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Benton Foundation provides free, daily summaries of articles concerning the quickly-changing telecommunications policy landscape.

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Is US Broadband Working? The Administration Is Working On It

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1560 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL, 60201, United States
Recommendation:
3

Although the Federal Communications Commission’s network neutrality order is still the headliner-grabber, this week we review the Administration’s most recent announcements which include: 1) the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s latest -- and last -- update of the National Broadband Map; 2) reaching the President’s high-speed wireless goal; 3) creation of the Broadband Opportunity Council; 4) ongoing support of community broadband; 5) grants for rural telecommunications infrastructure; and 6) second phase FirstNet funding.

FCC Chairman Wheeler on the Choices in the Network Neutrality Debate

Location:
Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 43210, United States
Recommendation:
2

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler returned to Ohio State University – this time focusing his remarks on the FCC’s recent network neutrality order. He said the order “rests on a basic choice -- whether those who build the networks should make the rules by themselves or whether there should be a basic set of rules and a referee on the field to throw the flag if they are violated.”

Sen Harry Reid will not seek reelection

Location:
Capitol Building, E Capitol St NE & 1st St NE, Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
3

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that he will not seek reelection next year, triggering a race among his lieutenants to replace him.

Ellen Pao Loses Silicon Valley Gender Bias Case Against Kleiner Perkins

Location:
San Francisco County Superior Court, 400 McAllister St., San Francisco, CA, United States
Recommendation:
3

One of Silicon Valley’s most prominent venture capital firms prevailed over a former partner, Ellen Pao, in a suit alleging gender discrimination in the course of her employment and her ultimate dismissal. A jury of six men and six women rejected Pao’s claims against the firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, in a case that has captivated Silicon Valley and renewed questions about the lack of diversity in the technology industry.

Internet infrastructure is vulnerable to attacks that can cause prolonged outages

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
1

When vandals sliced a fiber-optic cable in the Arizona desert in February, they did more than time-warp thousands of people back to an era before computers, credit cards or even phones. They exposed a glaring vulnerability in the nation's Internet infrastructure: no backup systems in many places.

Sec Kerry orders probe of US State Department e-mail procedures

Location:
Department of State, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC, 20520, United States
Recommendation:
1

US Secretary of State John Kerry has asked the department's inspector general to look into procedures for handling e-mails by State Department employees, the department said. ...

Innovation in the 3.5 GHz Band: Creating a New Citizens Broadband Radio Service

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Five years ago, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration issued a report identifying possible spectrum bands for reallocation for commercial uses. In the report, it identified the 3550-3650 MHz band as a potential opportunity for future commercial use.

AWS-3 Auction: Lessons Learned

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

From my perspective, the recent AWS-3 auction has to be deemed an overall success. It is hard to say otherwise when it released 65 megahertz of spectrum for more efficient purposes, allocated 1611 licenses to current and prospective wireless providers to expand wireless broadband services, and grossed revenues totaling $44.9billion (net revenues are estimated at $41.3 billion). Nonetheless, this auction highlighted many important issues and raised quite a few concerns.

FCC Announces Tentative Agenda For April 2015 Open Meeting

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

The following item will tentatively be on the agenda for April’s Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Friday, April 17, 2015:
Citizens Broadband Radio Service: The Federal Communications Commission will consider a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would leverage innovative spectrum sharing technologies to make 150 megahertz of contiguous spectrum available in the 3550-3700 MHz band for wireless broadband and other uses.

Someone hijacked the Google of China to attack anti-censorship tools

Location:
Beijing, China
Recommendation:
2

An unknown party hijacked widely used tools developed by Baidu, the largest search engine in China, in an apparent attempt to target online software used to get around Chinese censorship.

Iowa’s governor doesn’t seem to understand what a smartphone is or how e-mail works

Location:
Des Moines, IA, United States
Recommendation:
1

Gov Terry Branstad (R-IA) has insisted for years that doesn’t own a smartphone or use e-mail. That’s what he has staff for -- to e-mail, to tweet, to Instagram, to Facebook on his behalf. But in what local papers are portraying as a gotcha moment, it was discovered that Gov Branstad indeed gets e-mails on his personal BlackBerry.

Verizon tells Congress to step up to the plate

Location:
Verizon Communications, 140 West St, New York, NY, 10007, United States
Recommendation:
1

Lawmakers in Congress have largely ceded their ground to regulatory bureaucrats, the head of Verizon told legislators. In a letter to the bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate Commerce committees, CEO Lowell McAdam lent support to Congressional efforts to update the 1996 Telecommunications Act, saying the existing telecommunications laws and regulatory processes are “outdated and broken.”

Why did Instagram censor this photo of a fully clothed woman on her period?

Location:
Facebook (new HQ), 1601 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA, United States
Recommendation:
1

On March 25, Kaur received a message from Instagram that a photo of a woman lying in bed -- fully clothed, with a blood stain on the sheets -- had been removed for violating the site’s “community guidelines.”

WDBJ Fine Highlights Broadcast Inequality

Location:
TVNewsCheck, Chatham, NJ, 07928, United States
Recommendation:
1

When I first saw the Federal Communications Commission order fining Schurz's WDBJ Roanoke-Lynchburg (VA) $325,000 for broadcast indecency, I frankly didn't have much sympathy for the station. I figured that the offending story about an ex-porn star joining a local rescue squad was another attempt by a station to pump up the ratings with a some gratuitous sex. But after looking at the station's response to the FCC inquiry and a transcript of the story, I see that the story, which aired in July 2012, is legit.

Comcast Says It’s Not Talking to Apple About Apple TV, Because Apple Hasn’t Asked

Location:
Comcast, 1500 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19102-2148, United States
Recommendation:
1

Apple is talking to TV programmers about a new Web TV service it would like to launch in 2015. But for now, it’s not talking to NBCUniversal, the company that owns NBC and a host of high-profile cable channels. That’s not because the programmer doesn’t want to be part of the service, says NBCUniversal* owner Comcast -- it’s because Apple hasn’t approached them.

Symbolic net neutrality amendment moves through

Location:
Capitol Building, E Capitol St NE & 1st St NE, Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
1

A bipartisan budget amendment expressing support for some type of network neutrality rules was unanimously adopted during the evening of March 26's “vote-a-rama” in the Senate. The measure called for a deficit-neutral reserve fund “to preserve and protect the open Internet in a manner that provides clear and certain rules” while also protecting consumers, competition and other issues.

Sprint CEO: Without Net neutrality rules, we're toast

Location:
Sprint Nextel, 6550 Sprint Parkway, Overland Park, KS, 66251, United States
Recommendation:
1

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure praised the Federal Communications Commission's decision to implement rules governing the open Internet -- which includes wireless data -- arguing that his company couldn't survive without them.

AT&T’s plan to watch your Web browsing -- and what you can do about it

Location:
AT&T, 208 South Akard St, Dallas, TX, 75202, United States
Recommendation:
2

If you have AT&T’s gigabit Internet service and wonder why it seems so affordable, here's the reason -- AT&T is boosting profits by rerouting all your Web browsing to an in-house traffic scanning platform, analyzing your Internet habits, then using the results to deliver personalized ads to the websites you visit, e-mail to your inbox, and junk mail to your front door.

British users can sue Google in UK over “secret tracking”

Location:
UK Court of Appeals, London, United Kingdom
Recommendation:
2

The United Kingdom's Court of Appeal has confirmed an earlier landmark High Court decision that a group of British consumers using Apple's Safari browser to access Google's services can sue the US company in the UK.

ComScore Finds Huge Growth in Mobile Media Consumption

Location:
ComScore, 11950 Democracy Drive, Reston, VA, 20190, United States
Recommendation:
1

Strong growth in mobile devices and multi-platform content consumption continued unabated in 2014, as new research from comScore illustrates. “Perhaps more so than at any ...

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