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Archive: Cecilia Kang

Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 10/ 8/2009

Computer Science Professor David Farber Explains His Opposition to Net Neutrality

David Farber, a professor of computer science and public policy at Carnegie Mellon, opposes net neutrality rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission. Here's why:

Farber doesn't think there are enough examples of bad players in the telecom, cable and wireless industries to justify more regulation. And even if there were problems, consumers and companies can complain to the Federal Trade Commission or Justice Department, he says. Ultimately, net neutrality rules would be bad for innovation, says Farber, who was one of the early technologists involved in the formation of the Internet.

Farber runs a popular e-mail list on telecom and tech issues. He recently wrote a paper funded by AT&T on FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's net neutrality proposal. But he said he was able to say whatever he wanted and that he's had the same opinions since his op-ed article for The Washington Post in 2007.

I interviewed Farber Wednesday to talk about his opposition to Genachowski's proposal and why he thinks any new rules would create a legal mess. Here's a transcript of our conversation:

What's your concern with net neutrality?
My general concern has to do with hazy definitions that people are using. Net neutrality is everything from sliced bread to pickles. And like "appropriate network management," that's a very hazy term and it's hard to define it more tightly. So you either end up in court cases or endless hearings at the FCC arguing over these definitions.

Isn't the point of the rulemaking process at the FCC to drill down on those details and give clearer guidelines?
But it's very hard to define these things. The problem here is everyone talks about reasonable network management, but if you look at it from a technical perspective, someone trying to build new ways of operating networks is going to sit there saying, "I wonder if this new brilliant idea is reasonable or not. And if I go through all the energy of implementing it and testing it, will someone in Washington say that that violates some reasonable network management criteria?"

Isn't the goal of Genachowski's proposal to put out a high-level guide for how Internet service providers can run their networks and then to handle violations or issues that arise on a case-by-case basis?
It is also attacking a problem which doesn't seem to exist. The one or two cases where things that I would say fall into network neutrality have been taken care of easily. The FCC looked at this and said "You aren't doing things right, so let's look at it." Having a whole set of regulations for something you don't understand hasn't happened is sort of tricky.

What do you think is a more reasonable approach by the FCC?
The FCC saying what is a reasonable way to operate is usually enough to get people to do it. Formal rules may be overkill. And it may cause real jurisdictioanal issues. Does the FCC have the right to regulate? If nothing else, as has happened with Comcast, these cases will end up in the courts for a long time.

Your argument about innovation is interesting, because Genachowski's arguments for rules are also for the sake of innovation and growth of the sector. Do you see the parallels in the arguments?
In 2007, we commented that there are other vehicles to that such as antitrust at the DOJ or at the FTC. If a small guy has a brilliant idea and can't get something done on a wireless system, then why can't it be done? If it's a business issue, I have less sympathy. If technical, I find it difficult to find any set of rules that would have any effect there.
Should the FCC say that all applications that want to operate should be allowed? Practically unless we make magic with physics, that can't happen.

Can you give an example of how why that can't happen?
We've always said the Internet has infinite bandwidth, but the economics of running a network don't allow you to do that. You share a cable of fairly small bandwidth with a lot of people.

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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 10/ 8/2009

DOJ Probes IBM on Mainframe Monopoly

The Department of Justice has begun a preliminary investigation into whether IBM has abused its monopoly in mainframe computers, used mainly for commercial enterprises, according to a trade association that filed a complaint with the government.

The Computer and Communications Industry Association said IBM blocked competition in the mainframe market by denying competitors the ability to license IBM's software to run competing hardware. IBM's software, the group says, has become the defacto programming platform for mainframe computers.

"IBM has exploited its monopoly in mainframe operating systems to keep its customers 'locked in' to the IBM mainframe platform," Ed Black, CEO of CCIA wrote in a summary of the industry's complaint to the DOJ's antitrust branch. CCIA's members include IBM rivals Microsoft and Oracle.

Black said the DOJ has begun its investigation and that competitors have received requests for documents and other materials.

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Posted at 3:19 PM ET, 10/ 7/2009

AT&T Mobility CEO on Net Neutrality: If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility, said Wednesday that net neutrality rules on the table at the FCC could hurt the booming wireless industry.

The comments by de la Vega followed a speech by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski at a conference in San Diego by CTIA. Genachowski, in his speech, outlined a plan to promote mobile broadband by getting more spectrum to wireless carriers and removing some regulatory barriers that have slowed down the deployment of broadband networks known as fourth-generation, or 4G, wireless.

Genachowski also said that even with the moves by AT&T and Verizon yesterday toward more open policies, he's still pushing forward on new net neutrality rules for all Internet service providers, including wireless operators.

"Before we begin 'fixing' what isn't broken, we need to be thoughtful about the consequences," de la Vega said in a statement. "We believe the marketplace today is vibrant, and there is no need to burden the mobile Internet with onerous new regulations."

The FCC also is in the middle of a review of competition in the wireless industry. The review seeks to determine whether practices such as exclusive deals between handset manufacturers and carriers undermine competition and negatively impact consumers.

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Posted at 1:33 PM ET, 10/ 7/2009

FCC Chairman Hearts Springsteen, iPhone App for Kids

Okay, here's what we've gleaned this week about Julius Genachowski, head of the Federal Communications Commission.

He's into the Boss and digs educational iPhone apps for his kids.

This week, he spoke at a music policy conference and explained net neutrality through Bruce Springsteen lyrics.

Today, in front of a convention hall full of wireless industry executives and developers, he talked about the power of mobile technology and how it is teaching kids to shoot for the stars.

"On a clear night last week I was outside with my kids and my iPhone. We were using an app called Star Walk. When you point it up, you can see dynamic images of the stars and constellations. After playing with it for a minute my 5-year-old daughter pointed to the sky and said: "There's Pegasus." As they say, "priceless."

Well actually, it was $4.95, happily paid.

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Posted at 12:35 PM ET, 10/ 7/2009

FCC Chair to Wireless Industry: More Spectrum Coming ... And Net Neutrality Rules

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said to the wireless industry Wedneday, "It's all about mobile."

As such, Julius Genachowski commended AT&T and Verizon Wireless for their announcements yesterday that showed they were moving more in the direction Genachowski wants: to an open Internet. But he showed no sign of retreat from his push for new net neutrality rules that would codify and expand policies at the FCC to prevent Internet service providers from acting as gatekeepers of Web content on their networks.

"I believe it will be essential to ensure that the Internet remains open -- a vibrant platform for innovation and investment, creativity and speech, an enduring engine for job creation and economic growth," he said. "As we embrace the opportunities of a wired and wireless broadband world, we shouldn't have uncertainty about whether we'll have an open Internet. That is why I said two weeks ago that the FCC should codify a fair and common-sense framework to preserve an open Internet. And later this month, I expect that the FCC will begin an open proceeding to explore how best to do so."

The wireless industry has complained that any new rules for broadband operators shouldn't apply to the wireless industry. Leaders of AT&T and Verizon Wireless have pointed to the different technical aspects of wireless networks that don't aren't as robust as wireline networks. If they don't manage traffic to ease congestion, some users will have to deal with slow or dropped service, they say.

Genachowski said his proposal for new rules aren't meant to be "heavy-handed and prescriptive."

"I also recognize that the wireless industry has its own market structure and competitive landscape, which of course we'll analyze in our proceeding," Genachowski said.

But the rules are necessary, he said: "There shouldn't be any confusion. I believe firmly in the need for the FCC to preserve Internet openness, whether a person accesses the Internet from a desktop computer or a wireless laptop or netbook."

Genachowski's remarks come after announcements Tuesday by the two largest wireless service providers -- AT&T and Verizon -- where they showed they were trying to be more open. AT&T said it would allow Internet voice applications for the iPhone to run on its wireless networks. Verizon forged a partnership with Google to develop phones on Google's Android software platform. The operating system is open for any applications and the phones will include Google Voice, a calling service that is currently unavailable on the iPhone.

"I also appreciate AT&T's announcement yesterday allowing Internet calling applications on the iPhone -- a decision I commend," Genachowski said in a keynote speech at wireless industry conference hosted by CTIA. "And also Verizon's announcement about the Android platform. These are both wins for consumers, and I look forward to hearing more."

In his speech, he introduced a four-part plan to encourage growth in the mobile industry. The plan included unleashing more spectrum for the wireless industry and removing regulatory obstacles that have been slowing down the progress of new mobile broadband networks under construction and expected to hit markets next year.

On spectrum, what Genachowski described as the "oxygen" of mobile networks, he was in agreement with the industry that there isn't enough to meet the demands of mobile users down the road. He promised to look into how to reallocate spectrum that isn't being used to give to commercial carriers. CTIA has asked for 800 mhz of spectrum to meet their members' needs.

"We must identify spectrum that can best be reinvested in mobile broadband," he said.

He said the agency would promote the use of unlicensed spectrum, such as WiFi networks. He pointed to the possibility of new technologies such as smart antennas and femtocells.


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AT&T Wireless Chief, De La Vega, Named Chairman of CTIA

AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega was named chairman of the wireless industry trade group CTIA. He will begin his term in January and will replace T-Mobile USA CEO Robert Dotson. The trade group also announced new board members: AOL Vice President of Mobile Products Raine Bergstrom; Assurant Solutions...

By Cecilia Kang | October 7, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Full Story on AT&T Opening to Skype, Verizon Android Deal

Click here to read my story from the paper today on AT&T and Verizon Wireless opening their networks to popular phone services....

By Cecilia Kang | October 7, 2009; 10:55 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

AT&T Lost Skype Fight When Admitted Blocking To Protect Voice Revenues: Analysts

With regulatory winds against it, AT&T's announcement to allow Internet voice services on the iPhone to ride on its 3G network was expected.

By Cecilia Kang | October 7, 2009; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

FCC Chair Expected To Give AT&T Props, But Push Forward On Net Neutrality

When FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski speaks at 12:30 p.m. today to the wireless industry, he'll likely make a nod to moves Tuesday by AT&T to run Internet voice services for the iPhone on its cell network. But he's probably not going to scale back on his push to codify and strengthen rules that ensure consumers get access to any legal application or content of their choice on the Web, analysts say.

By Cecilia Kang | October 7, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

AT&T Allows iPhone To Make Internet Calls On Cell Network

AT&T said Tuesday it would open its 3G wireless network to Internet voice applications on the iPhone, including Skype. The move comes as the nation's second largest wireless operator has been pushing back against proposed net neutrality rules at the Federal Communications Commission. Skype and other Internet voice applications could...

By Cecilia Kang | October 6, 2009; 04:27 PM ET | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Verizon Teams With Google On Cell Phones, Google Voice

Verizion, the nation's largest cell phone service, announced Tuesday morning it is teaming up with Google to develop phones using the search giant's Android mobile software platform. Verizion Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam said on a conference call it will introduce two new Android phones this year. He also said the...

By Cecilia Kang | October 6, 2009; 02:05 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Google CEO To FCC Chair: Thanks for Net Neutrality, Need a Hand With Broadband?

Last Friday, Google chief executive Eric Schmidt stopped by the Federal Communications Commission to say thanks to Chairman Julus Genachowski and senior staff for proposing new rules on net neutrality that the firm has long advocated. Schmidt "expressed his appreciation to the chairman for his leadership in promoting open and...

By Cecilia Kang | October 6, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Republicans Step Up Opposition to Net Neutrality; House GOP Ask FCC For Data

A group of House of Representatives Republicans on Monday called for the Federal Communications Commission to do a market analysis before proposing a new rule that would prevent Internet service providers from acting as gatekeepers of content and services on the Web. In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski,...

By Cecilia Kang | October 5, 2009; 04:00 PM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

FTC: Bloggers, Research Studies Must Cite Ties To Advertisers

Bloggers, fess up. If you're receiving money from companies and endorsing their products, say so or face a potential penalty of $11,000 from the Federal Trade Commission. The policy for bloggers was part of new guidelines on how advertisers can use endorsements by research firms, bloggers and celebrities, the FTC...

By Cecilia Kang | October 5, 2009; 01:38 PM ET | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Tab Dump: Spotlight Google

Amid the chatter of Ken Auletta's new book on Google, TechCrunch says some of the most interesting stuff comes from media moguls responding to the Web giant. CEO Eric Schmidt at one time said he aimed to make the search engine into a $100 billion media empire. More on Google...

By Cecilia Kang | October 5, 2009; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

What FCC Chair Is Reading: Gives Glimpse of Thinking on Broadband, Net Neutrality

To understand how FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski thinks about his job, go back in history and understand the postal system. That's what I picked up from a book Genachowski offered to me last week as recommended reading.

By Cecilia Kang | October 5, 2009; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

House GOP Leaders Complain to Obama About Net Neutrality

House Republican leaders complained Friday to President Obama that net neutrality rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission could deter investment in broadband networks and hurt the economy. House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House Republican whip, wrote in a letter to the president...

By Cecilia Kang | October 2, 2009; 04:52 PM ET | Comments (29) | TrackBack (0)

Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists, Entrepreneurs Give a Video Thumbs-Up to Net Neutrality

Check out this funny mashup in support of net neutrality that puts FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's speech last week to the tune of "Bits Don't Lie," a riff of Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie." An enthusiastic Tim Draper, venture capitalist investors of Yahoo and Hotmail, and other Sand Hill Road investors...

By Cecilia Kang | October 2, 2009; 02:49 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Google Voice May Be Breaking Phone Rules, But Not Net Neutrality: Experts

AT&T's beef with Google Voice for blocking phone calls to rural areas may carry some weight, telecom policy experts and sources at the Federal Communications Commission said. But they are skeptical about AT&T's complaint that Google's phone calling service also violates net neutrality rules.

By Cecilia Kang | October 2, 2009; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Readers Ask for Disclosure That Washington Post Owns Cable Co.

Readers and commenters on this blog have noted that The Washington Post Co. owns Cable One, a cable network that provides video and Internet service in 19 states. The information, readers said, should be provided by opinion writers when they write about a net neutrality proposal at the Federal Communications...

By Cecilia Kang | October 1, 2009; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Update: AT&T Slams Google Voice; Could Open Can of Worms

When AT&T complained last week to federal regulators that Google was breaking telecom laws, the phone giants may have opened a bigger debate about how arcane definitions at the Federal Communications Commission may need to be revisited, analysts and legal experts say. That would bring an onslaught of new communications tools, including some of AT&T's own, under renewed scrutiny.

By Cecilia Kang | September 30, 2009; 10:35 PM ET | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)

Internet Speeds Are Often Slower Than What Consumers Pay For, FCC Finds

The small army at the FCC trying to figure out how to bring broadband Internet to all American homes gave their half-time report Tuesday at the agency. Lots of takeways about how much it would cost and how networks aren't up to snuff, according to a study by the FCC....

By Cecilia Kang | September 29, 2009; 08:07 PM ET | Comments (35) | TrackBack (0)

Former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin Heads To Patton Boggs

Kevin Martin, the former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is joining Patton Boggs in early October as co-chair of the law firm's telecommunications policy practice, a spokeswoman said in an interview. "There is a long and distinguished record of former FCC chairs succeeding in private practice. We have every...

By Cecilia Kang | September 29, 2009; 06:16 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Net Neutrality Threatens the Business Models of Cell Phone Operators, Wall Street Analysts Say

Most of the arguments against net neutrality rules for wireless providers have centered around capacity. Opponents say there just isn't enough bandwidth to absorb the onslaught of video and other data-intensive applications coming to mobile devices. Carriers need to be able to manage such traffic congestion to prevent their systems...

By Cecilia Kang | September 29, 2009; 02:51 PM ET | Comments (17) | TrackBack (0)

Worth Reading: Apple Blocks Political iPhone App? Plus, a Look at AT&T's Attack on Google Voice

First, in case you missed it Monday afternoon, check out my interview with Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.), where he says he and Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) are planning a bill to help advance the process for new net neutrality rules at the Federal Communications Commission. Now, for what's...

By Cecilia Kang | September 29, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Senators Plan Bill To Advance Net Neutrality

Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) said in an interview Monday that he and Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) are considering legislation aimed at helping advance the adoption of new rules on net neutrality. Such a bill could be a timetable or deadline for the Federal Communications Commission to finish its...

By Cecilia Kang | September 28, 2009; 04:55 PM ET | Comments (26) | TrackBack (0)

Wireless Lobbyists Step Up Defensive Against Net Neutrality

The wireless industry has been on a charm offensive, working overtime to lobby regulators, journalists and lawmakers to ease off one of the most vibrant sectors of the U.S. economy. After last week's proposal for new net neutrality rules that would include mobile broadband operators, that offensive has turned into...

By Cecilia Kang | September 28, 2009; 12:31 PM ET | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Washington Post Editorial Calls Net Neutrality Rules Unnecessary

Editorial at The Washington Post weighed in this morning on the net neutrality debate, saying the proposed rules announced last week by the new Federal Communications Commission chairman, Julius Genachowski, goes overboard. Editorial writers (Note: there is a wall between the newsroom, which includes me, and our opinion pages.) say...

By Cecilia Kang | September 28, 2009; 09:59 AM ET | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Google Reponds to AT&T Letter; Public Interest Groups Slam the Phone Giant's Claims

Google responded to AT&T's letter (here it is: googleletter.pdf) with a blog poking holes in the phone giant's claims that Google Voice is a common carrier, or traditional phone line network operator. In the blog posting, Google's telecom lobbyist, Rick Whitt, says the company's service "does restrict certain outbound calls...

By Cecilia Kang | September 25, 2009; 05:00 PM ET | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Update: AT&T Accuses Google of Violating Telecom Laws; Google Rejects Claims

AT&T asked the Federal Communications Commission Friday afternoon to look into Google's alleged blocking of some phone calls through its Google Voice service, a practice the phone giant called a violation of federal telecommunications laws. Google Voice lets users connect all of their phone numbers to one common number and...

By Cecilia Kang | September 25, 2009; 02:52 PM ET | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Computer Science Professor, Former FCC Official Warns Against Net Neutrality

There are too many lawyers talking about net neutrality and not enough engineers; this was the message by a panel of computer science experts, a law professor and an economist Friday morning. They mostly warned against the potential constraints that net neutrality rules would have on network engineering. David Farber,...

By Cecilia Kang | September 25, 2009; 01:41 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Worth Reading: Fast Forward Opines, Breaks Down Net Neutrality

"The Internet has grown and prospered because of a principle built into its core design -- it's open to your imagination -- and that principle is worth defending," my colleague Rob Pegoraro says in his latest Fast Forward column. He does a great job of explaining net neutrality, the position...

By Cecilia Kang | September 25, 2009; 09:58 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Federal Judge Delays Google Books Hearing

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said Thursday he would delay the planned fairness hearing set for Oct. 7 in a New York federal court on Google's settlement for digital book rights with authors and publishers. Plaintiffs in the settlement--the authors and publishers--had asked for the delay after the Justice Department...

By Cecilia Kang | September 24, 2009; 08:56 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Report Questions Rumors Of DOJ Telecom Probe

SNL Financial is debunking a report in July that the Justice Department is investigating the telecommunications industry for anti-competitive practices. After the press report was released, the financial research firm with clients on Wall Street, filed a freedom of information request with Justice. Thursday, SNL reported that Justice responded that...

By Cecilia Kang | September 24, 2009; 05:45 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

FCC To Examine Wireless Broadband Demands

All those new iPhones and Blackberries are great for AT&T, Verizon, Sprint Nextel and other carriers for now. But if the pace of growth in smart phones keeps up, the networks carrying service to those phones run the risk of becoming overloaded. That's the scary scenario being painted by wireless...

By Cecilia Kang | September 24, 2009; 03:45 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

FCC 2009 Schedule for Open Meetings

The FCC has released its schedule for monthly meetings through the end of the year. Next week's meeting will be the first time you may hear banter from the five commissioners on net neutrality. The proposal for new rules won't be presented, however, until the Oct. 22 meeting. Tuesday, Sept....

By Cecilia Kang | September 24, 2009; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Skype: Net Neutrality's Global Corporate Champion

Meet the small and very happy lobbying group at Skype, one of the loudest voices for net neutrality from within the high-tech industry (The photo above shows, from left: Stephen Collins, global senior director of regulatory affairs; Staci Pies, director of government and regulatory affairs; Christopher Libertelli, senior director of...

By Cecilia Kang | September 24, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

One View on the Explosive Impact of Net Neutrality on Wireless

If you haven't read it already, check out my colleague Rob Pegoraro's breakdown of what net neutrality rules proposed by the FCC mean for users. In particular, check out what he says this means for mobile: This new net-neutrality deal could have more explosive effects on wireless broadband -- a...

By Cecilia Kang | September 23, 2009; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Today in Wash-Tech Land, Something Besides Net Neutrality

A couple things I'll be keeping one eye on today: Financial regulators will vote on an accounting change that could spell oodles more cash for Apple. Will I be able to register for a .ceciliakang domain name? The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on new domain names and intellectual...

By Cecilia Kang | September 23, 2009; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Senate Republicans Scrap Anti-Net Neutrality Push

Senate Republicans have stopped their push to prevent funding for the Federal Communication Commission as a protest of proposed net neutrality rules. "While we are still generally opposed to net neutrality regulations, we have decided to hold off on the amendment because [FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski] approached us and we...

By Cecilia Kang | September 22, 2009; 07:45 PM ET | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Authors and Publishers Ask Court to Postpone Google Books Trial

Book authors and publishers on Tuesday asked a federal court to postpone the Oct. 7 trial intended to determine the fairness of a deal they struck with Google over digital book search rights, saying they are trying to tweak their settlement arrangement and won't be able to finish in time....

By Cecilia Kang | September 22, 2009; 03:38 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Net Neutrality Questions Answered and Not

Okay, in case you missed it, check out the video from yesterday's announcement of new proposed net neutrality rules by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. And here's my story today. I moderated the panel afterward with some great discussion between Skype CEO Josh Silverman; Free Press Director of Policy Ben Scott;...

By Cecilia Kang | September 22, 2009; 08:20 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Republicans to Push Against Net Neutrality; FCC Says Start of Process

Senate Republicans moved Monday afternoon to prevent the FCC's proposed rules on net neutrality with an amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill that would tie up funding at the agency for new regulatory mandates. Observers said, however, that the move was unlikely to be approved in the Democrat-majority Congress. Senator...

By Cecilia Kang | September 21, 2009; 02:36 PM ET | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

FCC Wants to Be Smart Cop of Internet; Questions on Details Remain

The devil is always in the details. That's what Verizon's vice president of regulatory affairs, David Young, told me after the FCC announced its proposal Monday morning of new rules on how operators treat Web content and services on their networks. In his speech at the Brookings Institution, FCC Chairman...

By Cecilia Kang | September 21, 2009; 02:33 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

AT&T Says Keep Net Neutrality Rules Off Wireless

The battle over new rules on Web access proposed by the nation's chief communications regulator Monday will come down to the cellphone. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski outlined in a speech this morning two new guidelines that would prevent network operators from deliberately blocking content and services on networks....

By Cecilia Kang | September 21, 2009; 01:48 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

FCC Chairman's Net Neutrality Speech Text

Prepared Remarks of Chairman Julius Genachowski Federal Communications Commission "Preserving a Free and Open Internet: A Platform for Innovation, Opportunity, and Prosperity" The Brookings Institution Washington, DC September 21, 2009 I'd like to thank Brookings for hosting me and this discussion about the future of broadband and the Internet. We've...

By Kendra Nichols | September 21, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

What To Expect On FCC Chairman Net Neutrality Speech

In case you missed it yesterday (here in Washington, a glorious sunny day kept many off Twitter and e-mail), the FCC Chairman is expected this morning to introduce a sixth principle, on transparency--in addition to the fifth principle, on discrimination, we reported about on Friday. His speech takes place at...

By Cecilia Kang | September 21, 2009; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

FCC Will Get Passing Votes for Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission's proposal of new rules to prevent companies such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from deliberately blocking or slowing certain Web traffic is expected to receive a passing three votes out of the five-member agency, according to sources. The proposal, to be announced Monday by FCC Chairman...

By Cecilia Kang | September 20, 2009; 06:04 PM ET | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)

Reader Asks if Net Neutrality Rule Spells Higher Costs for Users

We have already received a number of interesting reader comments on FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's plans to propose net neutrality rules, which would prevent broadband providers from blocking or slowing Internet traffic tied to specific applications or services. Some readers see the move as nothing less than a government takeover...

By Cecilia Kang | September 18, 2009; 09:42 PM ET | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

FCC To Introduce Net Neutrality Rule

Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, plans to propose a new so-called net neutrality rule Monday that could prevent telecommunications, cable and wireless companies from blocking Internet applications, according to sources at the agency. Genachowski will discuss the rules Monday during a keynote speech at The Brookings Institute....

By Cecilia Kang | September 18, 2009; 02:15 PM ET | Comments (53) | TrackBack (0)

Google Goes Public: Apple Nixed Our App

Google on Friday released a previously confidential letter to the Federal Communications Commission that details how its partner and rival, Apple, rejected the search giant's Google Voice and mapping programs for the iPhone. The revelation sets the stage for what many in the high-tech and telecom industries expect to be...

By Cecilia Kang | September 18, 2009; 01:45 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Looking for Your Ideas, Questions for Upcoming Panel Discussion On Broadband and Mobile

I'll be moderating a panel next Monday on broadband and mobile tech at The Brookings Institution. The discussion will follow a speech by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, who in a recent House oversight hearing affirmed his commitment to creating a plan by February to bring broadband Internet to...

By Cecilia Kang | September 18, 2009; 08:25 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Net Neutrality Gets Boost From Key Congressman

Efforts to prevent network operators from blocking or slowing Internet traffic got a boost Thursday morning from Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, who said he would co-sign a bill that would codify net neutrality. During a subcommitee oversight hearing on the Federal Communications...

By Cecilia Kang | September 17, 2009; 02:14 PM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

FCC Oversight Hearing Underway

Check it out on www.cspan.org Still on opening comments by member of House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) says he will sign onto a net neutrality bill, a mild surprise. Republican counterparts warn against new net neutrality legislation, no surprise....

By Cecilia Kang | September 17, 2009; 11:38 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Google's Schmidt to Book Critics: Stop Whining

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt tells Search Engine Land that the growing army of opponents to his company's settlement with book authors and publishers should quit whining and come up with their own solutions. "I would like to hear from the critics a better solution to the problem as opposed...

By Cecilia Kang | September 17, 2009; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

In Facebook We Trust?

What American brands do consumers trust the most when it comes to privacy? It may surprise you to learn that Facebook ranked No. 10 in a new survey. The online social networking phenom has drawn heat from consumers and privacy advocates in recent years for sharing information about users' purchases...

By Cecilia Kang | September 17, 2009; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Microsoft Differs With AT&T Over Exclusion of Games From Broadband

What do you expect from your high-speed Internet connection? If you listen to AT&T, it wouldn't necessarily include the ability to play Halo or Call of Duty online, even as online gaming has become one of the most popular things to do on the Web. Microsoft and game makers, as...

By Cecilia Kang | September 17, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

FCC Heads To Capitol Hill For Hearing Thursday

The House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet plans to hold an oversight hearing of the Federal Communications Commission Thursday. The hearing will focus on progress of the national broadband plan to bring high-speed Internet to all American homes and businesses. Lawmakers will also review the slow progress of...

By Cecilia Kang | September 16, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Apple Gets Intel's Top Lawyer; Intel Contests E.U. Fine

Apple said today it's got a new top lawyer, Bruce Sewell from Intel, at a time when the maker of the iPhone and iPod faces greater regulatory scrutiny in Washington. Sewell will be Apple's senior vice president of legal and government affairs, replacing Daniel Cooperman, who will retire in September...

By Cecilia Kang | September 15, 2009; 03:58 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Lawmaker Vows to Take Up New Cellphone Cancer Concerns

Concerns over the effects of cellphone radiation have surfaced again in Washington, with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)'s pledge Monday to look more into the potential health dangers for users. Early fears of cancer connected to cellphone use have been swept under the rug as such organizations as the World Health...

By Cecilia Kang | September 15, 2009; 11:12 AM ET | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Share: Good Tech Policy Reads

Athens on the Net, where Anand Giridharadas of the International Herald Tribune/NYTimes explores what happens when the Web and government meet. Related, Julius Genachowski's FCC looks to be the most forward of Obama administration agencies to grasp Web 2.0. Not necessarily a must-read, but my very interesting conversation with Google's...

By Cecilia Kang | September 14, 2009; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Week Ahead: DOJ Comments On Google Books Due

Rising to the top of the list for me this week are the Justice Department's comments due Friday on the controversial digital books settlement struck between Google and book publishers and authors. The antitrust division of the DOJ will have until then to file comments to the the U.S. District...

By Cecilia Kang | September 14, 2009; 09:15 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Do U.S. Cell Phone Users Pay More?

Wireless lobbyists this week are circulating a Forbes story that refutes the methodology of a 30-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development report that showed U.S. cell phone users were paying more than any other users for service. What do you think?...

By Cecilia Kang | September 11, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Copyright Office Shows No Love for Google Books Deal

The U.S. Copyright office expressed concern Thursday over Google's settlement with authors and publishers for digital title rights. In a hearing by the House Judiciary Committee, the federal government's copyright authority said the deal could pave the way for Google to scan books into the future in a manner that...

By Cecilia Kang | September 10, 2009; 12:29 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Oracle Counters Europe Probe of Sun Deal With Ad Campaign

Oracle is responding to a probe by European regulators of its takeover of Sun Microsystems with an ad campaign in which it promises to continue making Sun software and hardware after the merger. The ad, on the front page of the European edition of the Wall Street Journal, doesn't mention...

By Cecilia Kang | September 10, 2009; 10:49 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Susan Crawford Tweets Again

Amid the cacophony of tweets Thursday night on President Obama's health-care speech to Congress, tech policy enthusiasts -- yes, there are lots of us -- got a jolt of excitement when Susan Crawford came out of hiding to post a brief message that said little more than that she was...

By Cecilia Kang | September 10, 2009; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

House Committee Takes Up Google Books Project

The battle over the future of digital books moves to the House on Thursday as the Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on Google's controversial settlement with book authors and publishers that would give the search giant access to millions of titles. The list of witnesses: ยท Mr. David C. Drummond,...

By Cecilia Kang | September 10, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Google Economist To Gov: Focus On The Present

At Wednesday's Gov 2.0, a conference in Washington D.C. meant to bring the federal government into the digital age, there was much talk about data. It's one of the Obama administration's favorite words. The president and his appointees are fond of telling Americans that the White House is taking a...

By Cecilia Kang | September 9, 2009; 05:00 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

At Gov 2.0 Conference, Web 2.0 Comes to Washington

The federal government should think more like Apple, Google and Microsoft. That's the message high-tech business leaders, engineers and government leaders will be preaching over the next few days at the Gov 2.0 conference in Washington. Underpinning the discussions at this year's event is the catch phrase "government as a...

By Cecilia Kang | September 9, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Arguments On Google Books Deal Flood Court

It was the last day to weigh in on the controversial deal between Google and book authors and publishers, and arguments for and against the $125 million legal settlement on digital book titles flooded in to a federal court Tuesday. A hearing to review the settlement is scheduled to take...

By Cecilia Kang | September 8, 2009; 05:34 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Google Goes Monopoly . . . the Board Game

If there's a word Google should avoid like the plague, it's "monopoly." Yet the online search giant, which is facing tough antitrust questions in Washington these days, is combining forces with toymaker Hasbro to create the world's biggest version of the class real estate board game using Google Maps. Set...

By Cecilia Kang | September 8, 2009; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Bill on the Way for Online Privacy

As expected for some months now, the House will soon take up the online privacy debate, according to a story Monday by the Associated Press. But a bill expected to be introduced by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-W.Va.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the...

By Cecilia Kang | September 8, 2009; 10:10 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More Time to Comment on Google Books Deal

Opponents of Google's controversial settlement with publishers and authors for its digital books project got a few more days to fine tune their arguments against the deal, which is being challenged in federal court, the Associated Press reported. Comments on the settlement had been due Friday in the U.S. District...

By Cecilia Kang | September 4, 2009; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

In Oracle-Sun Deal, Europeans Prove Tougher Than U.S. Regulators

After the Justice Department's approval last month of software giant Oracle's $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems, European regulators put up another obstacle to the merger. The European Commission said Thursday morning it launched an in-depth investigation into the merger to see whether Oracle was committed to developing Sun's rival...

By Cecilia Kang | September 3, 2009; 10:40 AM ET | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

House Reviews Google Books Deal

Google's controversial settlement with book authors and publishers for its digital books project will received increased scrutiny as the House Judiciary Committee plans a hearing next Thursday, Sept. 10, on the issue. The hearing will be a review of competition in the market for digital books. The settlement is already...

By Cecilia Kang | September 3, 2009; 10:10 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Genachowski Begins at FCC; Announces Senior Staff

Julius Genachowski was sworn in today as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, beginning a tenure that is expected to bring more attention to new mobile and Internet technologies. Genachowski also announced his key staff, stressing the private and public sector experience they will bring to the agency. Genachowski has...

By Cecilia Kang | June 29, 2009; 04:42 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Levin Returns to FCC; Helps Lead National Broadband Plan

Telecom analyst Blair Levin, a technology adviser for President Obama during his presidential campaign and transition, will be heading to the Federal Communications Commission to help coordinate the agency's national broadband plan. The FCC made the announcement in a release today. Levin, a managing director at Stifel Nicolaus, is a...

By Cecilia Kang | June 5, 2009; 03:29 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Obama Nominates McDowell for Second FCC Term

President Obama today nominated Robert McDowell, a Republican commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, to serve another term at the watchdog agency. The nomination leaves one remaining open seat at the FCC, which is expected to be filled by former Commerce Department official Meredith Atwell Baker, a Republican. The Senate...

By Cecilia Kang | June 2, 2009; 05:40 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hearings for Obama's FCC Pick Expected This Month

A senate confirmation hearing for President Obama's pick to head the Federal Communications Commission is expected to occur by the middle of this month as it appeared Republican leaders in the Senate have agreed on their picks for two spots in the five-commission agency, according to sources close to the...

By Cecilia Kang | June 1, 2009; 03:31 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Verizon's Seidenberg Chats With the Post

Verizon Communications' biggest fear from Washington regulators:New rules on net neutrality that would prevent the company from charging more for consuming more data and providing extra services on their network. Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon's chief executive, talked about the prospect of such rules yesterday in a broad-ranging conversation with reporters and...

By Monica Norton | May 28, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

And Still No FCC Chair

The Senate hearing to review President Obama's pick for Federal Communications Commission chair Julius Genachowski has been postponed until after Memorial Day, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee said today. Industry insiders with knowledge of lawmakers' thinking said Republicans are expected to put forth Meredith Atwell Baker, former acting...

By Monica Norton | May 7, 2009; 07:04 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

British Telecom Chairman Says Open Access Key to Broadband Growth

Five years ago, Britain's largest telecommunication's service provider was forced to do what at the time seemed like a losing proposition. Regulators required BT, formerly called British Telecom, to open its networks to competitors to lease, and for use by any device and software application. By doing so, BT and...

By Cecilia Kang | May 1, 2009; 04:23 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Clyburn To FCC, But Still Waiting on Genachowski Confirmation

Seats on the Federal Communications Commission are slowly being filled. Yesterday President Obama named Mignon Clyburn, of the South Carolina Public Service Commission, to an empty Democratic slot. That leaves just one Republican position left to be filled in the five-seat agency that has been charged to come up with...

By Cecilia Kang | April 30, 2009; 02:54 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Google's Schmidt, Microsoft's Mundie Named Obama Tech Advisers

President Obama today named high-tech heavyweights Eric Schmidt of Google and Craig Mundie of Microsoft as technology advisers. The two will join academic scholars, researchers, and business leaders in the sciences as part of Obama's Science and Technology Advisory Council, the administration announced. "The council represents leaders from many scientific...

By Cecilia Kang | April 27, 2009; 03:23 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Rural Broadband Riddle: Feedback and More to Come

The comments are rolling on the Rural Broadband story in today. I'd like to feature one comment that raises the point that the two towns featured are different in many ways -- population, education rates (one is located near an interstate highway.) Of course these factors weigh on the economic...

By Cecilia Kang | April 23, 2009; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

AT&T: 1Q Profits Down, iPhone Customers Up

Phone giant AT&T said today its first quarter profit dropped 9.7 percent due to weakness in its traditional wireline phone business. The earnings were, however, above analysts' expectations. Wireline revenues fell 5.4 percent, as the rate of people cutting traditional phone service fell 12 percent. There was some positive news...

By Cecilia Kang | April 22, 2009; 11:08 AM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Cell Phone Cancellation Fees For Laid Off Workers Under Fire

Consumer interest groups today called on major cell phone carriers to waive cancellation penalties for subscribers who have lost their jobs. The fines, called early termination fees, are among the most contentious consumer issues for cell phone customers and are being fought in multi-million dollar court battles by consumers who...

By Cecilia Kang | April 21, 2009; 05:59 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Time Warner Stops Pay-As-Use Internet Tests

Time Warner Cable said today it will stop testing a new pricing model where customers were being charged for how much Internet bandwidth they used after public uproar against the billing practice. The cable television and Internet service provider was testing the consumption-based service in Beaumont, Texas and planned to...

By Cecilia Kang | April 16, 2009; 04:37 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

FCC Starts Broadband Plan with Broad Scope

The Federal Communications Commission has begun the process of mapping out a plan to bring high-speed Internet service to the entire nation, starting with questions on how to increase its availability, improve its quality of service, and make that service more affordable. In a meeting earlier today, acting Chairman Michael...

By Cecilia Kang | April 8, 2009; 05:00 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Comcast CEO Looks Forward to Fresh Start With New FCC Chair

It's no secret that Comcast underwent several bruising years of regulatory squabbling with the Federal Communications Commission when it was headed by former Chairman Kevin Martin. Martin pushed to reform cable pricing, which Comcast opposed. And he also sided with public interest groups and high-tech firms who complained that the...

By Cecilia Kang | April 1, 2009; 06:23 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Skype On iPhone, But Not ATT's 3G Network

Internet phone service provider Skype said it will offer an iPhone application tomorrow, a move that will allow users of the service to place free international phone calls on the Apple device over WiFi networks. But if you want to make a call to London while riding on the bus...

By Cecilia Kang | March 30, 2009; 06:00 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Strickling to NTIA, Completes Obama's Big Broadband Jobs

The nomination of Lawrence Strickling last week to head the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which advises the White House on technology issues, moves the administration closer to kick-starting its plan to bring broadband to the masses. Jonathan Adelstein, a Democratic commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, was also nominated...

By Cecilia Kang | March 30, 2009; 04:38 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Obama Broadband Internet Plan Short on Details, First Wave of Grants In April

The Obama administration yesterday unveiled the first steps of its plan to pour $8 billion into the construction of new broadband Internet networks around the nation. And while many details haven't been finalized on how the stimulus money will be spent and who will qualify for the grants, interest in...

By Cecilia Kang | March 10, 2009; 03:14 PM ET | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

Obama's $8B Broadband Plan Launches Tuesday

Next Tuesday, the White House will launch its high-speed Internet plan using more than $8 billion in stimulus funds. Leaders from the Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture and Federal Communications Commission will meet to discuss how the different agencies will use the funds to rural and other areas that...

By Cecilia Kang | March 6, 2009; 04:15 PM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Obama Tech Adviser Lays Out Telecom Policy Roadmap

A leading technology advisor to President Obama said in a research note for his investment firm today that privacy and net neutrality will be among the biggest telecommunications issues facing the Federal Communications Commission and the administration going forward. Analyst Blair Levin, who was the co-lead of Obama's technology and...

By Cecilia Kang | March 6, 2009; 02:45 PM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Readers Help Family Caught In Digital Divide

Since we ran Saturday's story "One Step Off The Superhighway" on the digital divide in urban areas, more than a dozen people have called or sent e-mails with offers of help the family featured in the article. Many wanted to donate or buy Judith Theodore a computer or help pay...

By Cecilia Kang | March 5, 2009; 03:29 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Julius Genachowski Nominated to Chair FCC

President Obama announced today the nomination of his technology adviser and law school friend Julius Genachowski to head the Federal Communications Commission, the government's regulatory body in charge of telecommunications, media, and Internet policy. Genachowski will take over the FCC at a time of sweeping technological change with the convergence...

By Cecilia Kang | March 3, 2009; 03:17 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Obama Tech Adviser Says More to Come on Broadband Push

A tech adviser to President Obama said today that $7.2 billion in stimulus funds to bring broadband lines to rural areas is just the start of the administration's plan to bring high-speed Internet to the entire nation. Alec Ross, a member of Obama's Technology, Innovation and Government Reform Team, said...

By Cecilia Kang | February 18, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Obama Adviser Says Genachowski To Head FCC

Perhaps it was a slip of the tongue. David Axelrod, President Obama's senior adviser, this weekend gave about as official a confirmation we've heard yet of Julius Genachowski's nomination to head the Federal Communications Commission. In an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, Axelrod was asked about the...

By Cecilia Kang | February 17, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Google Investor Sits on Obama's Econ Advisory Board

President Barack Obama's newly formed economic advisory board includes some high-tech heavyweights who will have a direct line of communication to the new administration as it races to stem the worsening economic crisis. The members include Silicon Valley venture capital veteran and Google funder John Doerr, and Chuck Phillips, president...

By Cecilia Kang | February 6, 2009; 03:27 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Obama Assures Tech Titans on Stimulus Plan Approval

As President Obama works to get a stimulus plan approved by Congress this week, he offered encouraging words to a gathering in agreement on his push: Corporate America. "I'm confident we're going to get it passed," Obama said in the meeting in which Google CEO Eric Schmidt and IBM Chairman...

By Cecilia Kang | January 28, 2009; 02:22 PM ET | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Interim FCC Chief Takes Over 'Demoralized' Agency

Michael J. Copps has taken over the Federal Communications Commission, and according to many sources within the agency, he's got his work cut out for him as acting chairman as he tries to repair the spirit of the agency. Copps was appointed acting chairman of the agency last week by...

By washingtonpost.com Editors | January 26, 2009; 05:20 PM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

FCC Chair Headed to Aspen Institute

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin, a rising star of the Bush administration who angered many in his own party with a push to reform cable pricing, said today he will leave the agency upon the handover of the new administration. The Bush appointee said in a statement that...

By Monica Norton | January 15, 2009; 04:08 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

House Stimulus Plan to Include Funds For Broadband

The House Committee on Appropriations today released details of an economic stimulus package that would include $6 billion in grants to bring high-speed Internet lines to rural and other underserved areas. The committee, headed by Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wi), also called for $650 million for the National Telecommunications and Information...

By Monica Norton | January 15, 2009; 01:28 PM ET | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Markey Gets Energy Subcommittee Chair

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass), a veteran lawmaker who has fought against nuclear power and advocated for higher fuel-efficiency standards in automobiles, will take over the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, according to a report today in the Boston Globe. Markey, who currently heads the House...

By Monica Norton | January 8, 2009; 12:20 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lawmakers Push FCC To Focus on DTV and Delay Other Votes

The soon-departing chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is trying to cram several complex and controversial policies through in his remaining weeks. This week, lawmakers and the Bush administration have been telling him to cool it. Today, two key lawmakers told Kevin J. Martin to focus on the digital television...

By Monica Norton | December 12, 2008; 05:16 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

House Probe of FCC Finds "Egregious Abuses of Power"

A year-long Congressional investigation of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin found "egregious abuses of power," though it was unclear whether the nation's top telecommunications regulator broke any rules or laws during his leadership. The report released today on the probe, titled "Deception and Distrust" and led by Reps....

By Peter Whoriskey | December 9, 2008; 11:03 AM ET | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0)

Carlyle's Hawaiian Telecom Bet Goes Belly Up

When private equity giant Carlyle Group announced its purchase of Hawaiian Telecom for $1.65 billion, its resident telecom guru and former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Bill Kennard called it an "exciting opportunity" that was expected to add many new jobs. Fast forward four years and the troubled telecommunications firm, saddled...

By Cecilia Kang | December 1, 2008; 06:30 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

FCC To Propose Free, No-Porn Internet Network

In the remaining weeks of his tenure, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin will push for a free, no-porn wireless Internet network across the nation, according to the agency. Martin is expected to put his proposal for the free Internet network on the agency's Dec. 18 meeting agenda despite...

By Cecilia Kang | December 1, 2008; 05:30 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Obama Names Team To Create "Innovation Agenda"

President-elect Barack Obama today unveiled who will oversee his "Innovation Agenda," a set of policy proposals that aim to make government operations more transparent, use high-technology to create jobs and get average citizens more involved in government. Lead members of the group, Blair Levin, Sonal Shah and Julius Genachowski, will...

By Cecilia Kang | November 25, 2008; 04:25 PM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)

Telecom, Google Vets to Write Obama Tech Policy Priorities

President-elect Barack Obama has named two telecom industry and policy veterans and a leader of Google's philanthropy arm to craft the new administration's high-tech policy priorities. The policy working group on Technology, Innovation and Government Reform will "develop.... proposals and plans from the Obama Campaign for action during the Obama-Biden...

By Cecilia Kang | November 19, 2008; 04:00 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cellphone Sales Expected to Decline in 2009

When the going gets tough, people usually hang on to their cellphones. But it's likely they won't get new ones as global economic uncertainty cramps consumer spending, according to cellphone makers and analysts. That means a slowdown in sales of handsets -- cellphones and smart phones -- that in recent...

By Cecilia Kang | November 17, 2008; 03:11 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

AT&T Changing Tune On Net Neutrality?

At the center of president-elect Barack Obama's technology agenda is net neutrality and access to broadband in underserved areas. And on net neutrality, it has been pretty clear where folks in the telecom industry stood. Republican lawmakers and regulators at the FCC have called it a solution looking for a...

By Cecilia Kang | November 14, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Obama Picks High-Tech and Washington Veteran to Transition Team

A veteran of Internet business operations and Washington tech policy was named to President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, a move that could signal the prominence of high-tech policy in the new administration. Julius Genachowski, a former executive of Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp, will help Obama choose members of his new administration,...

By Cecilia Kang | November 5, 2008; 06:03 PM ET | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

DOJ Approves Verizon Merger with Alltel

The Department of Justice this afternoon approved the $28.1 billion merger between Verizon Wireless and rural carrier Alltel to create the nation's largest wireless company on the condition the merged company divest assets in 100 markets to ensure competition. Before becoming official, the merger must pass final regulatory approval by...

By Cecilia Kang | October 30, 2008; 04:42 PM ET | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Dingell Writes FCC on White Spaces Proposal

A key lawmaker today called on the Federal Communications Commission to respond to questions about the agency's proposed order to use television "white spaces" for unlicensed broadband wireless services. Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin J....

By Cecilia Kang | October 24, 2008; 06:00 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sprint's Hesse Says Wireless Less Hurt by Econ; What about Big Debts?

Sprint Nextel chief executive Dan Hesse said today that the wireless industry is stable compared to the auto sector, for example, amid the global market turmoil. He said consumers see their cell phones as a necessity and won't drop their service contracts even in tough economic times. His comments, made...

By Cecilia Kang | October 24, 2008; 05:43 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Want T-Mobile's Google Phone? Not in D.C.

T-Mobile's much anticipated G1 phone running on Google's Android software went on sale today across the nation -- except in the Washington region. Here, you can walk into a T-Mobile retail store and play with a G1, the latest souped-up smart phone to hit the market. But you can't take...

By Cecilia Kang | October 22, 2008; 04:57 PM ET | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Slow Down? What Slow Down?

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- The economy may be in turmoil with financial markets swinging wildly amid investor uncertainty, but at T-Mobile, the nation's fourth largest wireless carrier in terms of subscribers, there is no plan to slow down on deployment of 3G wireless broadband services. I sat down with Neville Ray,...

By Monica Norton | October 17, 2008; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Is The Timing Right for WiMax?

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Timing in the extremely capital intensive telecommunications industry can make or break a company. For WiMax carrier Clearwire, their timing is both really good and really bad. It's good in that the broadband wireless service operator sealed its merger agreement with Sprint Nextel last May, before the...

By Monica Norton | October 16, 2008; 10:18 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

FCC Wants to Know If Gov't Paid Military Officers To Sell War

The Federal Communications Commission today said it has launched a probe into allegations that the Department of Defense paid former military officers to present favorable view of the war in Iraq on television shows. The allegations were brought to light by The New York Times in April, and key lawmakers...

By Cecilia Kang | October 8, 2008; 05:20 PM ET | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Chat with FCC's McDowell; Sees More Media Rules Under Dems

Federal Communications Commissioner Robert McDowell dropped by The Washington Post yesterday to meet with some members of the paper's editorial board and newsroom. McDowell said the FCC has set an ambitious agenda for the rest of the year, and time is running short. Whether Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) or Sen....

By Cecilia Kang | October 7, 2008; 05:50 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Sirius Unveils New Pricing Plans, But Cost Benefits Unclear

Newly merged Sirius XM Radio unveiled today a dizzying range of new pricing plans for its programming, as part of an agreement with the Federal Communications Commission to approve their merger. While consumers are given more choices, it's not always clear they are getting cost benefits from the nation's sole...

By Cecilia Kang | October 2, 2008; 01:47 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Verizon Appoints Milch Top Lawyer

Telecommunications giant Verizon Communications named Randal S. Milch general counsel, replacing William P. Barr who will retire at the end of the year. Milch is a Verizon insider, who joined the Basking Ridge, N.J.-based firm in 1993. His new role as the company's top attorney will begin Oct. 15 and...

By Cecilia Kang | October 2, 2008; 11:20 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sirius Execs Get Seriously Paid, According to Filings

The salaries of newly appointed Sirius XM Radio executives were revealed today by the company in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Dara F. Altman, Sirius' chief administrative office and an executive vice president, will get $446,332 for each year of her three-year contract. The 50-year-old former XM...

By Cecilia Kang | October 1, 2008; 05:36 PM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

FCC Finally Fills Long Vacant Chief Technologist Post

The Federal Communications Commission appointed a Carnegie Mellon University professor as its new chief technologist, a position that has been vacant for the last three years. Jon M. Peha, a professor of electrical engineering and public policy, started his one-year assignment today. He was picked by Chairman Kevin J. Martin...

By Cecilia Kang | October 1, 2008; 04:27 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sprint Xohm Plans to Limit Bandwidth for Heavy Internet Usage

In Sprint Nextel's unveiling of its new Xohm WiMax service in Baltimore, it also revealed rules for using its service that one public interest group warns may prevent users from full and unfettered access to the Web. At question is Sprint's Acceptable Use and Network Management Policy for its high-speed...

By Cecilia Kang | September 29, 2008; 05:57 PM ET | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

Lawmakers Caution FCC To Slow Down On Safety Auction Rules

With the Federal Communications Commission poised to vote tomorrow on a new plan to auction off spectrum for public safety first responders, some key lawmakers are urging the agency to slow down. In a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin earlier this week, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John...

By Cecilia Kang | September 24, 2008; 01:34 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Companies Fight For Cell Phone Use on Planes

Passengers on Emirates Air flights between Dubai and London can now call home on their cell phones from thousands of miles up in the air. The European Union has lifted restrictions for airline cell phone use, opening the door for passengers to soon use their Blackberries and other smart phones...

By Cecilia Kang | September 17, 2008; 12:59 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Web Users Hate Targeted Online Ads, But That's Not Stopping Them

Looks like convenience beats fears of Big Brother. Seven out of 10 Internet users of Web-based applications like Gmail or Photoshop said they would be "very concerned" if the companies that run those technologies analyzed personal data for targeted ads, according to a survey released today by the Pew Internet...

By Cecilia Kang | September 12, 2008; 02:19 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Do Text Messages Cost Too Much?

A key lawmaker and a consumer group are pressuring wireless carriers to explain why prices for text messages have doubled in the last three years as the technology has surged in popularity over the same period. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee, sent a letter earlier this...

By Cecilia Kang | September 11, 2008; 04:28 PM ET | Comments (39) | TrackBack (0)

Eyes on Sirius XM's Karmazin Speech Tuesday

After Sirius and XM Radio's hard and long-fought regulatory victory for merger, a whole new fight is underway to follow through on all those promises to Wall Street and Washington policymakers: to find those "synergies" that will help the newly formed company better complete with an onslaught of new technologies....

By Cecilia Kang | September 5, 2008; 11:01 AM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Bohigian, close adviser to Chair, leaves FCC

Could this be the start of a change in guard at the Federal Communications Commission? Catherine Bohigian, chief of the office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis, announced Friday that she is leaving the agency Sept. 5 to join Cablevision Systems Corp. The office is charged with advising FCC chairman,...

By Cecilia Kang | August 29, 2008; 04:46 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Sprint Adds Location-based Apps to WiMax in Baltimore

Imagine walking down a Baltimore street and by using your WiMax-enabled Sprint phone, you are told a mile down on the left, you can get find your favorite Five Guys burger. But you may need to go down a different street to get there because roads are blocked by police...

By Cecilia Kang | August 28, 2008; 02:37 PM ET | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

XM-Sirius Merger Decision Could Come Today

The five members of the Federal Communications Commission are at a split 2-2 vote on the merger of XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio with Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein announcing today his vote against the union. That leaves just Republican Commissioner, Deborah Tate, to decide whether the companies can create...

By Cecilia Kang | July 23, 2008; 02:00 PM ET | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)

Craigslist Founder Chats with The Post

Craig Newmark, the founder of online classified site Craigslist, stopped by The Post today to proclaim his admiration and support for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. And in case we weren't convinced of his conviction, Newmark proved it by showing off his Obama wristwatch with gold hour and minute hands...

By Cecilia Kang | June 19, 2008; 05:24 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Apple Delivers Cheaper, Faster iPhone

Well, they did it. Apple, the Silicon Valley master of marketing, managed to deliver on the hype that led up to the unveiling today of a new iPhone. Steve Jobs unveils the new iPhone model in San Francisco on Monday. (Bloomberg) Standing in front of a large interstate road marker...

By Cecilia Kang | June 9, 2008; 02:59 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

iPhone iNsanity

Few product announcements have been as overplayed and overanalyzed as Apple's release of its next generation iPhone. And that's even before anyone outside of the Cupertino campus has seen it. (Courtesy Apple) Today, in less than two hours, folks, the company may unveil a new version of the phone at...

By Cecilia Kang | June 9, 2008; 11:41 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Google's Page Talks Wireless Policy

Google's billionaire co-founder, Larry Page, is in Washington this week talking up one of his biggest passions these days: spectrum policy. Pretty wonky stuff for an Internet search engine that makes its money from online advertising. But the Mountain View company doesn't want to become the next AT&T or Verizon...

By Cecilia Kang | May 22, 2008; 01:53 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wi-Fi Warning: That Person Next To You May Be A Hacker

Next time you flip open your laptop as you wait for a flight or work at a coffee shop, beware, says the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The person next to you may be stealing your personal bank account information, address book and other files from your computer. The agency warned...

By Cecilia Kang | May 9, 2008; 04:34 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sitting Down With ATT's De la Vega--And His Gadgets

AT&T Mobility Chief Executive Ralph de la Vega's got a heavy bag. On a daily basis, he carries an iPhone, Blackberry, BlackJack and Vu. "But the problem is all those chargers; I have to carry four different chargers for the phones which makes my bag really heavy," he said during...

By | April 3, 2008; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Chatting with Verizon Wireless's Lowell McAdam

I sat down this morning with Verizon Wireless Chief Executive Lowell McAdam to talk about the company's recent $9.5 billion purchase of radio spectrum, it moves to open its existing networks, and the hottest applications for cell phone users today. But mostly, he was still riding high on Federal Communications...

By Sara Goo | April 2, 2008; 01:32 PM ET | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

Whatever Happened To Sprint's WiMax Venture?

Notable news from the CTIA wireless conference in Las Vegas today (aside from FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's dismissal of Skype's open wireless petition) was the lack of news from Sprint Nextel on its WiMax venture with Clearwire, cable operators Comcast and Time Warner and Silicon Valley giants Google and Intel....

By | April 1, 2008; 07:18 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

FCC Auction Nears End, but Questions Abound

The Federal Communication Commission's auction of valuable 700 mhz radio spectrum is entering the final stretch. As bids trickle in for the five blocks of spectrum, a couple things are certain: The auction has raised $20 billion, double what the FCC expected to raise from the auction. And the block...

By Cecilia Kang | March 7, 2008; 02:46 PM ET | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

VC Kleiner Perkins Gives iPhone $100 Mln Boost

Apple's iPhone just got a big iBoost from Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which said it has set up a $100 million fund for investments in companies focused on developing applications and services just for the iPhone and iPod. John Doerr, the pioneering partner of...

By Cecilia Kang | March 6, 2008; 05:32 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

New Head of NTIA

The door at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration keeps on revolving. Yesterday, President Bush nominated Vice President Cheney's head of policy, Neil Suryakant Patel, to be Acting Secretary for Communications and Information at the Department of Commerce. Patel will replace Merideth Attwell Baker, the interim head since last November,...

By Cecilia Kang | March 6, 2008; 05:01 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Moves: FCC General Counsel Feder Leaves for Law Firm

Samuel Feder, the general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission, is leaving his post of about three years to become a partner at law firm Jenner & Block. Feder, who has worked closely with Chairman Kevin Martin since coming to the FCC in 2001, will be replaced by Matthew Berry,...

By Cecilia Kang | February 28, 2008; 01:48 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sprint Enters Price Wars, Creating Full-Fledged Battle for Customers

It's on. Sprint---which today announced it swung to a loss---said it will enter the flat-fee wireless price war initiated by Verizon Wireless last week and followed soon after by AT&T and T-Mobile. Unable to stay out of the battle to lure customers with flat monthly fees for wireless services, Sprint...

By Cecilia Kang | February 28, 2008; 09:57 AM ET | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Lessig's Bid for Congress Ends As Quickly As Begins

Never mind! Days after publicly mulling a bid for Congress on his Web site, Stanford law professor, Lawrence Lessig, said he won't be making the bid after all. Lessig, a Silicon Valley icon and champion of open Internet policies, had contemplated last week running for the seat vacated by the...

By Cecilia Kang | February 27, 2008; 02:34 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Stanford's Lessig, Open Internet Crusader, Mulls Run for Congress

Lawrence Lessig, the Stanford law professor and open Internet crusader, announced on his blog that he is mulling a run for the House of Representatives. The potential run is part of his new crusade to change Washington, by reducing the power of lobbyists and their influence on lawmakers. Lessig, a...

By Cecilia Kang | February 21, 2008; 06:04 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

T-Mobile Enters Wireless Price War

The wireless price battle just intensified with T-Mobile joining in, announcing a competing $99 flat-rate plan for its wireless phone service, this time with unlmiited text, picture and instant messaging included in the $99 monthly fee....

By Cecilia Kang | February 19, 2008; 04:29 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Verizon and AT&T Ignite Price War

AT&T and Verizon Wireless today announced flat-rate subscription plans that would give customers unlimited calling time for $99 a month to anywhere in the nation. The plans, announced first by Verizon and then matched by AT&T hours later, has ignited a pricing war that will likely pressure struggling Sprint Nextel...

By Cecilia Kang | February 19, 2008; 03:09 PM ET | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

FCC Chair To Push for Liberty Deal with News Corp.

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said today he will propose that the agency approve Liberty Media's acquisition of News Corp's stake in DirecTV. In a meeting with reporters, Kevin Martin said commissioners may vote on the deal on or before the agency's meeting scheduled meeting on Feb. 26....

By Cecilia Kang | February 8, 2008; 04:13 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

FCC Roundup - 2009 Budget and Auction Update

The Federal Communications Commission today proposed a fiscal year budget for 2009 of $338.9 million, up from $313 million in 2008. Large chunks of spending would go to educating consumers on the conversion of analog television to digital television and better oversight of its Universal Service Fund. The budget includes...

By Cecilia Kang | February 4, 2008; 05:32 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

 

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