What’s Hot List: 11/13/15

States Need to Focus on the Broadband Internet Ecosystem in Enforcement Matters (Morning Consult 11/6/15)

Next week, three of the leading U.S. broadband internet service providers (ISPs) — Verizon, Cablevision Systems and Time Warner Cable — will be filing responsive reports with New York State’s attorney general’s office. That office, under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, launched a recent probe regarding whether these ISPs did not deliver the actual broadband Internet speeds that had been advertised to consumers.

Analyst Angle: 5G – promises and pitfalls (RCR Wireless) 

Although specifications for “5G” do not yet exist, aspects are crystallizing, including the ability to exploit frequencies never before used for cellular access; far greater capacity than today’s networks support; data rates faster than 1 gigabit per second; and super-low latency. All of these translate into the ability to support a much wider range of use cases than current mobile broadband systems. Some use cases include ultra-high-definition streaming; virtual reality; the expanded “Internet of Things” that could light up billions of new connections; command and control applications that exploit sub-millisecond latency; and wireless-only subscribers who will not need any other source of broadband.

DOJ won’t help FCC fight state laws that harm municipal broadband (ARS Technica 11/9/15)

The US Department of Justice has decided not to support the Federal Communications Commission in its legal fight against state laws that restrict municipal broadband projects.

The FCC voted in February—with public support from President Obama—to preempt state laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that prevent municipal broadband providers from expanding outside their territories. The states sued to preserve their laws, which protect private broadband providers from government competition.


Obama championed cheap, fast, city-run Internet. His administration won’t. (Washington Post- The Switch Blog 11/9/15)

Regulators may have to wage an uphill legal battle if they want to use federal powers to nurture small, city-run broadband projects.

The Justice Department said Friday that it won’t be helping the Federal Communications Commission fight a couple of key lawsuits on municipal broadband, in a possible indication of trouble ahead for the FCC.

The government’s lawyers said they wouldn’t be taking a position on the cases, which target a controversial decision by the FCC to strike down state limits on public Internet service in two states, Tennessee and North Carolina.


The Senate wants to make way more spectrum available (Washington Post- The Switch Blog 11/7/15)

Senate lawmakers are looking for ways to put even more of the government’s wireless spectrum — the invisible airwaves that carry mobile voice and data over the air — into the hands of the private sector.

Under the draft text of a bill now being informally considered by the Senate Commerce Committee, the government could be instructed to find and relinquish an additional 20 megahertz of publicly owned spectrum beyond the 30 MHz President Obama agreed to when he signed a two-year budget deal on Monday. Agencies would be required to auction off the total 50 MHz by 2024.


Republicans: Congress never gave FCC net neutrality authority (The Hill 11/10/15)

A group of 23 House Republicans on Tuesday told an appeals court that Congress never granted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the authority to write net neutrality regulations for the Internet.

The members filed a late friend-of-the-court brief with the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ahead of oral arguments next month to determine whether the rules approved earlier this year should stand.



FCC says sites can ignore ‘do-not-track’ requests (CIO 11/10/15)

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this month refused to put teeth into the weak “do-not-track” features found in today’s most popular browsers. Such features politely ask websites not to track you — but the majority of sites rudely ignore the requests. Last summer, consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog asked the FCC to make those requests mandatory, but the commission last week said no.


Is the FCC ready to think outside the set-top box? (LA Times 11/8/15)

That unsightly and costly metal box that funnels cable or satellite service into your TV might be going the way of the black rotary-dial telephone — in the technology trash heap.

A holdover from the early days of pay television, the set-top box is an energy-inhaling contraption that also sucks money from Americans’ wallets each month.