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March 1, 2015

Posts in "Broadband"

February 27, 2015

Weekly Wrapup: Net Neutrality and City-Owned Broadband

The Federal Communications Commission took historic action this week to claim broader regulatory authority over broadband service providers, reclassifying broadband service under a 1934 law that governs common carriers. Your Weekly Wrapup includes posts on the FCC’s net neutrality rules, city-owned broadband and a tax bill in Oregon that state lawmakers hope will attract Google Fiber and others.

FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

Net Neutrality Meeting Highlights

Walden Wants “Better Path” on Net Neutrality

FCC Republicans Call for Delay in Net Neutrality Vote

Twitter Praises Wheeler’s Net Neutrality Proposal

Net Neutrality Wasn’t the Only Item the FCC Voted on Thursday

Oregon Senate Panel Advances Tax Bill that Lawmakers Hope Will Attract Google Fiber and Others

A Look at the FCC’s Rules Seeking to Improve 911 Call Location Accuracy

Oregon Senate Panel Advances Tax Bill that Lawmakers Hope Will Attract Google Fiber and Others

An Oregon state Senate committee approved legislation Thursday that could “resolve years of dispute over state taxes on telecommunications companies,” The Oregonian reports. The measure has drawn objection from cities, according to the newspaper.

From The Oregonian:

Lawmakers hope the bill would open the door for Google Fiber to bring its hyperfast Internet service to the Portland area and prompt Amazon and Apple to resume expansion of data centers they operate in central and eastern Oregon.

By capping some taxes and exempting data centers from others, though, the new law would also limit future revenues to local governments that are reliant on property taxes. That has therefore sparked skepticism, particularly of the tax cuts for existing telecom providers.

February 26, 2015

Net Neutrality Rules Wasn’t the Only Item the FCC Voted on Thursday

The big news Thursday was the Federal Communications Commission’s vote of net neutrality rules, so you might have missed another significant action the commission took Thursday. It pre-empted portions of state law in North Carolina and Tennessee that petitioners have argued restrict their ability to expand municipal broadband offerings.

That action responds to petitions submitted this past summer by Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Electric Power Board, which runs its network, and the government of Wilson, N.C., to preempt state laws they say prevent them from geographically expanding their broadband offerings.

Full story

February 25, 2015

WSJ on Municipal Broadband: Wheeler Wants to ‘Usurp’ State Authority

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to move to pre-empt state laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that restrict municipalities from offering Internet service. Earlier this month, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said he recommended approving petitions from the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, Tenn., a public utility run by the city, and the city of Wilson, N.C.

Wheeler wrote last July, even before the petitions were filed, that, “If the people, acting through their elected local governments, want to pursue competitive community broadband, they shouldn’t be stopped by state laws promoted by cable and telephone companies that don’t want that competition.”

The Wall Street Journal in an editorial contends that Wheeler wants to “usurp state authority to regulate municipal broadband networks.”

The piece argues that municipally run networks can “undercut the private market” and that public financing of these networks “puts taxpayers and in some cases electric-utility ratepayers on the hook if the ventures got belly up.”

From the editorial:

In Nixon v. Missouri Municipal League (2004), the Supreme Court rejected federal pre-emption of a state ban on municipal telecom services.

Mr. Wheeler is trying to end-run this ruling by appealing to the FCC’s mandate to “promote competition” and “remove barriers to infrastructure investment.” But if the Labor Department construed its mandate to “foster, promote, and develop the welfare” of workers as broadly, the feds could nullify state laws that forbid cities from raising their minimum wage or restrict collective bargaining for local government workers.

Mr. Wheeler may figure that liberal ends justify illiberal means, but he is threatening serious damage to the federal system and local self-government.

By Anne L. Kim Posted at 10:46 a.m.
Broadband

February 23, 2015

The Week Ahead: FCC Vote on Net Neutrality Rules and More

It’s a big week in Washington with the Federal Communications Commission’s vote on net neutrality rules. A slew of events and congressional hearings are also on tap. Get ready for a busy, busy week, folks.

Monday 

New America hosts a day-long event titled “Cybersecurity for a New America: Big Ideas and New Voices.”

Tuesday

COMPTEL hosts a day-long policy summit.

The Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy hosts an event on rewriting the 1934 Communications Act.

The Hudson Institute hosts an event titled “American Broadband Under Title II.”

A subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds a space exploration hearing.

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation hosts an event on cross-border data flows.

Wednesday

A House Appropriations subcommittee holds an oversight hearing on the Justice and Commerce Departments and NASA.

A subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee holds a hearing on the net neutrality proposal before the Federal Communications Commission.

The House Homeland Security Committee holds a hearing on the President’s cybersecurity information-sharing proposal.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a hearing titled “FCC Process: Examining the Relationship Between the FCC and the White House.”

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation hosts a panel discussion on net neutrality and network management.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds a hearing titled “Preserving the Multistakeholder Model of Internet Governance.”

Thursday

BakerHostetler hosts a day-long symposium on Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

The Federal Communications Commission votes on net neutrality rules and an order addressing two municipal broadband petitions.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on patent demand letters, which allege someone is infringing on a patent.

The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the U.S. Copyright Office.

The heads of the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology testify beforeHouse Science, Space and Technology subcommittee on their fiscal 2016 budget requests.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker testifies beforeSenate Appropriations subcommittee on the department’s fiscal 2016 budget request.

Friday

A House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee holds a hearing on NASA’s commercial crew program.

February 13, 2015

February 9, 2015

The Week Ahead: Lincoln Labs Event and Internet of Things Hearing

Among this week’s events, Lincoln Labs hosts its Reboot Congress event, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds a hearing on the Internet of Things and the Technology Policy Institute holds an event on patent legislation.

Tuesday

The Cato Institute hosts an event on ridesharing and regulations.

Project GOAL hosts an event on Internet safety and older adults.

Wednesday

Lincoln Labs begins its Reboot Congress event, which continues through Thursday.

Public Knowledge and the R Street Institute host a Capitol Hill briefing on copyright law.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds a hearing on the Internet of Things.

The Technology Policy Institute hosts an event titled “Patents in Theory and Practice: Implications for Reform.”

Thursday

A subcommittee of the House Education and the Workforce Committee holds a hearing on emerging technology and student privacy.

A subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on recent Supreme Court patent cases.

Some subcommittees of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee hold joint hearings titled “Bridging the Gap: America’s Weather Satellites and Weather Forecasting” and “Can Americans Trust the Privacy and Security of their Information on HealthCare.gov?

New America hosts a congressional briefing on mobile broadband and net neutrality.

February 6, 2015

Weekly Wrapup: Net Neutrality, President’s Budget Request and That DeLorean on the Hill

The big news this week, of course, was Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s unveiling of his proposal for net neutrality rules. Technocrat’s posts this week included that big topic as well as President Barack Obama‘s fiscal 2016 budget request, why you might have seen a DeLorean around the Hill, and more.

Wheeler Announces Net Neutrality Proposal

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler says he’ll circulate to fellow commissioners this week a proposal for net neutrality rules that would treat Internet providers as common carriers, using Title II of the 1934 Communications Act, the same portion of law the agency uses to regulate phone companies and other common carriers.

Q&A: AAAS’ Matt Hourihan

President Barack Obama recently released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2016, and Technocrat chatted with Matt Hourihan of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences about some science and research issues proposed in previous budgets that have and haven’t been embraced by lawmakers.

Obama’s Budget on Cybersecurity, Digital Service Teams and Commercial Crew:

Here’s a look at some of the Obama administration’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal to Congress on the issues of cybersecurity, digital service teams and NASA’s commercial crew program…

What Was The Deal With That DeLorean You Might Have Spotted Today?

You might have spotted a DeLorean around the Hill on Thursday and if you’re wondering why, it’s part of a campaign by Americans for Tax Reform to bring attention to their call for an update to tech laws they say are outdated.

Should Computer Science Be Counted as a Foreign Language Class?

Some states have been proposing or advancing legislation to let computer science classes be counted as a foreign language either to meet high school graduation or college admissions requirements. You can add Washington to the list of states looking at this matter.

 

February 4, 2015

Wheeler Announces Net Neutrality Proposal

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler says he’ll circulate to fellow commissioners this week a proposal for net neutrality rules that would treat Internet providers as common carriers, using Title II of the 1934 Communications Act, the same portion of law the agency  uses to regulate phone companies and other common carriers.

In a Wednesday op-ed in Wired he writes:

Originally, I believed that the FCC could assure internet openness through a determination of “commercial reasonableness” under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. While a recent court decision seemed to draw a roadmap for using this approach, I became concerned that this relatively new concept might, down the road, be interpreted to mean what is reasonable for commercial interests, not consumers.

That is why I am proposing that the FCC use its Title II authority to implement and enforce open internet protections.

He goes on to write that the “bright-line” rules to bar paid prioritization, blocking and throttling will also cover mobile broadband:

These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. I propose to fully apply—for the first time ever—those bright-line rules to mobile broadband. My proposal assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission.

In his piece, Wheeler further writes that he would “modernize Title II, tailoring it for the 21st century, in order to provide returns necessary to construct competitive networks.”

“For example, there will be no rate regulation, no tariffs, no last-mile unbundling,” he writes. “Over the last 21 years, the wireless industry has invested almost $300 billion under similar rules, proving that modernized Title II regulation can encourage investment and competition.

January 30, 2015

Weekly Wrapup: Internet of Things, Internet Governance and NASA Budget

Among the news this week, the Federal Communications Commission changed its definition of what constitutes advanced Internet access and Google Fiber announced four more metropolitan areas where it would deploy. At Technocrat, we had posts for you on the Internet of Things, Sen. John Thune’s speech at the American Enterprise Institute and more.

  • The Federal Trade Commission released a staff report on the Internet of Things. Among the takeaways was the report’s determination that it’s “preemptive” to enact legislation specific to this area of technology.
  • If you’re lucky enough to go to the Super Bowl, the Federal Aviation Administration reminds you not to fly your drone.

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