What’s Hot 03/26/2014

  • FCC head cheers ‘transformative’ spectrum plans (Hillicon Valley, 3/24/14) Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler said on Monday that his agency is in the midst of projects that could “completely revolutionize” the way people communicate with each other. The commission’s upcoming auction of room on the nation’s airwaves, along with plans to share spectrum space, are “fundamentally transformative” policies that could lead to thousands of new jobs and new innovation, he said at the Brookings Institution.
  • Lawmakers Said to Reach Deal on NSA Phone-Data Program (Bloomberg, 03/25/2014) The top Republican and Democrat on the House intelligence committee agreed on legislation to end the U.S. National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephone records, e-mail and other Internet communications, according to a congressional aide. Under the bill, the government would no longer retain such data en masse and instead issue directives requiring AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and other U.S. carriers to search their databases for information, said the aide who wasn’t authorized to discuss legislation that’s not yet public. The measure will be unveiled tomorrow by Representatives Mike Rogers of Michigan, the committee’s Republican chairman, and C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger of Maryland, the top Democrat. Under the proposal from Rogers and Ruppersberger, phone companies would search their databases of call records based on numbers provided by the government, the aide said. The companies would send the search results to the government and wouldn’t be required to retain the records any longer than they normally do, the aide said. Government directives to the carriers would be reviewed by the secret court after searches are done. The companies also could challenge a directive before the court, the aide said.
  • Verizon chides FCC on Internet regulations (New York Post, 03/25/2014) Verizon is fighting mad — again — over the federal government’s attempt to regulate the Internet. The telecommunications giant is ready to fight the Federal Communications Commission’s move to implement what it called innovation-stifling rules in the name of net neutrality, Verizon said Monday in a 12-page letter to Tom Wheeler, the regulators’ chairman. “No problems threatening competition or consumers’ enjoyment of the Open Internet have emerged,” Verizon said in the letter, which the FCC posted on its website alongside its proposal. The FCC should wait to see if “actual problems develop before promulgating rules that could flash freeze innovation,” the company said. “Such actions will do far more benefit to consumers than another prolonged struggle over net neutrality rules.”
  • Kristi Crum of Verizon on Keeping a Line Open for Rural Communities (Arkansas Business, 03/24/2014) Arkansas Business spoke recently with Kristi Crum, who replaced the late Dean Taylor as president of Verizon’s south-central region in February. Do you view Arkansas’ prevalence of rural areas — where phone signals are typically weaker — as a challenge? Arkansas does have a good number of small towns and rural areas and that re-emphasizes the need for a reliable wireless network. Verizon’s goal is for our customers to have reliable coverage, regardless of where they live — whether it’s in a small town of 300 or in a major metropolitan area. Verizon invested $9.4 billion in its nationwide wireless network last year, and that investment is part of our commitment to providing coverage in rural communities and along state highways and interstates from border to border. In 2011, we were the first wireless carrier to bring the 4G LTE network to Arkansas, and last year we substantially completed our rollout of that network. Our team will continue to enhance our 4G LTE network, adding new capabilities for our customers.
  • FCC: Thousands of hotels don’t offer direct 911 (Associated Press, 03/25/2014) Tens of thousands of hotels don’t allow guests to directly reach emergency services when they dial 911, according to a national survey taken after a 9-year-old girl couldn’t call for help while her mother was being stabbed to death in a Texas motel. The killing of Kari Hunt Dunn in an East Texas hotel room spurred a petition that has garnered more than 440,000 signatures demanding hotels and motels be required to enable the direct dialing of 911. The petition got the attention of Federal Communications Commission member Ajit Pai, whose office on Monday announced the results of a survey done after Dunn’s death by the American Hotel & Lodging Association. The industry group found that about 45 percent of franchised hotels and motels and 32 percent of independent hotels have direct 911 dialing. Pai said he was starting a new round of surveys, this time to vendors of multi-line telephone systems used in hotels and workplaces, to see whether their products could easily be configured to allow dialers to quickly reach 911.​