What’s Hot 9/10/14

Broadband policy history reflects unusual bipartisanship (The Hill, 9/9/2014) All eyes are on the FCC, which has a pending rule-making that some argue should lead to the FCC reclassifying broadband as a regulated common carrier service rather than as a deregulated information service. What’s often not told is the story of how this policy foundation was developed.

Tech industry groups ask US Senate to ‘swiftly pass’ NSA curbs (Network World, 9/8/2014)Tech industry organizations have written a letter to leaders in the U.S. Senate, to ask them to swiftly pass the USA Freedom Act, legislation that is expected to end the collection of bulk domestic phone data by the National Security Agency. Disclosures about the U.S. government’s surveillance programs since June 2013 have led to an erosion of public trust in the U.S. government and the U.S. technology sector, anti-software piracy group BSA, Computer and Communications Industry Association, Information Technology Industry Council, Reform Government Surveillance and the Software and Information Industry Association wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader in the Senate Mitch McConnell on Monday.

Expectations high for upcoming AWS-3 spectrum auction (Fiercewireless.com, 9/8/2014) Anticipation is growing for the FCC’s upcoming AWS-3 spectrum auction, which will begin Nov. 13. During a panel discussion here at the Competitive Carriers’ Association conference, several operators said that they expected the auction to get high participation from a lot of different players.

Nancy Pelosi: The FCC’s net neutrality rules should reclassify broadband (Washington Post.com, 09/8/2014) The most powerful Democrat in the House is urging regulators to oversee broadband providers more closely in an effort to preserve an open Internet. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission Monday that Internet service providers should be reclassified under Title II of the Communications Act — a step toward stronger regulations that would allow the FCC to more easily prohibit attempts by ISPs to charge other businesses for smoother, faster access to consumers. “I oppose special Internet fast lanes,” wrote Pelosi. “I believe the FCC should follow the court’s guidance and reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II.”

Court Grants NAB Motion for Expedited Review Of Auction Challenge (TR Daily, 09/5/2014) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today granted the National Association of Broadcasters’ emergency motion for an expedited briefing and oral argument schedule to consider the trade group’s appeal of the FCC’s incentive auction order. The court set the following schedule: NAB’s brief is due Oct. 6; any joint brief of intervenors in support of NAB is due Oct. 14; the brief for the FCC is due Nov. 13; any joint brief of intervenors in support of the FCC is due Nov. 20; the reply brief of NAB is due Dec. 4; a deferred appendix is due Dec. 11; and final briefs are due Dec. 18.

FCC Chief Seeks Faster Speeds for U.S. Internet Service (Bloomberg, 09/4/2014)
Americans want faster Internet service for video and other applications and the government needs to stimulate more competition, the nation’s top communications regulator said today touching on a topic debated in Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC). “Meaningful competition for high-speed wired broadband is lacking,” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a speech in Washington today. “Americans need more competitive choices.”

AT&T, Verizon, Exxon are top corporate spenders (USA Today, 9/10/2014)AT&T spent $20.6 billion on new plant and equipment in this country in 2013, leading all non-financial corporations in U.S. capital spending for the third straight year, according to a report out Wednesday.Rival telecom giant Verizon was second, with $15.4 billion in U.S. capital outlays, says the Progressive Policy Institute study. Exxon Mobil shelled out $11 billion, followed by Chevron, at $10.6 billion, and Walmart, $8.7 billion.

Want To Keep Telecom Investment Going Strong? Avoid Rate Regulation Under Title II (Forbes, 9/10/2014) Quants have been studying the million-plus comments submitted to the FCC during the Open Internet proceeding, and unsurprisingly, the vast majority favor net neutrality. But what does that mean? Those pressing for heavy-handed regulations would like it to mean “support for Title II,” but the myriad comments that mentioned Title II were most likely form letters generated by advocacy groups: It is doubtful that ordinary citizens understand the legal nuances that distinguish the FCC’s authority to regulate Internet service providers (ISPs) under section 706 and Title II.