• In the media: Fight brewing for broadband plan
By Brian Santo
The Federal Communications Commission has been tasked with developing a broadband plan for the U.S. market and is about to begin wrestling with issues ranging from how to define faster, next-generation broadband to what sort of rules should be applied to guarantee delivery of Internet traffic, The Wall Street Journal reports (story here; subscription required).
Other big questions yet to be answered involve what sort of requirements, if any, should be imposed on Internet service providers to share the networks they have built with government help.
The FCC is required to turn in its plan next February, and the Commission will begin Wednesday by opening up the issue for comment.
• PSC rejects proposed settlement with Verizon
By The Associated Press
BALTIMORE (AP) – The Maryland Public Service Commission has denied a settlement proposed by its staff and Verizon concerning missed appointments and bundled services.
In a ruling made public on Monday, the PSC says the proposed settlement "does not serve the public interest." The Office of People's Counsel had also proposed the settlement, which had called for Verizon to pay residential customers who were without service for more than four days and those whose appointments were not honored.
Verizon also would have reduced the price for bundled telephone packages that avoid long-distance charges to areas such as Washington and Baltimore. The PSC has ordered a status conference on May 5 so the parties involved can present a revised settlement.
• Australia hits on plan for national broadband
By Brian Santo
The Australian Government has devised a plan to set up a majority-owned company to spend more than $30 billion on a national high-speed broadband network.
Australia has been struggling for years to develop a plan that would encourage the creation of a national broadband network that is not controlled by Telstra, the country’s dominant telecommunications provider. Several companies had bid on the project, but no single proposal met the government’s specifications.
Telstra had previously been barred from the process. Under the new plan, the proposed company will be 49 percent publicly held. Under those circumstances, Telstra ideally cannot dominate the project.
• Dish adds HD locals in 9 markets
By Traci Patterson
Dish Network has added high-definition (HD) local channels in nine new markets.
The markets are Albany, Ga.; Cheyenne-Scottsbluff, Wyo.; Columbus and Youngstown, Ohio; Idaho Falls-Pocatello and Sioux City, Idaho; Meridian, Miss.; Missoula, Mont.; and Tucson (Sierra Vista), Ariz.
Dish customers with an HD receiver, and who subscribe to HD programming and HD locals, will now receive high-definition feeds of their broadcasts at no additional charge.