I spent many weekends and summers at my grandmother’s house, a humble home down a long, dirt road outside of the town of Hazlehurst, Georgia. As a teenager and undergraduate student, a time when many of us are far too social, I knew a visit to my grandmother’s house meant an unwanted digital detox. Instead, I enjoyed the tranquility of sitting on the porch as mosquitoes buzzed by or I accompanied my grandmother in the living room as she watched reruns of Bonanza. I found other things to do with my time and not because I enjoyed being disconnected; it was because AT&T’s (during some of those years it was Cingular Wireless) cell reception was non-existent. In 2018, I now have one or two bars that sometimes allow me to make a call or text to a friend when I’m visiting; however, full access to the internet solely with my wireless connection is just not possible.
The FCC is about to take spectrum away from rural providers and we are making a last minute effort to stop it. Today we sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, and we are calling on you to contact Congress. Here’s why:
Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a new and improved version of the Music Modernization Act, following the Senate’s lead from last week. We had expressed strong reservations about the earlier iterations of this bill, and its impact on the public domain for sound recordings. We’re happy to say that after extensive negotiations spearheaded by Senator Ron Wyden, the new version of the bill brings these works more fully into line with with the existing copyright system for legacy works and finally allows these recordings to enter the public domain. The bill now heads to the President’s desk.
On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission will vote on an Order and Declaratory Ruling it claims will promote deployment of next-generation wireless networks. The crux of the FCC’s action will impose stringent limits on the fees states and localities charge wireless companies to install and maintain small cells in public rights-of-way (ROW) and on other government property. Additionally, the FCC substitutes decision-making by local elected officials with its own on issues ranging from public safety to community aesthetics when a locality considers a wireless small cell application.