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 #66: The Fate of Vertical Mergers

Mergers are often  met with skepticism, as intuitively there are less players in the game after the transaction is complete.  Due to the large infrastructure costs and high value of network effects, mergers play a significant role in the telecommunications industry. Pooling resources together can create efficiencies, but there is a fear of harmful effects on consumers- whether by an increase in price or a decline in product quality.

Mergers can be broken up into two categories, vertical and horizontal. A vertical merger occurs between two companies that operate at separate steps of production, typically where transactions costs have driven integration. In horizontal mergers, parties operate in the same market and the combination will eliminate a competitor.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #66: The Fate of Vertical Mergers”

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 Policy #61: Fort Collins Colorado and the Municipal Broadband Experiment

(by Brett Hildebrand, Colorado Law 3L)

One of the most high-profile recent developments in municipal broadband is happening in Fort Collins, CO, a college town just an hour north of Boulder. The city has voted to become its own internet service provider, overcoming a large campaign by one incumbent ISP. The proposal started as ballot initiative 2B, which passed in November 2017, and then was approved unanimously by the city council in January 2018. The city is currently accepting bids to build out the network and infrastructure necessary to get the service up and running. The approach is outlined in the city’s recently approved the Broadband Strategic Plan.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #61: Fort Collins Colorado and the Municipal Broadband Experiment”

Last Week in Tech Policy #56: LEDs Talk About Lights!

(By Sophia Galleher, Colorado Law 2L)

Some people enter Newark Airport and look up. The lights, like many LEDs, seem almost too crisp—too bright. But most travelers, perhaps worried about missing a connection or losing a wayward child in the terminal, rush through the airport without raising a brow; the LEDs lights, twinkling down from their chic, architectural fixtures, don’t really beg much thought. They seem innocuous enough.

But just know, the next time you walk through Newark Airport, that those lights are watching you.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #56: LEDs Talk About Lights!”

Last Week in Tech Policy #51: Internet Platforms and Violent Content

(by Kristine Roach, Colorado Law 2L)

After the Unite the Right rally and associated violence in Charlottesville, NC on the weekend of Aug 11th, internet platforms and domain name providers responded by taking down content from The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website that had encouraged some of the weekend’s events, raising a complicated debate over the responsibility that online platforms bear for hate speech, harassment, and violence, the concentration of power online, and free speech.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #51: Internet Platforms and Violent Content”

Last Week in Tech Policy #49: Preemption of Local Authority for Wireless Siting

(By Irena Stevens, PhD Candidate in the Interdisciplinary Telecom Program)

With the goal of promoting the deployment of next-generation wireless facilities, the FCC will vote on April 20th  to continue a rulemaking proposal to preempt local authority in the Right-of-Way (ROW). Wireless carriers are increasingly seeing utility poles in the ROW as an opportunity to expedite and diminish the cost of siting small cells, and say that local governments are creating unnecessary delays and charging excessive fees for pole attachments.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #49: Preemption of Local Authority for Wireless Siting”

Last Week in Tech Policy #44: Streaming Killed the Video Star

(by Andrew Manley, Colorado Law 2L)

Recently, more and more Americans are intent on “cutting the cord”—dropping traditional cable and satellite TV services for internet-based streaming services. The growing availability of internet streaming services that provide linear streams of content is making cutting the cord more accessible and more affordable. Services like Sony’s Playstation Vue and Dish Network’s Sling TV offer subscribers streaming video service over the internet that resembles cable service in many ways, and even provide local content streams in certain markets. AT&T and DirecTV have a similar service in the works. However, these services do not fit neatly into the FCC’s regulatory regime for Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs). Three specific cases have exposed the gaps in regulatory coverage for internet protocol based linear video services: Sky Angel, ivi, and Aereo.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #44: Streaming Killed the Video Star”

Last Week in Tech Policy #41: FMExit—Norway’s Transition from FM Radio to Digital Audio Broadcasting

(by Zach Goldberg, Colorado Law 2L)

Norway has begun phasing out analog FM radio by shutting down broadcasts in certain parts of the country. The switch began at 11:11 am on January 11 Nordland, a county in northern Norway, and within a year, the Norwegian government plans to transition the entire country to Digital Audio Broadcasting (“DAB”). Under this new regulatory scheme, only 200 or so small local stations will be permitted to broadcast on FM frequencies.

This post explores the past, present, and future of the transition.

Continue reading “Last Week in Tech Policy #41: FMExit—Norway’s Transition from FM Radio to Digital Audio Broadcasting”

TLPC Releases White Paper on Intellectual Property Issues at the FCC

In this white paper, TLPC student attorneys Colter Donahue and J. Parker Ragland outline steps that the FCC can take to avoid having rulemakings and other policymaking initiatives delayed or negatively affected by intellectual property issues. In recent years, the Commission has faced several situations, including in the context of 9-1-1 services, telecommunications relay services, and set-top boxes, where intellectual property issues have arisen and affected proceedings. The white paper urges the Commission to develop adequate expertise in intellectual property law and to proactively anticipate and address IP issues to avoid these situations in the future.