Genachowski's choice

Tim Karr, Huffington Post

It's put up or shut up time on Net Neutrality. That's what Rob Pegoraro wrote in the Washington Post earlier this week.

And he's right.

The fate of the open Internet now rests in the hands of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. The chairman just needs to muster the courage to do right by the millions of Internet users who demand an Internet of, for, and by the people.

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At Sam Zell's Tribune, tales of a bankrupt culture

David Carr, New York Times

In January 2008, soon after the venerable Tribune Company was sold for $8.2 billion, Randy Michaels, a new top executive, ran into several other senior colleagues at the InterContinental Hotel next to the Tribune Tower in Chicago.

Mr. Michaels, a former radio executive and disc jockey, had been handpicked by Sam Zell, a billionaire who was the new controlling shareholder, to run much of the media company’s vast collection of properties, including The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, WGN America and The Chicago Cubs.

After Mr. Michaels arrived, according to two people at the bar that night, he sat down and said, “watch this,” and offered the waitress $100 to show him her breasts. The group sat dumbfounded.

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Telecom firms' donations to minority groups criticized as FCC considers net neutrality rules

Jennifer Martinez, LA Times

Some leading minority advocacy groups long have supported AT&T Inc., Comcast Corp. and other major telecommunications firms in the industry's efforts to win approvals for mergers, get rid of old regulations and avoid new government rules.

And the telecom firms, in turn, have poured millions of dollars of donations and in-kind services, including volunteer help from the carriers' executive suites, into charitable groups in the communities they serve.

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The History and future of hyper-local radio

Christine Dunbar-Hester, The Atlantic

Some day soon, Congress may pass the Local Community Radio Act, a piece of legislation that will allow a couple thousand new low-power FM radio stations to go on the air.

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Inslee to FCC: Stop stalling on broadband reclassification

On Sept. 30 Rep. Jay Inslee (WA-01) released this statement regarding the announcement that efforts to craft bipartisan net neutrality legislation in Congress have stalled: "Waiting and deliberation is over, the FCC must now move to reclassify broadband under Title II. Innovators and consumers can no longer wait, hoping, that the internet will remain open and free from discrimination they need certainty. For months I have encouraged the FCC to reinstate the rules of the road that have allowed for the explosion of innovation and economic growth on the internet. Instead, some have pointed to Congress to find a solution. Despite the efforts of Chairman Waxman, it is now clear that Congress will likely not find a bipartisan approach this year that will protect consumers and the online marketplace. The time for FCC action is now. We can't wait any longer."

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Beyond beltway, groups say the FCC must protect broadband

Media Action Grassroots Network

Nationwide, community groups respond to killed Waxman bill, claim FCC authority over broadband is the only sure way to protect consumers

A coalition of 60 community organizations from across the US and leaders representing small businesses, communities of color and America s'poor says while clear rules of the road for high speed broadband Internet are needed, getting those rules from Congress isn't the way.

Coalition spokespeople suggest that the lack of Net Neutrality protection for wireless broadband in the recent Waxman bill was unacceptable, failed to meet equity standards and could have slowed the road to economic prosperity for America's rural, struggling suburban and urban communities of color.

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Waxman's net neutrality bill would strip FCC of authority, leave out wireless net

Eliza Krigman, CongressDaily Tech Daily Dose

With precious little time left in the 111th Congress, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman's efforts to advance a net neutrality bill may be more of a messaging tool than anything else, observers say.

"A lot of legislation is introduced not because of its likelihood of enactment, but to send a message that will ricochet around the Hill and agencies," said Andrew Lipman, head of the telecommunications, media and technology group at the law firm Bingham.

Against steep odds, Waxman, D-Calif., has been leading an effort to shepherd a measure through Congress that would codify some principles to protect the openness of the Internet.

A draft bill leaked to Tech Daily Dose on Monday revealed a framework that would apply nondiscrimination principles to wireline broadband but not wireless and direct the FCC to deal with enforcement on a case-by-case basis, rather than through rulemaking. Under the draft, the commission would be prohibited from reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service under title II of the Communications Act, which would apply a more stringent regulatory regime.


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Seattle's slow progress towards community fiber: an update

Christopher Mitchell, MuniNetworks

If Seattle moves forward on the Community Fiber Network it has been considering, it will be the largest such network in the nation. However, as we recently noted, progress has been slow.

The City's Seattle Jobs Plan proposes a publicly owned fiber network as a smart investment. The report notes that Seattle applied for BTOP stimulus funding from NTIA, but the recent notice of awards suggests that Seattle will not receive any grants or loans. Way back in March, City Councilmember Bruce Harrell published a lengthy post about Seattle's options. Harrell is a pivotal official on this issue and his post suggests he has given it a lot of thought. The post seems geared toward those pushing for a community fiber network. The overall message is that this is a hard decision… which is fine, but the Council seems more ready to wait out the clock than actually make a decision.

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Chattanooga launches 1 Gbps broadband service

W. David Gardner, Information Week

The more than 1,100 communities which have submitted applications to Google for 1 Gbps broadband service won't have to sit on the edge of their chairs anymore wondering which community will get the service first. None of them will get it. The first 1 Gbps net service -- the fastest in the U.S. -- is being offered by the city of Chattanooga.

The city-owned Electric Power Board utility announced this week that it is offering the ultra high-speed service to all 170,000 homes and businesses in its service area. There's a drawback, however: the 1 Gbps service will cost $350 a month. As is often the case in telecommunications, the first price is usually the highest and is generally followed by a strong of lower prices so residents can hold out hope that the price will eventually decline.

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Qur'an burning: From Facebook to the world's media, how the story grew

Matthew Weaver, The Guardian

It started as a provocative suggestion on a Facebook group – but within two months it was being described as a threat to world peace.

Terry Jones, an extremist pastor with a dwindling flock of followers in Florida, became an international hate figure, drawing universal condemnation from world leaders and prompting violent street demonstrations, when his plans to burn 200 copies of the Qur'an were revealed.

The chronology of the story's growth presents a cautionary tale on the power of rolling news and social media to push a marginal figure to the centre of the global stage.

It has led to anxiety in the media about its role but also prompted questions about how politicians and church groups handled the issue.

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