‘What’s Hot’ List: 6/26/15

The ‘What’s Hot’ list for the week of June 26, 2015.

Public TV stations could be squeezed out in spectrum auction (KatyontheHill Blog, 6/22/15) Public TV stations may not survive the broadcast incentive spectrum auction in some markets. The Federal Communications Commission last Friday denied a petition for reconsideration filed last October by three public broadcasting associations asking that FCC auction rules be revised so that if the last remaining noncommercial educational station relinquishes its spectrum, that at least one channel would be reserved for a new noncommercial educational station to take its place.

Cable Ops to FCC: Dish, DirecTV Should Pay More (Broadcasting & Cable Blog, 6/23/15) Cable operators want satellite operators to pay more in FCC regulatory fees. In a joint filing with the FCC, the American Cable Association and National Cable & Telecommunications Association said 12 cents per sub for 2015 is not enough, given that cable operators will have to pay eight times that, or about 95 cents per year.

T-Mobile Tries to Block AT&T Low-Band Spectrum Buy (Multichannel, 6/23/15) T-Mobile has asked the Federal Communications Commission to deny the transfer of low-band spectrum to AT&T through a secondary market transaction.   T-Mobile has been asking the FCC to set aside more low-band spectrum for competitive carriers — like T-Mobile — in the upcoming incentive auction, pointing out that AT&T and Verizon combined already have mode than two-thirds of that beachfront spectrum nationwide.

Verizon completes $4.4B acquisition of AOL (VentureBeat Blog, 6/23/15) U.S. telecom giant Verizon has announced the completion of its AOL acquisition, as expected, for $50.00 per share. This effectively means that AOL shares are no longer being traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and AOL is officially a Verizon subsidiary.

Here’s the first official net neutrality complaint to the FCC (The Washington Post’s The Switch Blog,  6/22/15) Remember last week, when we learned that a San Diego-based company would be filing a net neutrality complaint against Time Warner Cable? Well, that complaint just dropped. In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission on Monday, Commercial Network Services (CNS) claims that it’s being charged unjust rates to deliver its streaming Web cam video to consumers.

Opinion: Nation’s Poor to the FCC: “We’re Way Ahead of You.” (Inside Sources, 6/23/15) Last week the FCC adopted a proposal that, according to the agency, takes “significant steps to modernize its Lifeline program.” Lifeline is a 30 year-old telecommunications subsidy program for low-income households. After 30 years, you would think that the program has made a demonstrable impact on making “phone service affordable for low-income Americans,” as the FCC put it. You would be wrong.

FCC votes to subsidize broadband for low-income households and limit spammy phone calls (The Verge, 6/18/15) The Federal Communications Commission approved two important proposals this morning. The first is an overhaul to its Lifeline program, which subsidizes phone service for low-income Americans and should soon also be able to subsidize high-speed internet, furthering the commission’s goal of seeing access spread across the country. The second is an update to the commission’s robocall rules that will allow service providers to use robocall blocking software to stop spammy calls from reaching their customers. The robocall rules go into effect immediately; the Lifeline overhaul will now be opened up for a comment period before being revised and likely entered into law.

Rancor rises at the FCC (6/21/15, The Hill) Partisan warfare has broken out at the once-sleepy Federal Communications Commission, where disputes over Internet subsidies for the poor, robocalls and net neutrality regulations have taken on an increasingly bitter tone.

How the future of US wireless service hangs on a government auction (6/22/15, CNET) The US wireless carriers may not be able to stand in the same room together, but they can agree on one thing: the industry needs more spectrum. What is spectrum? It’s the set of licensed radio airwaves that allow carriers to ferry cat videos and Instagram selfies wirelessly from the Internet to your smartphone. Getting more spectrum is absolutely critical to meeting that growing demand for data.