‘What’s Hot’ List: 2/13/15

FCC Chief Tom Wheeler Outlines Three-Part Strategy For A Stronger Internet (Forbes Tech Blog, 2/9/15) The FCC has been busy in recent weeks drafting and reviewing a final decision in its proceeding attempting to protect the “open Internet.” This past Monday, at Silicon Flatirons Center in Boulder, CO, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler talked about the three-pronged approach he is pursuing.

Republican FCC Commissioner: Public Is Being Misled About FCC Majority’s Net-Neutrality Plan (National Journal, 2/10/2015) The Federal Communications Commission Democratic majority is misleading the public about its 332-page plan to regulate the Internet, a Republican member of the commission said Tuesday. The net-neutrality plan could in fact open the door to new fees and taxes, as well as government control over the prices that Internet providers charge their customers, Commissioner Ajit Pai told reporters.

Impact of “Title II” Regulation on Communications Investment A Comparison Between the United States and the European Union (Internet Innovation Alliance, 2/12/15) Authored by Fred Campbell, executive director of the Center for Boundless Innovation in Technology and former Wireless Bureau Chief at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), “Impact of Title II Regulation on Communications Investment” sheds light on the different outcomes resulting from Title II-style Internet policy adopted by the European Union (EU) in 2002 and the deregulatory approach to broadband that the United States (US) adopted that same year.

AT&T Brings 75-Meg U-Verse Tier To More Markets (Multichannel News Blog, 2/9/15) Adding some speed competition to areas served by MSOs such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications, AT&T U-verse has expanded its 75 Mbps (downstream) tier to seven more markets: Augusta, Ga.; Charleston, S.C.; Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Fla.; and St. Louis, Mo.

American broadband is better than the FCC says (Tech Policy, 2/12/15) One of the FCC’s responsibilities is to report to Congress on the state of America’s networks. They accomplish this via their annual Broadband Progress Report, known as the “706 report” since it’s called for in Section 706(b) of the Communications Act. The report is a census tract survey that relies on data reported about domestic providers’ service offerings. Another survey of interest to policy wonks is the International Broadband Data Report (IBDR), which the FCC’s International Bureau compiles to draw comparisons between the US and the rest of the world. Finally, the agency issues its quasi-annual Measuring Broadband America (MBA) report, an analysis of how well broadband providers do in delivering the download and upload speeds they advertise. (Quite well, as it turns out.)

NAB Asks FCC To Extend OVD Comment Period (Multichannel News Blog, 2/9/15) The National Association of Broadcasters has asked the FCC for more time for it and other parties to submit comments on the agency’s proposal to define some online video distributors (OVDs) as multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs). In a filing Friday (Feb. 6), NAB said that it needed more time to analyze the many “complex public policy, legal and regulatory matters,” and asked that the current Feb. 17 deadline for initial comments be moved to March 4, and that the reply deadline be extended from March 19 to April 3.

FCC report reveals 25/3 availability gap more pronounced in rural communities (Fierce Telecom, 2/6/15) FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently set a fire in the service provider community by proclaiming that 25/3 Mbps should be the definition of broadband and the FCC’s new 2015 Broadband Progress Report shows that availability of such speeds is nearly nonexistent in rural areas.While the new benchmark reflects the reality that consumers are accessing more bandwidth-hungry applications in the home, including streaming video, over multiple devices, the FCC said a “significant digital divide remains between urban and rural America” in terms of the availability of 25/3 Mbps services.

Judge rules for NSA in warrantless search case (Reuters, 2/10/15) A federal judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of the National Security Agency in a lawsuit challenging the that agency’s interception of Internet communications without a warrant.. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in Oakland, California issued an opinion holding that the plaintiffs failed to establish legal standing to pursue a claim that the government violated the Fourth Amendment.

Telecommunications workforce down in January(RCR Wireless, 2/10/15) The telecommunications subsector lost some 400 employees from December to January, according to the tracking figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Feb. 6. The telecommunications subsector covers people working in telephony, voice over Internet Protocol, cable and satellite television distribution, Internet access and telecom resale.