VOL. 13, NO. 47
November 27, 2017

February 6-7, 2018
Policy Summit
Neustar Appoints Financial Services and Information Technology Expert as Chief Sales and Marketing Officer

December 4 

December 15

December 19
FCC Announces Plan to Kill
Net Neutrality Protections
Last week, the FCC announced plans to eliminate the bi-partisan net neutrality protections that have guided unprecedented freedom and growth of the internet for almost two decades. The Commission expects to vote on the proposal at its December 14 Open Meeting.

INCOMPAS CEO Chip Pickering, a former Republican Member of Congress who led the effort to pass the first net neutrality legislation in Congress, said "The FCC's proposal to kill net neutrality will have consumers screaming, businesses reeling and Justice Scalia spinning in his grave. Chairman Pai's rejection of bi-partisan open internet principles will slow down the streaming revolution and slap small business, who are migrating to the cloud in record numbers, with higher prices."

Pickering added: "The FCC knows they have a terrible legal hand but remain willing to plunge an open internet, the engine of our economy, into chaos. Comcast and AT&T have the means, motive and history of doing harm to an open internet. Ending net neutrality could cost consumers hundreds of millions in new fees, and should be deeply troubling for all Americans.

"Seeking to pass the buck to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a regulatory ruse. Net Neutrality is a network issue and deserves oversight by the expert network agency-the FCC. It is also important to note that if AT&T's 9th Circuit Court decision holds, the FTC would no longer have any jurisdiction over any company that is affiliated with a common carrier. This would give cable gatekeepers the power to block, throttle and control access to the internet with no oversight from the FCC or FTC.

"The FCC should heed the warning of the Department of Justice (DOJ), which issued a statement in favor of competition and a warning against the power of consolidation. In contrast to the FCC, the DOJ said AT&T and Comcast have the means and motives to harm the development of streaming video in order to protect their broadband and content monopolies.

"Chairman Pai's affection for AT&T and Comcast holds great political risk for President Trump and the entire Republican party. No one wants to see the internet turned into cable and have to pay more for streaming and other services they love."
FCC to Maintain Oversight
of Interconnection  
On November 20, INCOMPAS filed an ex parte that took a hard swing at cable and phone companies for attempting to kill net neutrality by eliminating interconnection protections. Interconnection is the first amendment of the internet, the point where all websites, from movie streaming services to small town real estate pages, connect to the internet.

The INCOMPAS letter argues that large Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have the incentive to discriminate, and a track record of doing so. They point out that the infamous Netflix slow down in 2014 took place at the point of interconnection.

Since the 2015 Order, the market has responded with an explosion in new cost saving streaming services and investment into business cloud migration. A  recent net neutrality poll by INCOMPAS and IMGE Insights identified that more than 70 percent of Americans - Republican and Democrats alike - say the internet has gotten better under the current rules.

The letter also points out that the New York State Office of the Attorney General found interconnection abuse taking place for years, and highlights consumer's inadequate access to competition and choice.

"Blocking interconnection is blocking plain and simple," said INCOMPAS CEO Chip Pickering. "Attacks on interconnection should send off alarm bells with consumers, streamers and businesses who will see prices rise and cloud services taxed by cable gatekeepers if the FCC eliminates net neutrality protections."
FCC Announces December 14 Open Meeting Tentative Agenda 
In addition to the net neutrality item (see stories above), the FCC announced other items on the tentative agenda for its December 14 Open Meeting: 
  • New Emergency Alert System Event Code for Blue Alerts - The FCC will consider a Report and Order that would amend its Emergency Alert System (EAS) rules to add a dedicated event code to facilitate the delivery of Blue Alerts over the EAS and Wireless Emergency Alert system.
  • Rural Health Care Support Mechanism - The FCC will consider an NPRM and Order to strengthen the Rural Health Care Program and improve access to telehealth in rural America.
  • Twilight Towers Public Notice - The FCC will consider a Public Notice seeking input on a draft Program Comment addressing the historic preservation review requirements for collocating wireless communications facilities on certain communications towers.
  • CMRS Presumption Report & Order - The FCC will consider a Report and Order to harmonize the Commission's rules by eliminating the commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) presumption, to be consistent with our flexible use approach to licensing.
  • Electronic Delivery of Cable Communications - The FCC will consider an NPRM seeking comment on ways to modernize certain notice provisions in Part 76 of the FCC's Rules governing multichannel video and cable television service.
  • National Television Multiple Ownership Rule - The FCC will consider an NPRM seeking comment on whether to modify, retain or eliminate the 39 percent national audience reach cap and/or the UHF discount used by broadcast television station groups to calculate compliance with the cap.