Tuesday, April 13
When addressing the critical need for more spectrum in the National Broadband Plan, the FCC offered a plan that would encourage broadcasters to voluntarily give up some of their spectrum. The broadcasters would then receive some of the proceeds once that spectrum was auctioned off.
But as The Hill reports, this idea isn’t sitting well with many broadcasters. Case in point: Gordon Smith, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, who compared the plan to something out of The Godfather.
Between broadcasters and a possible move to classify broadband as a Title II service, the FCC is going to have a lot of fights on its hands in the coming months.
With somewhere around 50 million “tweets” a day, Twitter definitely has a social impact. Up until now, though, the service has ignored chances to monetize all its activity. That’s about to change. From the official Twitter blog:
We hope you’ll share in our enthusiasm as today we unveil a simple service we’re calling Promoted Tweets. It’s non-traditional, it’s easy, and it makes a ton of sense for Twitter. Our COO Dick Costolo will be talking about this much anticipated offering in detail today at the AdAge Digital conference. Tomorrow at Chirp, both Dick and our fearless leader Evan Williams will further discuss this program and what it means for the Twitter ecosystem.
What exactly are “Promoted Tweets”?
You will start to see Tweets promoted by our partner advertisers called out at the top of some Twitter.com search results pages. We strongly believe that Promoted Tweets should be useful to you. We’ll attempt to measure whether the Tweets resonate with users and stop showing Promoted Tweets that don’t resonate. Promoted Tweets will be clearly labeled as “promoted” when an advertiser is paying, but in every other respect they will first exist as regular Tweets and will be organically sent to the timelines of those who follow a brand. Promoted Tweets will also retain all the functionality of a regular Tweet including replying, Retweeting, and favoriting. Only one Promoted Tweet will be displayed on the search results page.
As for how this change is going down with Twitter’s users, according to the site Twitter Sentiment, reaction so far is mixed.
Via TechCrunch, a new report from an outfit called Convergence Consulting Group finds that an estimated 800,000 homes in America dropped cable last year in favor of getting their entertainment needs online.
Monday, April 12
It’s no secret that the news industry is struggling in the digital age, but as Politico reports, at least one heavy hitter believes the industry will not only survive, but thrive:
The chief executive of Google has a message for the staggering newspaper industry: Things will get better.
And Google CEO Eric Schmidt told a group of newspaper executives Sunday evening that his growing company will be an integral part of those changes.
Newspapers will make money once again, he said, but it will be from online advertisements and an altered subscription model. Schmidt said his firm is working on new ways to tailor advertisements and content for consumers, based on what stories they read.
“We have a business model problem, we don’t have a news problem,” Schmidt said.
Speaking of Title II, Johna Till Johnson at Network World looks at what might happen if the FCC makes a move to reclassify:
Reclassifying Internet services as a Title II service would provoke a royal catfight with the carriers, which have preemptively warned the FCC not to go there. Back in February, carriers—- including Verizon, Time Warner, AT&T, Qwest, the National Cable andTelecommunications Association and the wireless and phone company trade associations—warned FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski that trying to classify Internet access as a Title II service would provoke “years of litigation and regulatory chaos.” More pointedly, they indicated such a decision would make them unwilling to invest the billions of dollars required to achieve the government’s goal of 100MBps broadband speeds to 100 million households by 2020.
This is a potent threat, because it shines a spotlight on the real elephant in the corner: Everybody wants broadband Internet access, but nobody knows how to pay for it. Internet connectivity simply doesn’t generate enough profit to justify the investment—whether from carriers, Google or anyone else. If the carriers decide to pull their investment dollars—or spend them on litigation instead—good luck having a functioning Internet in 2015.
As Johnson notes, reclassifying broadband would likely make net neutrality a “foregone conclusion.” The questions are: What will the regulations look like, and what will it mean for private investment.
The Washington Post’s Cecilia Kang sat down with former FCC Chairman Michael Powell to talk about the agency’s recent loss in its suit against Comcast and the possible effects of reclassifying broadband as a Title II service:
Q: So bottom line: are you against moving broadband under Title II, as some companies and public interest groups want?
A: I hate the idea of Title II for broadband. I think we would really regret it because for a regulator versed in what it means, it means thousands and thousands of pages that would fall into this space and we would spend our lifetime trying to clean it up. And the real worry is that we will enter another prolonged period of litigation.
Q: Where should oversight fall? Is there an appetite for Congress to take this up?
A: So it doesn’t get done in a month. What happens in the midterms of 1996 took four years to get done but we had to get it started. I think we are better off asking Congress for guidance.
Q: So do you want another Telecom Act?
A: I’d disagree that we need something that looks like the 1996 Telecom Act. The broadband statute could be dramatically simpler, targeted and wouldn’t have to be a complete replacement for the 1996 Act. It could be an addendum.
Read the full interview at the Washington Post’s Post Tech.
According to one study, less than a third of people with disabilities — 24 percent — had adopted broadband by 2008.
— The Impact of Broadband on People with Disabilities. A Study Commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. December, 2009
More facts about broadband.
Thursday, April 08
At Broadband.gov, FCC General Counsel Austin Schlick responds to the ruling in the Comcast/BitTorrent case, and how the agency believes it might affect its National Broadband Plan:
[Y]esterday’s decision may affect a significant number of important Plan recommendations. Among them are recommendations aimed at accelerating broadband access and adoption in rural America; connecting low-income Americans, Native American communities, and Americans with disabilities; supporting robust use of broadband by small businesses to drive productivity, growth and ongoing innovation; lowering barriers that hinder broadband deployment; strengthening public safety communications; cybersecurity; consumer protection, including transparency and disclosure; and consumer privacy. The Commission must have a sound legal basis for implementing each of these recommendations. We are assessing the implications of yesterday’s decision for each one, to ensure that the Commission has adequate authority to execute the mission laid out in the Plan.
In the wake of its court loss against Comcast, the FCC has extended the net neutrality NPRM comment deadline to April 26. The original deadline was today.
Wednesday, April 07
At the Washington Post, tech writer Cecilia Kang breaks down the FCC’s options now that it has lost its case against Comcast. Those options: 1) Reclassifying broadband as a Title II service; 2) Seek power to regulate the Internet from Congress; 3) appeal the ruling.