What’s Hot List 12/18/15

The Biggest Threat to U.S. Internet Companies Now (Fortune 12/13/15)

The decade-long debate over network neutrality reached a moment of truth earlier this month when a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., heard oral arguments in the judicial challenge to the open Internet rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in February. Admittedly, the questions that judges ask often provide little guidance as to what they will eventually decide. But both proponents and opponents of network neutrality agree that the FCC had a tough day.

Keep Wireless Broadband Free From Government ‘Fixing’ ( Forbes 12/15/15)

It’s mind-boggling why after 20 years of successful wireless policy, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), would make such a drastic change in course. Earlier this year, on in a party-line vote, the FCC imposed Title II – 1930s telephone monopoly regulation – on America’s dynamic wireless broadband networks. Wireless broadband has exploded with little to no regulation, and such rules do not bode well for the future of investment in wireless broadband infrastructure or mobile application innovation. Mobile operators were quick to challenge the decision in court, and fortunately it appears that the court is receptive to the cornerstone argument that wireless broadband should be treated differently with regard the FCC’s “Open Internet” or net neutrality rules.

Study: Income, Education drive Broadband Adoption Gaps in Metro Areas (FedScoop 12/15/15)

Big gaps persist between broadband adoption rates in the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, leaving room for action by federal, state and local leaders, according to a new analysis by the Brookings Institution.

The group’s Metropolitan Policy Program last week published its analysis of U.S. Census Bureau survey data about the proliferation of high-speed Internet in America’s 100 largest metro areas. While researchers did find those areas have a slightly higher adoption rate than the country as a whole — 77.8 percent of the metropolitan respondents have broadband, compared to 75.1 percent nationally — they also found gaps of 30 percentage points or more between the different areas.

Mobile broadband regulation and net neutrality: One network or two? (Brookings- Stuart Brotman 12/15/15)

As we move into 2016, an unresolved national communications policy dilemma remains: whether the public switched telephone network and the Internet are parallel systems or parts of a larger ubiquitous network environment. Determining which characterization will be followed has profound consequences for regulatory treatment, as an important recent oral argument in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit made clear.


TV Broadcasters Poised to Turn Back Tough FCC Rule (Wall Street Journal 12/12/15)

Television broadcasters are on the cusp this coming week of turning back one of the toughest pieces of regulation to hit them in decades.

The rule, put in place last year by the Federal Communications Commission, cracks down on sharing agreements between local TV stations, arrangements that have helped broadcasters grow without violating federal ownership limits.


Republican Senators ask FCC to allow states to block Municipal Broadband (Fierce Telecom 12/15/15)

A group of six Republican senators have appealed to the FCC asking the agency to stop promoting government-owned broadband networks at the expense of private providers and to allow states to regulate these networks.  Specifically, the letter says that the FCC and agency officials have been “engaged in outreach” to persuade communities to deploy municipal broadband networks.


Like it or not, The FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules Are Here to Stay (Fortune 12/13/15)

As observers await the outcome of a federal appeals court’s challenge against the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules, it’s likely that the court will uphold the agency’s regulations preventing Internet providers from slowing down or blocking Web content that they do not like or charging Web sites a fee for reaching Internet users faster.


Week ahead: Tech companies fight off FCC language in spending bill (The Hill 12/14/15)

Tech companies are pressing hard to keep controversial language related to the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality regulations out of a year-end spending bill.

Major technology companies and outside advocates have been warning lawmakers not to add the language, which would blunt the effects of the FCC’s rules.


FCC: No Plans to Auction More TV Spectrum (Broadcasting & Cable 12/15/15)

There are no plans to auction or otherwise repurpose additional spectrum in the TV band,” an FCC spokesman told B&C.

That was in response to a report that panelists from the wireless microphone industry at the NewsTech Forum in New York had signaled that “contrary to assurances the FCC gave Congress and the broadcast industry…the agency has told parties lobbying to protect wireless mic spectrum that it will likely conduct a future auction to recover more TV spectrum.”



Spending bill avoids net neutrality, extends Internet tax ban (The Hill 12/12/15)

A proposal that could have blunted parts of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rules didn’t make its way into a year-end spending bill to fund the government.

Even though the inclusion of the controversial provision was unlikely, Wednesday morning’s news was a victory for some Internet companies and outside advocates.