‘What’s Hot’ List: 7/3/15

The ‘What’s Hot’ List for June 3, 2015.

For Expanded Opportunity, Lifeline Program Must Cover Broadband [Commentary by Ralph Everett] (Politic 365, 6/29/15) It’s widely accepted that the combination of broadband and digital technology can be a great equalizer that connects society’s have-nots with vast opportunities for greater knowledge, better jobs, and higher incomes.  But this hopeful future assumes that every person has the broadband connectivity to join the digital economy.  Otherwise, digital technology could end up widening gaps instead of closing them.  Those starkly contrasting futures are why the Federal Communications Commission’s new bid to help lower income Americans pay for broadband is so important.

AT&T, DirecTV extend merger termination date again (KatyontheHill Blog, 6/29/15) For the second time, AT&T and DirecTV were forced to extend the merger termination date of their agreement to give regulators more time to “facilitate obtaining final regulatory approval required to close the merger.” No date was given, but the latest filing predicts that approval is imminent.

EU plans to destroy net neutrality by allowing Internet fast lanes (Ars Technica Blog, 6/30/15) A two-tier Internet will be created in Europe as the result of a late-night “compromise” between the European Commission, European Parliament and the EU Council. The so-called “trilogue” meeting to reconcile the different positions of the three main EU institutions saw telecom companies gaining the right to offer “specialised services” on the Internet. These premium services will create a fast lane on the Internet and thus destroy net neutrality, which requires that equivalent traffic is treated in the same way.

Wheeler says broadband key for success (RCR Wireless News, 6/29/15) Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler late last week delivered an address to the Brookings Institution, a well known liberal-leaning Washington, D.C., think tank, highlighting the success of the National Broadband Plan.

Sprint ordered to pay $30M for patent violations (RCR Wireless, 6/30/15) A court has ruled that Sprint must pay $30 million to patent firm, Prism Technologies, for violating two U.S. patents that Sprint allegedly used in its “Simply Everything” and “Everything Data” plans. The patents illustrate how to manage access to protected computer resources.

The future of mobile data pits cellphone carriers against cable giants (The Washington Post’s Switch Blog, 6/30/15) Visit almost any coffee shop in America today, and chances are it’s got a sign advertising free WiFi. Outside, though, you won’t get very far before you lose the cafe’s connection. That’s when your smartphone knows it’s time to pick up a data signal from the nearest cell tower, so that you can surf the Web and watch YouTube wherever you go next.

EOBC Offers FCC 1% Solution (Broadcasting & Cable, 6/29/15) Expanding Opportunities for Broadcasters Coalition has told the FCC that its plan to drop its offering prices to stations in the reverse broadcast incentive auction by 5% in each of the initial rounds, is a bad idea any way you look at it, and one that could “destroy” broadcasters ability to get important information to help them decide what to do.

Competition and Choice in Wireless Broadband [Commentary by Former Rep Henry Waxman (D-California)] (The Hill, 6/24/15) Think about the last time you were in a public space — walking down the street, sitting on the bus or subway, eating at a restaurant or getting to your plane at the airport. Did you see how often people were looking down at their smartphones, busily swiping, scrolling or thumbing? Or were you too busy doing the same to notice?

Smartphone ‘kill switch’ law takes effect in California (CNET, 7/1/15) Starting July 1, smartphones sold in the state must come with software that lets users lock a stolen phone so it can’t be used, making it harder to resell. Crime statistics show the tech is already working.

When Multi-Billion-Dollar Companies Beg for Government Handouts (Morning Consult, 7/1/15) T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere is a smooth salesman. His latest pitch is to get the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to award his company—and a select group of multi-billion-dollar “reserve-eligible bidders” such as DISH and Sprint—valuable spectrum at a steep discount from market prices. And he wants taxpayers, to pick up the shortfall.

Net neutrality starts with a whimper (The Hill) It has been a quiet first two weeks for net neutrality. While the Federal Communications Commission’s new rules governing Internet providers like utilities are now in effect, consumers are unlikely to have noticed.