What’s Hot List 10/23/15

On Enterprise Broadband, The FCC Can’t Leave Well Enough Alone Forbes (10/19)

Back in 2012, I flagged what I saw as a cynical decision by the FCC to take a closer look at the fast-changing market for enterprise broadband services.

Such services constitute the middle mile of the Internet, and include dedicated business-to-business access as well as backhaul for mobile networks carrying data from cell towers to the rest of the network. The FCC refers to these services as “special access.” According to analysts, special access now constitutes a market of over $40 billion annually, and growing fast.

AT&T’s Lurie, CTIA’s Baker see great promise in Internet of Things, but warn over over-regulation Fierce Wireless (10/21)

AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) CEO Glenn Lurie and CTIA President Meredith Attwell Baker said that several different elements need to come together to enable the United States to fully take advantage of the Internet of Things, including more spectrum, security and infrastructure and a light-touch regulatory environment that lets wireless companies invest.

Speaking at an event at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, D.C., Baker said that the economic impact of the IoT is “huge” and that it has the potential to improve people’s lives in areas as disparate as healthcare, transportation and education. She also noted, though, that CTIA predicts IoT will increase total wireless data traffic by 6 to 7 times by 2020. 

Entner: Special access — How government preference for some may mean higher prices for all Fierce Wireless (10/21)

Five years after the FCC called for data on the state of the special access marketplace from just a portion of the providers offering special access, the agency appears poised to modify contracts and embark on a new round of rate regulation based on market data from 2010 to 2012. This would not be a concern if, in fact, the market for special access services had stagnated in 2012 with prices and providers remaining constant; however, that is not the case. Why should we care if the FCC premises a new set of pricing regulations on outdated information? Let me explain.


FCC’s Sohn: We’re Still Fighting for Competition Light Reading (10/20)

SAN FRANCISCO — The Wheeler FCC is far from done in promoting competition, staffer Gigi Sohn told a group of competitive carrier CEOs assembled here. Its final year will include significant action on video and the cost of content, as well as competitive access to last-mile connections as copper networks are shut down during the transition to all-IP and fiber-based networks.

Speaking at the Incompas CEO breakfast, Sohn, who is counselor to Chairman Tom Wheeler, said the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ‘s work will get harder as President Obama’s term winds down. That’s why the association’s members need to work harder to get their stories out and get the customers engaged as well, she said.

A major New York TV station could win $900 million — if it goes off the air. Here’s why. Washington Post- The Switch Blog (10/16)

The Federal Communications Commission has published a massive list of the cash windfalls that thousands of TV stations nationwide stand to receive from the government next year — if they agree to relinquish their chunk of the airwaves.

WCBS-TV in New York City could win as much as $900 million for going off the air, a result of its position in one of the country’s busiest markets. Smaller stations such as KAWE in Minneapolis might receive around $20 million.

Apple Tells Judge It Can’t Unlock New iPhones Wall Street Journal (10/20/15)

Apple Inc. told a federal judge that it “would be impossible” to access user data on a locked iPhone running one of the newer operating systems, but that it could likely help the government unlock an older phone.

In a brief filed late Monday, the company said “in most cases now and in the future” it will be unable to assist the government in unlocking a password-protected iPhone. The brief was filed at the invitation of U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein, who is considering a request from the Justice Department that he order Apple to help government investigators access a seized iPhone.

Wi-Fi Alliance, Bluetooth SIG want FCC to end Globalstar proceeding Fierce Wireless (10/19/15)

The Wi-Fi Alliance and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) want the FCC to close its proceeding on Globalstar’s proposal to offer services using terrestrial low power service (TLPS), saying the company has had plenty of time to engage in real, transparent testing as opposed to demonstrations.

Bluetooth SIG Executive Director Mark Powell told FierceWirelessTech that nothing has changed since the organization initially said it believes Globalstar’s TLPS proposal interferes with Bluetooth. In addition, “we believe it’s wrong that one company can have one set of rules for using the ISM band when tens of thousands of other companies have a different set of rules. That’s wrong and the wrong thing for the industry.”

The future of Wi-Fi: regulation vs. cooperation RCR Wireless (10/20/15) 

The future of unregulatd Wi-Fi could depend on the work underway in an Austin office park. Nestled between a small Microsoft office and a soccer field, the Wi-Fi Alliance keeps a fairly low profile in Austin. But it is becoming a significant voice in Washington, D.C. as the Federal Communications Commission turns its attention to Wi-Fi and unlicensed spectrum.

“Minimal regulation has served us well for 30 years or so in unlicensed so hopefully we can remain in the era of minimal regulation with maximum innovation and maximum spectrum use,” said Wi-Fi Alliance CEO Edgar Figueroa. But Figueroa is making it clear that his organization intends to protect Wi-Fi from technologies that could threaten its access to spectrum. “We feel like the option for regulation needs to remain open so long as there is a risk,” he said.

Kagan: Why Sprint opted out of the wireless auction RCR Wireless (10/20/15)

There has been lots of speculation about why Sprint opted out of the upcoming wireless spectrum auction. I have received loads of questions from reporters, investors, workers and customers. However, very few actually understand. Is this a sign of strength or weakness? Let me share a few thoughts on why I believe Sprint is doing this and what the results will be.

It’s well known that wireless spectrum is limited and most carriers are concerned about having enough to give their customers the ability to access their network with all their wireless devices. What is less known is that Sprint currently has plenty of wireless spectrum. The carrier got it from a variety of places in the last several years, including its Clearwire acquisition.

Instead of pressing ‘play’ on new video regulations, FCC should take fresh look The Hill Blog (10/20/15)

Earlier this month, House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) took aim at the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposal to extend a longstanding cable regulatory regime to new Internet streaming services. When the senior Democrat on the committee criticizes a major proposal from the Democratic-controlled FCC, it is news. Presumably, the FCC is listening.

FCC Investigating Multi-Year Special Access Contracts Multichannel (10/16/15)

The FCC has launched an investigation into the tariff practices of AT&T and Verizon for special access service, the business-class broadband nets that those companies are required to share with competitors, like cable operators.

The FCC is looking at multi-year contracts, which critics of the practice call lock-up plans.