Year in Review Webcast Examines Key TMT Developments in 2011

With an exciting year filled with major TMT developments drawing to a close, Broadband TV US will feature a live year in review webcast on December 16, 2011, from 12:30-2:00 p.m. (EST). You can access the free webcast by clicking here (free registration required).

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Broadband in America: The Year in Review; What Lies Ahead

K&L Gates co-hosted a live webcast December 22, carried live on Internet TV channels Broadband US TV and National League of Cities TV.

You can access the free webcast by clicking here (free registration is required).

K&L Gates partner Marty Stern joined co-host Jim Baller, together with guests Cecilia Kang, Communications Industry Journalist, the Washington PostGigi Sohn, President, Public Knowledge,  Jeffrey Silva, Senior Policy Director, TMT, Medley Global Advisors, and  Scott Cleland, President, the Precursor Group, for a lively and provocative review of 2010, particularly of the day-old FCC net neutrality decision, and for some bold predictions for 2011.

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New Disability Access Requirements for Advanced Communications and Video

By Marty Stern (Washington, DC), Carol Lumpkin (Miami) and Stephanie N. Moot (Miami).

The President signed the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 on October 8, 2010 (the “ComVid Accessibility Act” or “Act”). The ComVid Accessibility Act expands various disability access requirements to VoIP phones, browser-enabled smart phones, text messaging, Internet-enabled video devices, on-line video of TV programming, TV navigation devices, and programming guides and menus, among other things. 

Karen Peltz Strauss, who has the lead at the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) on implementing the ComVid Accessibility Act, appeared on a recent live program on Internet TV channel Broadband US TV and discussed the FCC's "enormous mandate" to implement the new Act.  Click here for a clip of Ms. Peltz Strauss' comments on the program.  (with permission from TV Worldwide).[1]  According to Ms. Peltz Strauss, “Every segment of the industry that has anything to do with broadband, television, including cable, satellite or broadcast, Internet-based television, as well as . . . Internet-based providers, traditionally regulated [telephone] companies, wireless companies” needs to be paying attention to the new Act.   “Virtually every segment that has anything to do with communications or video programming is covered.” 

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Symposium on Broadband Reclassification and Net Neutrality What's at Stake? What's the End Game?

On Thursday, December 2nd, K&L Gates hosted a program on net neutrality and the potential regulatory reclassification of broadband Internet access presented by the ABA Antitrust Section's Communications & Digitial Technology Industries Committee. The program, moderated by Washington, DC partner Marty Stern, included:

  • Parul Desai, Policy Counsel, Consumers Union
  • Neil Fried, Minority Chief Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommitee on Communications, Technology and the Internet
  • Glenn Manishin, Partner, Duane Morris
  • Lee Selwyn, President, Economics and Technology, Inc.

Audio Archive of event now available (American Bar Association members only) 

Several of the speakers were also authors of articles in the Fall 2010 Broadband Reclassification and Net Neutrality Symposium issue of the Committee's Icarus newsletter.  An article providing an overview of the issue by K&L Gates' partners Marty Stern and Marc Martin, and associate Peter Denton, is available here.  (Posted with permission.)

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Live Webcast: Spurring Adoption and Use of Broadband

K&L Gates co-hosted a live webcast October 7, carried live on Internet TV channels Broadband US TV and National League of Cities TV.

You can access the free webcast by clicking here (registration is required).

Stakeholders in America's broadband future disagree on most issues, but not on this: with 35% of Americans not using broadband today and many others not using broadband to maximum advantage, spurring increased adoption and use is critically important to America's success in the emerging knowledge-based global economy.

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn kicked off the program, joining BroadbandUS TV hosts Marty Stern and Jim Baller for a provocative discussion ofthe FCC's goals, activities, and progress in this area.

The program also included a panel on National Policy and Support, featuring Karen Peltz Strauss, FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau; Emy Tseng, National Telecommunications and Information Administration; Dr. Kenneth Peres, Communications Workers of America and US Broadband Coalition; Nicol Turner-Lee, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; and John Windhausen, Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition. A second panel featured a look at success stories from around the country.

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FCC Seeks Comment on its "Third Way" Approach to Regulating Broadband Internet Service

by Marc S. Martin, Martin L. Stern, Peter W. Denton

On June 17, 2010, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) adopted a Notice of Inquiry (the “NOI”) seeking comment on the Commission’s consideration of the appropriate legal framework for broadband Internet service, and in particular the “Internet connectivity component” of that service.[1]   Comments on the NOI are due by July 15, 2010, with Reply Comments due by August 12, 2010.

The NOI is the latest step in a contentious debate between the Commission and broadband Internet access providers (e.g., cable, telco and wireless broadband providers) over the Commission’s legal authority to regulate broadband Internet service.  As discussed in our previous alerts, on April 6, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned an FCC enforcement action against Comcast Corporation arising from allegations that Comcast engaged in unreasonable and discriminatory broadband management practices.[2]   The Commission had previously classified Comcast’s cable modem broadband Internet service as a largely unregulated “information service” under Title I of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the “Communications Act”), but asserted indirect “ancillary” authority to enforce certain net neutrality guidelines against broadband Internet access providers.  The court in Comcast ruled that the Commission, based on its prior decision classifying cable modem service as an unregulated information service, lacked direct statutory authority to regulate broadband Internet service, and therefore could not rely on its ancillary jurisdiction to do so.

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The Net Neutrality/Open Internet Debate: What's Next, What's the End Game?

K&L Gates co-hosted a special live Hall webcast on Thursday, May 27, that was carried live on Internet TV channels Broadband US TV, TV Mainstream and National League of Cities TV.

To access the recording, please click here (free registration is required in order to access the recording).

Austin Schlick, General Counsel of the FCC, joined BroadbandUS TV hosts Marty Stern of K&L Gates and Jim Baller to discuss the FCC's case for reclassification of broadband Internet access as a regulated telecommunications service. Julius Knapp, Chief of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology, who's heading up the FCC Technical Advisory Panel on the open Internet, also joined to discuss technical issues surrounding the open Internet debate.

The program includes two panels of experts who face-off in lively, spirited debate on the political and legal considerations surrounding net neutrality, and the economic/technical case for new net neutrality rules.

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Live Webcast: The Net Neutrality/Open Internet Debate: What's Next, What's the End Game?

K&L Gates co-hosted a special live webcast May 27, from 1:00 - 2:30 pm ET, being carried live on Internet TV channels Broadband US TV, TV Mainstream and National League of Cities TV.

You can access this free webcast by clicking here (registration is required).

Austin Schlick, General Counsel of the FCC, joined BroadbandUS TV hosts Marty Stern of K&L Gates and Jim Baller to discuss the FCC's case for reclassification of broadband Internet access as a regulated telecommunications service. Julius Knapp, Chief of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology, who's heading up the FCC Technical Advisory Panel on the open Internet, also joined us to discuss technical issues surrounding the open Internet debate.

The program included two panels of experts who faced-off in lively, spirited debate on the political and legal considerations surrounding net neutrality, and the economic/technical case for new net neutrality rules.

 

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"The Third Way": FCC Proposes New Regulatory Powers Over Broadband Internet Access Services

by Marc S. Martin, Martin L. Stern, Peter W. Denton

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (the "FCC") recently charted a new legal course to restore its jurisdictional authority to regulate broadband Internet access services, in response to a sharp rebuke from a federal appeals court over the FCC's previous legal theories.

In a move widely covered by the media, seemingly because debate over its enactment mirrors other ideological conflicts over the proper role of government as mid-term elections approach, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed "reclassifying" the transmission component of broadband Internet access services under the regulatory framework established by the Communications Act of 1934 (the "Act") from a deregulated "information service" under Title I of the Act to a regulated "telecommunications service" under Title II. Rather than subjecting broadband Internet access services to the full panoply of Title II regulatory requirements, however, Chairman Genachowski has proposed a “Third Way,” whereby the FCC would only impose the Title II requirements it deems necessary to implement its targeted policy prescriptions, while forbearing from applying the majority of the Title II provisions.

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Privacy Implications of the FCC's National Broadband Plan

by Marc S. Martin, Martin L. Stern, Peter W. Denton

As we discussed in our recent client alert, the National Broadband Plan (the "Broadband Plan") of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission ("FCC")[1] contains an ambitious set of some 200 recommendations for regulatory and legislative actions to improve the innovation, access, and affordability of broadband Internet service.[2] Tucked among "big-ticket" items that have received much attention in recent weeks – such as reallocation of wireless spectrum and reform of the FCC's Universal Service Fund – are a number of less-heralded suggestions relating to privacy issues and the management of personal data. The implementation of these privacy-related Broadband Plan recommendations by Congress, the FCC, and the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") could affect a wide range of firms, including broadband Internet access Internet service providers, advertisers, online content providers, and indeed any business with an Internet presence. The purpose of this alert is to provide greater focus and detail on the Broadband Plan's recommendations for privacy regulation.

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Court Overturns FCC's Net Neutrality-Based Decision Against Comcast: What Happens Next?

by Marc S. Martin, Martin L. Stern

On April 6, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (the “D.C. Circuit”) overturned a 2008 enforcement action by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) against Comcast Corporation arising from allegations of Comcast engaging in unreasonable and discriminatory broadband network management practices.  This client alert will briefly summarize the court decision, discuss how it will affect the FCC’s efforts to adopt net neutrality rules and implement its recently adopted National Broadband Plan (the “Broadband Plan”),[1] address the potential for Congressional intervention, and explain how other federal and possibly state authorities could step in to fill the apparent void in FCC jurisdiction.

The FCC enforcement action arose from complaints about Comcast’s network management practices, which alleged that Comcast deliberately slowed its subscribers’ use of an online peer-to-peer based file sharing service, BitTorrent, because it presented a competitive threat to Comcast’s own broadband service offerings.  The FCC agreed that Comcast’s network management practices in dispute were inconsistent with the FCC’s Internet Policy Statement that, among other things, supported nondiscriminatory access to Internet-based software applications and services.

At the D.C. Circuit, Comcast made a three-pronged attack against the FCC’s enforcement action, asserting:

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The FCC's Sweeping National Broadband Plan: How it Will Affect You

by Marc S. Martin, Martin L. Stern, Peter W. Denton. March 22, 2010

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") released its congressionally mandated National Broadband Plan on March 16, 2010 (the "Plan"),[1] an ambitious roadmap to meet the goals of improving the innovation, access and affordability of broadband Internet services for approximately 100 million Americans at speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and actual upload speeds of at least 50 megabits per second. Beyond these goals, the Plan also lays out a series of broadband-related goals and recommendations that cut across the nation's economy, addressing such disparate topics as health care, energy utility and transportation infrastructure, education, green energy, a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network, ultra-high speed military broadband networks, and greater governmental transparency. A centerpiece policy initiative of the FCC and its new Chairman, and in places a decidedly controversial document, the Plan is the largest undertaking of the FCC, including the contemplated Executive Branch and legislative activity, since the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

While the Plan itself largely focuses on the broad goal of greater access to broadband for consumers and public institutions, the targets set forth in the Plan will require a wholesale reshaping of the regulatory landscape for a diverse set of telecommunications, media, technology, and broader business interests, all of which should closely follow the Plan's implementation.

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Webcast: Broadcast v. Broadband: You Decide

K&L Gates co-hosted a special live webcast on Friday, March 10, that was carried live on Internet TV channels Broadband US TV, TV Mainstream and National League of Cities TV.

To access recording, please click here (free registration is required in order to access the recording).

A week before the release of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, Blair Levin, Executive Director of the FCC's Omnibus Broadband initiative, joined hosts Marty Stern of K&L Gates and Jim Baller to discuss the latest thinking on repurposing broadcast spectrum for wireless broadband as part of the National broadband Plan, and how the idea has evolved since it was raised in late 2009, including the recently proposed “Mobile Future Auction.”

The program also included a live discussion with broadband proponent Michael Calabrese of the New America Foundation, David L. Donovan of the Association for Maximum Service Television for the broadcast industry, and industry analyst Jeffrey S. Silva of Medley Global Advisors, who took questions from the live online audience.

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