Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 24, 2014

Posts in "Television"

November 21, 2014

‘Integration Ban’ On Its Way End, Process to Start Working Group to Start Immediately

A five-year satellite television reauthorization bill is on its way to the President after both the House and Senate passed the measure this week, and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said he would immediately start the process of forming a working group required in the bill to look into a next generation follow-on to the CableCARD.

The bill would repeal the so-called “integration ban” one year after the bill is enacted. As CQ Roll Call’s Daniel Peake writes (subscription), this is the requirement that cable and satellite set-top boxes use a common device (the CableCARD) for signal decryption:

CableCARD was developed in an effort to help independent manufacturers of set-top boxes and other electronics to compete against cable and satellite companies by eliminating the need for the specific set-top box provided by the cable or satellite operator.

The bill Congress sent to the President Thursday also would require Wheeler, within a month-and-a-half of the bill’s enactment, to create a working group of technical experts to recommend performance objectives and technical standards of a “not unduly burdensome, uniform, and technology- and platform-neutral software-based downloadable security system designed to promote the competitive availability of navigation devices…” The panel would be required to submit recommendations to the FCC within nine months of the bill’s enactment.

“We’re gonna move now,” Wheeler told reporters Friday in answering a question about whether the group would be commenced immediately, assuming the President signs the bill.  He noted that the agency first has to go through a process under existing law to form such a council, but said that the agency would start that process now.

On Thursday, Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., wrote to Wheeler  saying the FCC should work to ensure a “competitive set top box marketplace” and to do so, would need to “require a new simpler, cheaper and more efficient standard of common reliance embedded in all set top boxes.”

They called on the FCC to issue rules for a new standard, and fast:

If STELAR becomes law, we urge the FCC to immediately convene this working group and, following the group’s conclusion, quickly commence a rulemaking so that a new standard can be developed without delay. Without strong FCC action, consumers may be left with no choice but to rent set top boxes from their cable providers in perpetuity, which is akin to the days when consumers had no choice but to rent their rotary dial telephone from the telephone company.

November 17, 2014

The Week Ahead: Sports Blackouts, Intellectual Property and Smart Phone Encryption

It’s a busy week in Washington with several congressional hearings including one on sports blackouts and events on intellectual property and smart phone encryption.

Full story

November 10, 2014

The Week Ahead: Net Neutrality, Cybersecurity and Lifeline

Congress returns for the lame duck session and events on net neutrality, cybersecurity and the Universal Service Fund’s Lifeline program are on tap this week.

Full story

October 31, 2014

Weekly Wrapup: Net Neutrality, Spacecraft Crashes & ECPA

Some highlights of the news this week relate to net neutrality, commercial spacecraft and data “throttling.” In case you missed it, Technocrat had a Q&A with the Center for Democracy & Technology’s Chris Calabrese on the details of the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act as well as coverage of a report on tariffs and taxes different countries place on technology goods and services.

Full story

October 24, 2014

Weekly Wrapup: Spectrum Incentive Auction, ECPA & Online Sales Tax Bill

Among some of the news in tech policy this week: the Federal Communications Commission announced a delay of the spectrum incentive auction as well as a pause on its 180-day review of the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV transactions. In case you missed it, Technocrat had posts on Sen. Orrin G. Hatch‘s call for enactment of legislation targeting abusive patent litigation and changes to electronic privacy law next Congress as well as the state of play on the online sales tax bill.

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October 14, 2014

The Week Ahead: FCC Meeting and the Future of Internet Regulation Event

The Federal Communications Commission holds an open meeting, the American Red Cross holds an event on video games and the laws of war and Tim Berners-Lee, Vinton G. Cerf and others are scheduled to participate at a Duke event on the future of Internet regulation.

Tuesday

The Society of Professional Journalists and the Medill School of Journalism hold a panel discussion on net neutrality and media.

The American Red Cross hosts an event on video games and the laws of war.

Wednesday

The Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative hosts a panel discussion on net neutrality rules and wireless Internet.

The Heritage Foundation hosts an event on regulation of the video marketplace.

Thursday

The Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus hosts a panel discussion on whether an update of the Communications Act needs to include the Internet.

The United States Institute of Peace hosts an event on the impact of technology on Afghanistan’s democratic process.

Friday

The Federal Communications Commission holds an open meeting.

Duke Law Center for Innovation Policy hosts an event titled “Internet Regulation in 2020.”

September 30, 2014

FCC Eliminates Its Sports Blackout Rules

The Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted on Tuesday to eliminate its sports blackout rules and CQ Roll Call’s Rob Margetta reports that commissioners advised the National Football League not to try to keep their blackout policy going on their own.

“I hope that the NFL will not respond to today’s vote by digging in its heels,” Commissioner Ajit Pai said prior to the vote, Margetta reports (subscription).

Full story

July 31, 2014

Fight Over Set-Top Box ‘Integration Ban’ Continues

Lawmakers may be getting ready to leave Washington until September, but that doesn’t mean the lobbying and the fight between TiVo and the cable industry over the so-called integration ban on cable set-top boxes has died down.

Full story

July 21, 2014

Satellite Television, Internet Governance and Open Data This Week

The House will take up a satellite television bill this week and a subcommittee holds a hearing on three tech bills. Elsewhere in Washington, events on Internet governance, open data and broadband regulation are coming up.

Full story

July 16, 2014

The Infamous Comcast Cancellation Call

“Painful to listen to.”

“The telecommunications version of the clingy ex-boyfriend.”

“Beyond all humanity.”

Those are a few of the ways articles have described Ryan Block’s recording of a call with a Comcast representative in an effort to cancel his service, which has gotten a lot of attention and resulted in the company issuing a statement.

Full story

By Anne L. Kim Posted at 9:12 a.m.
Telecom, Television

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