Last Week in Tech Policy #67: One Policy, Universal Service?

(by Galen Pospisil, Colorado Law 2L)

For most of the 20th Century, a single company provided telecommunications services in the United States. Under the slogan “one policy, one system, universal service,” AT&T provided local and long distance telephone service at uniform prices to almost every home and business in America.

Today, hundreds of companies provide telecommunications services under individual pricing policies. And yet, the goal of universal service remains.  Policymakers face the challenge of ensuring that all Americans have access to telecommunications services without the intricate system of regulated rates that the Bell System relied upon.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #67: One Policy, Universal Service?”

Last Week in Tech Policy #62: Fixed vs Mobile Broadband

(by Stefan Tschimben, CU ITP Ph.D Candidate)

Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires the Federal Communications Commission to determine “whether advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” Many people were surprised and worried when the FCC suggested in an August 2017 Notice of Inquiry equating mobile broadband alongside fixed broadband in its Broadband Deployment Report. The FCC concluded:

Americans today regularly use both fixed and mobile advanced telecommunications capability to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video telecommunications.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #62: Fixed vs Mobile Broadband”

Last Week in Tech Law & Policy, Vol. 39: First Amendment Protection For Discriminatory Ads?

(by Andi Wilt, Colorado Law 3L)

When is the last time you Googled someone’s name? There are many reasons why you might have done that. You could have been trying to learn more about someone who was about to interview you for a position, or maybe you were about to interview them, or even deciding whom you were going to interview in the first place. An applicant’s online presence is important to many employers, as one source indicates that 90% of executive recruiters say they do online research on applicants; up to 70% of employers who have used LinkedIn say they have decided not to hire someone based on something they learn about the applicant online.

So what’s the problem with a little online research about a person? Professor Latanya Sweeney found that a Google search for a black identifying name is 25 percent more likely to be accompanied by an arrest-related ad. Professor Sweeney explored the connection between “[b]lack-identifying” and “[w]hite-identifying” first names, which are “those for which a significant number of people have the name and the frequency is sufficiently higher in one race than another.” Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Law & Policy, Vol. 39: First Amendment Protection For Discriminatory Ads?”

FCC Releases Public Notice Seeking Comment on Petition for Waiver of E-Rate Rules Filed by BVSD and TLPC

(by Caroline Jones and Max Brennan, TLPC Student Attorneys)

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission released a public notice seeking comment on a petition by the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) and the TLPC to help bridge the homework gap. BVSD seeks to connect the students in Boulder’s low-income housing communities to its high-speed fiber network so they can access the internet after school hours to do their homework.

The petition asks for a waiver certain provisions of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) E-Rate Program, a federal program that provides subsidies for schools and libraries to obtain telecommunications services. The public notice also invites comment on a petition filed by Microsoft that asks the FCC to permit the use of TV White Spaces technology to extend a school’s  internet access service to students’ homes for educational purposes.

The FCC has designated the period for public comment until November 3rd, 2016, with reply comments due December 5th, 2016. Interested parties may file comments on the FCC’s website.

Last Week in Tech Law & Policy Vol. 28: Should the FCC Reconsider Lifeline Voice Phase-Out, Minimum Standards from Broadband Expansion Order?

[Editor’s note: each week during the academic year, TLPC student attorneys write blog posts on cutting edge issues as a prompt for class discussion. We’re back for Fall 2016! We also welcome your feedback via Twitter and e-mail.]

(by Caroline Jones, Colorado Law 2L)

On March 31st, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved, over the dissents of Republican Commissioners O’Rielly and Pai, new rules governing the Lifeline program designed to “help low income customers afford access to the 21st Century’s vital communications network: the Internet.” The Commission’s Lifeline program was adopted in 1985 under the Ronald Reagan administration, and initially provided discounted landline telephone service for qualifying low-income households before eventually expanding to wireless service in 2005. The new rules expand the program to include broadband internet service, set minimum broadband service standards, and outline the eventual phase-out of standalone voice service in favor of voice and data bundles.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Law & Policy Vol. 28: Should the FCC Reconsider Lifeline Voice Phase-Out, Minimum Standards from Broadband Expansion Order?”