Tales of the Sausage Factory

Update: Apology to Craig Settles

I owe Craig Settles an apology for my snarky aside in my piece on what the broadband stimulus does. Craig has written his own rebuttal to the NY Times piece, in which he explains that the reporter lifted a single quote from a 30 minute interview out of context. In private correspondence (as well as in a comment on the original post), he has shown himself an advocate for rural broadband and certainly not a tool of industry. He also gets high ratings from Jim Baller, one of the real heroes of munibroadband and broadband policy generally.

I’ve amended the original post to take out any reference to Craig and the out-of-context quote.

Stay tuned . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Stevens Bill Score Card Pre-Mark Up

And what a mark up it will be! Senators have proposed hundreds of amendments (more than 250 at one point, but now down to something over a hundred as deals get done). Meanwhile, the Stevens Bill itself has undergone significant rewrite. You can find the final pre-mark up draft at Jim Baller’s site here. For comparison, you can read about the Democratic substitute here (and my brief summary of same here).

Below, a brief score card on some issues I singled out previously: Opening broadcast white spaces (still in, but facing a “poison pill” amendment from DeMint (R-SC)), program access (dropped by Stevens); Broadcast flag (sadly alive and well); Munibroadband (much improved, thanks in no small part to Jim Baller and the coalition of tech folks, muni orgs, and public interest folks put together by Jim Kohlenberger); and, of course, net neutrality (brought up to COPE levels, with some flavoring added to try to buy off the Christian conservatives).

Most importantly, the telcos have inserted a very nasty joker in the deck, known as “Section 1004.” This Section is designed to rig any post-legislation appeal by giving the D.C. Circuit exclusive jurisdiction over all things FCC. This would be a catastrophe not merely for network neutrality, but for media ownership and just about any other provision of law (and therefore merits a post of its own).

More details below . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Here They Come Again! Anti-Muni Bill in Indiana.

Nothing like a fresh new year! State legislators return to their respective capitals to once again do the work of the people. Or, in the case of Indiana State Senator Brandt Hershman, the work of AT&T (formerly SBC). The eager Mr. Hershman has already introduced a bill, SB 245, that deregulates the phone industry, eliminates local franchising, etc., etc.

And tucked away on page 97 of this 107 page bill is an anti-muni broadband provision remarkably similar to one that went down in flames last year.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Quick Updates

A quick update. Regretably, I have been too busy since coming back to type up my notes from the last day of the Media Reform Conference. I will say that Bill Moyers gave an amazing speech about the current attempt by the Bush administration to co-opt public television. Hopefully, I’ll have time to write up my take on the conflict around the Corporation for Public Broadcasting later. For other updates, see below . . .

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