‘What’s Hot’ List: 4/17/15

DPI presents the  ‘What’s Hot’ list for the week!

FCC net neutrality rules published to Federal Register (ITWorld Blog, 4/12/15) The new net neutrality rule of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission was published over the weekend to the Federal Register, the daily journal of U.S. government actions, raising the possibility of a spate of lawsuits from broadband companies that oppose the rule.

Telecom industry sues over Internet rules (The Hill, 4/13/15) Major telecommunications companies are jumping to challenge new federal Internet service regulations in court, mere hours after the legal window opened on Monday morning. The U.S. Telecom Association, which represents companies including AT&T and Verizon, filed a legal challenge against the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new net neutrality regulations, claiming they broke the law by classifying Internet service as a utility. “Reclassifying broadband Internet access as a public utility reverses decades of established legal precedent at the FCC and upheld by the Supreme Court,” trade group head Walter McCormick said in a statement.

You can’t innovate when you have to litigate (The Hill, Larry Spiwak, 4/13/15) Last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued its 300-plus page Open Internet Order, in which it reversed nearly two decades of bipartisan policy of applying a “light touch” to the Internet in favor of imposing legacy common carrier telephone regulations under Title II of the Communications Act designed for the world of the old “Ma Bell” monopoly. The appeals process has already begun and, given the remarkable legal and factual gymnastics employed by the commission to support its decision, the potential for a reversal and/or remand is high. While any lawyer will tell you that there is no way to make an accurate prognostication about the ultimate outcome of the litigation, we are likely to see the appellate arguments proceed along the following sequence.

TWC boosts its Internet speeds to counter Google Fiber (Engadget, 4/13/15) It’s amazing what the addition of a little competition into a natural monopoly can do. Google announced in January that it would be bringing high-speed Fiber to Charlotte, North Carolina. It didn’t take long for Time Warner Cable, the (only) local cable/internet provider in that city, to increase its own broadband Internet speed by up to 600 percent. The program, called “TWC Maxx” will be a 100 percent digital network meaning that every television channel will be in HD. Since each analog channel takes up three to four times as much bandwidth as a digital one, eliminating them will free up a significant amount of space. TWC plans to use that space to increase its broadband Internet speeds at no additional charge to its customers.

Verizon argues unlimited data is bad for customers (RCR Wireless, 4/14/15) The idea of unrestrained data usage sounds ideal for cellphone subscribers, but recently the two largest carriers, Verizon and AT&T, have been trying to distance themselves from unlimited data plans. Verizon is going even further, making the argument that unlimited data plans are bad for networks and customers.

Nokia Agrees to $16.6 Billion Takeover of Alcatel-Lucent (New York Times, 4/15/15)The Finnish telecommunications company Nokia said on Wednesday that it had agreed to an all-stock deal to acquire Alcatel-Lucent that valued its French rival at about $16.6 billion. The combined company is expected to become the world’s second-largest telecom equipment manufacturer behind Ericsson of Sweden, with global revenues totaling $27 billion and operations spread across Asia, Europe and North America.

EU formally accuses Google of monopolistic search practices (The Verge, 4/15/15) The European Union has formally accused Google of illegal, monopolistic practices, stating that the American company abused its position as market leader by prioritizing its own services in search results and diverting traffic away from its competitors. The company could be fined up to 10 percent of its yearly earnings or as much as $6 billion. The EU also announced today that it was launching a further investigation into the Android operating system which could result in additional fines.

Sprint settles $21 million wiretap fraud allegations for $15.5 million (The Verge, 4/10/15) After allegedly defrauding federal law enforcement agencies of $21 million by overcharging for wiretaps, Sprint will be settling for $15.5 million. The Department of Justice, which released the news yesterday, said that this settlement would “resolve the allegations” in the complaint. In turn, Sprint will not admit any wrongdoing in the case.

On Net Neutrality, Six Ways The FCC’s Public Utility Order Will Lose In Court (Forbes, 4/8/15) Now that the festivities celebrating the FCC’s “historic” Open Internet order have quieted down, the hangover is settling in for a long stay. The FCC is preparing to publish the new rules, along with dozens of other changes to its public utility regulations that go with its radical new Internet governance plan, perhaps as early as this week.

Protecting Tomorrow’s Internet (Talking Technology, 4/15/15) The revolution in mobile healthcare continues to accelerate: More than 40 million smartphone owners now actively use at least one wellness or fitness app and by an overwhelming margin, they report that their health is improving because of it. So why is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) undercutting advances vital to this industry’s progress?  And how quickly will Congress fix the problem?