Items tagged with FCC

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has been a busy beaver as of late; we've previously discussed his thoughts on the importance of the Internet and the FCC's request for comments on how its Internet development funds should be allocated and used. The FCC chair spoke at the Brookings Institute in Washington today; his speech emphasized the FCC's support for network neutrality.If you aren't familiar with the arguments, or haven't paid attention, the question of net neutrality has been percolating for years, at a steadily increasing rate. The question at the heart of the debate is simple—should all Internet traffic be treated equally? Telcos and ISPs generally argue that it shouldn't; Comcast has particularly... Read more...
While healthcare may be the hottest topic of all right now, it's hard to argue that net neutrality isn't one of the hottest, longest lasting topics as related to the Internet. Ever since this series of tubes was first put into place, pundits and supporters alike have debated about how much regulation was needed. Some argued that ISPs knew better than the average joe and deserved to be able to control certain aspects of the Internet experience, while others maintained that the Internet was great because of the freedom it gave the creative minds of the world. Now, all of those arguments are coming back to life once more, but this time a whole host of network carriers will be chiming in. And we... Read more...
The FCC has been particularly concerned about the Internet over the past six weeks, tasked as it is with the job of creating a national broadband policy. The FCC's chairman, Julius Genachowski, has gone on record proclaiming that spreading broadband across the country is a massive, possibly culture-changing event, on par with the creation of the highway system or the introduction of the electric light.Those are noble sentiments, to be sure, but the FCC has already slammed into conflicting viewpoints just by trying to define one word: broadband. The problem between the FCC and AT&T reflect the priorities of each organiztion. As a business, AT&T wants to sell you as little as it can for... Read more...
A few weeks ago, in early August, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski declared that the FCC viewed the creation of a national broadband policy as integral to the future of of the nation. Broadband, according to Genachowski, is "our generation’s infrastructure challenge...It is as important as electricity and highways were for past generations." Now that the first round of requests for broadband stimulus funding have been tallied, Genachowski will have to prove if he actually meant what he said. According to a recent announcement posted at Recovery.gov, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS, not to be... Read more...
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has been touring California for the past week discussing the national broadband initiative the FCC has been tasked with creating. The FCC has spent months gathering comments from both the public and various corporate interests, but the real challenge may be distilling those comments into a balanced plan that reflects the needs of actual people as opposed to well-fleeced special interests. Broadband is our generation’s infrastructure challenge,” Genachowski said at a meeting of executives, doctors and health companies, according to Wired. “It is as important as electricity and highways were for past generations." That's quite a comparison to make, particularly given... Read more...
The FCC has opened an inquiry into the rejection of the official Google Voice app from the App Store, which occurred at the same time that the App Store was "cleansed" of any Google Voice-enabled third-party apps. On Friday, the FCC sent letters to all three parties involved: Google, Apple, and AT&T. While the letters to Apple and AT&T asked for an explanation for the rejection, the letter to Google simply asked questions about Google Voice as well as any prior Google apps accepted by Apple. Except, that the feds did ask how the Android Marketplace worked, in terms of rejecting apps. Here's the letter sent to Apple, sent to Catherine A. Novelli, Vice President of Worldwide Government... Read more...
Small chunks of change can add up to a lot. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile know just how true this is. Recently, the carriers banned together and agreed to raise a monthly fee that’s tacked on to your monthly wireless bill. This higher fee is suppose to help carriers recoup business costs and will add up to millions of dollars. Since the beginning of this year, the four leading wireless carriers have quietly raised a monthly fee that each carrier charges in order to help recoup some of their business costs. Taken individually, the fee doesn’t sound like a lot—AT&T’s fee in California, for example, has increased by 40 cents per month. Sprint’s fee is only 24 cents higher. When multiplied... Read more...
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is working on a plan to solve the problem of nationwide access to high-speed Internet service.The three main issues the agency is tackling first are, figuring out how to improve availability, quality and affordability, according to the Washington Post. Acting FCC Chairman Michael J. Copps held a meeting this week where he asked the public to comment on the national broadband plan, which Congress has demanded be done by February. The public has 60 days to submit comments; the agency and members of the public will be able to reply to comments for an additional 30 days after that. Copps said that, beyond debates on technologies, the FCC would look at coming... Read more...
Oh great, this again? The awful aftertaste from Comcast's data meddling still hasn't completely vanished, and now we're being hit with yet another cable company attempting to grab hold of customer Internet traffic.As the battle over net neutrality rages on in Washington, Cox Communications has opened the flood gates for criticism by announcing that it will soon be "trying out a new way to keep its subscribers' Internet traffic from jamming up." Which, after being stripped of sugarcoating, translates to "giving priority to certain kinds of Internet traffic." Beginning on February 9th in certain (unlucky) sections of Kansas and Arkansas, Cox will "give priority to Internet traffic it judges to... Read more...
Comcast, Comcast, Comcast. You can't seem to satisfy the FCC, no matter what you do. While Comcast has just switched to a new protocol-agnostic network management scheme, the FCC has some new questions for the company: namely, why its new policy affects the VOIP services of other companies, but not Comcast's own Digital Voice service. Last year FCC objected to Comcast's prior network management policy, which punished specific protocols (such as BitTorrent). Their new policy de-prioritizes a user's connection if a CMTS port is congested and the user has been ID'ed as the primary reason. However, while that's all well and good, it seems that the cable ISP is playing favorites when it comes to VOIP... Read more...
In a unanimous 5-0 decision, the FCC late Tuesday approved public access to the "white spaces" of the wireless spectrum. "White space" in telecommunications refers to unused frequencies in the radio waves portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the FCC's decision followed months of lobbying by Google, Microsoft, and other Wireless Innovation Alliance (WIA) members for the measure and by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) against it. The NAB has stated that using "white space" will cause interference with wireless devices of many types, such as wireless microphones and the like.We  certainly can see that possibility; one need only look at interference between devices we currently... Read more...
You didn't seriously think Comcast would roll over without a fight, did you? It was only a matter of time after FCC's decision in early August, before Comcast took some legal action. And here we are. Last month, the FCC voted 3-2 to declare that Comcast's throttling of BitTorrent P2P traffic last year was illegal. At that time the FCC ordered Comcast to not just stop blocking P2P traffic, but also to provide more details of its network management policies within 30 days. According to the Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required), Comcast on Thursday filed suit to overturn the ruling. At the same time, despite this, Comcast indicated it will continue to abide by the earlier FCC order, including... Read more...
The FCC is gearing up to auction off exclusive use to a spectrum of airwaves (2155 – 2175MHz, a.k.a. the AWS-3 band), and it is considering requiring the purchaser to provide high-speed (768Kbps) Internet access to most of the U.S. for free: ''We're hoping there will be increased interest (in the proposal) and because this will provide wireless broadband services to more Americans it is certainly something we want to see,'' said FCC spokesman Rob Kenny.Kenny said he didn't know when the auction would be held and details must still be worked out. However, he said the resulting network must reach 50 percent of the population four years after the winner gets a license and then 95 percent after 10... Read more...
As the debate for net neutrality still rages, the FCC continues its hearings into Comcast’s throttling of P2P traffic: "FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, testifying before a Senate committee, said Comcast's blocking of BitTorrent P-to-P (peer-to-peer) traffic appeared to happen when there wasn't network congestion, in contrast to claims from the broadband provider" If Comcast is in fact taking a more draconian stance on P2P traffic than they would like folks to believe, this could be the definitive move that finally pushes Congress to enact net neutrality legislation. The irony is that P2P traffic is not the largest bandwidth hog anymore on the Internet. That claim now goes to video streaming and downloading... Read more...
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