Let's say President Barack Obama gets his way and high-speed Internet service providers are governed by the same U.S. regulations imposed on telephone companies 80 years ago. Depending on whom you listen to, the rules could unleash future innovation and create jobs — or stifle innovation and kill jobs. The divisive and often confusing debate has intensified now that Obama has entered the fray.
If the FCC were to approve the White House's recommendations, the Internet would be regulated like other utilities such as electricity, water and telephone services. The White House is calling for an "explicit ban" on deals between broadband Internet providers and online services like Netflix, Amazon or YouTube.
President Barack Obama today said he would like to see broadband reclassified under Title II, as a means of ensuring the Internet remains free and open. NCTA president Michael Powell responded, “We are stunned the President would abandon the longstanding, bipartisan policy of lightly regulating the Internet"
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler may drop attempts at Title II reclassification, but in exchange will approve the Comcast / Time Warner Cable and AT&T / DirecTV mergers only with conditions that will bar them from engaging in paid prioritization. It's a win for MVPDs, but will they accept it?
The FCC Chairman proposed that over the top video distributors be given the same rights to retransmit broadcast stations and to distribute linear channels as any telco, cable company, or satellite broadcaster. Wheeler said it's time to modernize our interpretation of "MVPD" so that it is technology-neutral.
FilmOn has notified the FCC it intends to begin retransmitting local broadcast channels to authenticated subscribers. The company said it has established headends to receive, record and stream local broadcast station video programming to consumers in dozens of designated market areas.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) fired back at the FCC over implications that further delay of the 600 MHz incentive auction was due to an NAB lawsuit. NAB said the broadcast incentive auctions will be complex and that’s why Congress gave the FCC 10 years to complete the proceedings.
The FCC attributed this new delay to legal challenges from broadcasters. The proposal rests on a guarantee to broadcasters that the spectrum can be used without interfering with their signals. Not all broadcasters are satisfied that the FCC is doing that with the way it is evaluating coverage areas.
Comcast NBCUniversal announced this morning that Mitch Rose was hired as senior vice president of government affairs, NBCUniversal. Rose, who will be located in Comcast NBCUniversal’s Washington D.C. office, previously provided strategic counseling to Comcast, NCTA and RIAA, among others, as principal of Mitch Rose Strategic Consulting.
Programmers are holding up Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable and AT&T's merger with DirecTV because they don’t want 108 people from learning the details of their contracts with their distributors. The argument should be blown up from underneath them with a well-placed metaphoric landmine.
Numerous content companies have filed multiple objections, some complaining that specific individuals should be barred from viewing the contracts, some insisting that no one outside the FCC should be able to review the documents. Given the parties are at an impasse on this matter, the FCC is stopping its review clock.
The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday named an outspoken Internet privacy expert, Ashkan Soltani, as its chief technologist in a move that signals the agency's focus on protecting consumers' online privacy. A computer scientist and technology researcher, Soltani has advised several leading news organizations in reporting on complex technical issues related to Internet privacy.
Eighty potential bidders have submitted applications to participate. Smaller carriers like Guam-based Docomo and Bluegrass Wireless have thrown their hats in the ring, but the ones to watch are AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Dish, which needs a strong broadband play and thinks wireless will be the way to go.
“Why won't you give cable subscribers the same rights you're evidently giving broadband customers under the ‘CBS All Access’ plan?” Maybe because broadcasters will make much less money if viewers get to choose to pay for each of the major networks, because everyone expects that tens and tens of millions of viewers won’t.
Officials have refused to hand over dozens of German intelligence documents detailing the extent to which the country's spy agencies cooperated with their U.S. counterparts. Experts say the government's reluctance to fully inform Parliament stems from a fear that leaks could imperil the flow of intelligence from the U.S.
U.S. consumers might be paying less than they are for cable and Internet access if regulators had followed the guidance of Jean Tirole in promoting industry competition. U.S. regulators didn't follow Tirole's advice to require cable and phone companies to sell competitors access to last mile connections.
Comcast has hired Judy James as its new director of government affairs for the North Bay area of its California footprint. She will be responsible for Comcast's local government affairs and policy issues in the Napa, Sonoma, North Solano, Marin, and Mendocino areas.
Dish has signed agreements with Northstar Wireless and SNR Wireless, two companies in which it has indirect ownership, to bid on AWS-3 spectrum. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon will also bid. Sprint will not participate in this auction, but instead save its strength for next year’s Incentive Auctions.
Live From The Show: SCTE CEO Mark Dzuban on the organization’s Corporate Alliance Program, and its Energy 2020 program (which concentrates on developing best practices and technologies that will help the cable industry manage its energy consumption), and other issues.
The FCC has revived an obscure complaint by Sky Angel against Discovery. If the FCC changes policy in favor of Sky Angel, online providers would have the same ability to negotiate for carriage of local broadcast TV stations that cable and satellite TV providers have.
The blackout rule was put in place at a time when attendance was still the major source of revenue for most professional teams. In the decades since, ticket sales have been reduced to a minority percentage of proceeds. In the NFL especially, teams’ revenue from the sale of TV rights has far exceeded income at the gate.
Should the company that supplies your Internet access be allowed to cut deals with online services such as Netflix, Amazon or YouTube to move their content faster? The FCC is tackling that question this fall after the public submitted a record 3.7 million comments on the subject.
In Perspective: Defining a problem is common engineering practice, but the approach is hardly limited to engineering. In the communications business, definitions have become weapons. Worse is when companies deliberately obfuscate definitions for competitive advantage.
Capital Currents: Sometimes the Internet becomes “sluggish,” but it’s impossible to know whether it’s due to congestion in the local access network, in a transit network, or at the server that stores the content. Traffic management procedures can be instituted by the content providers, by the transit network operators, and/or by the retail Internet access providers.
The media conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch is joining the fray in Google's protracted European antitrust case, saying the technology company unfairly distorts competition. Robert Thomson, CEO of New York-based News Corp., says in a letter to the EU's antitrust authority that Google is "willing to exploit its dominant market position to stifle competition."