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

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Michigan senate votes to ease ability to drop land lines

December 6, 2013 12:21 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Phone companies would have an easier time discontinuing traditional land lines in Michigan under legislation approved Thursday that supporters say recognizes technological change but critics contend could leave customers with less reliable service.

Overhaul of '96 Communications Act gains momentum

December 4, 2013 1:42 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The prospects for updating the 1996 Communications Act seem to have improved with the endorsement of the idea of two key Congressman. Representatives Fred Upton and Greg Walden said that the update is desperately needed during a Google chat that was also attended by FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell. 

Capital Currents: White Spaces Update – the Next WiFi?

December 3, 2013 6:54 pm | by Jeffrey Kraussm, President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Articles | Comments

There has been a lot of regulatory activity since the FCC adopted its revised White Spaces rules in 2010, but not much marketplace activity. The FCC allows unlicensed low power transmitters to operate on “White Spaces”—TV band frequencies that are not being used by TV stations or other licensed transmitters.

FCC Chair alludes to spectrum aggregation limits for upcoming auctions

December 3, 2013 1:48 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

Tom Wheeler said, “Spectrum is finite, and the FCC is charged with managing the airwaves that are used for commercial purposes. A key goal of our spectrum allocation efforts is ensuring that multiple carriers have access to airwaves needed to operate their networks.”

FCC declares more markets "competitive"

December 3, 2013 1:45 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The Commission recently just designated as competitive dozens of markets in which Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks operate networks.  Once a market is certified as competitive, municipal and/or state rights to regulate basic cable service rates are revoked. Last week, the FCC exempted Cablevision from the same regulations in nearly two dozen markets.

Amazon working on drone delivery

December 2, 2013 12:29 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The world's largest e-commerce company said it's working on the so-called Prime Air unmanned aircraft project in its research and development labs. But Amazon says it will take years to advance the technology and for the Federal Aviation Administration to create the necessary rules and regulations.

Minn. names top broadband officer for new division

November 27, 2013 12:22 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Gov. Mark Dayton's administration announced Danna MacKenzie is the first executive director for the Office of Broadband Development, a division created last spring. The new office has a central role as Minnesota stretches toward a goal of ultra-fast broadband in every corner of the state. Minnesota's goal is 2015, but most people involved say that will be tough.

Rockefeller takes up cause of broadcaster collusion

November 27, 2013 12:16 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The chair of the Senate Commerce Committee has asked the FCC to not approve any merger deals among broadcasters while the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigates shared service agreements (SSA), in which broadcasters negotiate agreements on behalf of others in the same market, raising costs for local cable operators and their subscribers.

Upfront: Bill would lift OTT companies to MVPD status

November 27, 2013 11:49 am | by CED | Articles | Comments

Sen. Jay Rockefeller is planning a bill that aims to give upstart online video services the chance to compete on an equal footing with classic MVPDs by guaranteeing their rights to content.  Furthermore, online video distributors would gain standing to compete directly with established pay TV companies as MVPDs.

Cablevision wins exemption from some cable regulations

November 25, 2013 1:30 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The FCC has determined that Cablevision will not be subject to community regulation of basic cable rates in about two dozen towns that the MSO serves. The FCC determined that the market is competitive in the communities specified by the MSO, making the company exempt from those specific regulations.

FCC Chair pushing for phone networks to go all-IP

November 22, 2013 12:38 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

Tom Wheeler said that the Technology Transitions Policy Task Force—assembled by former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski at the behest of AT&T and NTCA—will present a status update at the Dec. 12 Commission meeting. With that research in hand, Wheeler expects the FCC by January to draft an order concerning experimentation, data collection, and policy, legal and technical outlines for the IP transition agenda.

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