FCC Proposal Restricts Local Regulation of Cable Networks

FCC chair Ajit Pai has put forth a plan to prevent cities and towns from regulating Internet access via their authority over cable TV networks and limit how much cities can charge cable companies. The cable industry has long lobbied for these changes; Pai’s proposal will come to a vote at the FCC on August 1. Pai’s proposal states that “some states and localities” are collecting fees and imposing requirements not “explicitly allowed” by Title VI, the cable regulation section Congress added to the Cable Act of 1984. Continue reading FCC Proposal Restricts Local Regulation of Cable Networks

FCC Plans to Reallocate Educational TV Spectrum For 5G

To create space for 5G in the mid-band spectrum, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to reallocate a block of 2.5GHz spectrum once reserved for educational TV and put it on the auction block. The reallocation vote is scheduled for July 10, with the auction planned for some time next year. Mid-band spectrum, also called sub-6GHz frequencies, delivers slower rates but better penetrates buildings and travels faster than millimeter wave signals. Crowdsourced network coverage service Opensignal quantified 5G speeds in South Korea. Continue reading FCC Plans to Reallocate Educational TV Spectrum For 5G

Amazon Will Launch New Echo Dot Kids Edition This Month

Amazon debuted a new version of its Echo Dot Kids Edition and several notable changes to its FreeTime Unlimited subscription service for children’s content. The new Echo Dot for children offers a new fabric case, including two colors — blue and rainbow stripes — both not available for the adult version. It is 70 percent louder than the first version, as is the new Echo Dot. The new Kids Edition will begin shipping June 26 for $69.99, $10 less than the first Kids Edition and will include access to FreeTime Unlimited for one year. Continue reading Amazon Will Launch New Echo Dot Kids Edition This Month

U.S. Blocks Chinese Telecom Bid for International Services

Citing law enforcement and national security risks, the Federal Communications Commissions unanimously denied an application by China Mobile USA (the U.S. arm of Chinese telecom giant, China Mobile Ltd.), which aimed to provide international calls and other services via American networks. This could be another in a series of signs of escalating tensions between China and the U.S. The crux of the FCC’s concern is that the company is owned by the Chinese government and would be therefore vulnerable to that influence.

Continue reading U.S. Blocks Chinese Telecom Bid for International Services

U.S. Improves Lead in 5G Race, Lags in Mid-Band Allocation

According to the wireless industry association CTIA, the global 5G race has shifted from a year ago when China and South Korea were the leaders. Thanks to the actions of U.S. carriers and government officials, U.S. has passed South Korea and tied with China as one of the top countries excelling in categories from readiness to actual deployments and spectrum allocation. CTIA stressed, however, that two obstacles remain unresolved: mid-band spectrum and a national strategy for transitioning to the next-gen mobile standard. Continue reading U.S. Improves Lead in 5G Race, Lags in Mid-Band Allocation

Senators Introduce 5G Security Bill for Next-Gen Networks

Senior U.S. senators proposed the Secure 5G and Beyond Act to guide the development of a domestic security strategy for next-gen networks. Senators John Cornyn, Richard Burr and Mark Warner, with co-sponsors Susan Collins, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio and Michael Bennet reached across the aisle to pen an act reflecting concern over the security of the U.S. telecommunications system. The act would prevent President Trump from recommending that 5G or other future telecom networks be nationalized, which his advisors recently proposed. Continue reading Senators Introduce 5G Security Bill for Next-Gen Networks

Social Platforms Under Scrutiny For Rules Related to Kids

YouTube, founded in 2005, has operated outside the advertising rules that regulate television broadcasting. But due to its significant reach and influence, the site is now under scrutiny for potential regulation — which will likely start with children’s programming. A digital influencer like 15-year old JoJo Siwa is a case in point: she draws millions of young female viewers to her quirky videos. But she also inks endorsement deals and sells branded fashion lines with Target, blurring the lines between content and advertising. Continue reading Social Platforms Under Scrutiny For Rules Related to Kids

GAO Report Suggests GDPR-Like Internet Data Privacy Law

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), an auditing agency, issued an independent report that encouraged Congress to develop an Internet data privacy legislation similar to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The House Energy and Commerce Committee requested this GAO report two years ago; a February 26 hearing will discuss the report’s findings and the possibility of drafting such legislation. Prospects for such a law now is weaker due to partisan divides over federal regulation. Continue reading GAO Report Suggests GDPR-Like Internet Data Privacy Law

NCTA Lobbies For Paid Prioritization in Net Neutrality Rules

NCTA (National Cable TV Association) chief executive Michael Powell told Congress’ Communications and Technology subcommittee that the lobbying group agrees, “there should be no blocking or throttling of lawful content … [or] paid prioritization that creates fast lanes and slow lanes.” Even so, he did ask for exceptions that would allow Internet providers to charge for prioritization “under certain circumstances.” His request highlights the stark divide between the broadband industry and net neutrality advocates. Continue reading NCTA Lobbies For Paid Prioritization in Net Neutrality Rules

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

Locast Founder Offers Free Broadcast Streaming to Test Law

Attorney David Goodfriend is a law professor and founder of Locast, a free streaming service that enables audiences to get content from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and PBS, on almost any device, at any time, with high-quality video. If this sounds like Aereo, the startup supported by Barry Diller that offered streaming content to subscribers, you’d be partially right. But the Supreme Court determined Aereo violated copyright law, forcing its closure, and Goodfriend believes he’s found a legal workaround: Locast is a nonprofit. Continue reading Locast Founder Offers Free Broadcast Streaming to Test Law

FCC Nixes California Regulators’ Plan to Add Fee to Texting

California telecom regulators wanted to impose a state fee on text-messaging services, but the Federal Communications Commission has squelched that plan by classifying text-messaging as an information service, not a telecommunications service. That’s the same classification the FCC applied to broadband when it repealed net neutrality and dictated that states cannot create their own net neutrality laws. Although California’s legislature is challenging the latter in court, it isn’t challenging the latest FCC ruling. Continue reading FCC Nixes California Regulators’ Plan to Add Fee to Texting

Tribune Deal to Make Nexstar Top Local TV Operator in U.S.

Texas-based Nexstar Media Group has inked a deal to acquire Tribune Media for about $4.1 billion, which will make Nexstar the largest local U.S. TV operator. The news comes on the heels of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s thwarted deal to purchase Tribune for $3.9 billion, which fell through due to regulatory issues. According to sources, Nexstar made an all-cash offer for Tribune, valued at around $46.50 per share. The company, which has a market capitalization of $3.8 billion, was also able to outbid private equity firm Apollo Global Management. Continue reading Tribune Deal to Make Nexstar Top Local TV Operator in U.S.

FCC Readies Two Auctions for Ultra High Frequency Spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will begin the first of two auctions for extremely high-frequency spectrum licenses, testing out how valuable these radio waves are considered. Up until now, wireless carriers have judged these high-frequency ranges to be useless, but the advent of 5G wireless services has changed that assessment. Signal frequencies above 1 gigahertz can carry more data for current 4G networks, often positioned above low-frequency bandwidth, and also help launch 5G networks. Continue reading FCC Readies Two Auctions for Ultra High Frequency Spectrum

Millions of Net Neutrality Comments to FCC Judged for Fraud

Stanford University released the findings of a study on the comments received by the FCC on its plan to end net neutrality. The FCC received millions of comments from bots that used real identities, making it difficult to determine authenticity. The research analyzed 800,000+ unique comments that were not obviously produced by bots to conclude they were overwhelmingly in favor of net neutrality. The New York attorney general is seeking to determine if false comments swayed legislators in their decision to end net neutrality. Continue reading Millions of Net Neutrality Comments to FCC Judged for Fraud

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