is How We Will Ensure Net Neutrality | WIRED - 0 views

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    Victory on Net Neutrality in sight. The FCC Chairman is circulating a draft rule that designates both cable and wireless ISPs as "common carriers" under Title II.  
Paul Merrell

Obama wants to help make your Internet faster and cheaper. This is his plan. - The Wash... - 0 views

  • Frustrated over the number of Internet providers that are available to you? If so, you're like many who are limited to just a handful of broadband companies. But now President Obama wants to change that, arguing that choice and competition are lacking in the U.S. broadband market. On Wednesday, Obama will unveil a series of measures aimed at making high-speed Web connections cheaper and more widely available to millions of Americans. The announcement will focus chiefly on efforts by cities to build their own alternatives to major Internet providers such as Comcast, Verizon or AT&T — a public option for Internet access, you could say.

    He'll write to the Federal Communications Commission urging the agency to help neutralize laws, erected by states, that effectively protect large established Internet providers against the threat represented by cities that want to build and offer their own, municipal Internet service. He'll direct federal agencies to expand grants and loans for these projects and for smaller, rural Internet providers. And he'll draw attention to a new coalition of mayors from 50 cities who've committed to spurring choice in the broadband industry.

  • "When more companies compete for your broadband business, it means lower prices," Jeff Zients, director of Obama's National Economic Council, told reporters Tuesday. "Broadband is no longer a luxury. It's a necessity."

    The announcement highlights a growing chorus of small and mid-sized cities that say they've been left behind by some of the country's biggest Internet providers. In many of these places, incumbent companies have delayed network upgrades or offer what customers say is unsatisfactory service because it isn't cost-effective to build new infrastructure. Many cities, such as Cedar Falls, Iowa, have responded by building their own, publicly operated competitors. Obama will travel to Cedar Falls on Wednesday to roll out his initiative.

Paul Merrell

FCC Chairman Moves Toward Real Net Neutrality Protections | Free Press - 0 views

  • In an appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas today, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler indicated that he will move to protect Net Neutrality by reclassifying Internet access under Title II of the Communications Act.

    The chairman plans to circulate a new rule in early February. The agency is expected to vote on it during its Feb. 26 open meeting.

    Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:

    “Chairman Wheeler appears to have heard the demands of the millions of Internet users who have called for real Net Neutrality protections. The FCC’s past decisions to put its oversight authority on ice resulted in Net Neutrality being under constant threat. Wheeler now realizes that it’s best to simply follow the law Congress wrote and ignore the bogus claims of the biggest phone and cable companies and their well-financed front groups.

    “Of course the devil will be in the details, and we await publication of the agency's final decision. But it’s refreshing to see the chairman firmly reject the industry’s lies and scare tactics. As we’ve said all along, Title II is a very flexible, deregulatory framework that ensures investment and innovation while also preserving the important public interest principles of nondiscrimination, universal service, interconnection and competition.”

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    Title II is for "common carriers." See http://transition.fcc.gov/Reports/1934new.pdf pg. 35. Under Section 202:

    "(a) It shall be unlawful for any common carrier to make any unjust or
    unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services for or in connection with like communication service, directly or indirectly, by any means or device, or to make or give any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage to any particular person, class of persons, or locality, or to subject any particular person, class of persons, or locality to any undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage.

    (b) Charges or services, whenever referred to in this Act, include charges
    for, or services in connection with, the use of common carrier lines of
    communication, whether derived from wire or radio facilities, in chain broadcasting or incidental to radio communication of any kind.

    (c) Any carrier who knowingly violates the provisions of this section shall
    forfeit to the United States the sum of $6,000 for each such offense and $300 for each and every day of the continuance of such offense. 

Paul Merrell

FCC Putting Comcast/Time Warner Cable Investigation On Hold - 0 views

  • On Friday, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission said that it has extended its time to file responses and oppositions for the Comcast/Time Warner merger from October 8 to October 29. This is due to a motion filed by DISH Network, which said that Comcast didn't fully respond to the Commission's Request to Responses and Oppositions.

    The FCC is taking 180 days to determine if the Comcast and Time Warner merger will be in the best interest of the public. As of Friday, the investigation was at day 85, and it will resume once October 29 arrives. Originally, the investigation was expected to be complete on January 6, 2015.

    According to Reuters, a number of competitors and consumer advocates have rejected the merger, stating that the combined entity will have too much power over American consumers' viewing habits. Comcast disagrees of course, indicating that Time Warner is not a competitor and that their combined forces would bring better subscription services to a larger consumer audience.

  • Back in August, the FCC sent questions to both Comcast and Time Warner Cable asking for additional information about their broadband and video services, such as their Web traffic management practices. However, the FCC said on Friday that both companies failed to provide enough answers to please the merger reviewers. Comcast disagrees but said it will work with the reviewers to provide the missing information.

    "We will work with the staff to determine the additional information the FCC is seeking (including the document production that the FCC had asked us to delay filing) and will submit supplemental answers and documents quickly thereafter so that the FCC can complete its review early in 2015," Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice told Reuters.

  • Currently, the FCC is trying to retrieve Comcast's programming and retransmission consent agreements, but media companies have objected to the collection, saying that these documents are highly confidential. However, the documents have made their way to the Justice Department, which is conducting its own review for antitrust issues.

    The delay in the FCC's deadline also stems from a large 850-page document supplied by Comcast. The FCC indicated that this volume of information is critical to the investigation.

Paul Merrell

Marriott fined $600,000 for jamming guest hotspots - SlashGear - 0 views

  • Marriott will cough up $600,000 in penalties after being caught blocking mobile hotspots so that guests would have to pay for its own WiFi services, the FCC has confirmed today. The fine comes after staff at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee were found to be jamming individual hotspots and then charging people up to $1,000 per device to get online.

    Marriott has been operating the center since 2012, and is believed to have been running its interruption scheme since then. The first complaint to the FCC, however, wasn't until March 2013, when one guest warned the Commission that they suspected their hardware had been jammed.

    An investigation by the FCC's Enforcement Bureau revealed that was, in fact, the case. A WiFi monitoring system installed at the Gaylord Opryland would target access points with de-authentication packets, disconnecting users so that their browsing was interrupted.

  • The FCC deemed Marriott's behaviors as contravening Section 333 of the Communications Act, which states that "no person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio communications of any station licensed or authorized by or under this chapter or operated by the United States Government."

    In addition to the $600,000 civil penalty, Marriott will have to cease blocking guests, hand over details of any access point containment features to the FCC across its entire portfolio of owned or managed properties, and finally file compliance and usage reports each quarter for the next three years.

  • Update: Marriott has issued the following statement on the FCC ruling:

    "Marriott has a strong interest in ensuring that when our guests use our Wi-Fi service, they will be protected from rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks and identity theft. Like many other institutions and companies in a wide variety of industries, including hospitals and universities, the Gaylord Opryland protected its Wi-Fi network by using FCC-authorized equipment provided by well-known, reputable manufacturers. We believe that the Gaylord Opryland's actions were lawful. We will continue to encourage the FCC to pursue a rulemaking in order to eliminate the ongoing confusion resulting from today's action and to assess the merits of its underlying policy."

Paul Merrell

FCC 'very much' eyeing Web rules shakeup | TheHill - 0 views

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    Of course Comcast, et ilk don't want Title II regulation. "Hey, just because we've divvied up the turf so that we've got geographical monopolies doesn't mean we shouldn't be able to leverage our monopolies into new monopolies."

    But the big cable companies got where they are by buying up community-granted and regulated monopoly utility companies. As part of consolidating those markets, the soon-to-be-gnormous cable companies, lobbied to get community regulation weakened and here we are with the FCC, with the cable companies now acting as ISPs too, which is straightforward telecommunications provider service, and these guys want to be able to charge a premium to the big internet content companies for fast-service after their ISP customers have already paid for fast service? So they can slow down the competition for their own content services.  Heck, yes, FCC. No one forced Comcast and crew to become telecommunications providers. Make 'em live with telecommunications regulation like all the other telcos. They are government-created monopolies and they should be regulated as such.   
Paul Merrell

News from The Associated Press - 0 views

  • (AP) -- Federal regulators are urging consumers to go through their phone bills line by line after they accused T-Mobile US of wrongly charging customers for premium services, like horoscope texts and quirky ringtones, the customers never authorized.

    The Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday that it is suing T-Mobile in a federal court in Seattle with the goal of making sure every unfairly charged customer sees a full refund. The lawsuit, the first of its kind against a mobile provider, is the result of months of stalled negotiations with T-Mobile, which says it is already offering refunds.

    "It's wrong for a company like T-Mobile to profit from scams against its customers when there were clear warning signs the charges it was imposing were fraudulent," FTC Chair Edith Ramirez in a statement.

  • The practice is called "cramming": A third party stuffs a customer's bill with bogus charges such as $10-per-month horoscopes or updates on celebrity gossip. In this case, the FTC said, T-Mobile was working with third-party vendors being investigated by regulators and known to be the subject of numerous customer complaints. T-Mobile then made it difficult for customers to notice the added charge to their bill and pocketed up to 40 percent of the total, according to the FTC.
  • The FTC told reporters in a conference call Tuesday that it had been in negotiations with T-Mobile for months in an attempt to guarantee refunds would be provided to customers but that the two sides couldn't reach an agreement.

    T-Mobile appears to have been laying the groundwork to head off the federal complaint. Last November, the company announced that it would no longer allow premium text services because they were waning in popularity and not all vendors had acted responsibly. In June, it announced it would reach out to consumers to provide refunds. But the FTC says that in many cases, the refunds are only partial and T-Mobile often refers customer complaints to the third-party vendors.

Paul Merrell

Report: Verizon Claimed Public Utility Status To Get Government Perks - Slashdot - 0 views

  • Research for the Public Utility Law Project (PULP) has been released which details 'how Verizon deliberately moves back and forth between regulatory regimes, classifying its infrastructure either like a heavily regulated telephone network or a deregulated information service depending on its needs. The chicanery has allowed Verizon to raise telephone rates, all the while missing commitments for high-speed internet deployment' (PDF). In short, Verizon pushed for the government to give it common carrier privileges under Title II in order to build out its fiber network with tax-payer money. Result: increased service rates on telephone users to subsidize Verizon's 'infrastructure investment.' When it comes to regulations on Verizon's fiber network, however, Verizon has been pushing the government to classify its services as that of information only — i.e., beyond Title II. Verizon has made about $4.4 billion in additional revenue in New York City alone, 'money that's funneled directly from a Title II service to an array of services that currently lie beyond Title II's reach.' And it's all legal. An attorney at advocacy group Public Knowledge said it best: 'To expect that you can come in and use public infrastructure and funds to build a network and then be free of any regulation is absurd....When Verizon itself is describing these activities as a Title II common carrier, how can the FCC look at broadband internet and continue acting as though it's not a telecommunication network?'"
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    Let's also not forget that what is now named "Verizon" used to be named Bell Atlantic, one of the seven Baby Bells that were spun off by AT&T by government order during antitrust proceedings.  In other words, this is one of the companies rate-payers financed through a heavily-regulated analog telephony absolute monopoly. But Verizon wants to spread its wings and escape the chains of regulation as a telecommunications carrier. While having its cake and eating it to, according to this article. The FCC has poised itself through a proposed rule with the flexibility to postpone a decision on net neutrality. 

    AT&T famously was allowed to keep its R&D arm while being freed of the expense of upgrading the U.S. telephony network from analog to digital and from copper wire to fibre optic. 

    And pay for those Baby Bells to make that transition we did. I remember monthly bills for a two person office running as high as $1,100 a month for calls all carried from Baby Bell to AT&T and back to another Baby Bell. All at state-regulated rates with FCC looking the other way. But now Verizon, Comcast (the originally munipally regulated cable television monopolies) and the few other "competing" survivors of that broadband rollout, having had their infrastructure paid for by the ratepayers, want to fly off and begin charging us at the other end of the pipe,via charges to content providers that will be passed on to us. Leading to the squeezing out of Mom and Pop internet businesses by the big content providers that can afford the charges and pass them on to us.

    This is looking more and more like another massive rip-off of the customers who already paid for that infrasture.

    Is that banksters I smell, privatizing a enormous public utility in the name of free markets?      
Paul Merrell

F.C.C. Backs Opening Net Rules for Debate - NYTimes.com - 0 views

  • On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to open for public debate new rules meant to guarantee an open Internet. Before the plan becomes final, though, the chairman of the commission, Tom Wheeler, will need to convince his colleagues and an array of powerful lobbying groups that the plan follows the principle of net neutrality, the idea that all content running through the Internet’s pipes is treated equally.

    While the rules are meant to prevent Internet providers from knowingly slowing data, they would allow content providers to pay for a guaranteed fast lane of service. Some opponents of the plan, those considered net neutrality purists, argue that allowing some content to be sent along a fast lane would essentially discriminate against other content.

  • “We are dedicated to protecting and preserving an open Internet,” Mr. Wheeler said immediately before the commission vote. “What we’re dealing with today is a proposal, not a final rule. We are asking for specific comment on different approaches to accomplish the same goal, an open Internet.”
  • Mr. Wheeler argued on Thursday that the proposal did not allow a fast lane. But the proposed rules do not address the connection between an Internet service provider, which sells a connection to consumers, and the operators of backbone transport networks that connect various parts of the Internet’s central plumbing.

    That essentially means that as long as an Internet service provider like Comcast or Verizon does not slow the service that a consumer buys, the provider can give faster service to a company that pays to get its content to consumers unimpeded

  • ...2 more annotations...
  • The plan will be open for comment for four months, beginning immediately.
  • The public will have until July 15 to submit initial comments on the proposal to the commission, and until Sept. 10 to file comments replying to the initial discussions.
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    I'll need to read the proposed rule, but this doesn't sound good. the FCC majority tries to spin this as options still being open, but I don't recall ever seeing formal regulations changed substantially from their proposed form. If their were to be substantial change, another proposal and comment period would be likely. The public cannot comment on what has not been proposed, so substantial departure from the proposal, absent a new proposal and comment period, would offend basic principles of public notice and comment rulemaking under the Administrative Procedures Act.

    The proverbial elephant in the room that the press hasn't picked up on yet is the fight that is going on behind the scenes in the Dept. of Justice. If the Anti-trust Division gets its way, DoJ's public comments on the proposed rule could blow this show out of the water. The ISPs are regulated utility monopolies in vast areas of the U.S. with market consolidation at or near the limits of what the anti-trust folk will tolerate. And leveraging one monopoly (service to subscribers) to impose another (fees for internet-based businesses to gain high speed access) is directly counter to the Sherman Act's section 2.   http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/2



Paul Merrell

The FCC is about to kill the free Internet | PandoDaily - 0 views

  • The Federal Communications Commission is poised to ruin the free Internet on a technicality.

    The group is expected to introduce new net neutrality laws that would allow companies to pay for better access to consumers through deals similar to the one struck by Netflix and Comcast earlier this year. The argument is that those deals don’t technically fall under the net neutrality umbrella, so these new rules won’t apply to them even though they directly affect the Internet.

    At least the commission is being upfront about its disinterest in protecting the free Internet.

  • The Verge notes that the proposed rules will offer some protections to consumers:

    The Federal Communication Commission’s proposal for new net neutrality rules will allow internet service providers to charge companies for preferential treatment, effectively undermining the concept of net neutrality, according to The Wall Street Journal. The rules will reportedly allow providers to charge for preferential treatment so long as they offer that treatment to all interested parties on “commercially reasonable” terms, with the FCC will deciding whether the terms are reasonable on a case-by-case basis. Providers will not be able to block individual websites, however.

    The goal of net neutrality rules is to prevent service providers from discriminating between different content, allowing all types of data and all companies’ data to be treated equally. While it appears that outright blocking of individual services won’t be allowed, the Journal reports that some forms of discrimination will be allowed, though that will apparently not include slowing down websites.

  • Re/code summarizes the discontent with these proposed rules:

    Consumer groups have complained about that plan because they’re worried that Wheeler’s rules may not hold up in court either. A federal appeals court rejected two previous versions of net neutrality rules after finding fault in the FCC’s legal reasoning. During the latest smackdown, however, the court suggested that the FCC had some authority to impose net neutrality rules under a section of the law that gives the agency the ability to regulate the deployment of broadband lines.

    Internet activists would prefer that the FCC just re-regulate Internet lines under old rules designed for telephone networks, which they say would give the agency clear authority to police Internet lines. Wheeler has rejected that approach for now. Phone and cable companies, including Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, have vociferously fought that idea over the past few years.

  • ...2 more annotations...
  • The Chicago Tribune reports on the process directing these rules:

    The five-member regulatory commission may vote as soon as May to formally propose the rules and collect public comment on them.

    Virtually all large Internet service providers, such as Verizon Communications Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc., have pledged to abide by the principles of open Internet reinforced by these rules.

    But critics have raised concerns that, without a formal rule, the voluntary pledges could be pulled back over time and also leave the door open for deals that would give unequal treatment to websites or services.

  • wrote about the European Union’s attempts to defend the free Internet:

    The legislation is meant to provide access to online services ‘without discrimination, restriction or interference, independent of the sender, receiver, type, content, device, service or application.’ For example, ISPs would be barred from slowing down or ‘throttling’ the speed at which one service’s videos are delivered while allowing other services to stream at normal rates. To bastardize Gertrude Stein: a byte is a byte is a byte.

    Such restrictions would prevent deals like the one Comcast recently made with Netflix, which will allow the service’s videos to reach consumers faster than before. Comcast is also said to be in talks with Apple for a deal that would allow videos from its new streaming video service to reach consumers faster than videos from competitors. The Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality laws don’t apply to those deals, according to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, so they are allowed to continue despite the threat they pose to the free Internet.

  •  
    Cute. Deliberately not using the authority the court of appeals said it could use to impose net neutrality. So Europe can have net neutrality but not in the U.S.
Paul Merrell

FCC's Wheeler Promises Net Neutrality Action 'Shortly' | Adweek - 0 views

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    Over a million signed the petition. Wow! But note that the battle is not over. The FCC could reimplement net neutrality now if it reclassified broadband internet as a telecommunications service. That the FCC has not already set this in motion raises danger flags. All it takes is for a few contracts to be signed to give the ISPs 5th Amendment taking clause claims for damages against the government for reimplementing net neutrality the right way, A "reasonable investment-backed expectation" is the relevant 5th Amendment trigger. 
Paul Merrell

FCC approves changes to CableCARD rules - The Hill's Hillicon Valley - 0 views

  • The Federal Communications Commission moved Thursday to open up the retail market for companies that provide cable set-top boxes and digital video recorders.

    At Thursday's open meeting, the FCC issued an order that would promote competition in the marketplace for set-top boxes by ensuring retail devices such as TiVo have the same access to prescheduled programming as cable providers. The order would also make CableCARD pricing and billing more transparent, streamline the installation process, and ease requirements on manufacturers and operators upgrading their equipment.

  • A trade group representing the cable industry also praised the FCC's action and pledged to work with TiVo and other retail cable box providers to create a new video device capable of seamlessly integrating content from multiple sources.
Paul Merrell

Here it comes: 'Super WiFi' - 0 views

  • Microsoft, Google and other tech companies won a key victory in Washington, D.C., today as the Federal Communications Commission moved to open up vacant spectrum between television channels for unlicensed use by wireless devices -- a development expected to lead to a powerful new form of wireless Internet access.
  • White spaces Internet is often called “wifi on steroids” -- working in much the same way as wifi but with a potential range of multiple miles, requiring fewer access points and offering the ability to better penetrate obstructions such as walls
Paul Merrell

FCC Reclaims Powers Over Internet Access Companies (Update3) - BusinessWeek - 0 views

  • May 6 (Bloomberg) -- Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski claimed power to regulate companies that provide Internet access, opening a fight with cable and telephone companies and sparking opposition from Republicans.

    Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc. and Cablevision Systems Corp., cable operators that sell Web connections, fell more than 6 percent in New York trading.

  • Genachowski’s plan requires commission approval, and two fellow Democrats have signaled they will support the chairman, giving him a majority. The FCC will vote following a comment period, spokeswoman Jen Howard said in an interview.
  • The FCC had censured Comcast, the largest U.S. cable provider, for blocking customers using the BitTorrent file- sharing software that can send and receive videos. Comcast said it acted to alleviate network congestion. The appeals court sided with Comcast.
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    I wouldn't read too much into the drop in ISP stock prices. NYSE stocks plummeted over-all today, with investors reacting to bad economic news from Greece.

    The article can be a bit confusing in regard to the FCC move following its court loss to Comcast. That court case did not involve the FCC's telephony regulatory powers. The FCC is now rebuilding its prior position on a new legal foundation, a separate title of the enabling legislation that deals with telephone regulation rather than broadband regulation. 
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