What’s Hot 5/15/2014

  • The Legally Problematic Nature of of Title II Reclassification of Internet Services (The Free State Foundation, 5/13/2014) May argues, “It would be terribly unsound as a matter of policy to subject Internet services to the same Title II public utility regulatory regime that applied to last century’s POTS (‘plain old telephone’) service.” May states that Tim Wu, the claimed coiner of the term ‘net neutrality,’ “freely admits that Title II regulation is the same regime applied to railroads and electric utilities.” May concludes by saying, “I remain mystified at how little discussion there has been concerning the lawfulness, or not, of a potential Title II reclassification.”
  • Nation’s Top Broadband Internet CEOs Urge FCC to Protect Open Internet (Broadband for America, 5/13/2014) According to the blog, “The signers – CEOs of broadband Internet companies such as Lowell McAdam of Verizon, Randall Stephenson of AT&T, Robert Marcus of Time Warner Cable, and Brian Roberts of Comcast – warned that reclassifying broadband into a Title II public utility would threaten new investment in broadband infrastructure and jeopardize the spread of broadband technology across America, holding back Internet speeds and ultimately deepening the digital divide.”
  •       Adding “Fast Lanes” Does Not Require Harming the Internet (Recode Blog, 5/14/14) We use the Internet an enormous amount. At home, we consume north of 150 gigabytes of data every single month; on the go, we consume 7.5GB of LTE mobile network data, in addition to an unknown amount of data via our office computer. The Internet, amazingly, appears to work awfully well, considering the rapid increases in bandwidth consumption over the past several years (with one notable exception, the quality of out-of-home Wi-Fi).
  •    Why this week’s FCC meeting matters to public safety (IWCE’s Urgent Communications Blog, 5/13/14) Early this year, the FCC focused much of its attention on overtly public-safety issues, initiating proceedings regarding the implementation of text-to-911 functionality and improving location accuracy associated with 911 communications from wireless devices. On Thursday, the FCC will consider a couple of items that appear to be commercial in nature, but both could have significant impacts on public-safety communications.
  •    After two years, app to assist mobile deaf users finally gets nod of approval from FCC (The Washington Post’s The Switch Blog, 5/14/14) It’s been over two years, but Miracom — a Kansas firm that’s developed an app to help the deaf and hard-of-hearing use mobile phones — has finally gotten government approval to hit the market. As The Washington Post reported in October, the Kansas firm had successfully designed an app, InnoCaption, to accurately transcribe mobile phone conversations in real-time. But it was spinning its wheels as it waited for the Federal Communications Commission to grant it access to a government fund that would allow deaf consumers to use the app for free.
  • Bringing Mobile Broadband to Rural Americans (Roll Call, 5/9/2014) In 2012, Congress passed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. One of its key goals was to ensure that American consumers get access to the spectrum they need. As the Federal Communications Commission finalizes its design for the Incentive Auction that will buy back 600 megahertz spectrum from broadcasters in order to sell it to providers of mobile broadband, members of Congress continue to express intense interest in the auction. Recent letters from both sides of the aisle encourage the FCC to conduct an auction equally open to all participants.
  • In Defense of Broadband Fast Lanes (The Technology Liberation Front, 5/12/2014) The outrage over the FCC’s attempt to write new open Internet rules has caught many by surprise, and probably Chairman Wheeler as well. The rumored possibility of the FCC authorizing broadband “fast lanes” draws most complaints and animus. Gus Hurwitz points out that the FCC’s actions this week have nothing to do with fast lanes and Larry Downes reminds us that this week’s rules don’t authorize anything. There’s a tremendous amount of misinformation because few understand how administrative law works. Yet many net neutrality proponents fear the worst from the proposed rules because Wheeler takes the consensus position that broadband provision is a two-sided market and prioritized traffic could be pro-consumer.