Tales of the Sausage Factory

SCOTUS Gets Down & Dirty with Indecency!

The Supreme Court just agreed to hear the FCC’s appeal on the indecency case. This case involves whether the FCC acted correctly when it changed previous precedent and held that even a “fleeting utterance” of certain words (in this case, the “F-word”) can qualify as “indecent.” Previously, the FCC had a rule that it would take the entire context of the use of an obscenity into account, and that a mere “fleeting utterance” in the context of live television (especially of a newsworthy event) would not constitute indecency.

What’s at stake? See below . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Whiny Techies or Dishonest Salesmen?

I cannot help but add a coda onto my latest article. Steven Pearlstein, econ columnist for the Washington Post, has written this piece on the recent complaints wrt to Comcast. To quote Mr. Pearlstein:

The latest rallying cry is “network neutrality.” This campaign started out with the legitimate goal of making sure that consumers could continue to access whichever services or content they want, rather than having to take those offered by the cable and phone company duopolists. But lately the campaign seems to have morphed into a broader demand that all consumers should be able to pay the same monthly fee for using the Internet, no matter how much bandwidth they use or how much their movie downloads and video chats are slowing service to everyone else in the neighborhood.

Perhaps this is the kind of economic illiteracy we should expect from people who get their information from “The Daily Show” and the Daily Kos. But isn’t it time for the rest of us to move on and acknowledge that the days of the online free lunch are over?

As you may imagine from my recent post, my complaint is not with charging more for more bandwidth, but for dishonestly promising me an “always on all you can eat” connection, then cutting me off when I use it all the time for all I can eat. I sent Mr. Pearlstein the following reply, reproduced below….

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Wyden Introduces Net Neutrality

Wyden (D-Ore) has pushed back against the wussiness of the Enisgn (R-NV) bill. The Ensign Bill has a provision that would require “neuterednet neutrality.” The broadband access provider could still favor its own content and could offer “premium” service to others.

The Wyden “Internet Non-Discrimination Act of 2006” requires real Net neutrality and has a serious enforcement mechanism. If the FCC sits on a complaint, it is deemed granted in 90 days.

Of course I’m partial to the Wyden bill from shear vanity. The bill references the muni broadband paper I wrote last year in the legislative findings.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Action Alert on Muni Broadband

There’s a hearing tomorrow on the rewrite of the Communications Act proposed by House Commerce Commitee Chair Barton and Ranking member Dingell. Some friend of mine would like you to take action to let your elected representative know that you care about the provision in the bill that supports muni broadband.

More details here.

Stay tuned . . .

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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 . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Tales of the Sausage Factory: In IL, Citizens 1, ILECs 0 (but it's just the first inning so keep your seats)

The Chicago Independent Media Center reports that the Ilinois Bill containing the anti-muni provision, Senate Bill 499, was not called in the IL Senate as expected. Negative publicity and citizen protest have apparently caused supporters of the bill to reconsider introducing it.

Score another one for the good citizens of IL and citizens everywhere! But, as the IMC article notes, this could well get buried in the general effort to reform the telecom rules in IL. We have the momentum, but the incumbents are very well financed and very patient.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Tales of the Sausage Factory: Victory is SWEET!

I will have a lot more to say on this later, but the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has issued its decision on the FCC’s media ownership deregulation that took place last summer.

The result is a near total victory for MAP and the other public interest clients and the American people. The FCC’s June 2, 2003, deregulatory Order is reversed as not supported by logical reasoning based on the record. The court reverses and remands to the FCC, keeping the old rules in effect until the FCC resolves this mess. The court rejects the FCC’s position that the provision of the 1996 Act that requires the FCC to conduct a review of its ownership rules is “deregulatory” or that it prohibits the FCC from making ownership regulations more stringent. Instead, the FCC is supposed to review its ownership rules and decide whether the public interest requires the FCC to keep the rule, relax the rule, eliminate the rule, or make the rule even more stringent.

More information at our website.

YEEEEEEHAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!

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