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Posts in "Telecom"

March 25, 2015

Oregon Lawmakers Send Tax Break Package to Governor

The Oregonian reports that the Oregon state Senate on Tuesday approved a“package of property tax breaks aimed at Comcast, Google Fiber and Oregon data centers,” sending it to the governor.

The report mentions, though, that it won’t be the end of the story:

But that won’t be the final word on the matter – the Legislature will need to do additional work to satisfy Google Fiber.

It notes:

But language in the bill, intended to provide an exemption to gigabit service providers, appears to actually make them ineligible for the tax breaks. Lawmakers say they will fix the goof in a separate bill.

By Anne L. Kim Posted at 11:11 a.m.

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 24, 2015

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

In response to an outcry from lawmakers, the Federal Communications Commission is trying to fix the issue of inaccurate cellphone location data sent to help 911 responders go to the right place, but the process is going to be slow, writes CQ Roll Call’s Shawn Zeller.

From the latest Roll Call Policy Focus on the FCC’s new rules:

It’s particularly difficult for responders to find people who have called 911 from their cellphones in tall buildings. Often, the only data they receive gets them to the building, but they have no idea which apartment or office suite the caller is in.

The new rules aim to fix the problem by requiring providers to transmit location data that includes both horizontal and vertical information. Cellphone companies will have to provide horizontal data, accurate within 50 meters, for 40 percent of wireless 911 calls within two years and 80 percent within six years. They’ll have to develop systems for providing vertical location information within three years and provide accurate vertical data in the top 25 cellular markets within six years and 50 markets within eight years. That should go a long way, since it’s in major cities where most of the tall buildings are.

Find the rest of the story here as well as a related piece on an effort to get hotels to allow 911 calls from their rooms without having to first dial 9.

By Anne L. Kim Posted at 7 a.m.

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.


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


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.


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.”


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.


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

February 5, 2015

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

DeLoreon 1

The DeLorean parked outside the Capitol Hill Club (Anne L. Kim/CQ Roll Call)

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.

Technocrat caught up with Katie McAuliffe, executive director of the group’s Digital Liberty project, earlier Thursday when a replica of the DeLorean used in the 1989 film “Back to the Future Part II” was parked outside the Capitol Hill Club.

“I mean it’s really hard to get people to pay attention to, like, communications law,” McAuliffe said, “but it’s not hard to get people to pay attention to a DeLorean with a flux capacitor.”

While technologies predicted in the movie are “basically here,” she said — except of course for time travel — the “regulations are way behind.”

“Not saying that Americans for Tax Reform loves new regulations or anything like that, but some updates would be very well-received,” she said. “Particularly when you’re looking at the whole net neutrality debate and… reigning in the FCC power on that.”

She said an update of the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Law is needed, as is an examination of the Communications Act, last updated in 1996.

Leaflets that were distributed nearby for calling an update of the 1996 Telecommunications Act referenced the film: “Unlike Doc Brown and Marty McFly, American innovators need roads (by way of regulatory clarity) to guide them into the future. Congress can pave the road to a better, more innovative digital future by modernizing our obsolete communications laws.”

It’s apparently their third year of a Twitter campaign calling for an update to the Telecommunications Act.

Other locations the DeLorean visited Thursday were The Monocle restaurant and Americans for Tax Reform,  McAuliffe said.

The interior of the DeLoreon. (Anne L. Kim/CQ Roll Call)

The interior of the DeLorean. (Anne L. Kim/CQ Roll Call)


January 26, 2015

CTIA Hires Tom Power

The wireless industry group CTIA-The Wireless Association announced Monday that it’s hired the White House’s former deputy chief technology officer for telecommunications, Tom Power, to be its senior vice president and general counsel.

Some of Power’s former jobs:

  • White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy: deputy chief technology officer for telecommunications.
  • National Telecommunications and Information Administration: chief of staff.
  • Fiberlink Communications: general counsel.
  • Federal Communications Commission: senior legal adviser to then-Chairman William Kennard.
  • Law firm Winston & Strawn: telecommunications and litigation partner.

Power is replacing Michael Altschul, who is retiring.


By Anne L. Kim Posted at 12:15 p.m.

January 20, 2015

The Week Ahead: Net Neutrality, Cybersecurity and Patents

The State of the Union and congressional hearings on net neutrality are on tap this week, as well as a number of other events on cybersecurity, patents and more.



  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s deputy director, and Obama’s nominee to head the patent office, Michelle K. Lee, is slated to talk at The Brookings Institution.

January 9, 2015

Weekly Wrapup: Net Neutrality, Panel Changes & More

This week, the big news included Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s comments on Title II at International CES in Las Vegas and the announcement of DISH Network’s Sling TV, which will start offering select television channels delivered over the Internet, including ESPN.

At Technocrat, we had posts for you on net neutrality, changes on a House panel with jurisdiction over intellectual property, and more.

  • Online sales tax legislation could make it through this new Congress, but only if there are significant changes from the measure the Senate passed back in May 2013, per CQ Roll Call’s Katy O’Donnell.
  • Technocrat chatted with Arizona State University law professor Adam Chodorow, who wrote a piece in Slate this week on taxes and Mars. Apparently, tax law even specifies how to treat income earned from space activities.

December 29, 2014

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