• On July 26, 2012, Google officially announced Google Fiber, including details about service options and price. To obtain service, Google is asking citizens of Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas to pre-register and get their neighbors to pre-register to have the service installed. Google will turn on service based on “fiberhoods” where the interest, measured by pre-registrations, meets a certain level by September 9, 2012, and with the highest interest fiberhoods receiving service first. Services will include three choices, which are
  1. Free Internet at 5 Mbps and a $300 installation fee,
  2. 1000 Mbps broadband at $70/month and no installation fee, or
  3. 1000 Mbps + Google TV at $120/ month, no installation fee, and free Nexus 7 to use as a remote control.

More information is available in several Google Fiber blog posts available here; and here; and here. Google’s new fiber webpage is here.

  • On July 23, 2012, amicus curiae filed their briefs in the D.C. Circuit appeal of the FCC’s Open Internet rules. TechFreedom, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Free State Foundation, and the Cato Institute filed a joint brief arguing that the Open Internet rules violate both the First and Fifth Amendments. The rules violate the First Amendment, they argue, because there is no problem solved by the rules that couldn’t already be handled through existing antitrust laws. The Fifth Amendment is impacted because it deprives network owners of their property by forcing access to content providers. Finally, the groups criticize the FCC’s use of “ancillary authority”. The joint brief argues that strict scrutiny should be applied.

Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Virginia also filed an amicus brief arguing that the FCC is relying on a number of disparate statutory provisions but has no clear authority to impose common carriage requirements on broadband providers. Finally, the National Association of Manufacturers argued that the FCC lacked authority to promulgate the rules and that Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 does not provide that authority.

In other developments in the appeal, in light of Free Press’s decision to drop its appeal, CTIA withdrew as an intervenor in the case. Verizon Wireless v. FCC, Case No. 11-1355 and consolidated cases (D.C. Cir.).