Broadband US TV Webcast: Year in Review and Forecasts for 2013

By Nick Milonas and Marty Stern

With 2012 coming to a close, Internet TV channel Broadband US TV recently featured a live, year-end review of key developments in the sector over the last year, with guests making various predictions on what 2013 will bring. The webcast archive is available here (free registration required).

In addition to Broadband US TV co-hosts Marty Stern of K&L Gates and Jim Baller of the Baller Herbst Law Group, the webcast featured special guests Gigi Sohn, President and CEO of Public Knowledge, Scott Cleland, President of The Precursor Group and Chairman of advocacy group NetCompetition, Jeffrey Silva, Senior Policy Director at Medley Global Advisors, and Paul Gallant, Telecom Policy Analyst at Guggenheim Securities, LLC.

Panelists engaged in a lively and robust hour and a half discussion, with numerous exchanges between public interest advocate Gigi Sohn and Scott Cleland, whose NetCompetition group promotes a free market, deregulatory broadband agenda and is a prolific critic of the Federal Communications Commission. The discussion also featured commentary from analysts Jeff Silva and Paul Gallant. Among other issues, the wide-ranging discussion covered:

Spectrum —­ Numerous developments on the spectrum front, including conflicting predictions on the likely outcome of the broadcast spectrum auctions, the FCC’s recent decision on AWS-4 spectrum held by Dish Network, and thoughts on the deployment by Dish of a new, commercial wireless service.

Net Neutrality — The state of net neutrality, predictions on the likely outcome of the pending DC Circuit challenge to the FCC’s Open Internet Order, and the range of potential responses from the FCC.

Network Transitions — The IP transition from a circuit-switched voice network to an IP-based network, the recent petition filed at the FCC by AT&T, and a discussion of the key issues that need to be resolved.

ITU Internet Governance — The recently-concluded International Telecommunications Union (ITU) World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) and ITU Internet governance efforts, which according to panelists, will continue to play out over the next couple of years.

Copyright Reform — Copyright reform, including panelists’ discussions of the continued importance of the retransmission consent regime between broadcasters and cable/satellite providers, with updates and predictions on the pending court challenge to the Aereo service, which retransmits broadcast signals to subscribers using individual subscriber antennas at a headend location.

Gigabit Fiber Initiatives — Updates on new community broadband gigabit networks, with differing views on claimed subsidies provided by local governments for new networks and impacts vis-à-vis competition from commercial providers.

Telecom Legislation — Potential for telecom and broadband legislation in 2013 and key topics to be addressed, including potential rebalancing of rules governing relationships between broadcasters and cable/satellite providers.

FCC Leadership — Speculation on the potential departure of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, his potential replacement, and impacts on various pending broadband issues.

The show concluded with the guests’ boldest predictions for 2013, including the prospects for a Telecom Act rewrite, key issues to be faced by a new FCC Chair, likely court action on the FCC’s Open Internet rules, and the predicted outcome of a pending Supreme Court case (City of Arlington v. FCC), involving the “shot clock” adopted by the FCC for local wireless siting decisions and a unique twist on the deference owed to the FCC in matters of statutory interpretation under the Chevron doctrine.

You can access the webcast archive here (free registration required).

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