‘What’s Hot’ List: 2/20/15

‘What’s Hot’ List: 2/20/15

Verizon: With AWS-3, we have at least 40 MHz of AWS spectrum in 92 of top 100 markets (FierceWireless Blog, 2/17/15) Verizon Wireless entered the AWS-3 spectrum auction with at least 40 MHz of AWS airwaves covering around 70 percent of the U.S. population, but ended the auction with that figure around 95 percent. According to a senior Verizon executive, Verizon now has a combination of at least 40 MHz of AWS-1 or AWS-3 spectrum in 92 of the top 100 U.S. markets, which will help the carrier meet capacity needs as more traffic shifts to its LTE network.

Net neutrality advocates identify holes in FCC’s net neutrality plan (Ars Technica Blog, 2/16/15) Net neutrality advocates are generally pleased by the Federal Communications Commission’s latest plan to regulate Internet service providers, but some are pointing out potential problems. Attorney Matt Wood, the policy director for advocacy group Free Press, told the FCC last week that it faces “legal obstacles” in how it intends to regulate Internet service providers. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposes to reclassify Internet service providers as common carriers in two parts. ISPs will be common carriers in their relationships with home Internet consumers. They will also be common carriers in their business relationships with “edge providers,” companies that offer services, applications, and content over the Internet.

FTC Urges Court To Let Throttling Lawsuit Proceed Against AT&T (Media Post, 2/17/15)The Federal Trade Commission is asking a federal judge to uphold the agency’s authority to bring an enforcement action against AT&T for allegedly slowing down the broadband connections of some unlimited data users. The commission is specifically asking U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen to reject AT&T’s claim that it’s a common carrier, and therefore not subject to FTC jurisdiction. “AT&T’s ‘status-based’ position runs counter to the text, structure, and intent of the FTC Act,” the agency argues in papers quietly filed earlier this month with the federal district court in San Francisco.

Smaller cable companies hint they’ll sue the FCC on net neutrality, too (The Washington Post, Switch Blog, 2/17/15)The list of potential plaintiffs lining up against the Federal Communications Commission keeps getting longer and longer. On Tuesday, a top lobbyist representing small and rural cable companies said his group is considering litigation to overturn the FCC’s proposed net neutrality rules, which aim to stop Internet providers from blocking or slowing Web traffic.

AT&T Takes On Google Fiber In K.C. (Multichannel, 2/17/15) Taking aim at Google Fiber and incumbent MSOs such as Time Warner Cable and Comcast, AT&T announced Monday that it has launched its fiber-fed U-verse with “GigaPower” platform to pockets of the Kansas City area. Offering a mix of stand-alone 1-Gig broadband alongside TV and voice bundles, AT&T said it is launching GigaPower in portions of Leawood, Lenexa, Olathe, and Overland Park, Kan., and “in surrounding communities located throughout the metro area.” AT&T said it plans to expand GigaPower to Independence, Mo., and Shawnee, Kan.

Transparency is coming to those political attack ads on cable TV (The Verge, 2/16/15)The FCC is proposing new laws that would force cable TV operators and radio broadcasters to publish information online about who buys political ad time and for how much. The legislation would make it much easier for media watchdogs, concerned citizens, and journalists to track political spending across the country and would be an important tool for political transparency — especially as campaigns begin using more and more targeted ads to win over voters.

 Verizon Says No Need for More Large Spectrum Buys, Dish Slumps (Wireless Week, 2/18/15) Verizon is happy with how it did in the FCC’s Auction 97 and doesn’t anticipate it will need to make more large spectrum acquisitions. During an investor call Tuesday, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo and EVP of Networks Tony Melone detailed the carrier’s strategy in the recently closed AWS-3 spectrum and outlined its plans moving forward. 

Dictators Love the FCC’s Plan to Regulate the Internet (Robert M. McDowell And Gordon M. Goldstein, The Wall Street Journal) On Thursday the Federal Communications Commission will stop accepting public comments on the divisive plan to regulate the Internet as a public utility before bringing the matter to vote on Feb. 26. The latest lunge at more Web regulation puts global Internet freedom and prosperity in jeopardy and fatally undermines decades of bipartisan consensus on America’s foreign policy for the Internet.

An open Internet: how new regulations hurt both sides of the debate (Christopher S. Yoo, Fortune) Later this month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to vote on new open Internet rules, bringing the decade-long debate over network neutrality and the future of the Internet to a key turning point. Although the FCC’s proposal is intended to protect content providers, such as Netflix NFLX 0.86%, against potential anticompetitive actions of Internet Service Providers, such as Comcast, a closer look reveals that it creates risks for both sides.

Why Download Europe’s Lousy Broadband Policy? (Rick Boucher and Fred Campbell, The Wall Street Journal)As the Federal Communications Commission prepares to treat Internet companies like public utilities under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act, it is worth asking how government regulation of the Internet would actually work. Conveniently enough, Europe has been experimenting with heavy-handed Internet regulation since 2002, and the results are a warning of what the U.S. can expect.