What’s Hot List 6/10/16

Small Business Administration Wants Exemptions to FCC’s Set-Top Box Proposal (Morning Consult 6/7)

The Federal Communications Commission should exempt small cable and video providers from its proposal to open up the set-top box marketplace, the Small Business Administration said in comments filed with the FCC.

The SBA, a federal agency that supports small businesses, said in Monday’s filing that it has “concerns that the FCC’s proposed rules will be disproportionately and significantly burdensome for small multi-channel video distributors.” Discussions with small businesses and a review of other FCC filings contributed to this conclusion, SBA said.

The FCC’s ‘power grab’ on net neutrality still hasn’t burned your broadband provider (Yahoo 6/5)

Tech-policy geeks in Washington, DC are getting tired of waiting for a court ruling on the legality of the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules, which stop your internet providers from deliberately slowing down certain websites or services. Six months after the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit heard the case six, it still hasn’t issued a decision.

State Regulators Challenge FCC Lifeline Revamp (Bloomberg 6/6)

State regulators are challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to create a federal fast track for broadband providers to enter its Lifeline subsidy program.

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit June 3 to throw out parts of FCC rules expanding Lifeline to include standalone broadband service National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners v. FCC, D.C. Cir., 16-01170, petition filed 6/3/16 .

That FCC plan to protect your privacy? Not everyone’s a fan (CNET 6/4)

Critics of the Federal Communications Commission’s proposal to regulate Internet privacy argue the agency’s new rules will confuse consumers and ultimately lead to higher prices.

That’s the message from many of those who filed more than 45,000 public comments in reaction to the proposal, which was introduced in March and would require broadband and wireless companies to get user consent for most uses of their data, preventing them from freely sharing that info with third parties such as advertisers.

Privacy, profits and broadband investment (The Hill 6/8)

In the internet age, the common currency for both “edge” providers such as Google and the operators of “core” broadband networks such as AT&T and Comcast is information — that is, the ability to collect, track and ultimately monetize a plethora of information in order to provide consumers with enhanced online experiences. Indeed, it is the ability to monetize information successfully that will encourage, at least in part, the investments by both the edge and core to support the bourgeoning “Internet of Things.” Given Americans’ voracious use of the internet, therefore, common sense would dictate that the U.S. government develop a cohesive policy framework to deal with consumer privacy concerns. Unfortunately, common sense is in short supply in Washington, particularly at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the leadership of Chairman Tom Wheeler.

The Challenges of Closing the Digital Divide (New York Times 6/7)

WASHINGTON — United States history is marked by modernization efforts aimed at leaving no one behind. In the 1930s, it was lighting up farmsteads with electricity. In the 1950s, it was paving highways to every town. Today, the federal government is trying to bring broadband, which it considers a utility, to an estimated 33 percent of residents who don’t have the service.

At the Federal Communications Commission, Mignon L. Clyburn, a Democratic member, has supported regulations to connect those remaining Americans. The agency recently approved broadband subsidies for low-income families. The F.C.C. also converted rural phone service grants to companies willing to bring broadband to remote areas.

Proposed FCC Privacy Rule Takes Unauthorized Aim At ISPs And The First Amendment (Forbes 6/8)

On March 31, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) purporting to bring “clarity, choice, and security” to the broadband industry. In the name of accomplishing those seemingly worthwhile and innocuous goals, the Commission released a 147-page document that details a complex scheme to curtail Internet Service Providers’ (ISPs) right to use the data they lawfully collect on customer behavior. WLF filed comments last week laying out a number of commonsense, statutory, and constitutional arguments against the Proposed Rule in its current form.

The FCC Hoists the Jolly Roger on Your Cable Box (Wall Street Journal 6/7)

Anyone who works for a living knows that your co-workers can become a second family. As the executive producer of “Hawaii Five-0,” I’m responsible for a “second family” of hundreds of people.

But right now that family is threatened—not because of problems with production or a failure of creativity—because the Federal Communications Commission’s proposed new rules for TV “set-top boxes” threaten to pull the rug out from under us, and every other show.