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

Obama endorses Title II reclassification for broadband

November 10, 2014 12:18 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

 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"

Proposed FCC compromise will be a win for the industry

October 31, 2014 2:16 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

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?  

Wheeler proposes allowing OTT companies to compete directly with cable

October 28, 2014 6:37 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

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.

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FilmOn follows Aereo asking to be an MVPD

October 28, 2014 1:16 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

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.

NAB chafes at being scapegoat for FCC auction delay

October 27, 2014 12:20 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

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.

FCC postpones 600 MHz auction again

October 24, 2014 1:53 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

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.

Rose joins NBCU as SVP of government affairs

October 24, 2014 12:22 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

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.

Distribution contracts and the benefits of a strategic petard

October 22, 2014 6:58 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

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.

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Comcast and AT&T deal reviews both put on hold

October 22, 2014 1:07 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

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.

FTC names privacy expert as chief technologist

October 22, 2014 12:25 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

The AWS-3 auction is going to be a street fight

October 21, 2014 1:56 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

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.

Who is this Polka guy, and why is he saying such heinous things?

October 21, 2014 12:19 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

“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.

Lawmakers probing NSA face German secrecy hurdles

October 17, 2014 2:03 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

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Nobel winner: cable could have been cheaper in the U.S., but...

October 14, 2014 1:55 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

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 names James as director of government affairs for North Bay

October 9, 2014 12:55 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

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 family set to bid on AWS-3 auction

October 2, 2014 1:47 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

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.

SCTE at Cable-Tec Expo 2014

October 1, 2014 6:22 pm | by CED | Videos | Comments

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.

FCC signals review if OTT companies qualify as MVPDs

September 30, 2014 1:32 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

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.

FCC scraps sports blackout rule

September 30, 2014 12:45 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

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.

Net Neutrality: Government takes on the Internet

September 29, 2014 1:01 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

War of the Words

September 18, 2014 7:26 pm | by Brian Santo | Articles | Comments

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.

Network neutrality nonsense

September 18, 2014 7:04 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Articles | Comments

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.

News Corp opposes Google in EU antitrust case

September 18, 2014 12:36 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

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." 

Senate Commerce Committee passes satellite bill

September 17, 2014 6:48 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The Senate Commerce Committee has passed STAVRA, reauthorizing satellite TV broadcast of distant signals. One of the few non-satellite provision retained prevents local TV stations from colluding when negotiating retransmission consent contracts with cable operators.

Vendors unite against broadband reclassification threat

September 9, 2014 1:54 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

A set of technology vendors have come out firmly against reclassification of broadband as a Title II service. The suppliers delivered a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker insisting that classifying the Internet as a public utility would have harmful implications for the Internet and the economy.

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