Most of my time the last few weeks has been taken up with cable ownership issues. If you want the short version and the immediate, easy action to take, click through to my friends at Free Press. For those interested in a little more detail and what else you can do, read on . . .
For those who care about public access (or PEG channels). The bill keeps these (up to four channels, rather than a broadband set aside as some folks have negotiated for), and tells the state authority to delegate some local government entity to have authority to ask for the channels (you only get ‘em if your local government asks for ‘em). The bill also keeps a franchise fee of up to 5%, but the fee must be cost based rather than negotiate (i.e., the local government has to show how much it spends on digging up the streets and associated public rights of way issues).
Jim Baller, all around smart guy and lawyer extrodinaire for municipalities and municipal networks, has his take on the anti-muni provision of the Ensign Bill here.
Stay tuned . . .
I’ve just read through the “Broadband Investment and Consumer Choice Act” (72-page pdf available here) introduced by Senator Ensign (R-NV) (and co-sponsored by Senator McCain, to my intense disappointment). In the name of deployment of broadband, consumer choice, free markets, yaddah yaddah yaddah, the bill strips the states and local governments of any consumer protection function and frees your local monopoly providers to serve you! Oh, and without the danger that your local government might decide to supply a pesky competitor. After all, we wouldn’t want you, the local citizen, to decide to foolishly waste your own tax dollars! We, the federal government, know best! Ain’t federalism grand? Except, of course, when it isn’t . . .
I have no news. Or too much.
I thought summer was supposed to be “off season” in academia, but things have been incredibly busy. Some of the stuff we’ve been doing:
The city of Lafayette, LA approved a $125 million municipal bond referendum to build out a municipal network by a hefty 62% to 38% margin. Contrast this with the ease with which state franchising is moving through the TX legislature now that SBC has dropped the anti-muni provision. There’s a lesson here, folks . . .
Given my current insane workload, I can only rejoice at the last minute decision by the FCC to pull from this morning’s meeting agenda a new rulemaking that would start the broadcast media ownerhsip fight all over again. Contrary to what I’m sure will be the popular wisdom, I think this demonstrates a healthy, functional agency rather than the usual partisan sniping. My analysis below.
Unnoticed by most folks, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a public notice on the legality of cell phone jammers. (They aren’t.) Oddly, this may have very significant impacts for users of unlicensed spectrum.
A bit of time lends perspective. There is already a ton of stuff out there on this, but I’ll add a few perspectives that I hope are fresh. . . .
RIGHT NOW on KFJC, the best radio station in the universe, they’re playing the original Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio show.
Later on in the show Ann Arbor will be reading from my Acts of the Apostles (look left for free download), and will continue to do so in weekly installments through August.
In case you’re not reading this entry RIGHT NOW, I think you’ll be able to download archived shows. Look for Ann Arbor’s UnBedtime Stories.
(Also, mind you, it’s also OK to buy printed copies for dollars money.)
I really will get some more stuff posted soon. Just been real busy.
Stay tuned . . .