‘What’s Hot’ List: 7/10/15

The ‘What’s Hot’ list for July 10, 2015.

Boise becomes 100th city to join Next Century Cities broadband coalition (FierceTelecom Blog, 7/6/15) Boise, Idaho has become the hundredth city to join Next Century Cities, a city-to-city collaborative of mayors who see the availability of fast, affordable, and reliable Internet as a critical piece of their community.   When the initiative was initially launched in October 2014, a number of major cities joined–including Boston, Kansas City, Chattanooga and more recent additions such as Charlotte.

AT&T teases a $5 Internet service to help seal the DirecTV deal (The Washington Post’s Switch Blog, 7/7/15) AT&T will offer cheap Internet to food-stamp recipients if the Federal Communications Commission approves the telecom company’s big acquisition of DirecTV. In a regulatory filing, AT&T says it’s prepared to make two plans available to low-income consumers. The first would provide speeds of up to 5 megabits per second (or roughly half as fast as the current national average) for $10 a month. After the first 12 months, that price would rise to $20 a month.

Obama administration policies exacerbate spectrum exhaust (The Hill, 7/08/15)  According to just-released survey evidence, the demand for mobile data continues to rise unabated. Closely matching forecasts, mobile data traffic rose 26 percent between 2013 and 2014. Yet, as Americans consume more mobile data, the amount of radio spectrum to handle this increased demand has not been able to keep up. As a result of this looming spectrum exhaust, carriers are looking to upgrade technological capability to manage their networks more efficiently without resorting to raising prices. Given the significant benefits of licensed spectrum to the U.S. economy, however, why is the Obama administration making things worse by actively promoting policies that exacerbate spectrum exhaust?

Anatomy of an Open Internet Lie (Forbes, 7/07/15) The well-funded project to turn the Internet into a public utility has turned ugly, with proponents of more government regulation regularly deploying a lethal combination of engineering ignorance and an adversarial relationship with inconvenient facts.

Comcast Boosts Broadband Speeds in the Northeast (Multichannel, 7/07/15) Comcast has rolled out a free speed upgrade for its “Blast!” broadband tier across its Northeast Division while also introducing a faster “Performance Pro” service for triple-play customers.

Pro-net neutrality group gets Times Square billboard (The Hill, 7/06/15) Internet advocacy group Free Press now has access to a particularly large megaphone: a billboard in New York’s Times Square. The group, which advocates for net neutrality and against large corporate media mergers, has ads appearing on a rotating digital display at the corner of 43rd St. and Broadway.

T-Mobile is still trying to change Wheeler’s mind on spectrum reserve (KatyontheHill blog, 7/6/15) T-Mobile won’t take “no” for an answer from the Federal Communications Commission, which recently confirmed that the agency doesn’t plan to increase the amount of spectrum set-aside for smaller companies in the broadcast incentive auction. Despite an aggressive campaign by T-Mobile, Sprint and others, the FCC is set to vote July 16 on chairman Tom Wheeler’s incentive auction rules proposal that includes keeping the spectrum reserve at 30 MHz.

T-Mobile Leads US Wireless Carriers In Government Data Requests (ForbesTech Blog, 7/6/15) Surprisingly, it was the nation’s smallest wireless carrier that received the greatest number of government data requests last year. In its first ever transparency report, T-Mobile revealed that it fielded a staggering 351,940 requests for consumer information in 2014 alone—more than any of its rivals and a 10.8 percent increase compared to the year prior.

Senate Eyes Transportation Tech (Broadcasting & Cable, 7/06/15) The Internet of moving things continues to get increasing attention inside and outside the Beltway. Deb. Fischer, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Surface Transportation Subcommittee, has called a hearing on new tech and transportation technologies. Among the witnesses will be Paul Misenor, VP of public policy for Amazon.