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FCC Chief Ramps Up Effort To Free Wireless Spectrum For Broadband: CES

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said that he’ll raise at the commission next month a proposal to “free up a substantial amount of spectrum for wifi to relieve wifi congestion and (increase) speeds.” He made the announcement at a friendly venue: the International CES confab in Las Vegas, where tech manufacturers are hungry for additional wireless spectrum for smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. “This is an exciting new initiative….This is really important,” Genachowski says. Although most details will be released later, the wireless bandwidth will come from unlicensed spectrum in the 5 Ghz band held by the Defense Department and other government agencies. “As in other areas, we’re convinced the spectrum can be shared,” he says. The wifi spectrum in that band will increase by 35%, he added. It’s the largest block of unlicensed spectrum opened for wifi since 2003. Read More »

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FCC Says Its New Connect America Fund Will Bring Broadband To Underserved Areas

By | Thursday October 27, 2011 @ 10:48am PDT

The FCC calls the initiative ”one of the biggest job creators in rural America in decades.” Regulators unanimously voted to help bring broadband to underserved areas via a new Connect America Fund — replacing the current Universal Service Fund where phone customers pay monthly fees that are used to promote phone connections. Instead, cash will be used to build wired and — for the first time — wireless broadband in sparcely populated or poor communities that cable and phone companies haven’t wanted to serve. The new fund will have a budget cap of $4.5B a year. The FCC estimates the fund will boost economic growth by $50B over the next six years while creating about 500,000 jobs and bringing high-speed Internet to more than 7M people. The National Cable and Telecommunications Association says that it’s “disappointed” that the FCC will provide “incumbent telephone companies an unwarranted advantage for broadband support” but adds that it will “work closely” with regulators to expand broadband coverage.

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Cable Show: Big Media Gets The Last Word

The message for the television industry at this year’s National Cable Show was clear: It’s all about broadband now. Programmers agreed that they have to focus on consumers who want to watch video on their smartphones and tablet computers. Meanwhile, cable operators know that they can make a lot of cash by enticing new customers to buy broadband now that the TV service business is mature. The big question is whether the Big Media companies can move fast enough to head off competitors such as Apple, Google, and Netflix. But we’ll let the moguls have the last word:

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman

  • “For the content owners there’s never been a better time.”
  • “Netflix is primarily a service that provides library programming. … Netflix got involved in one show (House Of Cards) that was a pay television kind of project, but that isn’t their fundamental business.”
  • “If we are ad supported, (then) we need to have a measurement system in place so the mobile device in the home can sell ads. … (Nielsen) is not measuring it now. That’s one of the obstacles [for TV Everywhere].”
  • “Consumers are changing. … People don’t want to watch the 17th repeat of the same show.”
  • “In a world of a lot of choices, Snookie still rules.”

News Corp COO Chase Carey

  • “We have to do a better job of exciting consumers.”

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes

  • “Let’s all cheer up. This isn’t the music industry. It’s the cable industry. … It’s morning in the cable industry.”
  • “We’re all sitting here at this convention at the cusp of putting all of [our programming] on demand. … We need to get [shows] on every device.”
  • “Put the TV on all the Internet devices and don’t charge people to do it and allow them to [access] they way they’re accustomed to.”

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts

  • “We are demonsrating a whole new level of (Internet) speed. … It’s where the future of broadband is headed.”
  • “We need to make the television feel as relevant as all of these other products [such as smartphones and iPad tablet computers].”

Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt

  • “There’s no such thing as a TV anymore. There’s a video display device.”
  • “I see Netflix as another programmer. But clearly if there is something that makes consumers not want to buy the big package (of programming) that we’re selling then that’s a threat to all of us.”
  • “There clearly is a growing underclass of consumers that can’t afford [cable TV] and they want it. It would behoove all of us to have smaller packages… The economics make it difficult, but it would serve us well to worry about that group.”

Cox Communications President Pat Esser

  • “You have to keep going back to the consumer and asking what they value. … Consumers wil reward you for doing that. And in some cases you won’t control all of it.”

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FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules, WGAE Slams Them, WGAW Cautiously Optimistic

By | Tuesday December 21, 2010 @ 11:17am PST
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: Amidst criticism from both sides of the political spectrum, the FCC today adopted new rules designed to ensure that broadband service remains open to all. The five-member commission’s 3-2 vote went down along party lines, with the 3 Democrats supporting and the 2 Republicans opposing the measures that will prohibit broadband providers from blocking access to lawful content and discriminating against sites, giving priority to some over others. Offenders will face fines and injunctions. “Today, for the first time, we are adopting rules to preserve basic Internet values,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said. “These rules will increase certainty in the marketplace; spur investment both at the edge and in the core of our broadband networks, and contribute to a 21st century job-creation engine in the United States.”

Under the new rules, Internet providers will still have room to manage their traffic but have to disclose their practices to the consumers. Also, they are stricter for wired Internet providers while giving leeway to wireless providers. In a statement, the Motion Picture Association of America applauded today’s ruling while stressing the need for protection of intellectual property on the Internet. “Combating IP theft is especially critical in an online world,” MPAA president and interim CEO  Bob Pisano said. “Consistent with statements by the Obama Administration and recent law enforcement initiatives, the Commission understands that stemming the rising tide of online theft requires active participation by Internet service providers.  Notably, Internet service providers … Read More »

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