‘What’s Hot’ 10/3/14

The Two Questions Everyone Should Ask When Surfing the Web (Brookings.edu, 9/28/2014) We sit with our laptops, tablets and smartphones. Our fingers twitch in anticipation as we start scouring our emails, bookmarks and social media pages to see what we missed since last logging on, even if that only was a few minutes ago. We click, then link, then like, on repeat.

The FTC doubles down on its net neutrality ambitions (The Washington Post, 9/29/2014) A top official at the Federal Trade Commission is warning that consumers will be hurt if a fellow agency, the Federal Communications Commission, pushes for strong net neutrality protections under Title II of the Communications Act. It’s the second time in as many weeks that the FTC has complained about the possible loss of authority under the FCC’s net neutrality rules. Speaking on C-SPAN (and to The Washington Post), Republican FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen said that despite the “possibility” that Internet service providers would abuse their ability to control access to consumers, reclassifying broadband under Title II would put ISPs beyond the legal reach of the FTC, one of the nation’s technology regulators.

The FCC Is Promising Big Payouts for Local TV Stations That Go Off the Air (National Journal’s Tech Blog, 10/1/2014) The federal government is promising to pay local television stations around the country tens of millions of dollars each—but only if they agree to go out of business. Local TV stations can provide valuable services, such as community news, entertainment, weather, and information in emergencies. But the stations are also sitting on an incredibly valuable resource: the frequencies they use to broadcast their signals.

With Perspective From Both Sides of His Desk, F.C.C. Chairman Ponders Net Neutrality (NY Times, 9/28/2014) As a lobbyist for the cable and wireless industries, Tom Wheeler played a role in shaping almost every major telecommunications policy and innovation over the last three decades. Cable and telephone deregulation. Internet service in schools and libraries. C-SPAN. None of them, though, have generated as much public interest as net neutrality, the policy most likely to define his time as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Large U.S. wireless carriers, Dish to bid in airwaves auction (Reuters.com 10/1/2014) Three of the four largest U.S. wireless carriers and satellite provider Dish Network Corp plan to bid in the Federal Communications Commission’s November auction of airwaves, according to initial applications released on Wednesday. As expected, the largest U.S. wireless carrier Verizon Communications Inc, No. 2 AT&T Inc, No. 4 T-Mobile US Inc and Dish appeared to be the largest companies to indicate an interest in bidding in the upcoming auction of frequencies known as AWS-3.

Wheeler: Net May Be at Regulatory Inflection Point (Multichannel, 10/2/2014) FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has at least raised the possibility that the Internet economy is at an “inflection point” at which the government needs to step in to insure the continuing ability of innovative startups to scale up at the pace of high-speed broadband. That came in the FCC’s Thursday (Oct. 2) network neutrality forum on the economics of broadband, in this case mostly the economics of paid priority.