What’s Hot 6/18/2014

  • CEA: Unlicensed Spectrum Provides $62B Boost To Economy Annually (Broadcasting & Cable Blog, 6/16/14) The Consumer Electronics Association said Monday that unlicensed spectrum generates $62 billion annually to the U.S. economy, led by Wi-Fi in and outside the home. The report, Unlicensed Spectrum and the American Economy, comes as the government is freeing up more unlicensed spectrum, with cable operators standing to benefit. According to CEA, Wi-Fi and wireless LANs account for almost a third ($20.029 billion) of that $62 billion total.
  •  Cyber-Threats Will Outpace Any FCC Regulations, Lawmakers Tell Wheeler (Roll Call’s Technocrat Blog, 6/17/14) Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence panel, and Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., aren’t exactly thrilled to see what they interpret as signals that the FCC is potentially looking to regulate cybersecurity. The duo, who sit on both the House Intelligence and Energy and Commerce panels, wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler yesterday: In a December appearance before the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, you testified that you believed a collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach to cybersecurity was preferable to a regulatory approach. However, statements by you and senior Commission staff suggest otherwise, and lead us to be concerned that the Commission may be preparing to implement a new regulatory scheme that would significantly impact Internet service providers and other web services.
  • CTIA Asks Congress to Keep FCC Powers Limited (Wireless Week Blog, 6/16/14) CTIA is pushing for a diminished regulatory role for the FCC as the House Committee on Energy and Commerce seeks to reform the Communications Act of 1934. In response to a white paper released in May by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, CTIA asks congress to recognize the industry for its competitiveness and seek “light touch” regulations by the FCC. CTIA is asking that Congress narrow the Commission’s authority to regulate only in specific areas where competition might not necessarily produce the desired result, for instance to ensure emergency communications in underserved areas.
  • Level 3 to Buy TW Telecom for $5.7 Billion (The New York Times’ DealBook Blog 6/16/14) Level 3 Communications said on Monday that it had agreed to buy TW Telecom, a provider of business Internet connections, for about $5.68 billion, as consolidation continues in the telecommunications industry. Under the terms of the deal, Level 3 will pay $10 a share in cash and 0.7 of one of its shares for each TW Telecom share. That offer was worth about $40.86 a share, 12 percent above TW Telecom’s closing price on Friday. In addition, Level 3 will also acquire about $1.6 billion in debt.
  •  Why the FCC Might Intervene in the Netflix-Comcast Deal (The Motley Fool Blog, 6/17/14) The Federal Communications Commission wants to know how much Netflix is paying Comcast and Verizon in so-called “paid peering” agreements. These deals — which became legal in January when a court struck down the net neutrality rules that forced all Internet traffic to be treated equally — give the digital streaming company a promise of better service for its customers. The FCC asked for and received copies of the agreements but Chairman Tom Wheeler has not pledged to take any action nor is he releasing them to the public. Currently, Ars Technica reported, he is only checking into whether consumers are actually getting the Internet access they are paying for.
  •  In Its Dealings With ISPs, Netflix is Holding a Powerful Card (Forbes, 6/18/14) By producing compelling online content and interfacing directly with its customers, Netflix is holding a powerful card—and I’m not talking about its Emmy-award-winning show. Rather than playing this card, Netflix is asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to intervene in its dealings with Internet service providers (ISPs). Before delving into Netflix’s potential counter-strategy and the need (if any) for regulatory intervention, a bit of background is in order.