FCC Rules Against a Baby Bell

Not only did the FCC decide on Friday to berate Comcast for messing with P2P traffic, but apparently it showed no love to Qwest, either, denying Qwest’s request for forbearance in four cities. Qwest had sought the right to stop charging competitive telecommunications carriers wholesale rates for access to its network in Phoenix, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver and Seattle, saying the area was now competitive. Kevin Martin, chairman of the FCC and the carrier’s biggest fan, disagreed. Maybe he’s tired of being the industry’s lapdog.

On BitTorrent, FCC Chastises Comcast

[qi:014] I love the irony of the FCC and its complete and utter lack of rationality. It continues to show its Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde personality. The very same week it allows two satellite radio companies — Sirrus & XM — to merge, overlooking its very own reservations, promoting monopoly in that business, it is telling Comcast to stop messing around with P2P traffic. There will be no fines for Comcast for blocking the traffic.

Now you know I don’t care much for Comcast’s traffic managing ways — having written about it time and again — but this just seeks like an opportunistic and populist-baiting move from an organization that has lately stopped putting people first and started bowing and kneeling to large corporations, instead. And why pick on just Comcast? Why not go after other players like Cox as well? Why doesn’t FCC intervene in the metered Internet issue – that isn’t good for consumers either. Does anyone else feel that FCC has started to display a bizzare streak that shames Roger Clemens?

Comcast Caught, Denies Blocking Traffic

Comcast has been accused of blocking traffic several times in its history and may have even admitted to more than the straight up P2P blocking we all knew about. But late yesterday, Comcast finally got it’s comeuppance. Sort of. Kevin Martin, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and close personal friend to the cable competitors, the telecom industry, could take no more.

So this morning he’s circulating an enforcement order that says that Comcast blocked network traffic and that such traffic blocking needs to stop. The enforcement order was prompted by a complaint from the non-profit group, Free Press, and the Commission will vote on the order at an open meeting on Aug. 1. The order would require Comcast to stop blocking traffic, provide the FCC details on how and how often traffic blocking was used and give consumers detailed information on how Comcast plans to manage its network in the future.

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Carriers Looking to Block Free Wireless Broadband?

Update: TR Daily reports that the vote will be delayed because of “misunderstanding” which loosely translates into lobbyists did their job and got FCC to back up. FCC has taken the vote off the website. I will report more tomorrow as I get the details. (Original story below the fold.)

Original Story: FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s political ambitions might spur him into delivering “free wireless broadband,” if some Beltway insiders are to be believed. His plan, however, is not sitting well with carriers, satellite operators and even some public interest groups.

What Martin wants to do is basically have another auction of advanced wireless services (AWS-3) in the 2155-2175 MHz-band and reserve a portion of the wireless network that uses these frequencies for free wireless broadband. The plan was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The FCC is likely to vote on Martin’s idea of delivering 768 kbps wireless broadband access for free next week. I’ve been told the date is June 12th.

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Kevin Martin… Unplugged

I wish Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg were harder on FCC Chairman Kevin Martin who was at the D6 conference. Look at this video and you get an idea that this is a future politician talking. (For Part II of the video, click here.) I blame him and FCC for our current broadband mess. There is no running away from it, whatever he says. Too bad, I couldn’t find him lurking in the halls today. Oh well!

Broadband Over Power Line Gets a KO Punch

The great broadband hope, “Broadband over Power Line,” has turned out to be a big broadband nope. Not that I am surprised. I never believed its promise, even despite the incessant hype by none other than the FCC. A court’s decision has proven me right: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit pretty much concludes that the FCC was misguided and overenthusiastic about BPL, and that it ignored the interference data.

Both former FCC chairman Michael Powell and the org’s current head, Kevin Martin, talked up this technology, even as broadband experts continued to voice their doubts about its viability. All this positive talk led to the investment of millions of dollars and the chasing of what turned out to be a chimera. Google, for instance, bet big on Current Communications, a company that so far has delivered more headlines than broadband over power lines.

Our good friend Karl over at DSL Reports points us to a story in The Dallas Morning News that says the largest BPL deployment in the U.S. is being sold to a local utility that, rather than consumer broadband service, will use it for electrical grid monitoring. Oops!