Daily Digest 3/07/2019 (Save the Internet Act Unveiled)

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Table of Contents


Bicameral Democratic Leaders Unveil Save The Internet Act to Restore Net Neutrality Protections  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  House Commerce Committee
Evan Greer: President Trump killed net neutrality. But Congressional Democrats are trying to make the internet great again.  |  NBC
Tim Berners-Lee still believes the web can be fixed, even today  |  Read below  |  Marguerite Reardon  |  C|Net
FCC Commissioner Starks’ Digital Inclusion Visits  |  Read below  |  Angela Siefer  |  Press Release  |  National Digital Inclusion Alliance
Sen Klobuchar Op-Ed: Policymakers must focus on necessary issues in rural America, like broadband  |  Globe, The


Relicensing 700 MHZ Spectrum In Unserved Areas  |  Read below  |  Public Notice  |  Federal Communications Commission
FCC seeks comment on Verizon's C Block Rules Petition  |  Read below  |  Public Notice  |  Federal Communications Commission
FCC extends timeframe for collection of speed test data for Mobility Fund Phase II challenges by 90 days  |  Federal Communications Commission
Trump 2020 reelection campaign's "national 5G plan" draws bipartisan FCC rebuke  |  Read below  |  Ina Fried  |  Axios
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr: Nationalizing 5G Is Not the Way to Beat China  |  National Review
Trump’s 5G Plan Is More Than a Gift to His Base  |  Read below  |  Kevin Werbach  |  Op-Ed  |  New York Times
Department of Justice staffers ‘not impressed’ with features of T-Mobile, Sprint merger  |  New York Post


Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons: Protecting Privacy Is Top Of Mind For Us and Congress  |  Forbes
Silicon Valley lobbies hard to kill off California privacy rules  |  Financial Times
Privacy Tops List of Consumer Smart Home Concerns  |  PC Magazine


NSA releases cybersecurity tool to the public  |  Axios
US Cyber Command and Services Should Take Actions to Maintain a Trained Cyber Mission Force  |  Government Accountability Office
Qualcomm Cites National Security Risk in Bid to Settle FTC Patent Case  |  Wall Street Journal
Director of the National Security Agency in ‘Deliberative Process’ Over Metadata Surveillance  |  Wall Street Journal
Huawei Sues US Government Over What It Calls an Unfair Ban  |  New York Times


Leichtman Research Group: Pay-TV lost 2.87 million customers in 2018, compared to 1.51 million lost in 2017  |  Multichannel News
Massachusetts US Attorney Seeks Injunction in Pirate Radio Case  |  Federal Communications Commission

Elections and Media

DNC Bars Fox News From Hosting 2020 Primary Debates  |  Read below  |  Jessica Taylor  |  National Public Radio
President Trump threatens to block networks from hosting debates after DNC rejects Fox  |  Hill, The

Communications and Democracy

Editorial: On March 4 Sacramento police launched attack on our 1st Amendment. Here’s how you can respond.  |  Sacramento Bee
Did President Trump intervene in the AT&T merger to destroy his enemies? Congress must investigate.  |  Washington Post

Stories From Abroad

US, China Face Off Over Digital-Market Regulation  |  Read below  |  Emre Peker  |  Wall Street Journal
The US-China Tech War Is Being Fought in Central Europe  |  Atlantic, The
France unveils plan to tax internet giants  |  Associated Press
Google won’t run political ads during Canada’s October election  |  Vox
Iranian Hackers Have Hit Hundreds of Companies in Past Two Years  |  Wall Street Journal

Company News

Facebook’s US user base declined by 15 million since 2017  |  Vox
Mark Zuckerberg sees Facebook’s future focused more on private sharing than public content  |  Wall Street Journal
Today's Top Stories


Bicameral Democratic Leaders Unveil Save The Internet Act to Restore Net Neutrality Protections

Press Release  |  House Commerce Committee

Democratic leaders of the House and Senate unveiled the Save the Internet Act that will keep the internet open and free.  The legislation will reverse the repeal by Trump’s Federal Communications Commission in late 2017 of critical net neutrality protections. The Save the Internet Act enacts the three legacy net neutrality principles – no blocking, no throttling, and no paid prioritization – and empowers the FCC to prohibit unjust, unreasonable and discriminatory practices.  The legislation also ensures consumers can make informed decisions when shopping for internet plans and restores the FCC’s authority to fund broadband access and deployment, particularly for rural communities and struggling Americans.  The Save the Internet Act codifies the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order in a similar manner to last year’s Congressional Review Act that passed the Senate and had bipartisan support in the House.

See bill text

Tim Berners-Lee still believes the web can be fixed, even today

Marguerite Reardon  |  C|Net

30 years on, the web has been "hijacked by crooks" who could destroy it, world wide web creator Tim Berners-Lee said. It's morphed into a platform where disinformation spreads like a contagion, hate foments and personal privacy has been relinquished to the highest bidder looking to make a quick buck. Now, the 63-year-old said, he's working to fix the online world he helped create, and launched two major efforts in Nov to turn the web around. The first is the Contract for the Web, which he says will make the web more trustworthy and less susceptible to some of today's problems. The other is a new platform called Solid, which gives users control over their data. The Solid project, which he's developing with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is meant to give people more control over their personal data, which today is being bought and sold without their permission. The idea is to give people "pods" for storing data, which would let them decide where and how their information is used by apps that are separate from the data storage.

FCC Commissioner Starks’ Digital Inclusion Visits

Angela Siefer  |  Press Release  |  National Digital Inclusion Alliance

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance is proud to have facilitated digital inclusion visits for newly appointed Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks. After he attended a forum on the rural and urban broadband digital divide hosted by Rep Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO), Commissioner Starks attended a meeting of the Kansas City Coalition for Digital Inclusion, sharing why digital equity is important to him. He stated “Who’s job is it to make sure everyone has internet at home? It’s my job. It’s our job.” Commissioner Starks then visited Connecting For Good’s NE Wyandotte County Computer Center. Within the first 30 days of being in office, Commissioner Starks visited with digital inclusion practitioners. We have a new champion.


Relicensing 700 MHZ Spectrum In Unserved Areas

Public Notice  |  Federal Communications Commission

For certain spectrum blocks in the 700 MHz band, licensees that fail to meet the Federal Communications Commission’s construction benchmarks keep the areas of the license that they serve, and the remaining unserved areas are returned to the Commission’s inventory for relicensing. This approach provides other parties with opportunities to acquire spectrum that is not adequately built out and to serve communities that might otherwise not receive service. This Public Notice describes the process for relicensing unserved areas, beginning with the “keep-what-you-serve” (KWYS) rules applicable to failing licensees, and ending with the specific rules and requirements for licensees that acquire unserved areas through the relicensing process, including through auction where necessary.

FCC seeks comment on Verizon's C Block Rules Petition

Public Notice  |  Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau seeks comment on a petition for declaratory ruling, or in the alternative a petition for a partial waiver, filed by Verizon on February 22, 2019, in WT Docket No. 06-150, regarding section 27.16(e) of the Commission’s C Block licensing rules (the handset locking rule). Specifically, Verizon requests that the FCC declare that the handset locking rule permits Verizon to adopt a temporary, 60-day lock on the 4G LTE handsets it provides, to ensure that the handsets are purchased by bona fide customers. Verizon currently sells unlocked 4G LTE handsets that can be used on any carrier’s compatible 4G LTE network. With respect to whether its temporary locking proposal is consistent with the handset locking rule, Verizon asserts that the rule is ambiguous and that clarification is needed. In the alternative, Verizon asks that to the extent that the FCC declines to issue a declaratory ruling, or the FCC decides that its proposal is inconsistent with the handset locking rule, the FCC grant Verizon a partial waiver of the handset locking rule.

Comments Due: April 4, 2019 Reply Comments Due: April 19, 2019

Trump 2020 reelection campaign's "national 5G plan" draws bipartisan FCC rebuke

Ina Fried  |  Axios

A proposal from the Donald Trump 2020 re-election campaign to create a national, wholesale 5G network is drawing criticism from FCC commissioners on both sides of the aisle. Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr joined Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel in speaking out against the plan. Commissioner Carr wrote, "The US won the race to 4G and secured billions of dollars in growth for the US economy by relying on America’s exceptional free market values. We must double down on that winning playbook instead of copying China's." Commissioner Rosenworcel said that the concern over 5G is a worthy one, but a national network isn't the right way to go."There is a worldwide race to 5G, and other nations are poised to win," she said. "But this proposed remedy really misses the mark. It’s not the right way forward."

Trump’s 5G Plan Is More Than a Gift to His Base

Kevin Werbach  |  Op-Ed  |  New York Times

The Trump re-election campaign’s wireless open access proposal was a poorly vetted scheme possibly intended to score political points. It was squelched almost immediately after it became public, as shocked White House staff members complained that it contradicted the administration’s support for competing wireless networks. The twist? Open access wireless is actually a terrific idea. Some forward-thinking Democrats and public interest advocates have been pushing it for decades. Why would the Trump campaign endorse open access? Rivada Networks, a politically connected firm that counts Peter Thiel, a prominent Trump donor, among its investors, appears to be positioning itself for the lucrative contract to provide the technology for such a system. Mr. Trump’s political advisers see the open access plan as a way to improve wireless service in rural areas, a gift to the president’s base. These motivations should not obscure the value of open access. The communications industry has already shown that a competitive open market sometimes can’t develop without government action. Tech-savvy Democrats should welcome the embrace of their open access vision. Even if it means being more supportive of a Trump campaign position than the White House.

[Werbach, a professor at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, served as an adviser on telecommunication policy in the Clinton and Obama administrations]

Elections and Media

DNC Bars Fox News From Hosting 2020 Primary Debates

Jessica Taylor  |  National Public Radio

The Democratic National Committee will not allow Fox News to broadcast any of its 2020 presidential primary debates, citing a recent report about the close relationship between the Trump administration and the conservative cable network. "I believe that a key pathway to victory is to continue to expand our electorate and reach all voters. That is why I have made it a priority to talk to a broad array of potential media partners, including FOX News," DNC Chairman Tom Perez said. "Recent reporting in the New Yorker on the inappropriate relationship between President Trump, his administration and FOX News has led me to conclude that the network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates. Therefore, FOX News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates," the statement adds.

Stories From Abroad

US, China Face Off Over Digital-Market Regulation

Emre Peker  |  Wall Street Journal

World Trade Organization members launched talks on how to govern global digital commerce, for the first time tackling 21st century trade issues that have sparked intense rivalry among the US, Europe and China. At stake is a global framework to regulate digital trade in goods and services, a market that is currently subject to a patchwork of different rules. Such a system would potentially remove obstacles such as cross-border sales barriers that disrupt access to services and hinder growth in online trade, enabling small companies to access global markets and helping giants tap a bigger market.

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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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