Items tagged "Blog Posts"


Our Disgraceful Internet Policy

September 7, 2007 Blog Posts , FCC , Internet Protocol , Network Neutrality

Earlier today (Sept. 6), the Justice Department filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opposing Net Neutrality. The DoJ, supposedly the protector of consumers and guardian of competition, said that "market forces" were sufficient to do both of those jobs.

That view, of course, is nonsense. Perhaps the DoJ failed to recall that there are no "market forces," and that the market for broadband services is controlled by two industries and that consumers have very little choice. Just how little choice we have was made clear to me earlier this summer.

In August, my wife and I went to Jasper, Alberta, a little town in the northern part of Jasper National Park. One morning, we had breakfast with a couple we had met in an excursion around the area. They are from Derby (pronounced Darby), a city of about 233,000 located in the center of England, far from London.

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Hockey Slapshot Upstages Baseball

June 6, 2007 Blog Posts , Fair Use

Not long ago, we posted a story about how the powers that be in Major League Baseball were grousing about the Slingbox device which actually allows more people to watch their favorite teams play.

According to the Wall Street Journal, MLB still doesn't like the place-shifting abilities of Sling, but is backing off for now of threats from law suits. Perhaps the universally negative coverage of the controversy from the tech press, including Network World, CNET's Charles Cooper, Engadget, as well as the Huffington Post, and many other sites, persuaded Major League Baseball to see the error of their ways.

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Summer Intern John Bergmayer

May 31, 2007 Blog Posts , Policy Blog

My name is John Bergmayer, and I am a summer intern here at Public Knowledge. I am a student at the University of Colorado Law School. Issues such as the ones Public Knowledge works on are what drove me to law school in the first place. Law is the place where technology, culture, and policy collide. I wanted to be more than a rubbernecker.

I'm here in DC for the summer, but normally I live in Boulder, Colorado with my girlfriend, Susie, my dog, Edmund, and Meow Zedong and Paw the cats. In addition to law, I am interested in technology, literature, music, Macintosh computers, and BMX. I'll be working on (and blogging about) communications and intellectual property issues. More over here.

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Public Interest Groups Want FCC To Create Wireless Broadband Competition

May 24, 2007 Blog Posts , Spectrum Reform

The comments were due yesterday at the FCC on the proposals for how the auction of the valuable 700 MHz spectrum should be conducted. PK was part of a group of public-interest organizations that made recommendations on how the spectrum should be used best to try to break up the duopoly that telephone and cable companies have on high-speed broadband, or at least add some semblance of competition.

Also filing with us as the Ad Hoc Public Interest Spectrum Coalition were (in alphabetical order): Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, EDUCAUSE, Free Press, Media Access Project, New America Foundation and U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

In its comments on the 700 MHz auction, the coalition said that the Commission should act "both to ensure that new spectrum is offered on an open and nondiscriminatory basis and to bring in new entrants interested in challenging the current cozy wireless oligopoly and broadband duopoly."

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Mostly Pleasant Surprises and One Expected Unpleasantness at “Future of Video” Hearing

May 10, 2007 Blog Posts , Fair Use , Internet Protocol , Network Neutrality , Piracy

Folks outside the Beltway may not be aware that since the beginning of the year, House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee Chair Ed Markey has been holding a series of "big picture" hearings on the "Digital Future of the United States," featuring some of the world's leading thinkers. For example, his first hearing had one witness – World Wide Web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee talking about how the web came to be what it is today. Other hearings focused on among other things, spectrum and wireless issues, the future of radio, and International broadband deployment. The core idea behind these hearings is to educate members of the Subcommittee about the state of technology and broadband deployment, and not get too mired in the narrow day-to-day policy debates that groups like PK care so much about. A wise strategy for a new Congress, if you ask me.

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Wireless Industry Wants To Be New ‘Ma Bell’

May 9, 2007 Blog Posts , FCC

We have seen the wireless future, and according to the wireless industry comments filed with the FCC in the Skype petition asking the Commission to loosen the rules on what phones and services can be used on wireless networks, the future looks quite a bit like the past we thought had been discarded. PK and public-interest friends filed in support of the Skype petition.

The industry argued strenuously that it must restrict the use of some phones in order to protect its network against harm and to sustain innovation. AT&T, for example, argued: "… although AT&T does not prohibit the use of uncertified handsets, AT&T strongly encourages its customers to use certified handsets – those that are optimized for its network – and it guarantees the service of and provides technical support only for those handsets."

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Access to high-speed Internet is an economic matter

March 16, 2007 Blog Posts , Network Neutrality

Note: This item is reprinted from the March 16 edition of the Gazette (Politics and Business) published weekly in several communities in Montgomery, Prince George's, Frederick and Carroll counties in Maryland.

The big telephone and cable companies have a secret. The leadership of the House of Delegates is perfectly willing to let them keep it, taking the side of the two companies which in recent days each raised their rates while supposedly competing against each other, rather than help consumers by taking an action to help spur competition in Maryland broadband services.

There is no dispute that the Internet has become as valuable to most people as electricity or telephone service. By any measure, access to the Internet opens up a whole range of new opportunities, from students doing homework, to entrepreneurs developing new products to people who work from home.

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PK Testifies on XM-Sirius Merger

February 28, 2007 Blog Posts , Fair Use

Gigi is scheduled to testify later today before the House Judiciary Committee's Antitrust Task force on the proposed merger of satellite radio companies XM and Sirius.

We believe the merger could be approved if conditions are attached to the deal to protect consumers.

In her written statement to the Task Force Gigi did not take a position on whether the merger would pass antitrust scrutiny, but said if it did, then the deal should be approved only if it is subject three conditions:

  • the new company makes available pricing choices such as a la carte or tiered programming.

  • the new company makes 5% of its capacity available to non-commercial educational and informational programming over which it has no editorial control.

  • the new company agrees not to raise prices for three years after the merger is approved.

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It’s Getting Nasty In Annapolis

February 27, 2007 Blog Posts , Network Neutrality

The Economic Matters Committee in the Maryland House of Delegates holds its hearing at 1 p.m. today on the broadband legislation introduced by Del. Herman Taylor.

I guess we shouldn't be surprised that the other side is pulling out all sorts of disinformation, misinformation and just plain sleazy tactics to stop it.

The bill is very simple. It requires the Public Service Commission to collect data on broadband deployment around the state, so we can actually see who has the benefits of real broadband and who doesn't. Second, it suggests that the carriers like Verizon and Comcast follow a Net Neutrality policy. It's only a suggestion because, after all, the Federal government has jurisdiction over high-speed broadband services — to the extent it chooses to exercise it.

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Maryland, My Maryland — a new broadband approach

February 15, 2007 Blog Posts , Network Neutrality

The Federal government has taken away the responsibilities of the states for broadband Internet service. Heck, the Federal government has taken itself out of most responsibilities for broadband service.

That's why a bill in the Maryland legislature is refreshing — because it shows there is still a state role to play. The bill, HB 1069, by Del. Herman Taylor (D-Montgomery County), concentrates on what the Feds have left behind — the collection of accurate statistics on broadband deployment.

Taylor's bill requires any company offering high-speed broadband, defined as 768 kbps or higher, to report to the Public Service Commission on a ZIP code-plus 4 basis, about where service is being deployed, the take rate, and other information. It's technologically neutral, applying to telephone companies, cable companies, utilities, whoever.

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