‘What’s Hot’ List: 3/13/15

‘What’s Hot’ List: 3/13/15

F.C.C. Sets Net Neutrality Rules (New York Times, Rebecca Ruiz) The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday released extensive details of how it would regulate broadband Internet providers as a public utility, producing official wording that almost certainly sets the stage for extended legal fights. The release of the rules had been eagerly anticipated by advocates and lawmakers, as well as broadband and technology companies, since the agency approved new rules for Internet service two weeks ago. The details came in a 313-page document that included the new rules and the legal justifications for them.

FCC releases text of municipal broadband order (Nooga, 3/13/15) The Federal Communications Commission released the full text of its order to pre-empt laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that restrict municipal broadband service. The FCC voted last month to override a 1999 Tennessee law preventing municipalities from providing Internet services outside their electric service areas. The FCC also released the text of its net neutrality decision.

Net neutrality kabuki theater (The Hill, Lawrence J. Spiwak) Last month, in the name of protecting the “open Internet,” the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) exercised the “nuclear option” and voted to reclassify broadband Internet access as a common carrier telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act. While we won’t know the exact parameters of the commission’s reasoning until the order is made public, given preliminary reports about what the commission intends to do, I have no doubt that the FCC will engage in more legal gymnastics than a Cirque du Soleil show on the Vegas Strip to justify its tortured interpretation of Title II. As a result, we can look forward to years of litigation, regulatory uncertainty and potential reductions in broadband investment.

Net Neutrality Realities and Second Thoughts (Internet Innovation Alliance, Bruce Mehlman) The need for a permanent legislative solution to guarantee an open Internet against all risks, present and hypothetical, has been greatly enhanced by the confusion and lack of clarity that Title II proponents have created, perhaps unavoidably, as we break with 20+ years of bipartisan support for light-touch regulation of the Internet and charge forward on treating the most innovative sector of our economy as if it’s among the least. Even net neutrality champions have seemed flummoxed.

AT&T U-verse Rolls 75-Meg Tier to Six Markets (Multichannel, Jeff Baumgartner) Taking aim at some markets served by MSOs such as Cox Communications, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, AT&T U-verse said it has expanded its 75 Mbps (downstream) offering to six more markets: Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Mobile, Ala.; and South Bend, Ind.

City-run Internet services still in limbo after FCC vote (The Center for Public Integrity, Allan Holmes) After the nation’s top Internet regulator moved to allow two cities to offer broadband service to their residents, don’t expect a lot of other cities to follow. Expect lawsuits. The Federal Communications Commission voted last week to preempt laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that make it all but impossible for municipalities to expand Internet service. Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, N.C., had asked the FCC to act so that they could extend their networks to nearby towns that wanted it.

Apple lands HBO streaming service as a launch exclusive (USA Today, Mike Snider) HBO’s new standalone streaming video service will launch early next month exclusively on Apple TV. HBO CEO Richard Plepler, serving as the first guest at Apple’s event in San Francisco, announced Apple TV would be the exclusive partner for the new service’s launch. “We couldn’t be prouder,” Plepler said. Priced at $14.99 per month, the service will have access to all of HBO’s original content “past, present and future,” Plepler said. Those who subscribe in April will get their first month free and have the service in time to watch the April 12 return of Game of Thrones.

The Global Broadband Adoption Gap Needs Greater Attention (Tech Crunch, Stuart Brotman, 3/7/2015) While development organizations, nonprofit groups and some of our largest technology companies push for a global Internet, a tale of two cities highlights the difficulties inherent in getting a population to use services intended for their development (even if they’re free).

Wikimedia and ACLU Team Up to Challenge NSA Data Collection Program (Amy Schatz, Recode) The American Civil Liberties Union renewed its legal fight to shut down the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance program Tuesday morning, arguing Tuesday in a new lawsuit that the program is unconstitutional. The NSA’s bulk data collection program violates free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment as well as prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizure covered by the Fourth Amendment, according to the ACLU lawsuit, which was filed in a U.S. District Court in Maryland, where the NSA is based.

AT&T, T-Mobile US parse out Auction 97 results to bolster 600 MHz auction stances (RCR Wireless, Dan Meyer) Auction 97 repercussions continue to reverberate across the mobile telecom space as AT&T and T-Mobile US traded barbs in dueling “policy blogs” in attempts to dissect what happened and set up arguments ahead of the planned 600 MHz incentive auction scheduled for next year.

Utah’s leaders should focus on fixing potholes, not running the Internet (Deseret News, 3/11/2015)Over the past several years, Utah and states across the nation have faced budget crises. Our elected officials have been forced to make massive cuts to vital services like education, police and first responders. Our roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure continue to age, while upgrades and repairs are put on hold because local governments simply can’t afford these projects.

Lynch Nomination Headed for Senate Floor Next Week (National Journal, Sarah Mimms) Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be attorney general is likely to hit the Senate floor next week, amid increasing grumbles from Republicans who are unhappy with her record or with the Obama administration’s overall handling of the Justice Department. “I think we’ll deal with that next week,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday, after he was asked about the status of Lynch’s nomination.