Tales of the Sausage Factory

McDowell Forgets He Already Voted That FCC Has Authority To Enforce NN Rules.

I recently complained that no one else ever seems to follow the record on the network neutrality stuff. But Commissioner McDowell took the prize for failure to remember what he had previously voted for in this very proceeding back in March 2007 when the Commission voted out the Notice of Inquiry that started this whole thing. Mind you, McDowell should not feel too bad, given that nobody else at the FCC seems to remember this stuff either. Not when they wrote the Comcast/BitTorrent Order, nor even when they wrote the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking last week. Despite the fact that both items are actually in the same blasted docket. Because good God almighty, how hard is it for the staff at the FCC to actually know the friggin’ docket? It’s just the basis for this entire proceeding. And the entire collective agency cannot remember that it voted as settled law by 5-0 that it has authority to regulate and enforce network neutrality rules. And that McDowell not only voted in favor, he explicitly concurred!

I swear, it’s enough to make a poor obsessed policy wonk tear out what’s left of his hair and beard.

More below . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

We Are Finalists for the 2008 Weblog Best Technology Blog! Go us!

My shameless begging last November paid off!

The 2008 Weblog Awards

Yes, we here at Tales of the Sausage Factory and Wetmachine generally are delighted, astounded, humbled and whatever else one says at this juncture to make the final cut for nominees as Weblog’s “Best Technology Blog of 2008.” Given that (a) Engadget has apparently won in this category every year since they started doing this in 2003, (b) Both TechCrunch and Ars Technica also do policy and have real journalists and stuff, and (c) a quick scan of all the other titles reveals that we are probably the only nominated site maintained by amateurs doing this in addition to our full time jobs, I totally expect for us to get utterly creamed.

Nevertheless, as whining pathetically worked to get us nominated, I am going to continue this fine tradition and see if it gets us a win. So I want to urge everyone who reads this to please, please, puh-leaze go vote for us! Polls close at 5 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 13. Any questions, please read the Weblog Award FAQ.

Thanks all, and stay tuned . . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Matt Stoller Interviews Me Over On OpenLeft

As anyone reading the sidebar can tell, I’m a big fan of the folks over at OpenLeft. So I was extremely happy when Matt Stoller asked to interview me on what the November 4 white spaces vote at the FCC means for the future of media and telecom policy.

You can find the interviews here:

Day 1: Broadband and Breaking Up Telecom/Cable/Broadcast Monopolies.

Day 2: Real Use Anywhere ‘Skype-style’ Phone In The Offing.

I have no idea if the Obama people — or anyone else for that matter — agree with me on this stuff. The views expressed in the interviews are my own, just like any other time I talk to the press. In particular, I am pretty sure no one else agrees that our priority should be to “crush monopoly incumbents, drive them before us, and hear the lamentations of their shareholders.” “have a strong national broadband policy that includes federally funded fiber-to-the-home and greater access to federal spectrum for intelligent devices.”

But I hope we can persuade them to agree with me.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Live Blogging the FCC Vote — What If They Called A Vote and Nobody Came?

So here I am, waiting for the white spaces vote, votes on the merger items, and a few other things. The FCC adopted two orders on circulation already — an item on closed captioning and an item on distributed television systems, a technology that will allow digital television broadcasters to keep their current viewers after the transition (I will explain this later). Given that Martin pulled the USF/Intercarrier comp itemyesterday at the insistence of the other Commissioners, that leaves (a) The Verizon/Alltel deal, (b) the New Clearwire deal, (c) the white spaces item, and (d) Google’s pending petition to have the FCC put some teeth into the C block conditions before granting the licenses to Verizon.

The meeting was scheduled for 11 a.m. It’s now after 12:30 p.m. Martin was down here for about an hour before heading back upstairs again. He appeared surprised at the delay.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Quick 700 MHz Updates

First, we at PISC have sent a letter to the FCC asking the FCC to sever the D Block issues, announce the winners of the rest of the auction, and thoroughly investigate the allegations around Cyren Call and its pre-auction discussion with Frontline. (Martin has apparently already circulated something that severs D Block, so they can announce results as soon as the other Commissioners vote and the wireless bureau finishes the necessary housekeeping.)

Perhaps more importantly for the long run, we ask that the FCC take a hard look at whether to try to fix the public/private partnership or possibly do something else. The FCC has a lot of options here. And with the auction clearing over $19 Billion and the statutory requirement to start an auction before January 28, 2008 fulfilled, the money pressure and time pressure are off. We have time to have a public process and do it right.

Second, here is Kevin Martin’s official statement explaining why the auction was a huge success (and, by implication, why he did a bang up job getting this done). Martin, sensitive to the grumblings from folks who say that different rules could have gotten more revenue, included this handy chart showing that, on a pure revenue basis, the 700 MHz auction is the most successful FCC auction ever.

(In the reading the tea leaves department, I note that the chart subtracts out the D Block bid. And indication the FCC won’t just pass off the D Block to the lone low bidder? Maybe, but no surprise if that turns out to be the case.)

You can find Tate’s statement here. I have not seen official statements from any of the other offices.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Bad Day at the FCC on Cable

Well, Adelstein wussed out on us on the 70/70 vote. And it appears that he will not even go to bat for the the leased access proceeding that he championed. We may get some reporting requirements for cable. The FCC Meeting is on hold pending the new negotiations.

Disappointed doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Stay tuned . . . .

Posted in Cable, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged | 4 Comments (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

To the Thief Who Has Stolen My Sign

[Next week’s election includes an amendment to the Wisconsin state consitiution. The amendment excludes homosexuals from whatever protection they might otherwise have, in that it prohibits the legislature from granting any civil union or other benefits except for couples defined on the basis of gender. Specifically, each couple is prescribed to be one man and one woman.

A friend asked me to put up a small sign that reads “A fair Wisconsin votes No …on the civil union ban.” Two days later, the sign had been stolen from my lawn on a non-through street.

I’ve replaced the sign, and attached the following letter.

I welcome comments and improvements, as I think I might share this letter with others, the local papers, etc.]

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

UPDATE: COPE PASSES HOUSE late Thursday Night

To further stack the odds, they went ahead and held the debate and vote tonight after Tom DeLay’s farewell address. Fitting tribute, I suppose, sacrifice the finest engine of civic discourse and free speech on the altar of special interest as a going away present.

And yes, we got spanked as expected. The Markey Amendment failed 152-269, with 11 Rs and 1 independent joining 140 Ds. On the nay side were 211 Rs and 58 Ds. COPE itself passed 321-101.

On to the Senate!

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Latest on COPE and Latest Video

From what I have heard and seen on the House Whip Schedule, the vote on COPE will likely take place this Friday (6/9). On Wednesday June 7, the House Rules Committee will determine what, if any, amendments members may offer. For example, they may or may not allow Markey to offer his Network Neutrality Act of 2006, or allow Sensenbrenner to offer the version of the Internet Freedom and Non-Discrimination Act that passed the Judiciary Committee as an amendment. After that, the package goes to the floor for debate and a vote.

The smart money expects passage of COPE because the House Republican leadership backs it and enough Dems will defect to provide a comfortable margin. OTOH, public pressure keeps pushing members to change their position to support NN. Not that smart money or conventional wisdom believes in democracy anymore, but I am hopeful we can hand them another surprise.

Meanwhile, Moby has prepared this video that tells you how you can call your representative and tell him or her to support net neutrality.

Remember, don’t make Moby cry! Support Net Neutrality and help spank the telcos!

Stay tuned . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Susan Crawford Tells It Like It Is

Must give a shout out to my friend Susan Crawford, who has stuck with the mess-that-is-ICANN long after my patience got exhausted. Susan tells it like it is on ICANN’s rejection of the .XXX TLD proposal.

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