What’s Hot List: 10/16/15

One Reform The FCC Should Avoid Forbes (10/13)

Federal Communications Commission (FCC ) Chairman Tom Wheeler has been calling for the FCC to reconsider the broadcaster exclusivity rule. At first blush, getting rid of rules sounds like a good idea. Who doesn’t want more deregulation?  The problem is this isn’t the comprehensive video market reform that would unwind 70 years of video regulation in a way that would benefit both consumers and innovation. Instead, it’s another example of cherry-picked “deregulation” which seeks ways to advantage one competitor and/or one format over another, rather than taking a more holistic approach to reforms.

AT&T pushes FCC to deter 600 MHz auction defaults Fierce Wireless (10/13)

As the wireless industry barrels ahead toward the start of the incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum in March, AT&T (NYSE: T), T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) and other industry players are telling the FCC to make sure their particular concerns get addressed.

AT&T, in particular, wants the FCC to take a harder line to deter potential defaults on 600 MHz bids. The suggestion comes after Dish Network’s (NASDAQ: DISH) designated entity partners, in which Dish holds an 85 percent economic stake, decided to give up around a third of the paired AWS-3 spectrum licenses they won earlier this year in the AWS-3 auction — mostly spectrum licenses covering New York, Chicago and Boston. The licenses that Dish’s DEs are relinquishing represent around $3.4 billion worth of their winning bids; they will keep about $9.8 billion worth of the licenses they won at the auction.

Netflix, Sports And The Big Net Neutrality Lie (Forbes 10/9)

Advocates of “net neutrality” wanted us to believe that the ruling by the FCC earlier this year would be good for consumers because companies like Netflix NFLX +0.91% would not be charged more by carriers and therefore would not have to charge their customers more.

Recall that Netflix began paying internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast CMCSA +0.00% in early 2014 to ensure that Netflix customers would continue to enjoy streaming video over the service without having their data speed slowed. The new net neutrality ruling did away with such paid prioritization and make it illegal for ISPs to slow down internet speeds based on the site a customer is using, or charging internet companies to prioritize traffic that comes to them. This supposedly meant Internet-based services, particularly streaming services like Amazon Instant Video and Netflix that use huge amounts of data, would charge less.

Ex-Cisco CEO wants to know where tech policy is on the campaign trail (Washington Post- The Switch Blog 10/13) 

John Chambers wants to know where the presidential candidates stand on technology. The former Cisco chief executive and current executive chairman is making the rounds in Washington, pushing for a broad policy plan that he thinks will set the country up for the next-era of digitization by connecting cities, encouraging innovation, providing training and offering tax breaks.

But Chambers, who co-chaired Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid, says none of the current candidates has impressed him — including the many members of the Republican field.

Broadband bill links deployments to federal highway projects (Fierce Telecom 10/11)

A bipartisan group of senators introduced a “Streamlining and Investing in Broadband Infrastructure Act” that will use a “dig once” policy to link broadband deployment to federal highway projects. According to a Federal Highway Administration estimate about 90 percent of the cost of deploying fiber comes from digging up and replacing roads.

The Act, which is supported by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., is intended to ensure that states will install broadband infrastructure at the same time they are constructing new highways, eliminating roadblocks for companies, states and local governments that want broadband infrastructure installed on federal lands.

Zoom Says FCC Should Block Charter/TWC (Broadcasting & Cable 10/13) 

Set-top maker Zoom Telephonics has asked the FCC to deny the Charter/Time Warner Cable merger, primarily over the issue of access to third-party set-tops.
Since 2012, Charter has bundled the price of leasing its modems into the overall price of service, which Zoom has said gives customers no financial incentive to purchase their own devices. Zoom also petitioned the FCC to deny the Comcast/TWC deal over the issue, saying that if the FCC did approve that deal–it didn’t–it should condition that approval on Charter stating an unsubsidized price for leasing cable modems and not “unreasonably” refusing to allow “nonharmful” modems to attach to its network.