TLPC Advocates Before the FCC for Equal Access to Communications and Video Programming

(by Dakotah Hamilton, TLPC Student Attorney)

On June 7th, the TLPC and the Communications and Technology Law Clinic (CTLC) at Georgetown Law filed a comment on behalf of 22 accessibility advocacy and research organizations, including TLPC and CTLC client Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. (TDI), in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s public notice to revisit many of its rules under the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA). The comment, drafted by Professor Blake E. Reid, TLPC Director, and Professor Laura Moy, CTLC Director, with assistance from TLPC student attorneys Dakotah Hamilton, Rachel Hersch, and Scott Goodstein and CTLC staff attorney Michael Rosenbloom and student attorney Ellen Gardiner, comprehensively reviewed the past decade of FCC proceedings implementing the CVAA as well as some dating back to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, spanning more than two dozen dockets.

The comment identifies numorous specific priorities the FCC should consider for the accessibility of video programming, communications, and hearing device accessibility, including bolstering the availability of interpretation and captioning for video conferencing platforms and expanding captioning requirements for video distributed online. The comment also calls for dedicated inquiries into accessibility barriers facing people who are deaf or hard of hearing and have multiple disabilities, older people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and people who are deaf or hard of hearing and living on rural or tribal lands or in U.S. territories. The comment also urges the Commission to emphasize supervised multistakeholderism, centering the civil rights of people with disabilities, vigorous enforcement, and reporting to Congress.

TLPC Releases White Paper for EFF Analyzing Municipal Rights of Way Franchising Authority in New York

(by Bethany Reece, Student Attorney)

Today the TLPC is releasing a white paper, prepared on behalf of and in collaboration with, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which chronicles New York’s experience in the early 2000s with the telecommunications lobby’s efforts to replace historic municipal telecom franchising regimes with a centralized state franchising system. Given the increased leverage that localized franchising authority can afford to municipalities, this paper considers whether New York’s choices with respect to its regulatory regime may influence its outcomes with respect to achieving its FiOS buildout objectives, economic parity of high-speed broadband access across areas of varying income strata, and enforcing agreements with telecommunications providers.

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TLPC Releases White Paper for EFF Reevaluating Sharing Obligations for the Modern U.S. Wireline Broadband Market

(by Elliott Browning, Colorado Law 2L)

The TLPC is happy to release a white paper, prepared on behalf of and in collaboration with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, reevaluating the viability of sharing obligations in light of lackluster competition and deployment in the modern wireline broadband market. With an eye towards remedying this stagnation and encouraging the widespread deployment of fiber-to-the-home, the paper discusses the history and development of competition in last-mile connectivity.

Specifically, the paper evaluates the current market for high-speed wireline broadband in the U.S. with a specific focus on the deficiency in fiber deployment; reviews the development of competition in the local exchange from the invention of the telephone to the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996; and reconsiders the FCC’s 2005 decision to not extend sharing obligations to wireline BIAS providers in light of the modern market.

The paper will provide historical support for a broader series of policy papers by EFF aimed at improving competitive conditions in the wireline broadband market with the ultimate goal of connecting more Americans to a reliable, high-speed broadband network.