What’s Hot 04/02/2014

AT&T Market Tests: Transition, Schmanzition (Recode, 3/31/14) Goodfriend acknowledges concerns surrounding the transition, but points to recent trends in technology adoption among the elderly, such as “Facebook[’s] reports that one of its fastest-growing categories of users is grandparents who want to keep in touch with their grandchildren.” Goodfriend asks: “Given this counterintuitive phenomenon, is it possible that elderly consumers could reap benefits from an IP transition, embracing rather than scorning the digital revolution in telephony?” He suggests, “We just might see elderly people energized by the prospect of better digital communications supporting not just their phone calls but their Web surfing, Twitter posting, Facebook friending, and Netflix watching.”

Major IT and Telecom players team up for the standardization of Internet of Things (Silicon Angle Blog, 3/31/14) Last year, the Linux Foundation accused corporations of hindering interoperability necessary to the advancement of the Internet of Things by driving the adoption of proprietary technologies and announced the creation of AllSeen Alliance, focused on electronics. Now, four manufacturers and telecom operator announced the creation of the IIC – Industrial Internet Consortium, focused on the promotion and development of standards for the Internet of Things.

F.C.C. Votes to Clear More Airwaves for Wireless Data (NYTimes.com Feed, 03/31/2014) The FCC approved measures on Monday that will free up more airwaves for Wi-Fi and wireless broadband. Commissioners votedon Monday to allow a broad swath of airwaves to be used for outdoor unlicensed broadband, clearing the way for a new generation of Wi-Fi networks and other uses of freely available airwaves. Unlike the airwaves used for mobile phone traffic, which are licensed to a specific company, unlicensed spectrum can be used by anyone. Previous establishments of unlicensed airwaves led to innovations like garage-door openers, baby monitors, wireless microphones and Wi-Fi networks. The commission freed up 100 megahertz of airwaves in a very high frequency band of the electromagnetic spectrum, known as the 5 gigahertz band, where another unlicensed band of similar size already exists. The commission also approved rules to allow it to sell a separate band of licensed high-frequency spectrum to the highest bidder in an auction this year. “It was 2008 the last time the commission conducted an auction this significant,” said Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, “when the iPhone was in its infancy.” In a separate action, the five-member commission approved new rules that prohibit the top four broadcast stations in a single market from acting together to negotiate fees with cable networks, a process that often results in higher consumer prices.

Divided FCC tightens media ownership rules (Hillicon Valley, 3/31/14) The Federal Communications Commission voted Monday to crack down on cooperation between broadcasters. In a contentious vote that attracted scrutiny from Republicans in the agency and on Capitol Hill, the FCC approved an order that will keep broadcast companies from sharing resources on advertising sales. Under current FCC rules, a single broadcast company cannot own more than one of the top four broadcast stations in a media market.

FCC frees up 100MHz of spectrum for Wi-Fi (CNET Blog, 3/31/14) On Monday, the Federal Communications Commission took a big step toward alleviating congestion and improving the speed on Wi-Fi networks with a vote that will free up an additional 100MHz of wireless spectrum for unlicensed use. During its open meeting Monday, the Commission voted unanimously to open up the airwaves that are part of the lower part of the 5GHz band of wireless spectrum for use by Wi-Fi devices. This sliver of spectrum had previously been used for satellite phone companies.​