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Daily news and top headlines for broadband communications engineering and design professionals

Upfront: Net Neutrality | White Spaces | 4K @ CES | Charter - TWC

February 11, 2014 8:28 pm | by CED | Articles | Comments

Charter’s $61B bid for TWC goes public -– and nasty | Appeals Court knocks down net neutrality rules | 4K takes center stage at CES | Carlson Wireless okayed to market white spaces system | A federal appeals court ruled that the FCC has authority to create rules to guide the behavior of broadband providers, but its rationale for imposing some key rules regarding network neutrality were built on a weak legal foundation.

Capital Currents: TV Broadcasting – The Next Generation

February 11, 2014 7:07 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Articles | Comments

The emerging picture of ATSC 3.0 resembles a combination of ATSC 2.0 and DVB-T2, and if that's the case, U.S. broadcasting is looking at a significant chicken-and-egg problem. Consumers will have to buy new TVs, and broadcasters will have to switch to a new broadcasting system, but nobody will make a move unless someone else goes first.

Kentucky eases telephony access requirements

January 31, 2014 1:36 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

In a measure that illustrates precisely some of the issues the FCC is currently wrestling with, The Kentucky Senate on Thursday passed a bill aimed at spreading wireless and high-speed broadband service by allowing telecommunications companies to cut back on landline investments.

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FCC's IP dreams: Lifeline? Meh.

January 31, 2014 1:24 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

The FCC is encouraging experiments in moving from POTS to VoIP. As a practical matter, the FCC is talking to phone companies, but the results might have some ramifications for cable operators that got into the voice market with VoIP, as well as those cable operators who also operate POTS networks.

FCC inundated with pleas to save LPTV

January 24, 2014 1:11 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

The FCC next year will embark on the complicated process of auctioning off 600 MHz spectrum licenses. Part of that entails compensating and relocating/repacking the many low-power TV (LPTV) broadcasters that currently occupy those airwaves. For many, it’s become a legitimate concern that many of the free TV stations simply won’t continue on after the auction.

Some Obama spy changes hampered by complications

January 20, 2014 12:53 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Several of the key surveillance reforms unveiled by President Barack Obama face complications that could muddy the proposals' lawfulness, slow their momentum in Congress and saddle the government with heavy costs and bureaucracy, legal experts warn. 

Obama proposes new limits on NSA phone collections

January 17, 2014 1:32 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Seeking to calm a furor over U.S. surveillance, President Barack Obama on Friday called for ending the government's control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans and immediately ordered intelligence agencies to get a secretive court's permission before accessing such records.

Charging Netflix at issue in open-Internet case

January 16, 2014 12:08 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Will broadband providers start charging Internet services such as Netflix to deliver the massive amounts of data that streaming video and other content require? A court ruling this week gives providers such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon more flexibility to do that, even though immediate changes are unlikely.

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Apple agrees to refund $32.5M for kids' purchases

January 16, 2014 12:05 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Plenty of parents have been there — handing over the iPhone or iPad to a child while waiting in the doctor's office, standing in line at Starbucks or sitting in the car for a long road trip with the family. Too often, parents were caught unaware that by entering their password they were authorizing purchases, the FTC said Wednesday in announcing that Apple Inc. had agreed to refund at least $32.5 million to unsuspecting parents.

Appeals Court knocks down net neutrality rules

January 14, 2014 1:15 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

A federal appeals court ruled that the FCC lacks the authority to impose many of the network neutrality rules it set down to guide the behavior of broadband providers, thereby invalidating those rules. The Federal Communications Commission can, however, go back and devise a better argument for its authority to restore the negated rules.

Lui heads up Time Warner Cable’s HR department

January 9, 2014 12:13 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Time Warner Cable announced this morning that Alan Lui was promoted to senior vice president of human resources. Effective today, Lui now leads all aspects of the cable operator’s human resources department. He continues to report to Peter Stern, Time Warner Cable’s executive vice president and chief strategy, people and corporate development officer.

Comcast’s Smit takes over as chairman of NCTA’s board

January 3, 2014 12:25 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

On Wednesday Comcast’s Neil Smit officially started his tenure as chairman of the board of directors for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA.) During a November NCTA board meeting, Smit was elected to succeed Glenn Britt, who has retired as Time Warner Cable’s CEO and chairman.

FCC approves 2 TV station group mergers

December 23, 2013 12:43 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The mergers had been opposed by many in the cable industry, who fear that ongoing consolidation will only exacerbate the problem of broadcasters building their market power in an effort to extract ever-higher retransmission consent fees.

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Verizon to publish data on phone records requests

December 20, 2013 12:25 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Verizon Communications Inc. says it will publish information on the number of requests for customer records it received from law enforcement agencies this year. The announcement Thursday from the largest U.S. cellphone carrier comes as debate over data-gathering by the National Security Agency intensifies in Washington.

Advisory panel recommends more oversight for NSA 


December 19, 2013 12:53 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

If President Barack Obama follows even half of the recommendations urged by his advisory panel, the National Security Agency would significantly change the way it does business. The collection of U.S. phone records and the spying on other governments and their citizens would continue. But Americans' phone records would be held by phone companies, not the NSA.

Obama meets with tech CEOs amid NSA concerns

December 18, 2013 12:51 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama on Tuesday discussed the federal health care website, government surveillance and other issues with executives from Google, Twitter, Apple, Comcast, and several other leading technology companies. The White House said the meeting was focused on the administration's efforts to repair the HealthCare.gov website, but National Security Agency surveillance programs also were on the agenda.

San Francisco begins offering free public Wi-Fi

December 17, 2013 12:59 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Ruckus Wireless donated some of the Wi-Fi hardware, while Layer42 Networks donated access to its gigabit backbone. Ruckus estimates that this is now the single most extensive municipal Wi-Fi network in the U.S., and San Francisco has plans to expand access from along Market Street to other public areas.

U.S. lawmakers ask trade czar to stem data threats

December 16, 2013 1:19 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Germany has asked European Union officials to consider restrictions that would prevent U.S. companies from processing commercial and personal data from customers in Europe. That could affect the flow of information and hurt U.S. businesses such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

White House to keep NSA, cyber oversight together

December 13, 2013 1:37 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The Obama administration will continue the National Security Agency's surveillance programs and cyber command operations under the direction of a single military commander, the first move in advance of what published reports described Friday as limited changes proposed by a task force that deliberated for months in secrecy.

Two bills to reform video market introduced

December 13, 2013 12:09 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Two competing bills were introduced in the House Thursday designed to reform retransmission consent and other FCC rules. The one that has greater support thus far would obligate MSOs to create a tier of channels provided through retransmission consent agreements, and would give the FCC authority to block blackouts when retransmission consent negotiations break down.

House Committee passes Spectrum Incentive and FCC Reform Acts

December 12, 2013 1:23 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

Resolution 3675, authored by Chairman Greg Walden and Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-CA), passed with an amendment representing “a bipartisan compromise that presents the commission with a framework to bring additional transparency and predictability to the FCC.”

Evans boards Comcast as EVP, global corporate development and strategy

December 12, 2013 12:28 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Comcast Corporation announced this morning that Alexander D. Evans would join the company this month as executive vice president, global corporate development and strategy. Evans will report to Michael Angelakis, who is vice chairman and chief financial Officer for Comcast.

US tech firms fight spying, protect interests

December 10, 2013 12:20 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Even as Silicon Valley's technology companies speak out against the U.S. government's surveillance methods, they are turning a handsome profit by mining personal data and peering into people's online habits. The industry's profit machine has become tarnished by revelations that the National Security Agency digs deep into the everyday lives of Web surfers.

Tech giants call for controls on Federal snooping

December 9, 2013 2:14 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Eight major technology companies have joined forces to call for tighter controls on government surveillance, issuing an open letter Monday to President Barack Obama (Image: AP Photo/Google, Connie Zhou, File)arguing for reforms in the way the U.S. snoops on people.

Senator seeks better return on broadband funds for states

December 6, 2013 12:37 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

US Senator Kelly Ayotte has introduced legislation that would ensure that rural states get at least 75 cents for every dollar they contribute to the USF. The money is collected through telephone bills, but Ayotte says New Hampshire gets back only 37 cents for every dollar it sends.

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