Friday, January 4, 2019
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Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the items below are tentatively on the agenda for the Jan Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 30, 2019. Should the current lapse in funding end before Jan 9, additional items may be added to the tentative agenda:
Transitioning to CAF Phase II Auction Support in Price Cap Areas – The Commission will consider a Report and Order establishing a schedule to end Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase I support in price cap areas where winning bidders in the CAF Phase II auction will begin receiving Phase II support and in areas that were not eligible for the auction, while providing interim support in areas that did not receive any bids. (WT Docket No. 10-90)
Licensing Noncommercial Educational Broadcast and Low Power FM Stations – The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes revisions to the Commission’s NCE and LPFM comparative processing and licensing rules. (MB Docket No. 19-3)
Elimination of Form 397 – The Commission will consider a Report and Order eliminating the requirement in Section 73.2080(f)(2) of the Commission's rules that certain broadcast television and radio stations file the Broadcast Mid-Term Report (Form 397). (MB Docket Nos. 18-23, 17-105)
Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) – The Commission will consider a Report and Order, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Order to adopt measures, and seek comment on others, to enhance program management, prevent waste, fraud, and abuse, and improve emergency call handling in the IP CTS program. (CG Docket Nos. 13-24, 03- 123)
Anti-Spoofing Provisions of the RAY BAUM’S Act – The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to amend its Truth in Caller ID rules to implement the anti-spoofing provisions of the RAY BAUM’S Act. (WC Docket Nos. 18-355, 11-39)
Big Tech is violating the Sherman Act of 1890. Why, then, isn't anything being done about Big Tech violating the Sherman Act? In recent decades, corporate defendants have persuaded judges to narrow the law, by requiring, for instance, evidence of price increases to prove a case. But consumers pay for tech platforms' services with data, not dollars. The Sherman Act makes no mention of prices, and low prices should not be the only goal. Competition should be the goal. Competition maximizes consumer choice, innovation and quality, and combats the concentration of economic and political power.
[Sally Hubbard is a former assistant attorney general in the New York AG Antitrust Bureau who heads up big tech and monopolization for The Capitol Forum.]
A new lawsuit filed against Comcast details an extensive list of lies the cable company allegedly told customers in order to hide the full cost of service. Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson sued Comcast in Hennepin County District Court on Dec 21, seeking refunds for all customers who were harmed by Comcast's alleged violations of the state's Prevention of Consumer Fraud Act and Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The complaint alleges, among other things, that Comcast representatives falsely told customers that the company's "Regional Sports Network (RSN)" and "Broadcast TV" fees were mandated by the government and not controlled by Comcast itself. These two fees, which are not included in Comcast's advertised rates, have gone up steadily and now total $18.25 a month. Comcast has responded to some lawsuits—including this one—by saying that the company had already stopped the practices that triggered the court actions. But Minnesota says that Comcast's lies about the sports and broadcast fees continued into 2017, which is after Comcast knew about identical allegations raised in a separate class action complaint filed in 2016. (That case was settled out of court.)
For the first time in the history of the Senate, Republican women are joining the Judiciary Committee. Sens Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) will be on the committee, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) office announced. Sen Blackburn, who left the House for the Senate, was formerly the Chairman of the House Communications Subcommittee.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Brendan Carr are canceling their appearances at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show as a consequence of the ongoing partial government shutdown. Chairman Pai’s planned session with moderator Gary Shapiro, from the Consumer Technology Association, would have focused on “the exciting opportunities the FCC faces as the agency navigates the rapidly changing technological landscape.” Commissioner Carr was expected to attend a roundtable session with Federal Trade Commission Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter to discuss regulatory and policy issues involving 5G, privacy and accessibly, along with other topics. Both events have been removed from the CES schedule. This will be the second year in a row that Chairman Pai has canceled his plans to attend the biggest consumer electronics showcase in the country.
Benton (www.benton.org) provides the only free, reliable, and non-partisan daily digest that curates and distributes news related to universal broadband, while connecting communications, democracy, and public interest issues. Posted Monday through Friday, this service provides updates on important industry developments, policy issues, and other related news events. While the summaries are factually accurate, their sometimes informal tone may not always represent the tone of the original articles. Headlines are compiled by Kevin Taglang (headlines AT benton DOT org) and Robbie McBeath (rmcbeath AT benton DOT org) — we welcome your comments.
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