What’s Hot List 11/6/15

Hilton hotel fined for obstructing FCC investigation into Wi-Fi blocking (PC World 11/3)

The Federal Communications Commission plans to fine Hilton Worldwide Holdings $25,000 for obstructing its investigation into whether the hotel operator blocked Wi-Fi hotspots being used by customers.

In an order published on Monday, the FCC said Hilton must provide information and documents to assist the investigation or it could face a “significantly higher fine.”

 

FCC probing Los Angeles radio firm said to be backed by Chinese government (LA Times 11/3)

Federal regulators are investigating a Los Angeles-based radio broadcasting company that is reportedly majority-owned by a unit of a Chinese government broadcaster.

A spokesman for the Federal Communications Commission confirmed Tuesday that the agency will open a probe into G&E Studio Inc., reportedly owned by James Su, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Shanghai.

 

FCC looks to ‘nutritional labels’ for Internet service shopping (The Hill 11/2)

Customers shopping for Internet service are a step closer to having access to “nutritional label”-like disclosures that will help them easily compare prices and speed offerings from different providers.

A government-sanctioned committee last week unveiled a set of sample disclosure forms that Internet service providers, like Comcast or Verizon, would be encouraged to offer potential customers. These disclosure forms would outline prices for stand-alone Internet service, average speed measures, and any network management rules that apply.

 

FCC Declares Intellectual Bankruptcy In Business Data Services Investigation (Forbes 11/2)

Somebody at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) put a lot of effort into obscuring the relevant data in its order to investigate ‘TDM’ data services offered by telephone companies to business customers (also known as “special access” services). The FCC skewed its presentation of the data in a way that bolsters its presumption that telephone companies are dominant in the market for business data services.

 

Judges selected for FCC net neutrality legal battle (Game Politics 11/3)

The judges who will hear the case against the Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules have been revealed. The three judges that will make up the panel at the D.C. District court will hear two hours and 20 minutes of oral arguments in the case brought against the FCC by stakeholders such as broadband and mobile providers, trade groups that represent the industry, and other interested parties.

One of those judges is David Tatel, who issued the opinion striking down the FCC’s previous regulations. Joining Tatel is Stephen Williams, a senior judge on the court, and Judge Sri Srinivasan.

 

FCC’s Wheeler and the ‘Common Good’ Standard (Multichannel 11/4)

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler defended the FCC’s new network neutrality rules on the Charlie Rose show Tuesday, and appeared to come up with his own variation of the public-interest standard — “the common good” standard — to back it up.

 

He also gave a hint of how the FCC would treat its new broadband privacy oversight under those new Open Internet rules, which redefine Internet access as a common carrier.

Rather Than Invest, Financially Strapped Sprint Asks FCC For Government Discount (Forbes 11/4)

Why is Sprint—a company who primarily offers wireless services to residential consumers—pushing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to impose new price regulations on business data services (also known as “special access”) provided by telcos over copper telephone lines? Because it wants government help in its desperate effort to slash capital costs while Sprint’s new executives try to overhaul its network, and Sprint wants to use price-regulated special access lines for its wireless “backhaul.” (“Backhaul” is industry jargon for the link connecting a cell tower to the Internet cloud. This link can be a copper line provided as special access, a fiber connection, or a high-capacity wireless link.)

Sprint already holds the spectrum assets it needs to have the best network in the nation. But the gross mismanagement of its prior executive team left Sprint’s network in last place, causing it to fall behind T-Mobile in the wireless race. In its effort to turn things around, Sprint’s new management recently announced a “network densification” project, i.e., a plan to deploy tens of thousands of small cells to increase its network coverage and capacity.

FCC Declares Intellectual Bankruptcy In Business Data Services Investigation (Forbes 11/2)

Somebody at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) put a lot of effort into obscuring the relevant data in its order to investigate ‘TDM’ data services offered by telephone companies to business customers (also known as “special access” services). The FCC skewed its presentation of the data in a way that bolsters its presumption that telephone companies are dominant in the market for business data services.

Had the FCC offered a neutral presentation of the data, it would have undercut its finding that the investigation was necessary (and not just a clever way to give FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler more power over the issue). A closer examination of publicly available data indicates that telcos have lost significant market share as business customers transition from outdated TDM technology (that the FCC forces telcos to offer at government regulated prices) to modern Ethernet technology that uses Internet Protocol.