‘What’s Hot’ List: 3/27/15

‘What’s Hot’ List: 3/27/15

For First Time in 7 Years, FCC Fines TV Station for Nudity (National Journal’s Tech Blog, 3/23/15) A Roanoke, Virginia, station accidentally aired a brief pornographic video clip during its evening newscast on July 12, 2012, in a segment on an ex-porn star who was volunteering for a local rescue squad. The station included a 3-second clip from the woman’s website of her posing suggestively, but the station says it didn’t notice that the site had an explicit video clip in a box on the side of the webpage.

Here are the first lawsuits to challenge the FCC’s net neutrality rules (The Washingon Post’s The Switch Blog, 3/23/15) An industry trade group and a small, Texas-based Internet provider are among the first to mount a legal challenge to the federal government’s new net neutrality rules. On Monday, USTelecom — a group that includes some of the nation’s largest Internet providers — filed suit in Washington, while Alamo Broadband sued the Federal Communications Commission in New Orleans.

A huge 4G milestone: LTE is now available for 98% of Americans (BGR Blog, 3/23/15) Over 98% of Americans now have access to LTE services, this according to a report on Monday in The Verge. Now to be clear, this isn’t to say that 98% of Americans are using LTE supported phones, but rather that nearly all Americans now live in areas where LTE network support is available.

Google Fiber officially coming to Salt Lake City (KSL Blog, 3/24/15)A second Utah city will soon become one of just a handful of cities across the country to join the Google Fiber family. Salt Lake City is set to join seven other U.S. cities to offer super high-speed Internet service through Google Fiber. Mayor Ralph Becker made the announcement Tuesday during a news conference at The Leonardo. “It makes perfect sense for our community, a growing leader in the areas of technology and innovation, partnering with the world’s leader in digital technology on this great new service,” Becker said. “Our residents value education and entrepreneurship and we recognize the value of connecting people with big ideas and with each other, whether across town or around the world.”

Dish Networks gets spectrum discount as a small business (RCR Wireless, 3/24/15) Pay TV giant Dish Network placed winning bids totaling $13 billion in the recent Federal Communication Commission spectrum auction, but because of a loophole that designates the company as a “small business,” some of those bids are discounted by 25%. At stake is a $7.8 billion winning bid Dish executed via newly formed Alaskan subsidiary Northstar Wireless; with the loophole, Dish will save – and American taxpayer coffers will not receive – more than $3 billion.

The FTC beefs up technology investigations with new office (The Washington Post, Switch Blog, 3/23/15) The Federal Trade Commission is already the de facto government watchdog for digital privacy. Now, the agency is hiring more people to investigate how technological advancements affect consumers. “Today, I am pleased to announce the Bureau of Consumer Protection’s newest initiative to help ensure that consumers enjoy the benefits of technological progress without being placed at risk of deceptive and unfair practices – the formation of BCP’s Office of Technology Research and Investigation,” Jessica Rich, chief of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a blog post.

EMEA: Hutchison signs deal to buy O2 U.K. for $15B (RCR Wireless, 3/25/14) It’s official. Confirming recent reports, Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, owner of U.K. operator Three, announced an agreement with the Spanish group Telefónica to buy its O2 U.K. business for $15.28 billion. The deal includes $13.79 billion to be paid at closing, and then deferred upside interest sharing payments of up to $1.49 billion due after the cumulative cash flow of the combined Three and O2 U.K. business has reached an agreed threshold.

Setting the record straight on a net neutrality fact check (Washington Post, 3/25/15) In January, the Fact Checker was critical of claims by opponents of a then-pending Federal Communications Commission rule change on Internet regulation. The FCC had been considering changing its regulations to “reclassify” broadband providers as a public utility, like water, telephone or electricity. Proponents of this change said doing so would give equal access to the Internet, at no additional cost. Opponents argued it would pass on fees and taxes to consumers. The buzz term for this change is “net neutrality,” and there is still a lot of debate over its potential impacts.

Did the National Broadband Plan spur innovation? (The Washington Post, 3/23/15) On March 18, my colleagues and I at the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy convened a full-day conference to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the National Broadband Plan. Publication of the plan on March 17, 2010 marked a historic milestone for the Federal Communications Commission. The visionary document defined and refined policies to accelerate broadband deployment, adoption and technical advancement. It set key milestones for private, public, and consumer stakeholders.

Mallinson: Net neutrality could cut off new use cases in a 5G world (Fierce Wireless, 3/24/15) Net neutrality rules resulting from the FCC’s decision to reclassify broadband, including cellular communications, as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act in the U.S. could undermine what is being proposed for 5G networks by the Next Generation Mobile Network (NGMN) Alliance and others.