‘What’s Hot’ List: 10/24/2014

‘What’s Hot’ List for the week of October 24, 2014:

Apple Pay launches with few hiccups (USA Today, 10/20/2014) Apple Pay, the new mobile payment system from Apple, went live Monday with few of the hiccups that can sometimes come with Apple launches. “For ten years, people have been saying that your phone is going to become a wallet,” says Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray. “Today, that became a reality.” Apple Pay lets you pay at participating retailers with an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus or via in-app purchases with the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3, which will be released Friday.

AT&T: FCC’s CAF-II should just support broadband services (FierceTelecom, 10/20/2014) AT&T (NYSE: T) may be the largest landline voice provider in the United States, but it said that as this once lucrative service source continues to decline, the FCC’s Connect America Funds part II (CAF-II) funds should focus solely on broadband and not voice. In a recent letter to the FCC, AT&T outlined how in both Illinois and Louisiana, there was a high amount of consumers that did not have a subscription to a POTS service plan. Earlier, AT&T conducted an analysis of POTS service for its Illinois Bell Telephone Company subsidiary service territory.  

Leahy seeks no-paid-prioritization pledge from Comcast (TD Daily, 10/20/2014) As federal regulators continue to review Comcast’s proposal to acquire Time Warner Cable and as the Federal Communications Commission seeks to draft net neutrality rules, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is calling on Comcast to promise that it won’t engage in paid prioritization.

FCC Chief Says He Agrees With Obama on Net Neutrality. Advocates Don’t Buy it (National Journal Online, 10/17/2014) The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said Friday that he and President Obama agree on the importance of protecting net neutrality. “My position is unchanged,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said at a press conference. “The president and I agree—and have always agreed—on the importance of an open Internet.” But net-neutrality advocates responded that as long as Wheeler supports allowing large companies to pay for special “fast lanes” on the Internet, he and the president are miles apart.

FCC looks at ‘millimeter wave’ spectrum for 5G support (10/22/2014) With consumer demand for mobile services continuing to grow, the Federal Communications Commission is looking to free up additional spectrum assets that would allow mobile operators to meet the demand. The latest move involved a recent notice of inquiry by the FCC to look at the possible use of spectrum assets above the 24 GHz band for mobile services, which could be used to support future “5G” services.

Federal Trade Commission names Ashkan Soltani chief technologist (The Washington Post, Switch Blog, 10/21/2014) The Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday that Ashkan Soltani, an independent privacy researcher who contributed to the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting on revelations from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, will be its new chief technologist.

What Does the FCC’s Authority on Net Neutrality Really Mean? (GovTech.com, 10/21/2014) As the FCC debates how to regulate Internet traffic, two areas of legal doctrine have surfaced as the commission’s potential authority to create and enforce open Internet rules — Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 and Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. But while millions have advocated for the approach they think best applies, the nuances of Title II and Section 706 often can be difficult to understand. Government Technology has summarized the impact of both options to cut through the clutter and clarify how they may affect Internet use in the future.

Section 10 forbearance offers no easy path to ‘Title II Lite’ (The Hill, Larry Spiwak, Phoenix Center, Oped, October 21, 2014) As the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) struggles to write new net neutrality rules, the agency is coming under increasing political pressure to reclassify broadband Internet access as a “common carrier” telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act. To make this radical reversal of policy palatable, many proponents of reclassification argue that the FCC can use its authority under Section 10 of the Communications Act to forbear from select portions of the statute. Unfortunately, once the law is properly understood, forbearance isn’t the silver bullet that makes Title II reclassification “easy peasy,” as they say.

Fighting to Keep the Internet Open and Free (Simon Rosenberg, NDN, Oped, The Hill, October 22, 2014) This week, as the world’s Internet diplomats descend on Busan, South Korea for the important global gathering of the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union (ITU), they would do well to do a quick status update on the health and well-being of the Internet and the future of global communications.

Waxman’s net neutrality proposal would harm businesses and consumers (Harold Furchtgott-Roth, Hudson Institute, Oped, The Hill, October 22, 2014) Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, recently wrote the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to describe his “hybrid” plan to regulate access to the Internet.  Waxman’s proposal is a bad idea and would harm American consumers and businesses.