U.S. Resists Growing Chinese Sway in 5G Standards Setting

In September, Chinese companies and government institutes took a leading role in the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)’s efforts to establish 5G standards, holding eight of the 39 leadership positions, according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Verizon Communications is now the only U.S. company in a leadership role there. FCC member Michael O’Rielly stated that, “having a socialist government basically in charge right now is incredibly problematic for U.S. goals, and 5G specifically.” Continue reading U.S. Resists Growing Chinese Sway in 5G Standards Setting

FCC’s O’Rielly Asks Amazon, eBay to Remove ‘Rogue’ STBs

FCC commissioner Michael O’Rielly is urging Amazon and eBay to pull listings from their sites for “rogue” set-top boxes that enable consumers to watch pirated TV shows. On Friday, the commissioner sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and eBay CEO Devin Wenig noting that the STBs in question often falsely feature the FCC logo, and are responsible for encouraging “intellectual property theft and consumer fraud.” O’Rielly recognized that the companies have been working to address the problem, but wrote “despite your good work in this area, devices continue to make it to consumers through your websites.” Continue reading FCC’s O’Rielly Asks Amazon, eBay to Remove ‘Rogue’ STBs

FCC: End of Net Neutrality Advances Broadband Deployment

The Federal Communications Commission, which had considered lowering the threshold for broadband announced that it has pulled back from that idea and will continue to define home broadband as speeds of 25 megabits per second (Mbps). The FCC also created a new standard of a 10Mbps connection for mobile broadband, and won’t define mobile Internet service as a replacement for home broadband, an idea it considered last year. The decisions are good news for those concerned about the digital divide. Continue reading FCC: End of Net Neutrality Advances Broadband Deployment

Senate Confirms Rosenworcel, Carr as FCC Commissioners

The Senate voted yesterday to confirm Democratic nominee Jessica Rosenworcel and Republican nominee Brendan Carr as new FCC commissioners. The confirmations return the agency to its full strength of five commissioners, following a seven-month gap. The new commissioners will take office as FCC chair Ajit Pai prepares to roll back the net neutrality rules that were passed by the Democratic majority in 2015. The Senate opted to postpone Pai’s reconfirmation; Rosenworcel and Carr were confirmed via voice vote yesterday, and there will be a recorded vote for Pai later this fall. Continue reading Senate Confirms Rosenworcel, Carr as FCC Commissioners

FCC Wireless Spectrum Auction Bidding Closes at $19.6 Billion

The FCC’s wireless spectrum auction has concluded, generating $19.6 billion in total bids, less than many analysts’ expectations but still “an amazing success,” according to former FCC chair Julius Genachowski, who said the auction will lead to additional investment and innovation. AT&T, Comcast, Dish Network, T-Mobile and Verizon were among the 62 bidders who made upfront payments last year. More than $10 billion of the money raised will go to broadcasters that opted to relinquish spectrum rights, more than $6 billion to the federal deficit, and up to $1.75 billion to broadcaster costs for changing channels. Continue reading FCC Wireless Spectrum Auction Bidding Closes at $19.6 Billion

Trump Promotes Net Neutrality Opponent Ajit Pai to FCC Chair

President Trump has named Ajit Pai as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. He will replace Tom Wheeler, who stepped down on Friday. Pai, appointed as an FCC commissioner in 2012 by President Obama, has opposed many of the Commission’s recent initiatives, such as regulating cable mergers, introducing consumer privacy protection, and establishing net neutrality. In a December letter to the leaders of CTIA, NTCA, WISPA, the American Cable Association and Competitive Carriers Association, Pai and fellow commissioner Michael O’Rielly wrote of net neutrality’s “disproportionate impact … on smaller sized broadband providers,” promising to “revisit … the Title II Net Neutrality proceeding … as soon as possible.” Continue reading Trump Promotes Net Neutrality Opponent Ajit Pai to FCC Chair

Departure of FCC’s Tom Wheeler Could Impact Net Neutrality

The FCC announced that Tom Wheeler will resign his chair position on January 20. The Obama appointee led the agency for the last three years. It is customary for the chairperson to resign when there is a new administration. Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel’s nomination for another term was also impacted last week by the Senate’s decision not to vote prior to adjourning for the year. Rosenworcel is expected to step down by the end of December. President-elect Donald Trump will have two FCC seats to fill, one from each major party. Meanwhile, the departures leave the agency with two Republican commissioners and one Democratic commissioner. Continue reading Departure of FCC’s Tom Wheeler Could Impact Net Neutrality

FCC, Net Neutrality Face Changes Under New Administration

The Federal Communications Commission is undergoing changes prior to the transition to a new administration. When the Senate adjourned without voting on a new term for commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, it sealed her departure at the end of December. And when President-elect Donald Trump takes office, Tom Wheeler will step down as chairman of the FCC, although his term as commissioner runs through 2018. Trump has not yet mentioned names with regard to the next FCC chairman, but it will likely be someone opposed to net neutrality. Continue reading FCC, Net Neutrality Face Changes Under New Administration

FCC May Add High-Speed Internet Subsidy to Lifeline Program

The Federal Communications Commission is nearing approval of a plan to provide Internet access for low-income people who don’t have regular access. An update to the $2 billion Lifeline program will add a broadband subsidy of $9.25 a month for low-income households. Lifeline was established in 1985 to bring landline phone service to that same demographic; the FCC added mobile service to the program in 2008. The addition of the high-speed Internet subsidy will come up for a vote on March 31 and is expected to pass. Continue reading FCC May Add High-Speed Internet Subsidy to Lifeline Program

FCC Commissioner Says the Internet is Not a Human Right

Speaking before the Internet Innovation Alliance about the appropriate role of regulators in a growing broadband economy, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly suggested that the Internet is not a necessity or human right, as many tech leaders have suggested. “It is important to note that Internet access is not a necessity in the day-to-day lives of Americans and doesn’t even come close to the threshold to be considered a basic human right,” he said. “I am not in any way trying to diminish the significance of the Internet in our daily lives.” Continue reading FCC Commissioner Says the Internet is Not a Human Right