• On February 10, 2011, President Obama announced a plan to spend $18 billion on mobile broadband, $5 billion of which would be spent in rural areas and $3 billion of which would be spent on government research in new wireless technologies. This announcement follows the President’s State of the Union address last month in which he stated a goal that 98% of Americans will have mobile broadband access in the next 5 years. President Obama stated that the plan could be financed through spectrum auctions, which he indicated could fetch $27 billion. House Republicans, including House Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton, D-Mich., have already expressed concerns with the proposal. “Before we target any more of our scarce taxpayer dollars for broadband, it is critical to examine whether the money already spent is having an impact,” Upton noted.
  • On February 4, 2011, Global Crossing filed an ex parte in the FCC’s Open Internet docket disclosing meetings with representatives of the Wireline Competition Bureau and Office of Strategic Policy over the dispute between Level 3 and Comcast. Global Crossing stated that “Since carriers are no longer of relatively equal size and now compete much more directly with each other, the historical cooperative practices that formed the Internet are breaking down and being replaced with more commercially driven tactics such as charging for access to last-mile facilities.” Characterizing the broadband ISPs’ last-mile services as a monopoly service, the company noted that the “predicament faced by parties that send traffic to a broadband ISP’s subscribers today is substantially similar to those which the Commission has not hesitated to remedy in the past. Like CLECs and wireless carriers before them, broadband ISPs enjoy a termination monopoly for their customers.” GN Docket No. 09-191. To read the ex parte, click here.
  • On January 5, 2011, the FCC announced the Open Internet Challenge designed to encourage the public to create applications to monitor Internet providers’ compliance with the Open Internet rules and to encourage research into the same. One winner will get a trip to Washington, DC and will be honored at an FCC Chairman’s reception. The submission deadline is June 1, 2011, and winners will be chosen by a public vote and a panel of experts. More information can be found here.