Broadband/Cable

Government skeptical wireless can open up broadband market

Matt Lasar, Ars Technica

Earlier this week we wrote up a Department of Justice brief urging the Federal Communications Commission to reallocate as much spectrum as possible for the wireless industry. Wireless, the DOJ says, is the best chance we've got at creating a more competitive broadband landscape. "Given the potential of wireless services to reach underserved areas and to provide an alternative to wireline broadband providers in other areas, the Commission's primary tool for promoting broadband competition should be freeing up spectrum," the DOJ told the FCC on Monday.

But now comes a policy letter from the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) suggesting that the wireless fix may not be so clear cut.

"Although early projections from [the] industry are encouraging, it is premature to predict when, or even whether, these wireless broadband services will provide the competitive alternatives that can benefit consumers of all services, including wireline," NTIA chief Larry Strickling wrote to the Commission on Wednesday.

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FCC delays broadband plan deadline by one month

Rich Karpinski, Telephony Online

The FCC will a congressionally-mandated deadline to deliver a national broadband plan, today asking Congress for a four-week extension to more hold more briefings and gain additional input.

Washington has set itself a big year, what with additional broadband stimulus funding, net neutrality discussions and the new broadband plan all looking to make their mark in the first half of 2010. How those issues are resolved will have a huge impact on industry planning and spending this year and beyond, as well as how the industry’s competitive environment evolves moving forward.

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New study suggests net neutrality is needed to avoid negative economic effects

Institute for Policy Integrity

The Internet dominated the last decade, but new pricing policies may have profound consequences for the shape of tomorrow s Web. That is one of the findings of a report called Free to Invest: Economic Benefits of Preserving Net Neutrality released this morning by the Institute for Policy Integrity (Policy Integrity).

Free to Invest compiles research and conducts analysis of the behind-the-scenes policy often referred to as net neutrality. Under net neutrality, content providers, like newspapers, blogs, and businesses, currently pay Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to upload information online but not a second fee when broadband subscribers access the data. Without net neutrality, content providers could be charged again when that information is downloaded or viewed.

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US official: Net neutrality rules are needed

Grant Gross, IDG News Service

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission should consider regulations for broadband providers in an effort to increase competition, an official with U.S. President Barack Obama's administration said.

In most areas of the country, there's been slow progress toward "vigorous competition" among broadband providers, wrote Lawrence Strickling, assistant secretary for communications and information at the U.S. Department of Commerce and administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

"We urge the Commission to examine what in many areas of the country is at best a duopoly market and to consider what, if any, level of regulation may be appropriate to govern the behavior of duopolists," Strickling wrote in comments to the FCC about its upcoming release of a national broadband plan.

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Tacoma's Click: It's the envy of...Seattle?

Lewis Kamb, Tacoma News Tribune

When was the last time Tacoma invited Seattle to steal from it?

That’s essentially what Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma did last week when he hosted Seattle’s next mayor, Mike McGinn, to talk telecommunications.

“He’s keenly interested in the Click Network and why we decided to move ahead to start it years ago,” Baarsma said. “And, why Seattle didn’t do the same thing.”

Seeking to take a page from Tacoma’s forethought a dozen years ago, McGinn is now studying what it will take to launch a publicly owned Internet network in the city he will lead starting next month.

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Cable industry confused: it's our First Amendment, not theirs

Marvin Ammori, Save the Internet

The cable and phone industry keep making the offensive argument that the First Amendment belongs to them, not you--and that the First Amendment empowers them to stifle your online speech just so they can make more money.

This Wednesday, the cable industry's head lobbyist gave a speech claiming that Net Neutrality would violate the First Amendment. According to the NCTA’s Kyle McSlarrow, cable companies have free speech rights, while Americans (like you) don't have rights to access or upload content on the Internet.

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Bring the Internet to every home in America

Danny Bakewell, Sr., Portland Skanner

This summer, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski described universal broadband Internet access as this generation’s infrastructure challenge. He compared it to building our nation’s railroads and highways and electrical grid. The commission has been working since that time to create a National Broadband Plan, as mandated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Bringing broadband to all Americans will strengthen our economy and our communities. Deploying broadband creates new American jobs that revitalize our communities. A study by the Brookings Institution revealed that for every 1 percent increase in broadband penetration in a state the employment rate rises 0.2 to 0.3 percent per year. The broadband and communications sector created nearly half of all new American jobs in 2008.

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We must not let big telecom segregate the Internet

Malkia Cyril, Chris Rabb, Joseph Torres, ColorLines

Even though President Obama pledged he would “take a back seat to no one” on Net Neutrality, the big phone and cable companies are pulling out all the stops to derail it, including deploying Karl Rove-style scare tactics within our communities and using their massive resources to block Obama’s agenda. In the first nine months of 2009, they employed nearly 500 lobbyists and spent some $74 million to influence Congress and the FCC. Their misinformation has even convinced Glenn Beck that Net Neutrality is an attempt by Obama to take over the Internet. Who will protect the online rights of marginalized communities against the raw profit motive of big business? We urge leaders in our community not to yield to the underhanded scare tactics that corporations like AT&T have used on our communities.

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What is 'reasonable network management?'

Mike Weisman, Klopt

There has been a great deal of concern about language in the recent FCC call for rule making on network neutrality. The FCC notice is intended to developed a definition of net neutrality along the lines proposed in the rule making. The concern is directed at language that would permit network operators (I always use the words network operators because these rules would apply to Internet and non-Internet networks) to conduct ‘reasonable network management. This Ars Technica article makes one glaring error; there is nothing about ‘tiering‘ that violates net neutrality, but it is a bad idea for a lot of other reasons.

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FCC chairman: universal broadband access will boost economy

John Lyons, Arkansas News

Extending broadband Internet access to all Americans is “the great infrastructure challenge of our time,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said today.

Genachowski made the remarks during a noon talk at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock. Earlier in the day, he and U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., participated in two panel discussions on broadband access at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

“Broadband is to us what railroads, electricity, highways and telephones were to previous generations: A platform for commerce, a platform for economic competitiveness, for helping address major national challenges like education and health care, for connecting people with each other,” Genachowski said at the Clinton School.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey