Free Press complains to the FCC about Verizon tethering

In the war to control access to services over wireless networks, the Free Press, a consumer group, has filed a complaint with the FCC because Verizon has reportedly asked Google to disable tethering on Android devices.

Comcast-NBCU: An Oil Spill Waiting to Happen?

Participants of a public FCC hearing on the proposed Comcast-NBC Universal joint venture warned today that a lack of regulation could be a catastrophic for the online video space. They made references to BP’s oil spill, but also pointed to Comcast’s interference with BitTorrent transfers.

Friends and Foes Weigh in on Comcast-NBCU Deal

Comcast and NBC secured a number of well-know supporters for their proposed merger, but today’s FCC comment filing deadline was also used by a number of companies, labor unions and public interest groups to express opposition to the idea of both companies joining forces.

Court: Cable Can’t Keep All the Good Stuff

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled today that cable companies can’t withhold programming from competitors, affirming rules put in place by the FCC to guarantee fair competition amongst pay TV service providers, according to a BusinessWeek report. Comcast (s CMCSK) and Cablevision (s CVC) had challenged these rules in court; today’s rejection of this challenge marks an important victory not only for smaller cable and satellite TV providers, but also for IPTV services like Verizon’s (s VZ) FIOS TV.
The court decision is also likely to have an impact on the proposed merger between Comcast and NBC (s GE), which has come under increased scrutiny by law makers and the FCC alike. Read More about Court: Cable Can’t Keep All the Good Stuff

NCTA Prez Refutes Charges Over TV Everywhere ‘Collusion’

NCTA president Kyle McSlarrow today issued an extended rebuttal to charges from consumer watchdog group Free Press that TV Everywhere initiatives stemmed from collusion among cable programmers and distributors to stifle competition in the online video market.

Based on a report it issued entitled TV Competition Nowhere: How the Cable Industry Is Colluding to Kill Online TV, Free Press called for an investigation by federal antitrust agencies and Congress into the anti-competitive nature of TV Everywhere programs.

Arguing that the cable incumbents are using TV Everywhere as a way to “preserve the current market structure and prevent disruptive competition,” the group also chides the industry for not including online-only distributors of content. “By design, this plan will exclude disruptive new entrants and result in fewer choices and higher prices for consumers,” the report claims.

Read More about NCTA Prez Refutes Charges Over TV Everywhere ‘Collusion’

Free Press Asks Congress for Metered Broadband Inquiry

headerlogo_freepressThe Free Press, a nonprofit dedicated to media reform, today sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to investigate the costs of providing broadband and the effect that metered broadband may have on the U.S. economy, in particular U.S. competitiveness. The letter points to the recent metered broadband trials engaged in by Time Warner Cable (s TWC) and AT&T (s T) (although others are talking about them as well), arguing that the bandwidth caps are “arbitrarily low” while the cost of exceeding those caps is “arbitrarily high.”
The two justifications ISPs use for metered broadband are that bandwidth costs are rising so ISPs need to a way to recoup them, and that tiers are a way to control bandwidth hogs. Given that so far, providers have been tight-lipped about their bandwidth bills, and that most investigations reveal that the costs of providing service are trending down, the Free Press is also calling on Congress to ask ISPs how much bandwidth really costs them. Read More about Free Press Asks Congress for Metered Broadband Inquiry

DPI Doesn’t Kill The Open Internet, Carriers Do

The Free Press issued a report today that blames deep packet inspection technology for “The End of the Internet,” arguing that Internet service providers’ use of equipment that can inspect individual packets of data should raise concerns for both users and lawmakers.
The report: “Deep Packet Inspection: The End of the Internet as We Know It?” highlights the use of DPI equipment by Comcast (s CMSCA) in throttling P2P traffic, in Cox’s traffic prioritization scheme, the role DPI played in NebuAd’s plans to monitor web surfing in order to deliver advertising, and the use of such equipment to introduce consumption-based broadband programs. It neglects to cover the use of DPI for Internet threat monitoring and other more beneficial uses of the technology. Read More about DPI Doesn’t Kill The Open Internet, Carriers Do

FCC Gives Whites Spaces a Boost

The Federal Communications Commission has released an engineering report that increases the chances for a new wireless broadband network operating in the so-called white spaces in the unused spectrum between digital TV channels.

Network Management Doesn’t Have to Be Evil

The blogosphere yesterday was in an uproar over the network management practices Sprint disclosed on its web site in conjunction with its launch of the Xohm WiMAX service. But the issue is about more than Sprint throttling traffic on its network during times of congestion; it’s about a consumers’ right to know what happens to their traffic on the network.