John Eggerton

FCC "Soft" Launches National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier in Another 11 States

The Federal Communications Commission is "soft" launching its national Lifeline eligibility verifier in another 11 states on June 25: Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. Eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) in those states who are eligible for the Lifeline subsidies will not be able to begin any subscriber recertifications after June 25 and should wrap up any current certifications under the existing rules by Aug 30.

Senator Wicker Introduces Broadband DATA Act

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) has introduced the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (Broadband DATA) Act, aimed at improving broadband mapping at the Federal Communications Commission. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and the FCC are in agreement that the government's form 477 carrier-reported deployment data collection has not provided accurate maps on where broadband (fixed and mobile) is or isn't.

Huawei Continues to Push Back on FCC USF Tech Ban

Huawei, perhaps buoyed by Trump Administration reported easing-up on potential sanctions on the Chinese telecommunication company, has "supplemented the record" in its fight against a Federal Communications Commission proposal banning telecoms with "suspect" tech from broadband deployment subsidies in the Universal Service Fund (USF) program.

House Antitrust Subcommittee Looks at Impact of Online Platforms on Journalism and Competition

The House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee held the hearing "Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 1: The Free and Diverse Press", beginning its look at antitrust issues related to the practice of journalism in the age of online platforms with enormous market power. The News Media Alliance, whose president, David Chavern, was testifying, has called on Congress to give news outlets an antitrust exemption so they can flex some collective muscle and negotiate for compensation for all that news content being aggregated and distributed by Facebook, Google and other platforms.

Third Circuit, Again, Hears Argument in Challenge to FCC Broadcast Ownership Deregulation

Federal Communications Commission media ownership deregulation took its latest trip to Philadelphia (PA) June 11 as the FCC defended its latest rule changes against a challenge by Prometheus Radio Project in the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  Prometheus filed suit against the FCC's fall 2017 decision, under Chairman Ajit Pai, that eliminated the newspaper-broadcast and the radio-TV cross-ownership rules, among other deregulations. Joined by the Media Mobilizing Project, Prometheus wants the court to reverse the 2017 decision and require the FCC to "fully comply" with the court'

Comcast Hit with $9.1 Million Penalty in Washington State for Bogus Service Protection Plan Billing

A Washington State judge ruled that Comcast violated consumer protection laws more than 445,000 times, bogusly charging thousands of state cable consumers for a $5.99 plan they didn’t even know they were getting. Judge Timothy Bradshaw ordered Comcast to pay $9.1 million in penalties and ordered Comcast to pay back all the customers it has been ruled to have misled, with 12% interest. That figure could exceed another $3 million.

Court declines to hold edge providers liable for false third-party content posted on their sites, even if they know info is false

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has declined to hold edge providers liable for false third-party content posted on their sites, even if they know the information being posted is false. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! are not responsible for flooding the online search market with info on "scam" locksmiths, if the market has been so flooded, because such liability is barred by the Communications Decency Act, whose much-in-the-news Sec. 230 holds that the edge can't be treated as a publisher of third party content on their platforms.

Senate Takes Hard Look at Video Marketplace

The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on the changing video marketplace, with representatives from top trade association chiefs, Free Press, and Nielsen. The hearing looked at the video marketplace's change from appointment content on TV sets, to "how, where and when" content on a variety of devices. Everyone was in agreement that the video marketplace had changed dramatically while the laws had not, but whether to start from scratch or modify existing laws--like STELAR and the 1992 Cable Act--generated a lot of different opinions.

House Communications Subcommittee Holds Hearing on STELAR

The House Communications Subcommittee began its review of the STELAR compulsory copyright legislation -- STELAR is the latest name for the bill, which dates from 1988, that established the compulsory license that allows satellite operators to import distant network TV station affiliates into local markets where viewers lack access to them for a variety of reasons.

USTelecom Adds FCC Policy Veteran

Kristine Fargotstein has been named VP, policy and advocacy, for USTelecom-The Broadband Association. Fargotstein comes from the Federal Communications Commission, where most recently she had been detailed to the House Communications Subcommittee to work on broadband infrastructure, network neutrality, and spectrum issues. While at the FCC, Fargotstein's posts included acting wireline advisor to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, special counsel in the Office of General Counsel, legal advisor to the Wireline bureau chief, and attorney advisor in the Wireline Competition Bureau.