Tales of the Sausage Factory

So What's Up With That FCC Investigating Apple and AT&T Blocking Google Voice — Oh Wait, They Aren't . . .

So while I was gone, Apple and/or AT&T turned down Google’s effort to get a Google Voice Application certified for the iPhone, so the FCC launched an investigation into the matter.

Except they didn’t. Not exactly. Which is extremely important on the delicate question of FCC authority. Actually, the FCC invited three companies involved in a very high-level spat on an issue pending before the FCC in two proceedings to provide them with useful information on how the market actually works.

I know, I know, this is all boring legal stuff that folks who care just about outcomes hate with a passion — or think is just cheap legal handwaving. But these things matter, both as a matter of law and and as a matter of policy. The fact is that the FCC is very carefully not exercising authority over anyone. The companies don’t even need to respond. However, if they fail to respond, they invite the FCC (and the rest of us) to assume the worst. Because allowing industry folks to foreclose needed agency action by simply refusing to provide necessary information is a crappy outcome we’ve lived with for the last 8 years (longer, really). Far smarter to invite industry folks to respond to questions, but decide that at some point you need to move with the information you have. Heck, if the FCC pulls that trick only once, I bet we’ll see lots more folks with relevant information willing to come forward.

So while I expect lots of folks to yammer about FCC authority on August 21 when the answers are due, they’ll be barking up the wrong tree. Won’t stop ’em, of course. But for those who would like a sense of what is actually going on from a legal/regulatory authority angle —

More below . . . . .

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Posted in Spectrum, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

Vote for the Future

I’m proud that the Wetmachine site I’ve been part of is a finalist for
best Technology blog
of 2008. Well, sort of a finalist…

The 2008 Weblog Awards

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Posted in history: external milestones and context, Inventing the Future | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Quick tag to Ensign Bill

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 . . .

Posted in General, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Martin Gets Official Nod

Although long expected, Kevin Martin will be officially named Powell’s replacement as Chair of the FCC today.

For my personal take on Martin, see below.

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Posted in General, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)
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