Robbie McBeath

What We Learned From Mark Zuckerberg This Week

After some 10 hours of testimony and questions from almost 100 politicians, we finally learned some things from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week. Just some things. But are we any closer to a regulatory solution? Probably not so much. Still, this week marked an important moment in the on-going debate about privacy in the Digital Age. 

Is Facebook a 'Bug' in Our Democracy? Part 1

[Analysis] Is it time to recognize that Facebook, and ‘Big Tech’ at large, may be a bug in our democracy? The Cambridge Analytica story reveals the harmful effects of business models that rely on massive data collection. What is lost is our privacy, contributing to the declining health of our democratic discourse. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged the massive data comprise in an apologetic media tour. For many, Zuckerberg's response has been seen as a small concession that does not address the much bigger problem.

Will the US Invest in Next Generation Broadband?

[Commentary] The Senate Commerce Committee held three hearings this week on infrastructure.

President Trump's Infrastructure Plan Unveiled, And It's Light on Broadband

President Donald Trump’s long-awaited infrastructure proposal was finally unveiled on February 12, 2018. The 10-year plan for "rebuilding infrastructure in America" calls for $200 billion of federal seed money that the Administration projects will generate $1.5 trillion by incentivizing states, localities, and private investors. “We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways and waterways all across our land,” the fact sheet begins, quoting President Trump’s State of the Union address.

Year One of the Trump FCC

January 20 marks the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration. With little indication of what his communications policy plans were before the election, now seems a good time to reflect on what his Administration’s priorities have been over the past 12 months. Here’s a look at what Trump's Federal Communications Commission decided to tackle first in 2017.

What's the Rush to End Net Neutrality?

The Federal Communications Commission will vote to repeal its 2015 network neutrality rules during its December 14 meeting.

Is AT&T/Time Warner a Bad Deal? Or Getting a Bad Deal?

News broke on November 8 that the Department of Justice is seeking to alter, if not block, AT&T’s proposed purchase of Time Warner. What until recently had seemed like a done deal is now up in the air. And different narratives are emerging. Did the DOJ request AT&T sell off Time Warner's CNN in order to approve the deal? Is the DOJ responding to President Donald Trump’s many complaints about CNN, essentially punishing a news organization for unfavorable coverage?

Sinclair’s Tribune Purchase, Path Paved By Trump

During the same week that President Donald Trump fired the man in charge of the investigation into the Trump Administration’s ties to Russia, Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest owner of local television stations in the United States, agreed to buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion. Sinclair is set to acquire Tribune Media’s 42 stations and a prized asset, WGN America, a basic cable and satellite television channel. With the deal, Sinclair will reach more than 70 percent of American households with stations in many major markets, including Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. The proposed deal was made possible by a deregulatory vote by the Federal Communications Commission last month. It seems as though the Trump Administration, by paving the way for increased media ownership consolidation, is granting this conservative-leaning station group owner greater influence over our civic discourse. This is a major development that could fly beneath the radar while our attention is drawn to the White House-induced crisis at the FBI.

For Now, Net Neutrality's Future Is At The FCC

[Commentary] In the week since Federal Communications Commission Chairman Pai benton logoopened a new chapter in the ongoing network neutrality debate, the courts and Congress have confirmed that the ball is squarely in the FCC's court. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected a request to further review the net neutrality rules it upheld in 2016, citing the Chairman’s upcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) as the reason. In the legislative branch, Republican Senators introduced a bill that would nullify the FCC’s net neutrality rules and prevent any future action by the FCC. But Senate Democrats claim a bipartisan compromise is highly unlikely. For now, net neutrality's future is at the FCC.