- Last week it was reported that L2Networks Corp., a small Georgia telecommunications company, filed the first formal Open Internet complaint at the FCC. As of late last week, the FCC had not seen the purported filing. L2Networks issued a statement on May 22, 2012, that it had made a filing with the FCC “challenging the legality of alleged actions taken by Mr. Ronald Skates, Director of Telecommunications of The Albany Water Gas & Light Commission, a regional utility and fiber-optic based Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) regulated within the state of Georgia.” According to that release, “Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission filed a criminal complaint against L2Networks alleging theft-of-service in Dougherty County, Georgia” for failing to pay charges for termination of Voice over IP (VoIP) services over Albany’s facilities. L2Networks argues that the complaint implicates the Open Internet rules, because it creates an anticompetitive environment. Reporters have been unable to reach L2Networks to discuss its filing. The press release is available here.
- On May 22, 2012, during remarks at the Cable Show in Boston, FCC Chairmain Genachowski expressed support for pricing experimentation, including usage-based pricing “completely appropriate”. The Open Internet Order, he stated, permits usage-based pricing by broadband providers. These comments drew criticism from Free Press and Public Knowledge, who argue that data caps are bad for consumers and make no sense for wired broadband. Public Knowledge also called on the FCC to investigate data caps, noting many unanswered questions about how such limits were set and what counted towards the caps.
The Free Press statement is available here.
The Public Knowledge statement is available here.
- On May 23, 2012, the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies released a report titled “A Most Egregious Act? The Impact on Consumers of Usage-Based Pricing” defending usage-based pricing and the practice of providers exempting their own video programming from data caps. The report “show[s] that that [sic] charging a positive price to account for the substitution of over-the-top video services for the broadband provider’s own video services can make consumers and society better off. Consequently, regulations that prohibit such actions can make consumers and society worse off.” It is available here.
- On May 2, 2012, the FCC announced details for a mobility auction to bring 3G and 4G mobile broadband to rural areas. The auction will take place on September 27, 2012 and will distribute as much as $300 million from the USF. Short form applications must be filed between June 27 and July 11, 2012. A news release on the auction is available here. The procedures for the auction are available here.
- On April 4, 2012, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) requested comment on its proposal “to add 12 questions to the U.S. Census Bureau’s October 2012 Current Population Survey (CPS) in order to gather reliable data on broadband (also known as high-speed Internet) use by U.S. households.” The questions are intended to gauge progress on President Obama’s goal of universal, affordable broadband access for all Americans and to identify problem areas. Comments are due June 4, 2012. The Federal Register notice is available here.