FCC Wants to use Universal Service Fund for Broadband Expansion in America

October 7, 2011 -

The Federal Communications Commission has been eyeballing a fund traditionally earmarked for rural phone service as a way to fund rural broadband. Most Americans that have a phone pay to fund this rural telephone program through the Universal Service Fund, or USF. When you pay your bill you pay a small stipend into this fund, which the government then uses (or is at least supposed to) towards building phone systems in wildly rural areas.

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Free Press Files Lawsuit Against New Net Neutrality Rules

September 28, 2011 -

Here's a news story we saw coming. It seems that some of the biggest net neutrality advocates in the country have decided to file a lawsuit against the rules ratified by the Federal Communications Commission. When the FCC finally issued the finished version of it network neutrality rules and announced they would go into effect at the end of November, lawsuits against the policy where waiting in the wings such as those that were thrown out earlier in the year by Verizon and Metro PCS.

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Sen. Jay Rockefeller Defends FCC's Net Neutrality Rules

September 26, 2011 -

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller is taking aim at critics of the Federal Communications Commission's net-neutrality rules that were published on Friday afternoon in the Federal Register.

"Americans want the Internet to stay free and open," Rockefeller said. "After a long, deliberative process, the FCC came up with balanced rules that promote transparency and prohibit discrimination. I am disappointed that my colleagues want to use a legislative short cut to unravel these rules."

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FCC Finalizes Net Neutrality Rules, in effect Nov. 20

September 22, 2011 -

The Federal Communications Commission has filed its finalized the open Internet (net neutrality) rules it voted on late last year. The rules now go to the Federal Register, who will publish them tomorrow and make them official. The rules go into effect on November 20, but chances are they will be put on hold as two lawsuits by prominent service providers will be relaunched. Both Verizon and MetroPCS had taken their lawsuits to the federal courts earlier this year but both were tossed out because the rules hadn't been finalized.

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Presidential Candidate Rick Perry Backs AT&T and T-Mobile Merger

September 1, 2011 -

Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission in May endorsing the proposed merger between telecommunications companies T-Mobile and AT&T. On Wednesday the Justice Department went to court to block the merger. The National Journal reports that one of the leading Republican presidential candidates is backing the proposed AT&T - T-Mobile merger.

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FCC Restarts Merger Shot Clock on AT&T-T-Mobile

August 26, 2011 -

Today the Federal Communications Commission restarted its "shot clock" for the AT&T–T-Mobile merger review. The announcement follows AT&T’s fourth and allegedly final revision of the economic models it is using to make its case for the T-Mobile acquisition.

Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner issued a short statement today with its thoughts on the latest move by the FCC:

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FCC Hosts Apps for Communities Challenge

August 4, 2011 -

The Knight Foundation and the FCC have teamed up to challenge app developers to create a software application that "delivers personalized, actionable information" to the public that are least likely to be online. Using local government and public data in under-served communities, developers will need to create an app that enables Americans to benefit from broadband communications.

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FCC: Net Neutrality Rules Heading to Office of Management Budget 'Soon'

June 25, 2011 -

A Federal Communications Commission spokesperson says that the agency is expected to send its net neutrality rules to the Office of Management Budget for Paperwork Reduction Act for vetting very soon. Of course, as Free Press points out, this is the first time that the FCC has admitted that it has dragged its feet on sending them in. Net neutrality rules were adopted in December 2010 but because of new reporting rules and requirements the commission had to put it out for comment and has been vetting it since April.

The rules can't be challenged in court until they are published in the Federal Register, which can't do that until the rules go through the OMB and are put out for 30 days. Then the rules don't go into effect for another 60 days. Given all of that the rules won't likely go into effect until October of this year.

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Advocacy Groups To FCC: Do Not Allow AT&T and T-Mobile Merger

June 21, 2011 -

A number of public interest groups have come out swinging against AT&T, saying that its proposed merger with T-Mobile will harm consumers and stifle competition in the mobile space. The groups, which include Media Access Project and Consumers Union, filed a reply with the Federal Communications Commission on Monday in response to arguments from AT&T and T-Mobile that the merger would be beneficial to consumers because it would accelerate the deployment of next-generation wireless access. The groups say that the opposite will happen if the FCC allows the merger to go through.

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Rep. Matsui Introduces 'The Broadband Affordability Act of 2011'

June 15, 2011 -

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) introduced a bill yesterday called "The Broadband Affordability Act of 2011." The bill would deliver high speed Internet access to lower income households to close what she calls the "the digital divide." Matsui introduced an identical bill in 2009. She is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

Matsui said that low-income Americans need access to affordable high-speed internet as much as anyone else, to succeed in our modern and connected society:

"Income should not hinder the ability of hard-working American families to attain broadband services that have become a necessity, not a luxury in our technologically driven economy. If you don't have it, you are simply at a competitive disadvantage," Matsui said in a statement.

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Free Press Files Complaint Against Verizon

June 7, 2011 -

Earlier this week advocacy group Free Press formally complained to the Federal Communications Commission concerning Verizon's ban of 4G tethering apps, claiming that the action violates the openness rules set forth in the agency's net neutrality guidelines and terms the company agreed to when it bought the spectrum in 2008.

In its complaint, Free Press claims that the wireless carrier asked Google to remove tethering apps from the Android Market. The motivation for doing this, according to Free Press, is because Verizon wants to charge a monthly fee of $20 for subscribers to use their phone as an ad hoc modem. Free Press says that these requests to Google violate the openness rules that the FCC attached to the C Block spectrum that Verizon bought at auction in 2008. Those rules require that Verizon allow users to use devices, services and apps without interference from the carrier.

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AT&T's Generous Contributions to Lawmaker-Linked Charities

June 1, 2011 -

How do you give money to politicians without actually giving them a big fat check directly? Write a check to a charity they are closely associated with. That is just what AT&T has been doing, and it is getting the attention of the public and media outlets.

AT&T has given a substantial amount of money to charities connected to several lawmakers including Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia), who just happens to be the chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which has direct jurisdiction over the Federal Communications Commission. A charity associated with Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), who just happens to be on the Senate Appropriations Committee. AT&T also gave a generous contribution to a charity associated with Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina), the No. 3 House Democrat. His daughter, Mignon Clyburn also happens to be a member of the Federal Communications Commission.

2 comments | Read more

Time Warner Applauds FCC Decision on 'Rural Telco Interconnection'

May 27, 2011 -

Time Warner Cable issued a short statement today praising a recent "declaratory ruling" on a petition submitted by the cable operator to the agency related to rural telco interconnection. The ruling basically says that local telephone companies must work with telecommunications companies to enable interconnection between networks, and traffic exchanges. The company went on to say that it has been trying to enter into rural communities in Maine - unsuccessfully - for the last three years.

Time Warner's short statement below:

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Rep. Darrell Issa Wants Answers From FCC's Baker

May 23, 2011 -

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has decided that the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a key investigative body of Congress which he chairs, will investigate FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker's jump from the FCC to Comcast-NBC Universal.

In a letter sent to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Friday, Issa said that Baker's departure has “generated questions” because of her recent vote to approve the Comcast and NBC merger.

Issa said that Baker's own statements about the process which led to the job offer leads him to believe that "it does not appear [Baker] violated any of her legal or ethical obligations in accepting a position with Comcast.”

Still, he thinks an investigation is still warranted “because only a short time has passed since the Comcast-NBC Universal merger, it is imperative that the public can trust the integrity of the process."

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Comcast-NBC Takes Heat over Funding Threat to Non-Profit

May 19, 2011 -

A controversial tweet from a non-profit supported by donations from Comcast has caused the company a bit of controversy over the last 24 hours and it all has to do with former FCC Comissioner Meredith Attwell Baker. In case you have forgotten, Meredith Attwell Baker approved the Comcast-NBC merger about four months ago and then - recently - took a job with the same company.

Reel Grrls is a summer camp for teenage girls in Seattle that offers courses on documentary film making, video production and film animation. The trouble began, as most trouble happens online these days - on Twitter. The official account for non-profit Reel Grrls tweeted its disdain for Baker joining Comcast-NBC as a lobbyist:

“OMG! @FCC Commissioner Baker voted 2 approve Comcast/NBC merger & is now lving FCC for A JOB AT COMCAST?!? http://su.pr/1trT4z #mediajustice”

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FCC Commissioner Turned Lobbyist Defends Comcast-NBC Job

May 16, 2011 -

Caught with her proverbial pants down, former FCC Commissioner and soon to-be Washington D.C. lobbyist for Comcast-NBC Meredith Attwell Baker issued a statement regarding her new job, the approval of the Comcast-NBC merger and the appearance of impropriety taking a job at the company has caused her.

The Republican commissioner issued the statement on Friday after several publications including the New York Times called into question her role in the merger and taking a job with the same company a mere four months after her vote. From her statement (found in full here - PDF):

"Not once in my entire tenure as a Commissioner had anyone at Comcast or NBCUniversal approached me about potential employment. When this opportunity became available in mid-April, I made a personal decision that I wanted to give it serious consideration.

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FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker Joins Comcast-NBC

May 12, 2011 -

Meredith Attwell Baker, one of the two Republican Commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission, plans to step down from the agency to take a lobbying job at Comcast-NBC. It's an odd turn of events, considering that at the time, Baker objected to the FCC attempts to impose conditions on the merger deal.

This news comes a mere four months after approving the deal. Now Baker will become a top DC lobbyist for the newly formed entity. The media and advocacy groups that opposed the merger are having a field day with the news.

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Rep. Greg Walden to FCC: What's the Hold-Up on Net Neutrality Order?

April 8, 2011 -

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) raised concern this week about how long it is taking the Federal Communications Commission to get net-neutrality regulations on the books. The agency passed the new rules in December. Walden added that he is not excited to have the rules enacted but is nonetheless curious about what is taking the agency so long.

"I’m curious as to why it’s taken the FCC so long to file their network-neutrality rules in the Federal Register. It’s not that I’m eager to have their rules proceed, but it does raise some questions," said Walden, the top Republican on the Communications subcommittee.

He also questioned whether the FCC is following the proper procedures and if the delay is in some way a tactic to derail a GOP effort to repeal the rules using the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Walden's repeal measure is scheduled for a full House vote on Friday.

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Report: 133 U.S. Cities Operate Their Own Broadband Networks

March 23, 2011 -

An interesting story on Ars Technica points out that 133 cities in the United States have their own broadband networks. This data comes from a new map developed by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). The group compiled the list of 54 fiber networks and 79 cable networks. The objective of these networks is to "maximize value to the community in which they are located rather than to distant stockholders and corporate executives."

Ouch. The advantage to these networks is that they are not driven by profits; for example, a city-owned network would be more apt to extend itself out to even remote residents, while a corporate ISP would determine that based on the number of residents on a stretch of line per mile. 

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House Republicans Move Against Net Neutrality Rules

March 10, 2011 -

House Republicans today took the first small step towards overturning the Federal Communication Commission’s net neutrality rules. On Wednesday, the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology voted 15-8 to pass a resolution that kills the FCC rules. The resolution will now go before the full House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where Republicans will have enough votes to get it passed. The resolution will make it to the House floor in the next couple of weeks.

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Rep. Greg Walden Sets Feb. 16 Hearing With FCC

February 11, 2011 -

Addressing the Ripon Society earlier this week, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) outlined his priorities as the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology this year. One of the biggest priorities for Walden is to take the FCC to task for its recent net neutrality rules. Many republicans see the new rules as an over-reach on the part of the FCC. Democrats think the rules are too weak.

"Look, whether you’re for it or against it," Walden said. "I don’t believe the FCC had the authority to do it."

Walden thinks that the FCC frequently oversteps its boundaries and needs some reform. That reform will come from congressional oversight. Walden said that Republicans plan to offer a "resolution of disapproval" and promised to hold hearings on "this issue and others" related to the FCC.

Other commissions will be considered, Walden added.

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Heritage Foundation Wants Net Neutrality Rules Rescinded

February 3, 2011 -

Conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation has issued a report urging congress to review what it calls 20 "unnecessary and harmful regulations" - three of which have to do with the FCC.

"This regulatory tide must be reversed," Heritage's Dianne Katz said. "Policy­makers should not just prevent harmful new regulations, but must repeal costly and unnecessary rules already on the books."

Ars Technica details the three items that Heritage Foundation is putting a bull’s-eye on: net neutrality regulations, media ownership rules, and the FCC's merger review authority.

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Free Press: Comcast-NBC Merger a 'Comcastrophe'

January 18, 2011 -

In an email response to the Comcast-NBC Merger, internet rights group Free Press calls the freshly approved merger a "Comcastrophe." It’s a noun. A partial statement from Joe Silver, Free Press CEO and President, follows:

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FCC Approves Comcast-NBC Universal Merger

January 18, 2011 -

The Federal Communications Commission has approved a merger between cable operator Comcast and television network and media company NBC Universal. The deal has a number of strings attached according to a Washington Post report, but many net groups think that the agency didn't go far enough in its conditions for approval of the deal. When the deal is complete, Comcast (the country's largest cable television provider) will control such networks as USA, Bravo, MSNBC, NBC, and CNBC - to name a few.

Four out of five commissioners voted to approve the merger. The Justice Department also gave the green light for the deal today.

"After a thorough review, we have adopted strong and fair merger conditions to ensure this transaction serves the public interest," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said.

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Report: NBC-Comcast Merger Not Likely This Week

January 13, 2011 -

According to the Washington Post, the proposed merger between NBC and Comcast will not be approved this week as the FCC considers putting net neutrality conditions on the new company. Two Democratic commissioners are pushing for the two companies to preserve local media and that Comcast does not use its new-found market power to make it harder for content and media companies to reach consumers.

The merger has received the blessing of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, as long as the companies agree to certain conditions, including some specifics on online video content. Analysts expect Comcast to agree to provide NBC shows as long as other networks are providing their content to online video providers such as Apple TV and Netflix.

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Republican Lawmakers Target FCC in First Hours of New Congress

January 7, 2011 -

The new Republican controlled House or Representatives wasted no time this week getting to its agenda which included amending the clean air act, cuts in discretionary spending, plans for hearing on the powers of the president's "czars," and a bill that would limit the power of the FCC to enforce net neutrality.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced H.R. 96, a bill "to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from further regulating the Internet."

Blackburn's new bill has 59 co-sponsors, and should have no problem passing in the House. In the Senate it has less of a chance of surviving.

Republicans in the House and Senate have vowed to find ways to curtail the powers of the FCC and other agencies. The FCC is one of many targets that lawmakers will attempt to take to task in 2011.

Source: Ars Technica

9 comments

Opinion: Wireless Net Neutrality Will Be Contested

January 3, 2011 -

Fierce Wireless offers a dire prediction for the FCC's net neutrality rules enacted in December: continued opposition. How this opposition will evolve from talking points to actual action remains unknown, but there will be plenty of sword rattling in 2011, says the site dedicated to the wireless industry.

Here is how they lay the prediction out to readers:

1 comment | Read more

Cory Doctorow on Net Neutrality

January 3, 2011 -

Cory Doctorow, best known as the genius behind Boing Boing offers some opinions on the recently approved FCC rules on net neutrality in an editorial called "Net Neutrality for Writers: It’s All About the Leverage." The column is from the January 2011 issue of Locus Magazine.

He starts out by bashing the compromise the FCC accepted when it enacted new rules. For one, the whole transparency thing is worthless because it does not stop service providers from shaping or managing traffic.

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Hutchison: Repealing Net Neutrality a Tough Fight

December 31, 2010 -

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) admits that overturning or repealing the new net neutrality rules put in place earlier this month by the Federal Communications Commission will be difficult because the Democrats still control the Senate and the White House.

Hutchinson has been one of the most vocal opponents of the new regulations on broadband and wireless service providers. Though she has pledged to put forth a resolution to "disapprove the legislation" she admits that she faces an uphill battle in both houses and an inevitable veto from the president should it make it that far.

"As long as the Democrats are in control of the Senate and the president believes this is the way to govern, we will have a hard time shutting it down," Hutchison told host David Asman during a Fox Business Channel interview. "But I hope enough Democrats will come alongside us in the Senate and Republicans in the House and say this is wrong."

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Poll: Over Half of Likely Voters Dislike Net Neutrality Rules

December 29, 2010 -

According to a new Rasmussen Reports survey 54 percent of the American public oppose the new net neutrality rules approved by the FCC last week. The national telephone survey also found that only 21 percent of likely U.S. voters want the FCC to regulate the Internet as it does radio and television, while 25 percent are not sure.

According to Rasmussen, the survey was conducted shortly after the FCC decided on a party line vote to impose net neutrality regulations on the Internet. Republicans and unaffiliated voters overwhelmingly opposed the FCC regulation of the Internet, while Democrats were more evenly divided. Those who use the Internet the most were most opposed to FCC regulations.

Fifty-six percent of voters believe that the FCC will use its regulatory powers to promote a political agenda. Half of that number (28 percent) disagreed.

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PHX CorpI'm going to do a test stream later today, if anyone is intrested07/31/2014 - 2:40pm
Andrew EisenYes, I'm such a big Nintendo dork that I read Nintendo's quarterly financial reports.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew EisenCool tidbit - Mario Kart 8 sales account for more than half of total Wii U software sales for the last quarter even though it was only available for the last third.07/31/2014 - 2:09pm
Andrew EisenStill a pretty cool promotion. Unfortunately for me, I'm not interested in purchasing Mario Kart 8 and I already owned or didn't want any of the free games on offer.07/31/2014 - 1:43pm
Andrew EisenInteresting that EU had 10 games to choose from while North America only had four.07/31/2014 - 1:41pm
MaskedPixelanteIt certainly worked, I probably would never have bought Mario Kart 8 if it didn't come with a free copy of Wind Waker HD.07/31/2014 - 1:14pm
Andrew EisenI imagine will see similar promotions like "Buy Mario Kart 8 get a download code for one of these specific games" but almost certainly not for all of its (however you would define) biggest releases.07/31/2014 - 11:24am
MaskedPixelanteI wonder if Nintendo is going to be doing "buy one get one free" promos for all their biggest releases going forward.07/31/2014 - 10:48am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/special-report-retail-revolt-over-pc-code-strippers/013614007/31/2014 - 8:27am
ZippyDSMleeWouldn't they be able to afford and get done in a timely manner a general gba emluator for the 3DS? It seems to me if they want to make money off sales they need to do it.07/31/2014 - 7:25am
Sora-ChanAmbassador program, that's what I was looking for. Anyway the other games that have been made no longer exclusive to the early adopters got updates in their software. It'll only be a matter of time more than likely for the GBA to get the same treatment.07/31/2014 - 5:35am
Sora-ChanI might be naming it incorrectly when I say "founder" i mean the program for earlier adopters.07/31/2014 - 5:34am
Sora-Chanthe 3DS's GBA emulator was a rush job due to the founder program. No other GBA titles have been released on the 3DS yet. If/When they do get around to it, they'll more than likely update the emulation software.07/31/2014 - 5:32am
Zenemulator...it's not just a slap job that makes "some" work..they do it for each which is why they work so well. I would rather have the quality over just a slap job.07/30/2014 - 5:48pm
ZenMatthew there is a difference between "worked" and "accurate". You play the Nintendo VC titles they play as damn close to the original as possible. The PSP would just run them as best they could, issues and all. And Masked...EACH VC title has their own07/30/2014 - 5:48pm
MaskedPixelanteOnce again, the 3DS already HAS a GBA emulator, it just can't run at the same time as the 3DS OS.07/30/2014 - 4:54pm
Matthew Wilsonyou cant street pass in ds mode ether, and if moders can make a gba emulator that runs very well on the psp as I understand it. you are telling me that Nintendo devs are not as good as moders?07/30/2014 - 4:49pm
Zenperformance. Halo 1 and 2 worked great because they actually did custom work on each of them...just like Nintendo does now lol07/30/2014 - 4:08pm
Zenexisting hardware while the GBA has to be emulated completely. Same reason the 360 couldn't run most Original Xbox games correctly, or had issues because they just did "blanket approach" for their emulation which led to game killing bugs or horrible07/30/2014 - 4:07pm
ZenSora/Matthew: It's not just Miiverse, but the whole idea of streetpass and things like that would be affected if the OS is not running. And just because a 3DS game can be downloaded and run does not mean that GBA can as easily. Those 3DS games use the07/30/2014 - 4:06pm
 

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