Essentially, the government has developed an airwaves-sharing plan that would protect radar systems near military bases and the coastline while auctioning off access to the airwaves in other parts of the country. A portion of the airwaves would also be reserved for free use by anyone with an FCC-certified device that doesn’t create interference. – Amy Schatz, Re/code
One of the main talking points for opponents of the new rules is that consumers will soon have to pay more for Internet service. That’s because the FCC is re-regulating Internet service under old rules written for phone networks and phone users have to pay a monthly fee into the Universal Service Fund, which subsidizes phone and Internet services in rural areas and for low-income people. – Amy Schatz, Re/code
A huge chunk of the U.S. may no longer have “broadband” service soon, if a new plan by federal regulators to change the definition of high-speed access is approved. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed Wednesday to increase the U.S. definition of broadband to 25 megabits per second, saying the current definition of four Mbps just doesn’t cut it anymore. […] (The proposed 25 Mbps definition would be for downloads, while the standard for upload speeds would be just three Mbps.) – Amy Schatz, Re/code
In October, Marriott Hotels & Resorts settled an FCC complaint about the practice for $600,000 but argued that it hadn’t broken the law and was using technology to protect guests from “rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber attacks and identity theft.” […] Opponents of the proposal basically argued in filings late Monday that the hotel industry is just trying to keep guests and exhibitors dependent on pricy hotel wireless networks. They suggested hotels have other options for protecting Wi-Fi networks than jamming personal hotspots.
“Allowing hotels or other property owners deliberately to block third parties’ access to Wi-Fi signals would undermine the public interest benefits of unlicensed use,” Google said in a filing opposing the hotel association’s request. Microsoft also asked the agency to kill the request. – Amy Schatz, Re/code
Two days after AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said his company would delay building out its fiber network because of uncertainty about net neutrality rules, the Federal Communications Commission has some questions. […] The agency emailed AT&T Friday asking for more information about that announcement, including “all documents” related to that decision. The request may not be great news for AT&T, which still needs the FCC to sign off on its $48 billion deal to acquire DirecTV. […] FCC officials also want to know if AT&T’s financial model “demonstrates that fiber deployment is now unprofitable” and whether laying fiber to more than two million homes after the DirecTV acquisition “would be unprofitable.” AT&T has a week to respond. – Amy Schatz,Re/code
[Tom Wheeler]’s aides have been hinting for a month that the agency is seriously considering a so-called “hybrid” strategy, which would essentially regulate sections of Internet lines differently. Broadband connections to consumers would be regulated lightly as a “retail” service. Lines between websites and services (or “edge providers,” in FCC-speak) and broadband providers would be regulated under old rules written for old phone networks. The Wall Street Journal also dug up some details about this hybrid proposal for a story published Thursday night. […] Net neutrality advocates argue […], the hybrid approach, isn’t the best way to move forward since the plan is so convoluted it probably won’t hold up under the inevitable legal challenge. They want the agency to reverse a 2002 decision to deregulate Internet lines, which would give the agency clearer authority to police Internet providers. – Amy Schatz,Re/code
It took Federal Communications Commission staff 29 pages to list the 93 questions and requests for data they want from Comcast for their review of the deal. The agency sent similar, if smaller, data requests to Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications, which wants to acquire subscribers from Comcast as part of its effort to jettison some coverage areas to placate the government. Seventeen of the questions or data requests in the FCC’s inquiry were related to Comcast’s Internet policies, including its use of data caps, traffic management, middle-mile Internet interconnection deals and net neutrality policies as well as data related to complaints from Netflix and Level 3 Communications about Comcast. […] They also asked for information about Comcast’s “most favored nation” contracts — contractual agreements that give cable operators the lowest price for TV channels — as well as details about it’s ability “to exert influence or control” over Hulu, the online TV streaming service that Comcast has an ownership interest in. Both are issues that regulators examined in detail four years ago when Comcast was acquiring NBCUniversal. – Amy Schatz,Re/code
Wheeler was responding to a video from comedian John Oliver explaining net neutrality that went viral recently and savages the agency and Wheeler, a former cable industry lobbyist. In the video, Oliver compares tapping Wheeler, a former top cable lobbyist, to run the FCC as akin to hiring a dingo as a babysitter. – Amy Schatz, Re/code http://ift.tt/1oYfAZJ
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