John Hendel

FCC Aims to Kill Obama-era Set-Top Box Proceeding

A Federal Communications Commission proposal that began circulating Aug 14 among FCC commissioners would formally close the door on a controversial plan involving consumers’ cable set-top boxes. Will Wiquist, a spokesperson for Chairman Ajit Pai, said that this new proposal “would terminate the proceeding in which the prior Commission proposed imposing complex and unnecessary regulations on the navigation device market that generated bipartisan opposition within and outside the agency, and serious concerns from a wide range of stakeholders and experts, including the U.S.

Biden Gets Support From Silicon Valley Republicans

Aug 17's session of the Democratic National Convention featured multiple tech industry veterans weighing in to support Joe Biden’s presidential bid, including Republicans, despite the broad skepticism his party has taken toward Silicon Valley since the Obama years. Two notable Biden advocates: Susan Molinari, the former House GOP lawmaker who was a top lobbyist for Google from 2012 to 2018, and Meg Whitman, CEO of Quibi and a former chief executive for eBay and Hewlett Packard Enterprise who a decade ago was the Republican nominee for governor in California.

Broadband and Appropriations

House appropriators have begun moving their funding bills to the floor. The juiciest Democratic wish lists on broadband infrastructure spending (that’s in a separate funding bill for the FCC, which provides enormous emergency funding for broadband to the tune of more than $60 billion) haven't been scheduled for votes yet.

Chairman Pai is making lots of enemies on the road to 5G

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is angering a lot of powerful people as his chairmanship hits its fourth and potentially final year. The Pentagon, the Commerce Department and the Department of Transportation. Electric utilities, airlines and the auto industry. Public safety officials and weather forecasters. Top lawmakers of both parties, including Sen John Kennedy (R-LA) an ally of President Donald Trump’s who controls the FCC’s purse strings on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

FCC Commissioner Carr is President Trump's unexpected ally in the fight against tech

He rails against the "far left's" hoaxes. He says the World Health Organization has been “beclowned” over its response to the coronavirus. And he describes a “secret and partisan surveillance machine” run by House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA). Those aren't President Donald Trump's words. They came from Brendan Carr, the junior Republican on the Federal Communications Commission, who is embracing a flavor of distinctly Trumpian rhetoric that could help him leapfrog his way to the chairmanship of the five-member regulatory agency.

Opening the Door on Breakups

Private parties have a right to challenge a merger after it has been completed, the Justice Department (DOJ) told an appeals court, in a case with big implications for future antitrust break-ups. Jeld-Wen, one of the country’s biggest manufacturers of doors, is seeking to overturn a court order that would unwind its 2012 merger with rival Craftmaster International and require it to pay $176 million in lost profits to Steves & Sons, a customer who sued over the deal.

Broadband 'In The Game' for COVID Relief

Democratic congressional staffers are signaling fresh optimism that some money for broadband will make it into another coronavirus relief package long mulled on Capitol Hill. Republicans are “proceeding politically a little more cautiously right now” in deference to GOP leadership, but “we know privately that there are Republicans that would be very supportive of spending more money on E-Rate or Lifeline or Rural Healthcare,” said Joey Wender, senior policy adviser to Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).

Trump administration signals a fresh crackdown on Chinese telecoms

The Trump administration is signaling a broader crackdown on the Chinese communications sector — well beyond the companies that have already come under harsh US scrutiny. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Adam Hickey said that the government’s past objections to powerful Chinese telecommunications players operating in the US may provide a blueprint for the Federal Communications Commission to pursue other firms as well. “We’re concerned about providers that are subject to the undue influence and control of the Chinese government,” said Hickey.

Federal prisons make inmate calling, video visits free during pandemic

The Federal Bureau of Prisons is making calling and video visitation free for inmates after the coronavirus forced a halt to in-person visits, the agency said in a letter to Congress. “Effective April 9, 2020, telephone calls were made free for the inmate population,” Bureau Director Michael Carvajal wrote to Sen.