Because every American
should have access
to broadband Internet.

The Internet Innovation Alliance is a broad-based coalition of business and non-profit organizations that aim to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to the critical tool that is broadband Internet. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that support equal opportunity for universal broadband availability and adoption so that everyone, everywhere can seize the benefits of the Internet - from education to health care, employment to community building, civic engagement and beyond.

The Podium

Thursday, April 22

Moving Forward with the Plan

By Brad

Despite its recent loss in federal court, the FCC is soldiering on with the National Broadband Plan. Up first: Universal Service Fund reform. From Network World:

The FCC voted to launch a notice of inquiry (NOI) and a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in an effort to phase out the US$4.6-billion-a-year, high-cost Universal Service Fund and replace it with a broadband deployment fund. The FCC’s national broadband plan, released in March, recommended that the agency spend $15.5 billion over the next 10 years to subsidize broadband in rural and other hard-to-reach areas, and Wednesday’s action is the first step needed to transform the USF.

One Spammer Down…

By Brad

A federal jury has dealt a blow to at least one “Nigerian scammer.” From the U.S. Attorney’s Office press release:

Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal jury in Bridgeport has found OKPAKO MIKE DIAMREYAN, 31, a citizen of Nigeria who sometimes resided in Accra, Ghana, guilty of three counts of wire fraud stemming from an alleged “advance fee” scam. The trial began on February 11 and the jury returned its verdict this afternoon.

Mr. Diamreyan has been sentenced to 20 years in prison, along with a fine of $250,000 for each count.

Fiber Highways

By Bruce Mehlman

In a positive step for America’s digital infrastructure, the so-called “ditch-digging bill” — which would require broadband fiber to be laid during construction of new roads and highways — has received backing from Rep. Henry Waxman {D-Calif.), the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Business Plans

By Brad

For the past two years, online video site Hulu has been giving content away to viewers. But as the Los Angeles Times reports, that business model is about to change:

Hulu, the popular online site for watching television shows, plans to begin testing a subscription service as soon as May 24, according to people with knowledge of the plans.

Under the proposal, Hulu would continue to provide for free the five most recent episodes of shows like Fox’s “Glee,” “ABC’s “Lost” or NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” But viewers who want to see additional episodes would pay $9.95 a month to access a more comprehensive selection, called Hulu Plus, these people said.

Hulu currently ranks only behind YouTube when it comes to online viewers. It will be interesting to see what this new plan does to their traffic.

Rumor of the Day

By Brad

According to the London Evening Standard, Apple wants to buy ARM Holdings. Why would this be a big deal? TechCrunch provides an answer:

[I]f they did this, it would mean that almost all of Apple’s main competitors would likely have to find new chips to power their devices. While ARM doesn’t make the chips itself, it licenses out its technology to others who make the chips that go into Nokia, Sony, Samsung, HTC, and many, many other phones. This includes the iPhone and even the iPad, whose custom A4 chip is still based on ARM architecture. This also, obviously, includes phones that run Google’s Android software.

In other words, the already explosive smart phone market would suddenly be thrown into chaos. Stay tuned…

Wednesday, April 21

Transparency is Key

By Bruce Mehlman

Penning a joint op-ed for the New York Times, six professors and researchers from such institutions as Georgetown, Stanford, and University of California, Berkeley, urge the FCC and Congress to take a page from Europe when it comes to net neutrality and new regulations on the Internet:

As American policymakers decide what should be done about net neutrality, they would do well to consider the precedents set by Europe’s new framework. The goal should be to develop — through a deliberative process involving regulators, the public and affected companies — industry-wide disclosure requirements that provide consumers with easy-to-interpret information on company-based limitations on access, use of services or applications.

When it comes to the Internet and net neutrality, ensuring transparency promises to enhance the evolution of this dynamic market. Imposing heavy-handed rules about how providers can operate will only hinder it.


Going After Google

By Brad

When it comes to the increasingly lucrative realm of online advertising, there’s little doubt that Google dominates. And as the San Francisco Chronicle reports, that domination isn’t sitting well with a consumer group:

Consumer Watchdog, the Santa Monica group that’s proving a perpetual thorn in the side of Google Inc., plans to call on the Justice Department to launch an antitrust action against the search giant and seek remedies including a possible break up.

The consumer organization, which secured grants from the Rose Foundation of Oakland specifically to investigate Google’s privacy practices, plans to make the announcement at a press conference titled “The Antitrust Case Against Google” in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.

We, as an organization, have concluded that there’s enough evidence on the table to warrant this, to go beyond the reactive steps that the regulatory agencies have followed up until now,” said John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog.

That’s not the only headache headed for the online giant. Yesterday, officials from 10 countries — including Germany, Canada, and France — sent a letter to Google expressing concerns over the company’s privacy efforts, specifically the botched February launch of Google Buzz, their entry into microblogging. From the letter (PDF):

[W]e are increasingly concerned that, too often, the privacy rights of the world’s citizens are being forgotten as Google rolls out new technological applications. We were disturbed by your recent rollout of the Google Buzz social networking application, which betrayed a disappointing disregard for fundamental privacy norms and laws. Moreover, this was not the first time you have failed to take adequate account of privacy considerations when launching new services.

The privacy problems associated with your initial global rollout of Google Buzz on February 9, 2010 were serious and ought to have been readily apparent to you.

The Google mantra has always been “Don’t be evil.” But as with any company, the bigger you are the more you are in the crosshairs. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that, Google has increased its federal lobbying spending by 57% in the first quarter of this year alone.

Tuesday, April 20

IIA Video:  Engaging the Young


Cornell Belcher discusses organizing young demographics through the Internet.

The Public as Regulator

By Brad

As various organizations and interest groups declare that the Internet is doomed in the wake of the FCC’s loss in its case against Comcast, BitTorrent CEO Eric Klinker — whose company was at the center of the case — has a different take on the FCC’s apparent lack of authority when it comes to regulating the Internet. Reports PC World:

Carriers probably won’t try to be gatekeepers against certain websites or Internet-based services because the steps they would have to take, [Klinker] said.

“For example, if (carriers) wanted to extract a rent from Google, one of the carriers in this room is going to have to blink first and block Google,” Klinker said. The greater threat to the Internet may be Apple’s “feudal” approach to the Internet, he said. Apple has come under fire for controlling access to popular, lucrative platforms of its own creation, such as iTunes and the iPhone App Store.

Most people basically want net neutrality, so it would be hard for carriers to justify network management measures that are seen as discriminatory, Klinker said. What consumers will embrace are moves to ease congestion during busy times.

The Unintended Consequences of Title II

By Bruce Mehlman

In an op-ed for CNet, Larry Downs from the Stanford Law School Center for Internet & Society examines some of the many issues involved with reclassifying broadband as a Title II type service:

Although the objective of that fight might simply be to enact Net neutrality rules and otherwise leave broadband providers alone (for now), expect to find some odd bedfellows joining the resistance. The communications industry, which has operated for the last several years under the belief that unregulated broadband Internet was settled law, would lead the charge. But there are plenty of other constituencies that would object to the FCC’s playing fast and loose with its governing statute.

That includes members of Congress who might otherwise be sympathetic to the Net neutrality cause but worried about an agency usurping legislative power. The courts, which believe that they are the only ones that get to reverse court decisions, might also prove hostile to the idea of upending Brand X on the mere promise of a “good reason.”

Consumers, too, might find common cause with the antireclassification movement. Even if some consumers like the idea of FCC-enforced Net neutrality rules, most Americans are justifiably skeptical of untethered legislating by unelected civil servants.

Given the legislative and legal mess reclassifying broadband could lead to, it’s not wonder Chairman Julius Genachowski told the Senate Commerce Committee the FCC hasn’t “settled on a path forward” yet.

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