‘What’s Hot’ List: 9/26/14

 Digital Policy Institute Webinar: “Municipal-Run Broadband: Do the Risks Outweigh the Benefits?” (Digital Policy Institute, Ball State University, 9/24/14) The webinar will feature distinguished panelists to discuss the ongoing debate – at the FCC in Washington and in cities and towns across the nation – over municipalities operating broadband systems.   What’s worked?   What hasn’t?  What are the economic, legal and policy considerations that surround the debate?

Panelists include:

  • Michael Santorelli, Director, Advanced Communications Law and Policy Institute, New York Law School
  • Randolph May, President, Free State Foundation
  • David Merritt, Former City Council Member, Glenwood Springs, CO
  • ModeratorBarry Umansky, Senior Research Fellow and Senior Policy Counsel at the Digital Policy Institute and Professor of Telecommunications at Ball State University

Comcast to FCC: We already face enough competition, so let us buy TWC (Ars Technical, 09/22/2014) Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has made it clear he thinks there isn’t enough broadband competition in America, but Comcast is trying to convince the FCC that it faces enough competition right now. Already the largest pay-TV and broadband company in the US, Comcast is seeking permission to buy Time Warner Cable.

A Tipping Point In The Net Neutrality Debate? User-Directed Priority Could Bring Huge Benefits to Broadband Customers (Forbes.com, 09/22/2014) The FCC Open Internet Roundtables began last week, and if the agency were judging solely on the merits, the debate would be over. But net neutrality will be decided in part on popular opinion, which makes this race too hard to call. The FCC hearings put the matter in the hands of experts from all fields, from engineering to economics to the law. Campaign slogans were excluded from the debates. It is no accident that Free Press, despite having a seat at the table at one session, was clamoring for the FCC to move the hearings outside of Washington.

New milestone for internet advertising (Media Life Magazine, 9/23/2014)Internet advertising is about to make another notable achievement. In 2014, U.S. ad spending on the medium will outpace print for the first time, according to a new forecast from ZenithOptimedia, a Publicis Groupe agency based in London. It predicts that online spending will total $42.96 billion this year, up 18.4 percent from $36.29 billion last year.

Congress to push Internet sales tax after midterm elections (The Hill, 9/23/14) Lawmakers have set up a lame-duck showdown over a long-stalled issue: whether to give states more authority to tax Internet sales. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) put the online sales tax legislation at the top of his priority list, when he shared his post-November to-do list before leaving Washington to campaign. “That is long, long overdue,” Reid said of the online sales tax bill, known as the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA).

Irreplaceable? Larry Ellison Steps Down From CEO Position At Oracle (Forbes Tech Blog, 9/18/14) After 37 years overseeing nearly every detail at the company he founded billionaire Larry Ellison is leaving the top job at Oracle. The long time CEO will become the chairman of Oracle’s board and the software company’s chief technology officer. Current presidents Safra Catz and Mark Hurd will take over as chief executives.

Key Dem: Make sure Web rules can pass the courts (The Hill, 9/18/14)A key House Democrat wants to make sure that new rules for Internet service providers can withstand a challenge in court. Rep. Anna Eshoo (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Technology, seemed to warn the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday against making a move that could land it back in a courtroom for years. “We’ve been caught on the ropes for a long time,” she said during an event at the Hudson Institute.

Rysavy: Mobile broadband networks should not be hampered by net neutrality constraints (Fierce Wireless, 9/22/14)With throughput speeds in the tens of megabits per second, using mobile broadband can feel just like using a wireline broadband connection. Users can stream music and video, browse, check email, and socially engage. However, mobile broadband based on cellular technologies is different from wireline broadband in so many dimensions that it practically operates in a parallel universe. Despite innumerable technical and operational differences, the fact that users can access their favorite movie through their smartphone and their desktop has many mistakenly calling for the FCC to subject wireless and wireline broadband networks to the same operational parameters in the FCC’s proposed rulemaking, “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet.” Doing so could have catastrophic consequences for the mobile industry, technological innovation and wireless consumers.