What’s Hot List: 12/19/14

What’s Hot List: 12/19/14

Apple Wins Decade-Old iTunes Suit (New York Times, 12/16/14) A jury took about three hours to reject an antitrust lawsuit — 10 years in the making — that accused Apple of using a software update to secure a monopoly over the digital music market. The eight-member jury in federal court here unanimously determined that Apple had, in fact, used an update of the iTunes software that it issued eight years ago to deliver genuine improvements for older iPods.

A top Democrat is trying to shame Internet providers for not renouncing fast lanes (12/12/14) A few months ago, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) asked a number of Internet providers to vow that they’d never set up controversial Internet “fast lanes” where some Web sites would get sped up over others. So-called “paid prioritzation,” he said then, would divide the Internet into haves and have-nots. The ISPs should commit to swearing off such fast lanes, Leahy said.

The GOP tried again to stop Obama from giving up a key Internet oversight role. It won’t work. (The Washington Post, The Switch Blog, 12/15/14) After several attempts, Republicans in Congress managed to slip a provision into the massive $1.1 trillion spending bill passed by the Senate this weekend that would prevent the Obama administration from giving up part of its oversight of how the Internet runs. Observers say, though, that there’s little chance that the GOP’s legislative language will actually slow the process at all.

FCC Won’t Issue Public Notice On Net Neutrality Options (12/15/14)The FCC, according to a source, will not put out a formal public notice (PN) seeking additional comment on any of the proposed hybrid variations on new Open Internet rules offered up by various parties. There had been some speculation such a PN could be issued, with sources saying earlier in the month that the chairman had made no decision one way or the other. But Politico had reported the FCC was leaning toward not issuing the notice, and a source familiar with the FCC’s plans, who agreed to speak on background, said Monday that a PN was not going to be issued.

NAB To Court: FCC Decision On Contracts Is Unsustainable (Broadcasting & Cable, 12/15/14) The National Association of Broadcasters has told a federal court that its retransmission consent deals with MVPDs are among their “most closely guarded secrets” that should not be shared with third parties. That came in NAB comments filed Monday (Dec. 15) with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in support of a challenge by CBS and other programmers to the FCC’s decision in the Comcast/Time Warner Cable and AT&T/DirecTV merger reviews to make contracts and work product from retrans and other programming deals available to hundreds of third parties.

FCC Plans Massive Fine of Sprint for Bogus Charges (National Journal, 12/15/14)The Federal Communications Commission is preparing to fine Sprint $105 million for overcharging its customers, according to agency officials. The fine would be tied for the largest the FCC has ever imposed on a company. In October, AT&T agreed to pay $105 million over similar allegations.

Hackers promise “Christmas present” Sony Pictures won’t like (Ars Technica, 12/15/14)This weekend, the “Guardians of Peace”—the cyber-attackers who brought Sony Pictures Entertainment’s network down in November and have since shared over a terabyte of the company’s internal data—made two more dumps of SPE data to file sharing sites and torrents. The second of the two, on Sunday, was the e-mail box of Sony Pictures Releasing International President Steven O’Dell. And the hackers promised a “Christmas present” soon of even more data if the company does not relent and meet their unspecified demands.

T-Mobile’s next-gen LTE service is lightning-fast, and it just went live in New York City (BGR.com, 12/15/14) T-Mobile on Monday announced that its next-generation 4G LTE service has been activated in Manhattan, providing data speeds in excess of 100Mbps to T-Mobile subscribers in the area. Dubbed “Wideband LTE,” the new upgraded service is said to provide dramatic speed and performance improvements compared to standard 4G LTE service.

Does FCC Chairman Wheeler Know How Wireless Carriers Are Regulated? (Center for Boundless Innovation and Technology, 12/16/14) At last week’s FCC meeting, Chairman Tom Wheeler chose to rely on the regulatory classification of switched mobile voice services to support the notion that reclassifying broadband as a Title II service would not discourage investment: “For 20 years, Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless, all the wireless carriers have been living under Title II with appropriate forbearance and have been able to raise and invest hundreds of billions of dollars and build a mobile network that is the envy of the world.”

Old rules make Internet more expensive (USA Today, 12/12/14) If the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) votes to “reclassify” the Internet as a public utility, U.S. consumers will have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for access to the Internet. How deep? By our estimates, broadband subscribers would have to pay about $70 annually in additional state and local fees. When you add it all up, reclassification could add a whopping $15 billion in new user fees to consumer bills.