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The Lead

A Perry Mason twist in the FCC's favor

November 25, 2014 8:40 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

In Washington, D.C., a set of programmers are holding up two major corporate takeovers because they don’t want a few extra lawyers to become privy to the trade secrets in their retrans consent contracts. Meanwhile, in Washington State, a Court of Appeals just ruled there no grounds for claiming that the terms of retrans agreements are trade secrets.

Pew study: Americans clueless about the Internet

November 25, 2014 1:00 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Only about 6 in 10 Internet users...

STELA bill passes House; ends CableCard mandate

November 21, 2014 12:17 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

This version of the bill eliminates the integration ban, and also includes provisions that ban...

Hundreds bid to host FCC's rural 100 Mbps broadband experiment

November 19, 2014 1:34 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The FCC set aside $100 million for the project. More than 180 entities proposed 600 projects...

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NYC to convert phone booths into muni Wi-Fi network

November 18, 2014 1:53 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The city issued an RFP for the project, called LinkNYC, earlier this year, and today awarded the contract for the work to CityBridge, a team of companies comprised of Qualcomm, Titan, Control Group, and Comark. Titan is an ad company that currently operates most of the city’s pay phones.

Wheeler: $2 a year fee to support school broadband

November 17, 2014 1:40 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The U.S. should spend $1.5 billion more a year to make sure every child has access to high-speed Internet connections at school, the head of the Federal Communications Commission said in a proposal that would increase slightly the fees consumers pay each month on their phone bills.

Appeals court holds up megamergers; decision challenged

November 17, 2014 1:36 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The U.S. Court of appeals ruled that programmers do not have to share details of their transmission contracts with a set of MVPDs because some of the MVPDs want to hire outside legal counsel to review the documents. The ACA challenged the decision as unjustified.

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AT&T drops user-tracking "super cookies"

November 17, 2014 1:08 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Super cookies provide a lucrative data-mining opportunity for advertisers. AT&T is giving up the practice because it made it nearly impossible to shield its subscribers' identities online. Verizon Wireless said it is still using this type of tracking.

Small mobile providers voice concerns over Title II

November 14, 2014 12:23 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

Cellcom, Bluegrass Cellular and three other regional wireless providers are warning the FCC of the potential havoc Title II reclassification could wreak in the smaller markets they serve. The response from rural and regional carriers is similar to what larger carriers and wireless industry groups have said after President Obama earlier this week urged the FCC to reclassify ISPs as common carriers.

Infographic: Net Neutrality debate is about the lack of competition

November 13, 2014 6:46 pm | by CED | News | Comments

Infographic: It is a misconception that the discussion about network neutrality is solely about principles such as preventing ISPs from blocking traffic or favoring traffic from any source. It's also very much about broadband competition, or more to the point, the lack of it.

Roberts: Full steam ahead on Time Warner deal

November 13, 2014 12:42 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts is moving "full steam ahead" with the company's proposed $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable despite the uncertainty raised by President Barack Obama's call for tougher regulations on high-speed Internet service providers. Roberts said Comcast Corp. still intends to spend about $20 billion during the next two years to improve its Internet service and other products.

AT&T chair: go Title II and we'll sue

November 12, 2014 1:15 pm | by Brian Santo | Blogs | Comments

If the FCC were to attempt to reclassify broadband as a communications service under Title II, the industry will immediately sue to block the move, AT&T Randall Stephenson vowed. Furthermore, communications companies will stop investing in their networks.

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AT&T pauses fiber build on Title II concerns

November 12, 2014 12:31 pm | by Andrew Berg, Wireless Week | News | Comments

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said his company couldn't afford to continue its fiber buildout until regualtory uncertainties were resolved. Stephenson's comments come just days after President Obama's strongest statement yet on the Net Neutrality debate. Obama urged the FCC to categorize ISPs under Title II, which would essentially make the Internet a public utility. 

Obama ignites debate on 'net neutrality'

November 11, 2014 12:34 pm | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

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.

Cable stocks whacked on Obama Title II endorsement

November 10, 2014 1:00 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

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?  

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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