‘What’s Hot’ List: 01/16/15

‘What’s Hot’ list: 01/16/15

Obama pressed to use State of the Union for Internet push (The Hill’s Technology Policy Blog, 1/11/15) The State of the Union address offers President Obama a huge platform to double down on his call to reclassify the Internet as a utility, advocates say.  Obama inserted himself into the net neutrality fight in November, when he urged the Federal Communications Commission to adopt strong regulations ensuring that the Internet remains a level playing field for businesses and the public.

Apple Seeks Refuge From Antitrust Suit in AT&T’s ADR Clause (The Recorder, 01/09/2015) When the iPhone debuted, Apple and AT&T were in it together. But when one gets dragged into the courtroom, does the other have to follow? On Friday, lawyers for Apple Inc. will make their case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that plaintiffs suing Apple for locking them into AT&T Mobility service on their early-model iPhones must sue the carrier as well. Plaintiffs lawyers, who have been pressing their case since 2007, are fighting back vehemently for an obvious reason—AT&T Inc. has an iron-clad arbitration agreement, and their one hope of escaping its clutches is keeping AT&T out of the lawsuit.

House members renew bill on Internet tax ban (TheHill.com, 01/11/2015) A bipartisan group of House members on Friday renewed legislation to kill the expiration date on a law that bars states from taxing Internet access. The noncontroversial proposal passed by voice vote last year but got tied up in the Senate. Both chambers settled on a yearlong extension of the law that was originally passed in 1998.

Was Chairman Wheeler Too Quick To Toss the Commercially Reasonable Standard? (Hal Singer, Forbes, January 13, 2015) At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, FCC  Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that he rejected the “commercially reasonable” standard to regulate the prices of Internet service providers (ISPs) in favor of a “just and reasonable” standard under Title II. Funny that just before Christmas, the FCC—in a secretive bureau order that did not involve the two Republican commissioners—embraced a bright-line test to regulate the prices of wireless ISPs under the commercially reasonable standard.

FCC urged to investigate verizon’s “two-faced” statements on utility rules (Arstechnica, 01/12/15)Verizon has repeatedly claimed that utility rules would harm investment in broadband networks, urging the Federal Communications Commission to avoid imposing new regulations. Yet Verizon’s statements to the FCC have avoided mentioning that its own utility-style common carrier status helped the company charge landline phone customers higher prices to fund construction of the fiber network over which it provides FiOS Internet and TV.

Obama to Call for Laws Covering Data Hacking and Student Privacy (New York Times, 01/12/2015)President Obama on Monday called for federal legislation intended to force American companies to be more forthcoming when credit card data and other consumer information are lost in an online breach like the kind that hit Sony, Target and Home Depot last year.

Even if the FCC goes forward with Title II classification, expect significant delays (androidauthority.com, 01/12/2015) Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has recently made news for his hint that he would classify broadband providers under Title II. This classification would in effect give the FCC the actual power to punish providers if they tried putting forward corporate-friendly “fast lanes.”

FCC Re-Starts Comcast/TWC Shot Clock (broadcastingcable.com, 01/13/2015) As promised, the FCC’s informal 180-day shot clock on the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger is running again —it’s now on day 105. Earlier in the day the clock was still stopped at day 104, which dated from Dec. 22,when the FCC stopped the clock for the second time, so FCC staffers could review 31,000 pages of documents that the FCC said TWC did not produce in a timely fashion due to what TWC said was “vendor error.”