Today, the Federal Communications Commission fined the Smart City Networks (“Smart City”) for jamming Wi-Fi. According to the FCC enforcement action and accompanying consent decree, Smart City operates Wi-Fi access networks at convention centers around the country. Smart City repeatedly jammed the private Wi-Fi hotspots of convention center attendees to force consumers to pay to use the convention center Wi-Fi access operated by Smart City.
On December 11th, the Federal Communications Commission voted to move forward with much needed and long awaited reforms to our nation’s E-rate program. With a 3-2 vote, Democratic Commissioners moved forward on a process that allocates $1 billion annually for expanded Wi-Fi connections in our schools and libraries.
Whether or not you're in Austin for SXSW, click here and sign a petition to show your support for open networks!
Events like South by Southwest can highlight the limitations of wireless Internet access. Put a large number of techies in the same city and as they all try to tweet, share photos, and stay connected they can quickly saturate Internet connections--leading to websites not loading, messages not being sent, and connections dropping.
Engineers have already solved this problem--but there are legal challenges as well as technical challenges. Policymakers in DC have to make sure that FCC rules allow people to take advantage of new wireless technologies that are already being built. They need to set WiFi free.
The Wall Street Journal has run tworecent reports that describe Apple's plan to roll out a cable set-top box. There have been rumors about this for years. Back in 2007, Steve Jobs showed a level of familiarity with obscure cable technology that would suggest that Apple engineers were looking into this kind of product back then. But Jobs was repelled by the janky technology, and instead, Apple introduced a pure streaming device--the AppleTV--that did not interact with cable TV content. But most of the most valuable content is still available only on cable, or on cable first. Lots of people seem to love the AppleTV, but there's a reason why Apple still describes it as a "hobby."