‘What’s Hot’ List: 10/10/2014

Here’s this week’s ‘What’s Hot’ List!

Wheeler Wields Big Stick On Interconnection (Broadcasting & Cable Blog, 10/6/2014) FCC chairman Tom Weeler appeared at home among competitive telecom carriers given his “competition, competition, competition” mantra. In fact, he led a cheer to that effect during his keynote for the COMPTEL convention in Dallas Monday (Oct. 6) and advised telcos that IP interconnection is not an option.

Twitter Sues for Right to Disclose Info on Government Data Requests (Recode, 10/7/2014) Twitter sued the U.S. government Tuesday, arguing that the Obama administration’s restrictions on what information the company can release about U.S. intelligence agency requests for user data violates Twitter’s free speech rights. “Our ability to speak has been restricted by laws that prohibit and even criminalize a service provider like us from disclosing the exact number of national security letters and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court orders received — even if that number is zero,” the company wrote in a blog post Tuesday.

In Kansas City, few poor people, renters sign up for Google Fiber (The (Washington Post’s The Switch Blog, 10/6/2014) The promise behind Google’s ambitious Google Fiber project has always been a twofer. One, that people who were already on the Internet would upgrade to blazingly-fast 1-gigabit service that is a hundred times more robust than average U.S. broadband connections. And two, that people who weren’t already online would be attracted to the company’s slower but inexpensive service made possible by the new fiber optic cable running through their cities.

Big phone companies are racing to abandon old copper networks. The FCC says, ‘not so fast.’ (The Washington Post’s The Switch Blog, 10/7/2014)America’s top telecom companies are eager to end support for their aging copper phone networks in favor of next-gen fiber optic cables that are much more profitable and come with fewer regulatory strings attached. But the nation’s top telecom regulator has a message for them: Not so fast. “It’s easy to say that old-fashioned, all-copper networks are obsolete,” said Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler at a telecommunications conference Monday. But, he added, recent advances in copper-based broadband technology mean it’s too soon to kill off copper for good. “Our goal should be to improve our copper retirement process to strengthen our core values, including competition,” he said.

Henry Waxman Has a Plan to Save Net Neutrality (National Journal, 10/6/2014)Rep. Henry Waxman is about to retire, but before he does, he’d like to save the future of the Internet. Waxman, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, outlined a legal strategy Friday that he thinks will allow the Federal Communications Commission to enact strong net-neutrality regulations while mostly avoiding a political backlash.

Comcast’s Mega Merger Review Put on Hold by FCC (Reuters.com, 10/6/2014) The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said on Friday it paused its “shot-clock” on the review of the proposed $45 billion merger between the two largest U.S. cable providers, Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc. The FCC, which will determine whether the deal is in the public interest, said it is stopping its informal 180-day clock to review the merger until Oct. 29, the new deadline for the public and stakeholders to comment, or until the agency is satisfied with Comcast’s response to requests for additional information. The deadline had been set for Oct. 8.

Sprint targets enterprise customers with ‘double data’ promotion (RCR Wireless News, 10/7/2014)Sprint is looking to attract high-value enterprise customers from rivals with a new promotion that mimics what it has already been offering to consumers. Sprint said that through the end of the month, business customers that bring their phone number to Sprint and activate a non-subsidized device on a Business Share Plan will have their per-line access charges waived through the end of 2015. Those customers will still have to pay the per-monthly charge for their choice of data buckets, but those buckets will be able to take advantage of Sprint’s recently launched increase in data bucket sizes.

FCC set to speed up HetNet deployments (RCR Wireless News, 10/7/2014)The Federal Communications Commission is set to consider rule changes this month that will expedite wireless infrastructure deployment. The new initiative singles out small cells and distributed antenna systems, noting their “minimal effects on the environment.” The goal of the rule change is to make it easier for wireless service providers to win regulatory approval from municipalities for these deployments. The FCC has placed the rule change on the agenda for its October 17 open meeting.

Top 10 Lines Uttered by Economists At The FCC’s Open Internet Roundtable (With English Translations) (Forbes.com, 10/7/2014) Your fearless blogger was invited by the FCC to debate the economics of net neutrality last week, alongside five esteemed economists. Apparently balding men are not sufficiently represented on policy panels in Washington. The most contentious issue was whether Internet service providers (ISPs) should be permitted to sell priority service to content providers. Most other issues in the net neutrality debate, such as blocking and transparency, have been resolved.

If Congress wants new Net Neutrality rules, Congress should say so (CNET, 10/6/2014) On Friday, Rep. Henry Waxman, ranking member of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee, sent a 15-page letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler detailing a legally complicated new approach for resolving the noisy controversy over the agency’s pending proposal to adopt new Net neutrality rules. Until now, Waxman believed the best solution for protecting the Open Internet was for Congress to grant the Federal Communications Commission new oversight over broadband providers. Several bills that would do that, including some written or endorsed by Waxman, have been introduced over the last decade, most recently in June.