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In Switcheroo, SAG-AFTRA, DGA Say ‘No Comment’ To FCC On Net Neutrality

By | Wednesday July 30, 2014 @ 2:24pm PDT

In Switcheroo, SAG-AFTRA, DGA Say ‘No Comment’ To FCC On Net NeutralityThe FCC received so many comments – more than a million – on proposed changes to its net neutrality rules that its website crashed. But don’t blame SAG-AFTRA or the DGA; neither weighed in before the deadline.

“We have not filed comments,” said an official for the actors union. Likewise, said a rep for the directors: “The DGA hasn’t made any filings regarding net neutrality in the latest round.”

Related: WGA Makes Last FCC Pitch On Latest Net Neutrality Rules

DGAlogoSAG-AFTRA hi-res logoThe WGA, on the other hand, has told the FCC that its proposed changes threaten our very democracy and “throws the concept of (net) neutrality directly under the bus.” Said a member of all three unions, “It’s kind of astonishing that SAG and the DGA have made no comment on this.”

Related: Netflix And AT&T Reach Interconnection Agreement

Four years ago, when the FCC solicited comments on another set of net neutrality rules, the WGA found itself at odds with SAG and the DGA; they sided with the MPAA, which called net neutrality “a clever name” for piracy. “No discussion of net neutrality can be complete without consideration of the effects of any form of Internet regulation on the illegal digital theft of copyrighted content and the resulting impact on jobs, creativity and innovation,” … Read More »

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Netflix And AT&T Reach Interconnection Agreement

By | Tuesday July 29, 2014 @ 4:10pm PDT

Netflix And AT&T Reach Interconnection AgreementAT&T customers should start to see fewer buffering delays when they watch Netflix as a result of the new interconnection deal. The actual agreement was made in May. Since then they’ve “been working together to provision additional interconnect capacity to improve the viewing experience for our mutual subscribers,” the companies say. “We’re now beginning to turn up the connections, a process that should be complete in the coming days.”

Related: FCC To Investigate Internet Peering Disputes

Netflix has complained that the deals that require it to pay to improve the quality of its transmissions effectively run afoul of the FCC’s goal to promote net neutrality. It has agreements with Comcast and Verizon similar to the new one with AT&T. Comcast, for one, has countered that Netflix is one of the biggest users of Internet bandwidth. What’s more, net neutrality rules apply to the links between an Internet service provider and the consumer, not the ones connecting content providers to ISPs.

Related: The ABCs Of Net Neutrality

The FCC is investigating these so-called peering arrangements as part of its effort to craft new net neutrality rules.

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WGA Makes Last FCC Pitch On Latest Net Neutrality Rules

By | Wednesday July 16, 2014 @ 7:13pm PDT

WGA Makes Last FCC Pitch On Latest Net Neutrality RulesWarning that Internet video distribution could, like cable television, become “dominated by a few vertically-integrated conglomerates,” the WGA West made its last pitch to the FCC today for proposals to protect Internet neutrality. The FCC is expected to hand down its new policy on the issue within a few weeks, following the close today of a public-comment period on the latest proposal to regulate Internet transmission of video and other data.
In January, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. struck down parts of the FCC’s 2010 rules, leading to a new round of guidelines, including a controversial provision that would say Internet Service Providers “may not act in a commercially unreasonable manner to harm the Internet.”
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DeadlineNow: The FCC Is Listening On Net Neutrality Issue (Video)

By | Tuesday July 15, 2014 @ 12:40pm PDT
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Net Neutrality Debate In High Gear

Deadline's David Lieberman breaks down why the surge of public comments ahead of the FCC's deadline today is more important than usual as the commission remains split on the issue of how to regulate the Internet.

Related: FCC Extends Net Neutrality Comment Period After “Overwhelming Surge” Of Responses

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FCC Extends Net Neutrality Comment Period After “Overwhelming Surge” Of Responses Crash Its Site

By | Tuesday July 15, 2014 @ 11:03am PDT

FCC Extends Net Neutrality Comment Period After “Overwhelming Surge” Of Responses Crash Its SiteToday was supposed to be the deadline for people to respond to the FCC’s proposed open Internet rules — the ones that HBO’s John Oliver famously lambasted last month. But the agency extended the comment period to midnight on Friday after “an overwhelming surge in traffic on our website” made it “difficult for many people to file comments” on the FCC’s electronic filing system, it says today. “Please be assured that the Commission is aware of these issues and is committed to making sure that everyone trying to submit comments will have their views entered into the record,” the agency says, adding that people also can contribute to the public record by emailing their views to

The public response could be unusually important to the proceedings because the commission itself is so divided on a key question: Should it reclassify the Internet as a kind of telecom service, which the FCC can clearly regulate, or keep it defined as an information service, which requires the agency to take a lighter touch? In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals in DC remanded the net neutrality rules the FCC adopted in 2010 saying that they overreached the agency’s authority over an information service. Two of the Democratic commissioners are open to reclassifying the Internet. But the two GOP members strongly oppose that. Chairman Tom Wheeler steered a middle course. He proposed extensive changes without reclassifying the Web — but said that he considers it an option.

Open Internet advocates say that … Read More »

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FCC To Investigate Internet Peering Disputes

By | Friday June 13, 2014 @ 11:50am PDT

Tom Wheeler 2This sounds like encouraging news for Netflix and others who say that net neutrality policy should cover deals involving connections to Internet providers such as Comcast and Verizon – not just their last-mile transmissions to consumers’ homes. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler says today that he has directed staff to “obtain the information we need to understand precisely what is happening in order to understand whether consumers are being harmed.” The agency has already received copies of Netflix’s deals with Comcast and Verizon and is looking for others. “To be clear, what we are doing right now is collecting information, not regulating. We are looking under the hood. Consumers want transparency. They want answers. And so do I.”

Related: The ABCs Of Net Neutrality

Netflix has said that the large ISPs have effectively held it hostage by charging high fees for the bandwidth needed to transmit video without a lot of delays and buffering. Internet providers say that Netflix wants to hog their bandwidth without paying. Read More »

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The ABCs Of Net Neutrality: Debate Goes Mainstream As Advocates Clash Over Web Reclassification

By | Friday June 6, 2014 @ 12:31pm PDT

John Oliver Net Neutrality FCCWhen’s the last time a television comic galvanized a mass audience with material based on an FCC vote about a complicated collection of tech regulations? Never, I’d guess. But it happened this week when John Oliver served up a routine about net neutrality on his topical HBO show Last Week Tonight. Viewers responded to his call to flood the agency with comments on the subject, which likely contributed — if it didn’t cause — a temporary crash of the FCC’s servers. fcc1__130401234319-200x182In any case, it highlighted the broad concern about net neutrality: The FCC has recently received more than 64,400 comments and 301,000 emails on the subject, Chairman Tom Wheeler tweeeted after Oliver’s show, good naturedly urging advocates to “Keep ‘em coming.”

He won’t have to worry. Net roots activists and opponents of government regulation are becoming energized by a recent FCC vote to prevent unfair Internet practices after a court early this year remanded net neutrality rules regulators passed in 2010. Open Internet supporters say Wheeler and his colleagues’ effort didn’t go far enough. Others warn the FCC not to mess with the Web’s still-developing economic ecosystem.

Related: FCC Approves Net Neutrality Proposal

Here’s an overview of the issues, and the stakes:

netneutralityQ: What does net neutrality mean?
A: Generally speaking, net neutrality means that an Internet service provider (ISP) — such as cable or phone company — treats all content equally. For example, it doesn’t offer faster transmissions for Netflix videos than it does for those from Amazon Prime.

Q: Is this a widespread problem?
A: Not yet, but open Internet advocates say it could become one. They note that cable companies have a long history of using their gatekeeper power to favor channels that they own, and require others to make financial concessions in order to be carried or find a home at a low number on the dial (desirable) as opposed to a high one (undesirable).

Q: Why shouldn’t the Internet operate the same way? Isn’t that how markets work?
A: Net neutrality advocates say that the Internet is too important to the economy and democracy to let companies such as Comcast and Verizon effectively pick winners and losers. ISPs might favor big, established businesses over entrepreneurs, and mainstream opinions over dissenting ones. And there are too few alternatives: Cable companies dominate sales of the fastest speed wired service; the market share for telco DSL services is declining. AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint offer wireless broadband, but they don’t have enough airwave spectrum to affordably match cable’s speed. Read More »

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UPDATE: FCC Needs To Be Convinced John Oliver’s Call To Action On Net Neutrality Crashed Its Comments System (Video)

By | Tuesday June 3, 2014 @ 6:30pm PDT

UPDATED, 6:30 PM: An FCC rep today has been telling reporters it’s not clear if Monday’s disruption to its email comments system was caused by John Oliver‘s call to action. Only one way to find out — another Oliver call to action.

Related: John Oliver Explains Net Neutrality On HBO’s ‘Last Week Tonight’: Video

PREVIOUSLY: John Oliver’s call to action on the subject of net neutrality, on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, appears to have crashed the FCC’s comments system.


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Reed Hastings: “We Have No Power” In Comcast Dealings

By | Thursday May 29, 2014 @ 1:34pm PDT

Reed-Hastings-at-CodeCon__140529160849-575x768Netflix cut a controversial deal with Comcast earlier this year to improve its shows’ transmission quality because it didn’t have a choice, said CEO Reed Hastings. But that didn’t mean Hastings liked it, or thought it was the right thing in the long run for either his company or the Internet as a whole. That’s why Hastings publicly criticized the deal less than two weeks after signing it, he said. “The basic thing is we have no power” over Comcast, Hastings said in discussing the deal at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. “We asked them for access [to their mutual Internet-using customers], and couldn’t get it. You might say, ‘Why did you compromise on the deal,’ and we would say, ‘We had to.’”

Related: Netflix Agrees To Pay Comcast For Broadband Access

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Deadline Big Media 85 – Upfronts Graduation Day Podcast

By and | Friday May 16, 2014 @ 5:41pm PDT

Deadline Big Media podcast 85In this week’s podcast, Deadline’s executive editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom recap Upfronts Week in New York City as all the networks made their pre-season pitches to advertisers; the FCC approves the latest net neutrality proposal in a noisy meeting; and Tribune’s CEO criticizes the CW, one of his biggest business partners. They also check in on the status of that AT&T-DirecTV megadeal, which may be closer than once thought, while the WWE’s stock gets body-slammed as it grapples with the Street’s disappointment over its NBCU contract extension.

Deadline Big Media podcast 85 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Big Media podcast 85 (.M4A version)
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FCC Approves Net Neutrality Proposal Saying It Just Starts Rule Making Process

By | Thursday May 15, 2014 @ 8:36am PDT

fcc1__130401234319-200x182In an unusually passionate meeting that included multiple disruptions from protesters, the FCC today approved Chairman Tom Wheeler’s delicately crafted proposed rule-making plan for net neutrality policy in a 3-2 vote on partisan lines. “What we’re dealing with today is a proposal, not a final rule,” he says adding that it’s an issue “I understand in my bones.” The agency is “dedicated to protecting and preserving an Open Internet” and will continue to consider mechanisms to protect it — including the possibility of reclassifying the web as a so-called Title II common carrier service, making it easier to regulate. Today’s vote begins a four month period when the public can comment on what should be in the rules that the FCC ultimately adopts. 

Nomination Hearing Of Thomas Wheeler To Be Chairman Of The FCCWheeler’s proposal follows a January ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for DC to vacate the net neutrality rules the FCC adopted in 2010. Justices said that the agency had overstepped its authority  –  in part because it had classified the Internet as an information service, subject to light regulation.

The FCC chairman says that the fastest way to get new net neutrality rules is to stick with the current classification arrangement. He challenged those who’ve said that regulations without such a reclassification might Read More »

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Comcast Exec Says FCC Still Can’t Enforce Net Neutrality If It Reclassifies Internet

David CohenComcast EVP David Cohen just made the comment in a remarkably thorough and thoughtful discussion of his company’s views about Internet policy and media consolidation at the first MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit. Bullet points: He thinks net neutrality advocates have engaged in an “almost hysterical reaction” to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s effort to set new open Internet rules without reclassifying the Web as a regulated common carrier service. Cohen sees usage based Internet pricing becoming the norm in a few years. And he doesn’t fear that Comcast’s $40B acquisition of Time Warner Cable would be endangered if AT&T agrees to buy DirecTV — which he says would do more to reduce competition.

On net neutrality, Cohen says that activists calling on the FCC to reclassify the Internet as a so-called Title II common carrier service that could be more easily regulated would be disappointed in the result. “There is nothing in Title II that provides authority for saying that all [Web] services have to be treated the same” — in other words, preventing Internet providers such as Comcast from offering a for-pay fast lane for certain content providers. Telecommunications companies now deemed common carriers “are allowed to provide different levels of service for different amounts of money.” A change also could backfire: “There’s no way Google is going to invest the money they’d need to invest” in Google Fiber if the Web is a Title … Read More »

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Artists And Internet CEOs Lobby FCC Over Possible Move To Reclassify The Web

By | Tuesday May 13, 2014 @ 11:11am PDT

fcc1__130401234319-200x182FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s leadership and negotiation skills are being tested ahead of a Thursday meeting when the agency is scheduled to consider his new net neutrality rules. He’s having trouble rallying fellow Democrats Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel to support a proposal that would limit “commercially unreasonable” practices by Internet providers — but would still enable them to create a so-called fast lane for companies willing to pay for speedy transmissions. Wheeler’s hands were somewhat tied in January when the D.C. Court of Appeals remanded earlier FCC net neutrality rules saying that they went too far as long as the agency classified the Web as a lightly regulated information service. That’s why consumer and activist groups want the FCC to reclassify the Web as a common carrier service, which the agency would have a clear right to regulate.

“The open Internet’s impact on the creative community cannot be overstated,” says a letter to the FCC today signed by artists and musicians including Mark Ruffalo, Eddie Vedder, Roger Waters, Michael Stipe, Eric McKeown, Joe Perry, Tom Morello, Fred Armisen. “The Internet has enabled artists to connect directly with each other and with audiences….And it has allowed people — not corporations — to seek out the film, music and art that moves them.”
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Cable Show: FCC Chairman Says “All Options” Are Open For Net Neutrality

By | Wednesday April 30, 2014 @ 10:16am PDT

Nomination Hearing Of Thomas Wheeler To Be Chairman Of The FCCTom Wheeler had a bracing message for attendees of the National Cable Show being held this week in LA: When it comes to his new rules for Net Neutrality — which consumer groups complained would allow the creation of a for-pay Internet fast lane — cable companies should “put away the party hats.” His open Internet rules designed to comply with court rulings that remanded the FCC’s previous ones “will be tough, will be enforceable, and will be in effect with dispatch.” What’s more, “all options on the table.” If Internet providers still tip the scales to favor certain services, then he would consider reclassifying the Web to make it a regulated common carrier service instead of largely unregulated information service. “I know in my bones how hard it is to start a company with innovative ideas. Now, as Chairman of the FCC, I do not intend to allow innovation to be strangled by the manipulation of the most important network of our time, the Internet.” He adds that cable companies should back off from their efforts to persuade states to bar municipalities from creating competitive broadband systems. The FCC “has the power — and I intend to exercise that power — to preempt state laws that ban competition from community broadband.”

If you have any interest in the subject, then you should check out the entire speech. Here it is: Read More »

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FCC Chairman Circulates Net Neutrality Proposal Barring “Commercially Unreasonable” Practices

By | Thursday April 24, 2014 @ 9:07am PDT

The term is key: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says in a blog post that the ability to bar “commercially unreasonable” practices empowers the agency — in a plan he will begin to circulate — to crack down on Internet service providers that discriminate against some content providers. Tom Wheeler 2But open Internet advocates fear it’s too squishy, and could allow ISPs to create tiers of service that enable some content providers (Netflix or HBO GO, perhaps) to pay for speedy transmissions. Wheeler hopes to “conclude this proceeding and have enforceable rules by the end of the year.” The plan he will begin to circulate will look at net neutrality violations on a case-by-case basis, an adjustment needed to meet the objections that the D.C. Court of Appeals raised in January when it remanded the FCC’s previous net neutrality rules. FCC Net NeutralityBut he vigorously objects to the “great deal of misinformation” that characterized his proposal as an effort to gut the principle of open Internet by allowing companies to pay for speedier service. His plan “would establish that behavior harmful to consumers or competition by limiting the openness of the Internet will not be permitted,” he says. The court said that the FCC could stop practices it deems not ” commercially reasonable” — and he says that his plan will “establish a high bar for what is ‘commercially reasonable.’” Read More »

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Netflix CEO Says Comcast Imposed An “Arbitrary Tax” In Interconnection Deal

Will Netflix end up challenging Comcast’s $45.2B deal to buy Time Warner Cable? It didn’t look that way last month when they made what they described at the time as a “mutually beneficial” interconnection deal that involved Netflix payments to Comcast. NetflixHastingsBut the streaming video company’s chief Reed Hastings cast the agreement in a different light in a blog post today. He called the payments an “arbitrary tax” that he had to pay to improve the quality of transmissions which had slowed on the cable company’s systems. “If this kind of leverage is effective against Netflix, which is pretty large, imagine the plight of smaller services today and in the future,” he says. He also called this a net neutrality issue, even though it involves Netflix transmissions to Comcast — not the ones the cable company sends to subscribers. Without what he calls “strong net neutrality,” major Internet providers including Comcast “can demand potentially escalating fees for the interconnection required to deliver high quality service.” That will drive up consumer costs: “For any given U.S. household, there is often only one or two choices for getting high-speed Internet access and that’s unlikely to change. Furthermore, Internet access is often bundled with other services making it challenging to switch ISPs. It is this lack of consumer choice that leads to the need for strong net neutrality.” Comcast, he says, “has been an industry leader in supporting weak net neutrality.” Netflix … Read More »

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Deadline Big Media 73: The WhatsApp Zuck Podcast

Deadline Big Media ep 73In this week’s podcast, Deadline’s Executive Editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom examine whether Facebook paid too much with its $19 billion purchase of messaging service WhatsApp, ponder whether anyone should pay for the maker of blockbuster mobile game Candy Crush Saga now that it’s filed for an IPO, consider the impact of the FCC’s replacement net-neutrality rules and look at the real motivations behind the clamor for Google Fiber.

The Davids also look at the possible futures of both John Malone and Time Inc. after some very interesting news this week from both.

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Reactions to FCC Net Neutrality Initiative: Too Much Regulation, Or Not Enough?

By | Wednesday February 19, 2014 @ 11:59am PST

InternetFolks who have a stake in FCC activities are beginning to respond to Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan to revive the agency’s net neutrality rules. Consumer groups for the most part applaud his ambition, but fear that his effort will fall short unless the FCC reclassifies broadband as a regulated common carrier service — it’s now deemed a largely unregulated information service. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, one of the agency’s two Republican members, says there’s no need for regulation calling net neutrality “a solution in search of a problem.” And industry groups are supportive, but non-committal. Here’s where they stand. We’ve highlighted the key lines, and will add to the collection as more come in. Read More »

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FCC Will Revamp Open Internet Rules Without Appealing Court Decision

By | Wednesday February 19, 2014 @ 8:05am PST

FCC-logo111027174339__120620184047-150x150Chairman Tom Wheeler will try to revive the FCC‘s net neutrality regulations with a view that a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in DC last month upheld the agency’s right to set rules for the Internet, even as it vacated much of the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order. Verizon had appealed the order, saying that regulators overstepped their authority. The FCC will not challenge the Appeals Court decision, but today the agency will open a docket seeking public comment on Wheeler’s proposals — expected to be formalized by summer. He wants to ban service providers from blocking any legal service. The court said that the FCC had not adequatelyNomination Hearing Of Thomas Wheeler To Be Chairman Of The FCC justified that condition in its 2010 order. He also would ban discrimination — for example, offering some services at faster speeds than others — and require ISPs to be transparent about their network practices. While the court agreed with the FCC’s view that it has some rights to govern the Internet, justices also said that the agency tied its hands a decade ago when it defined broadband as a lightly regulated information service as opposed to a phone-like common carrier service. If the FCC runs into trouble with new rules, Wheeler will keep open the option of asking the FCC to change its mind and classify the Internet as a common carrier, a service that — from a legal perspective — is so important that it needs to be regulated. In addition, Wheeler hopes to promote consumer options by overruling state laws that bar cities and towns from creating public Internet services that might compete with private ones.

Related: Reactions to FCC Net Neutrality Initiative: Too Much Regulation, Or Not Enough?

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