Monday, November 20, 2017

FCC votes on ending Obama's net neutrality rules and "telecomm" legal classification on Dec. 14

While at the airport this morning, I got an email from “Fight for the Future” advising that the Net Neutrality vote will occur December 14, 2017 at the FCC.  The group’s basic link is here

The link has the usual talk of ISP’s cutting off websites that don’t pay them off, and the like.
I generally don’t join telethons to flood Congress, because when it reaches that stage it’s too late. The hyperbole rarely works with me.

But I’ll do another round of investigating what is really likely to happen.

FRFF gives Bloomberg’s speculative article, but there is a lot more to say. it   It does seem true that the FTC would have less power than the FCC to enforce actions against possible abuse because the FTC can’t make policy;  it has to follow Congress. 

Ajit Pai has also won a vote to cut back a Reagan-era plan to help the destitute with phone service, ThinkProgress report here

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Pai stays on as FCC Chairman, even as controversy over his policies on ending net neutrality continues

The Senate has approved Trump’s request to extend Ajit Pai’s term as chairman of the FCC, which otherwise would have ended in 2017.

Jon Brodkin has a detailed story (Oct. 2) in Ars Technica here.
Pai has been criticized for rolling back information transparency on services for lower income and rural consumers.  Pai’s critics still fear that reducing net neutrality rules could some day result in making it harder for small businesses to be connected to the web, even though industry trade groups deny that this would happen

Saturday, October 28, 2017

House Energy and Commerce Committee starts hearings on FCC oversight

I’m checking to see what Congress, specifically, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is hearing on the network neutrality issue.

There was to be a hearing Sept. 7 which was postponed.

I see a hearing on Oct. 11 about the overhaul of the Communications Act of 1934 (link ) and a 3 hour hearing Oct. 25 on oversight of the FCC, with Ajit Pai testifying heavily.

At 29, Mr. Pallone from NJ makes a broadbased remark about Trump’s desire to repeal network neutrality, followed by Mr. McNerey.  

At 1:58 Pai is asked about possible license recovation based on Trump’s comments on fake news. Pai says he stands by the First Amendment. Pai stood by the idea that the FCC cannot revoke a particular license based on content. There is a question as to a “culture of intimidation” based on silence from the FCC.  At around 2:30  Pai talks about diversity in the FCC and also talks about the need to improve medical response technology through broadband (which theoretically might have violated Obama net neutrality). 

I didn’t see any obvious talk about the past fears that publishers could have to pay off telecom companies to be connected, but I’ll check further into what this committee is doing in other hearings.

I did get an email Oct. 25 from “FightfortheFuture” and here is that group’s account . This seems overhyped and not very objective, and I usually don’t “pound Congress” with calls on special issues, because there are so many of them!  But I will keep an eye on this. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Would easing net neutrality favor apps over websites even more?

I was in Harpers Ferry, W Va today and noticed that my cell phone showed 2 bars of 4GLTE, but no websites would load.

But AOL. Facebook and Twitter apps would all load.  And then websites linked inside those would load.

No, I’m not to the point of coding apps for my own blogs.  But this makes you wonder if this is what fast lanes mean – regarding http (or https) protocols. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Now airline safety organizations change course and recommend banning lithium battery electronics in checked baggage

The International Civil Aviation Organization, of which the FAA is a member, is seriously considering that all countries should ban laptops or other electronics with lithium batteries in checked baggage. A typical story is on CNN Money, here. The theory is that lithium batteries in a cargo hold might catch fire if around certain volatiles in other luggage.

At least three incidents in the US related to cargo fires have happened in recent years.
This story contrasts with the bans of electronics larger than cellphones on flights from many countries implemented in March,  

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Domain names still seem like good business whatever FCC is doing right now

So, today on CNN, I saw a Godaddy ad to get a domain name for your website for 99 cents (it reminds me of Record Sales back in 1962).

But this is encouraging.  It implies that, despite the planned gutting of network neutrality, telcomm companies seem to have no intention now of demanding small businesses pay some kind of extortion to be connected.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

CNET article from 2014 may support Pai's position

Here’s an older CNET article, by Margaret Reardon, from May 2014, explaining in detail how connections between Netflix and Comcast work in order to actually stream full length movies efficiently.  

Up to a point, the article seems to reinforce Ajit Pai’s contention, that allowing large content providers to pay for preferred streaming connections for the benefit of end-user customer service should not threaten the connectivity of smaller businesses to the Internet.
There hasn’t been a lot of discussion about this issue in the past days because of so many bigger problems.