Digital Beat Blog

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Levers to Intensify Broadband Competition -- Part III

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Levers to Intensify Broadband Competition -- Part II Telco Upgrades

Given the current market, what are the appropriate government levers to intensify competition at this part of the cycle? Earlier, I explored spectrum policy. Now let’s look at the second leverage point; improving the economics of a telco upgrade.

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Who Has Authority Over the Internet?

There’s some weeks when you just can’t avoid the fact that we just don’t know who, if anyone, has any authority to regulate Internet communications. From the courts, to the Federal Communications Commission to Bellevue, Washington, as Warner Wolf says, "Let's go to the videotape!"

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Levers to Intensify Broadband Competition -- Part I Spectrum

Given the current market, what are the appropriate government levers to intensify competition at this part of the cycle?

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Where does broadband competition come from?

There are two related answers. The first goes to the nature of the competitive enterprise and the second involves an economic equation.

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What do we want broadband competition to accomplish?

Much has been written on competition and broadband. My comments represent a progress report and work in progress from the field, derived from game theory and lessons I learned in the government with both the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the National Broadband Plan, as well as working with broadband competition initiatives, such as Gig.U and Republic Wireless. The trial and many errors of my own work have led me to believe in the following bottom line: that the highest priority for government broadband competition policy ought to be to lower input costs for adjacent market competition and network upgrades. I believe the greatest opportunity is to create a virtuous cycle of upgraded mobile stimulating low-end broadband to upgrade, which in turn causes an upgrade of high-end broadband which, by using its assets to enter mobile, accelerates the need for mobile to accelerate its upgrade further.

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Elections, Objections, and SNL Host Selections

This week saw a flurry of news regarding the 2016 presidential race, raising new questions about the relationship between presidential candidates and the media.

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Senate Passes CISA: Robbie's Round-Up (10/26-30)

This week's top stories:
On October 28, the Senate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA, S. 754) by a vote of 74 to 21.
European Parliament Adopts Network Neutrality Regulations -- With Controversial Loopholes
Numerous Congressional hearings concerning FCC decisions and future communications policy

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Will Rick Santorum Be The Next Host Of Saturday Night Live?

When Donald Trump serves as the host of Saturday Night Live (SNL) on November 7, won’t all the other candidates get equal time to be hosts of the show as well? The answer is no, but some of the other Republican candidates for President may well claim a right to receive air time on a number of NBC stations. This post will discuss the law surrounding Trump’s appearance. A forthcoming post will discuss political broadcasting law more broadly.

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Universal Broadband Adoption: Now the Hard Work Begins

To get the last of the United States’ late adopters online will take more than infrastructure. It’ll require deep investment in digital education and painstaking one-on-one work that ultimately convinces offline Americans that the Internet is worth their time.

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The FCC Makes Some Moves: Robbie's Round-Up (10/19-23)

This week's top stories:
The FCC released two critical incentive auction items: The Application Procedures Public Notice and the final opening bid prices for broadcast stations: The Application Procedures Public Notice and the final opening bid prices for broadcast stations.
The FCC launched an investigation into the pricing practices of AT&T and Verizon for special access service.
FCC Takes Next Big Steps In Reducing Inmate Calling Rates

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Who Owns the Broadband Pipes and Who Gets Service: Robbie's Round-Up (October 12-16, 2015)

This week's top stories:
Cable Ownership Consolidation Under Review: Charter's purchase of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks
IP Transition Update and Universal Broadband Deployment

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Is Change Here to Stay?

A barrage of consolidation proposals flooding the FCC and the Department of Justice since April proves that “consolidation mania” is alive and well—and actually accelerating. What we are witnessing is a game of steady monopolization of broadband markets across the land and a tit-for-tat consolidation in cable and broadcast for control over programming. Wall Street is profiting from all the jousting for position, the media follows it as a spectator sport among industry behemoths, and the public interest—things like consumer prices, a truly Open Internet, diversity of content, and real competition—well, it just plain hemorrhages. Let’s briefly look at just two of the merger transactions currently being discussed.

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International Agreements, International Disagreements: Robbie's Round-Up (October 5-9, 2015)

Some of the biggest stories impacting the US this week came to us from abroad. Most stem from uncertainties and the uncharted future of Internet governance. The big question: How do countries work together to come to international agreements to ensure prosperity, free speech, privacy, and freedom in the seemingly borderless, free-flow Internet economy? Some are deeply concerned with where we are headed. Paul Rosenzweig said, “Something is rotten at the core of our conception of Internet governance. Almost unnoticed, nations are trying to impose -- often successfully -- sovereign borders and legal demands on a digital realm that is inherently borderless. Left unchecked, this instinct to create sovereign barriers risks fracturing the Web in ways that will jeopardize its economic, political, and social utility.” This instinct is also increasing the importance of implementing smart, fair agreements on Internet policy. This week was all about those agreements and those disagreements, and the impact they could have on communications in the US.

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Robbie's Round-Up (September 28-October 2, 2015)

Wi-Fi router lockdown? Prison phone rates. An update on the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) transition. And a new guide to Federal broadband funding.

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Finishing The Job On Prison Phone Calls

The Federal Communications Commission is about to finish its long-delayed proceeding to reform the rate structure for prisoner phone calls. The FCC has announced that it will take up the issue at its next meeting on October 22.

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How Is the FCC Protecting Consumers in the Digital Age?

Speeches by Federal Communications Commission chairmen and commissioners don’t often get big headlines, so you’ll be forgiven if you missed the news of two interesting speeches by key FCC staffers recently that address the commission’s role in protecting consumers. Both speeches highlight the need for the FCC’s expertise in overseeing telecommunications – and working with the other agencies with jurisdiction in this area.

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Presidential candidates: Local economies in the digital age deserve attention

The United States is a large and complex nation with many interests—from the Internet and innovation to immigration and Iran. But at the core, the nation’s strategic advantage is built on strong local communities and economies. That’s not a great revelation, but it’s not apparent thus far in the presidential campaign. Strength at the local level depends on strong community anchor institutions. These include libraries, boys and girls clubs, hospitals, schools, colleges and universities, religious organizations, and civic groups, all of which are even more important now as the nation undergoes foundational change resulting from the digital revolution.

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Robbie's Round-Up (September 21-25, 2015)

Broadband Opportunity Council Releases Report and Recommendations. Legal Briefs in Defense of Net Neutrality Were Filed. China’s President Xi Visits the US.

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Improving Data Collection, Analysis and Research on Broadband

President Barack Obama’s Broadband Opportunity Council found that research on broadband deployment, competition and adoption has not kept pace with the massive digital changes that permeate our economy and society. More research and development is needed: research into broadband economics; studies on deployment barriers; deeper study on how competitive telecommunication markets work in rural and remote regions; and updated studies on broadband adoption and digital literacy. There’s a need for more granular data about broadband connectivity as it impacts their stakeholders and missions, including data on: broadband speeds and quality points; wireless loads at community anchor institutions; digital literacy and confidence; metrics on effective use; or e-commerce-driven business growth.

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