Items tagged "Network Open Access"

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Tom-Toms: Tauke and Pynchon On Regulation and the Open Internet

March 26, 2010 Broadband , Competition , Deregulation , Network Neutrality , Network Open Access

The tone for the latest round of debate about whether there should be an Open Internet was set, not by the latest round of speeches and statements by industry executives, nor even by the emphatic statements of self-righteous politicians at a Congressional hearing.

No, what’s happening now could be summed up in a thought from the author Thomas Pynchon, and his book, Gravity’s Rainbow. Scattered throughout the 800-some pages of the novel are five “Proverbs for Paranoids.” The one relevant to our discussion of the Open Internet is #3: “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.”

The wrong question is – how should the Internet be regulated? The right question is – how should the online rights of consumers be protected? Yet, it’s the wrong question on which the industry-fueled discussion has dwelled. This is not to say that even wrong questions don’t deserve answers.

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RUMOR: FCC May Take Steps to Increase Broadband Competition

February 17, 2010 Broadband , Competition , FCC , Network Neutrality , Network Open Access

If the rumors are true, the FCC may be about to take a big step towards embracing its goal of being data driven, and could open the door to a more competitive Internet Service Provider (ISP) market.

According to reports, the FCC is considering requiring big telecommunications companies to lease their infrastructure to smaller competitors. This, of course, is not a new idea. Back in the day, forcing phone companies to allow competitors to access their wires resulted in thousands of dial-up ISPs competing for business.

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Google’s Broadband Stimulus Program

February 10, 2010 Broadband , National Broadband Plan , Network Neutrality , Network Open Access

Google's announcement that it's going to create one gigabit-per-second networks in a few selected communities looks like what the broadband stimulus program should have been – an attempt to jump start technology, to invest in new ideas and to determine how people will use advanced networks given the chance to use them.

There is no downside to the Google announcement, except perhaps from the point of view of the Federal government, which gave in to the lowest-common-denominator philosophy when structuring the stimulus program, and from the point of view of the incumbent telephone and cable carriers.

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Will Comcast Join The NAB? And What That Question Tells Us About This Merger.

December 3, 2009 Comcast , FCC , Network Neutrality , Network Open Access , Spectrum Reform

Few rivalries in the media world match those of cable operators and broadcasters. Since the first cable regulation by the FCC to prevent cable operators from importing blacked out sports events and "distant signals" that threatened local broadcast content back in the 1960s, broadcasters and cable operators have constantly sought regulatory advantage over one another. Broadcasters once ruled video as its unchallenged masters. Then came cable, which became the dominant platform for delivery of video. But broadcasting continues to aggregate mass audiences and produce more popular programming. Despite all the yapping about how no one can tell broadcast and cable apart anymore, neither one can survive without the other, but both have radically different interests. As a result, the broadcasters and the cable operators, and therefore their trade associations, are constantly at loggerheads.

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How Can “Unlimited Data” From a Company Called Straight Talk be Ambiguous?

October 19, 2009 AT&T , Broadband , Network Neutrality , Network Open Access , TXTSMS

Those who know me know that, despite working for such a technology oriented outfit, I still use a three year old LG clamshell phone that at this point can barely handle text messaging. It’s not that I don’t want a fancier phone, it’s just that I have not quite come to terms with having to buy a fancy new phone plus having to pay extra for data every month. Imagine my excitement when I saw that Walmart is going to start offering unlimited talk, text, and DATA for only $45/mo through a service called Straight Talk.

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So How’s The ARRA Doing At 6 Months?

August 14, 2009 Broadband , Mapping , Network Neutrality , Network Open Access , Wireless

As we approach the 6-month mark on the signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), it seems like a good time to check in on the (from my perspective) relevant pieces of the Act. Specifically, the National Broadband Plan, the National Broadband Map, and Broadband stimulus package.

With the exception of the mapping, where I am less than thrilled so far but still hoping to see improvement, I give these things fairly high marks.

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FCC and Congress Start Campaign For Open Internet

August 3, 2009 Network Neutrality , Network Open Access

The Obama Administration has been talking about an open Internet for months. Before that, the Obama campaign made it a centerpiece of a technology platform. Now, finally, the idea is getting some traction, and it’s about time.

Julius Genachowski, the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has only been in office since June 29, and in that time he’s mostly been busy choosing heads for the Commission bureaus and finding senior staff while sorting through the responsibilities Congress gave the Commission to come up with a broadband plan.

So it’s a great sign of things to come that one of the first actions of the Genachowski era that the Commission took of its own accord was to call some official attention to the fact that Apple was keeping Google’s new Google Voice application off the shelves of the iPhone App Store.

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Fun Event On Capital Hill Next Monday: I Take On The Neocons On BB Policy

July 10, 2009 Antitrust , Broadband , Network Neutrality , Network Open Access , Non-Discrimination

One of the fun things here in D.C. is getting to go to events that are (a) informative on issues, and (b) offer a free lunch. Such is the Broadband Competition Panel sponsored by The Technology Policy Institutenext Monday, July 13, at Noon (for details, follow this link).

TPI has a fairly antiregulatory/UofC/"Free Market" bend to it. Happily, the event organizer, friend and occasional sparring partner Scott Wallsten, likes panels where folks get to mix it up a bit rather than panels where everyone agrees.

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FCC Reform the Star of Confirmation Hearing

June 17, 2009 FCC , Network Neutrality , Network Open Access , Spectrum Reform , White Space

As confirmation hearings go, today's hearing on the nomination of Julius Genachowski to be the new Chair of the FCC and current Commissioner Robert McDowell to be renominated for a second term could only be called a lovefest. And why not? Both are among the most qualified individuals ever to have been nominated to serve the agency. Perhaps the most controversial exchange was the debate over how to pronounce the Chairman-to-be's last name (for the record, it's pronounced Gen-a-kow-ski, not chow-ski).

Genachowski sounded all the right notes – telling the story of how his father, an engineer, showed him his plans for turning text into signals so to help blind people to "read" words on paper.

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Broadband Content Fragmentation Games Bear Watching, But Not Action — Yet.

June 16, 2009 Broadband , Data Caps , Network Neutrality , Network Open Access , Non-Discrimination

Sometime back, I warned that the deal between ESPN360.com and Verizon would have consequences in terms of internet fragmentation. Now, the American Cable Association, which represents small cable operators (who often have very different concerns from their larger cousins in the National Cable Telecommunications Association) is complaining that Disney wants to charge them for access to ESPN.com.

Note, this does not mean put stuff behind a pay wall and charge viewers. It means replicating the cable model and charging the ISP on a per-subscriber basis.

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