FCC Chair Ajit Pai Plans a Public Auction of C-Band Waves

The Federal Communications Commission wants to offer a public auction of C-Band airwaves, taking away control from Intelsat SA and SES SA, which had planned a private auction that could have earned them billions of dollars. FCC chair Ajit Pai said the airwaves would be freed for 5G wireless use and generate revenue for the U.S. government. The plan could be voted on in early 2020. The satellite companies protested, saying they would work to create an alternative plan and calling Pai’s plan “a significant departure.” Continue reading FCC Chair Ajit Pai Plans a Public Auction of C-Band Waves

Google to Let Android Users Choose Other Search Engines

Under pressure from European Union antitrust head Margrethe Vestager, Google will make it easier for users to choose a competitive search engine. Since Google’s record $4.8 billion fine didn’t “do the trick” to fix the problem, she proposed a “choice screen mechanism.” Beginning March 2020, Google will now offer this screen that allows users to pick a default search engine, and list rival search engines for little or no money. Google said the solution had been “developed in consultation with the European Commission.” Continue reading Google to Let Android Users Choose Other Search Engines

Next-Gen 5G Will Unlock VR, Autonomous Vehicles and More

Improved latency is the biggest selling point for next-generation 5G wireless technology. Verizon, Vodafone and Huawei are demonstrating the impact on wireless video, video games and virtual reality. With 5G, latency will plummet to 1 to 2 milliseconds, versus 4G’s average 50 milliseconds, positively impacting many markets, from medicine to self-driving cars. But, although the U.S. will see the first commercial 5G sometime this year, many emerging markets are still limping along with 3G and hoping for 4G connections. Continue reading Next-Gen 5G Will Unlock VR, Autonomous Vehicles and More

NAB 2017: FCC Chair Ajit Pai Vows to Trim Dated Regulations

In his first appearance at NAB, FCC chair Ajit Pai got a warm welcome from broadcasters who liked what they heard. Pai promised to promote ATSC 3.0, also known as “next gen TV,” prune out regulations that are out-of-date or present obstacles to broadcasters, and tweak others. “Inertia is a powerful force in government,” declared Pai, who said he was “fundamentally optimistic” about broadcasting’s future. “There are close to 1,000 pages of broadcast rules, many of them decades old, and I’m trying to change that.” Continue reading NAB 2017: FCC Chair Ajit Pai Vows to Trim Dated Regulations

T-Mobile Is Biggest Spender in Government Spectrum Auction

The results of the government’s wireless airwaves auction are in, and T-Mobile ended up as the biggest spender at $8 billion, followed by Dish at $6.2 billion and Comcast at $1.7 billion. The FCC auction, which began last year, generated $19.8 billion in bids. While the companies have yet to announce their plans for the spectrum, Comcast recently indicated that it would offer cell service to its Internet subscribers. Conclusion of the auction also means that companies will be able to resume deal discussions by April 27, now that bidding collusion is no longer a concern. Continue reading T-Mobile Is Biggest Spender in Government Spectrum Auction

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

Facebook Launches Marketplace, Battles Sale of Illegal Items

This last Monday, Facebook began gradually introducing a new feature, Marketplace, which, similar to Craigslist, lets users buy and sell items. The app will be first introduced to users in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom, and will also be available on the desktop in the next few months. Because most Facebook users access the site via mobile phones, Marketplace will provide better location data for matching buyers and sellers than Craigslist. Since the launch, however, Facebook has been dealing with illegal items for sale. Continue reading Facebook Launches Marketplace, Battles Sale of Illegal Items

Univision Acquisition Marks End of the Road for Gawker.com

We have an update to Univision’s $135 million acquisition of Gawker Media. Latest reports indicate that the deal will not save the company’s flagship site, and Gawker.com will shut down next week. “The website itself won’t go dark when it stops publication, but it won’t have anyone running it,” reports Recode. Gawker Media’s remaining sites — including Gizmodo, Deadspin and Jezebel — will be folded into Fusion Media Group, Univision’s English-language digital media division, as part of the company’s push to target millennials. Univision recently invested in The Onion, The Root and Fusion. Continue reading Univision Acquisition Marks End of the Road for Gawker.com

Univision Outbids Ziff Davis, Buys Gawker in $135 Million Deal

TV network and digital publisher Univision will purchase Gawker Media for $135 million, a deal that includes all seven of the blog network’s sites, including Jezebel, Deadspin and Gawker.com. The only other bidder in the auction, Internet publisher Ziff Davis, originally offered $90 million. “I am pleased that our employees are protected and will continue their work under new ownership — disentangled from the legal campaign against the company,” said Gawker Media owner Nick Denton. “We could not have picked an acquirer more devoted to vibrant journalism.” Continue reading Univision Outbids Ziff Davis, Buys Gawker in $135 Million Deal

Yahoo Plans for Auction of Patent Portfolio, Lines Up Buyers

Yahoo has distributed letters to potential buyers to launch an auction for its portfolio of 3,000 patents that could earn more than $1 billion. The collection dates back to the company’s 1996 IPO, including its original search tech, say those familiar with the plans. “Yahoo has set a mid-June deadline for preliminary bids,” reports The Wall Street Journal, “and hired Black Stone IP, a boutique investment bank that specializes in patent sales, to run the auction.” Yahoo confirmed the sale of patents and pending applications “related to Web search and advertising.” The company is also selling its core Internet business; Verizon reportedly bid about $3 billion. Continue reading Yahoo Plans for Auction of Patent Portfolio, Lines Up Buyers

FCC Spectrum Auction Begins, Transition to Take Four Years

As the airwaves are increasingly crowded by wireless data, the Federal Communications Commission devised a “broadcast incentive auction” to convince TV broadcasters to sell spectrum that would be used to expand wireless airwaves. By the end of this month, the FCC’s early round of the auction is expected to be complete, but the entire plan won’t likely be completed before 2020. By acting as middleman, the FCC stands to make billions of dollars, which will pay for the auction; the rest will go to the government. Continue reading FCC Spectrum Auction Begins, Transition to Take Four Years

E-Commerce: eBay Partners with Sotheby’s to Stream Auctions

In 2002, eBay partnered with Sotheby’s to launch a collaborative online auction endeavor that failed miserably and was almost immediately shut down. With online bidding having grown over the past decade, the two companies recently decided it was time to give their project another go. Last week, eBay streamed two of Sotheby’s live New York auctions online, where it invited eBay users to bid against Sotheby’s clientele for some of the auction house’s most expensive offerings. Continue reading E-Commerce: eBay Partners with Sotheby’s to Stream Auctions

Percentage of Mobile-Only Shoppers at Top Retailers Increases

According to comScore, 10 percent of Internet users in the U.S. only go online via smartphones and tablets. The measurement firm further notes that 13 percent of users accessing retail apps and sites do so via mobile devices only. Interestingly, the number of mobile-only shoppers at the top 10 retailers exceeds 50 percent in some cases. During January, for example, comScore reports the following percentages for mobile-only shoppers at top retailers: 51 percent at Walmart, 59 percent at Apple, and 53 percent at Target. Continue reading Percentage of Mobile-Only Shoppers at Top Retailers Increases

ESPN Airs First Programmatic Ad During SportsCenter Episode

Turbo Tax ran a 30-second spot on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” this past weekend, marking the first “programmatic” ad for the sports network. Turbo Tax purchased the ad time through a Web-based auction, a model that is part of a new initiative recently announced by ESPN. The ad ran during the Saturday 1:00 am broadcast from a giant video screen on the show’s set, and was introduced by an anchor who said, “SportsCenter will be right back in 30-seconds.” This approach could lead to a major shift in the current advertising model. Continue reading ESPN Airs First Programmatic Ad During SportsCenter Episode

Broadcasters Offered Final Approval of Auction of Aereo Assets

Aereo, the controversial startup that captured over-the-air cable TV without paying licensing fees and allowed subscribers to watch the content on multiple devices, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November. A bankruptcy court in New York has approved the dismantling of the company, with its assets to be auctioned to the highest bidder. The auction is scheduled for February 24, and the broadcasters that initially complained about Aereo’s business model will have two weeks to decide whether they approve of any sales. Continue reading Broadcasters Offered Final Approval of Auction of Aereo Assets

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