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FCC Chairman Announces Howard Symons as New General Counsel

in Press Releases by

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2016 – FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler today announced the departure of Jon Sallet as the FCC General Counsel and his intention to appoint Howard Symons as the next General Counsel.  Mr. Sallet will become the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Litigation in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. 

“Jon Sallet has been an incredible contributor to the activities of the Commission over the last two and a half years,” said Chairman Wheeler.  “He has been a great counselor to me and the Commission.  As General Counsel, Jon worked closely with our colleagues at the Department of Justice; it should be no surprise that the Antitrust Division would seek to have Jon join their team. To the Antitrust Division, we say, ‘Good move!’ To our friend Jon Sallet we say, ‘Godspeed.’”

In his new position as FCC General Counsel, Mr. Symons will lead the office that serves as the principal legal advisory office to the Commission as a whole.  Attorneys in the office represent the Commission in litigation, recommend decisions in adjudicatory matters, assist the Commission in its decision-making capacity and perform a variety of legal functions regarding internal and other administrative matters. 

“Howard Symons has distinguished himself as a sage practitioner of communications law for decades,” said the Chairman.  “I have had the opportunity of working with Howard many times on complicated and important communications issues and know from firsthand experience his significant abilities. Now that the Incentive Auction rules are in place and the auction is underway, we have the flexibility to ask Howard to transfer his considerable talents to become General Counsel.”

Prior to joining the Commission, Mr. Sallet was been a partner in three law firms, served as chief policy counsel for MCI Telecommunications (later MCI WorldCom), and served as Director of the Office of Policy & Strategic Planning for the Department of Commerce.  He was a law clerk to the Honorable Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and the Honorable Edward A. Tamm of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Mr. Symons has been working in telecommunications in both the public and private sectors for more than 30 years. Before his appointment to the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force in January 2014, he was the chair of the communications practice at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. and served as senior counsel to the Subcommittee on Telecommunications in the U.S. House of Representatives.    He graduated from Yale University and earned his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.

Jessica Ward: Which Media Streaming Device is Best?

in Expert Opinion by

July 7, 2016 – Since 2008, the ability to “cut the cord” has existed with the help of devices allowing us to stream Netflix directly to our TVs. From 2008 to 2013, the idea that this technology could actually replace Pay TV (cable and satellite) seemed absurd. Fast forward to 2014 when the percentage of households using these devices rose from a mere 7% to a shocking 21%. Oh what a difference a year can bring. At this point, individual media groups, like CBS, FOX, HBO and many others, began to find ways to use these devices to benefit them monetarily. Once these groups got on board, it was clear that these media streaming devices were to be reckoned with. The next year (2015) the 14% rise between 2013 and 2014 seemed minuscule compared to the 31% spurt the media streaming industry experienced in 2015. With that, devices like Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Chromecast became serious contenders to the big dogs in the Pay TV marketplace.

None of these bigger than Roku, though. While Roku flies somewhat under the radar without a name like Apple, Amazon or Google backing it, the company has quietly moved it’s way into the top spot owning 37% of the Media Streaming Device market. Not only is Roku among the least expensive of the devices, but thanks to their deals with Sharp, TCL and Sceptre to be installed into their Smart TVs they are more readily available to consumers than the other brands they are competing with. Along with Chromecast, they also have to most to offer consumers as far as free content goes.

While Media Streaming Devices seem perfect for consumers, there are a few deterring factors that satellite TV companies like DirecTV and DISH hope will prevent the majority of consumers moving in that direction. The first factor is that many of the free channels actually do require a subscription to a Pay TV service. Channels like ESPN, Comedy Central and FOX are not available through these devices if you do not currently have a cable subscription set up. There are obviously ways around this. If one person has a cable subscription, they can surely share their subscription with others. This is a roadblock for some consumers, but the majority will find a way around this.

The larger concern is one of user experience and cost as it relates to the consumer’s internet service. In 2016, Netflix publicly stated that an internet speed of 5 Mbps or higher is required for a “regularly positive” streaming experience. This is not just true for Netflix, but for the media streaming industry in general. Unfortunately, those with DSL, satellite internet and even some smaller cable providers may not be able to experience streaming in a way that the service is meant to be due to slower internet speeds. Aside from speeds, another large concern is for those consumers whose internet plan has a hard cap when it comes to data. These services, especially in HD, can be big time data drainers as they take up 3 GB of data per hour. This could make streaming a costly option.

While there are negatives, it’s clear that these services are serious contenders and are here to stay.

Have you been looking into cutting the cord? If so, take a look at the infographic below provided by InternetChoice.org to decide which platform would be best for you!

Jessica Ward is a blogger, DIY addict, coffee snob and marketing extraordinaire at InternetChoice.org. She writes about technology, fitness, marketing, and whatever fills her mind with wonder and fuels her passion. Follow her on Twitter @jessward87

cord-cutting-infographic

 

Statement from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Regarding DC Circuit Decision to Uphold FCC’s Open Internet Rules

in Broadband's Impact/FCC/Net Neutrality by

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2016 – Today, the DC Circuit upheld the FCC’s Open Internet rules. The following statement can be attributed to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

 “Today’s ruling is a victory for consumers and innovators who deserve unfettered access to the entire web, and it ensures the internet remains a platform for unparalleled innovation, free expression and economic growth.  After a decade of debate and legal battles, today’s ruling affirms the Commission’s ability to enforce the strongest possible internet protections – both on fixed and mobile networks – that will ensure the internet remains open, now and in the future.”

 To learn more about the FCC’s Open Internet rules, visit www.fcc.gov/openinternet.

Drew Clark Live at Mountain Connect: Washington Wireless Policy

in Broadband's Impact/Wireless by

KEYSTONE, Colorado, June 6, 2016 – Three Washington wireless policy experts – Stephen Coran of Lerman Senter, Jonathan Adelstein of the Wireless Infrastructure Association, and Michael Calabrese of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute - addressed current issues discussed at Mountain Connect here.

Drew Clark Live at Mountain Connect: Bruce Patterson of Ammon, Idaho

in Broadband's Impact by

KEYSTONE, Colorado, June 6, 2016 – Here at Mountain Connect, I caught up with Bruce Patterson, the chief technologist in Ammon, Idaho (a suburb of Idaho Falls), where he discussed the innovative open access network that is common online in this city of 13,000.

He and Jeff Christensen, President of Entry Point Networks, spoke about how software-defined networks, and open access networks, are the next step in our broadband evolution. And Chris Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self Reliance (Community Networks) spoke about an upcoming video — to be released this week — that features what’s happening in Ammon, Idaho.

Drew Clark Live at Mountain Connect: Lori Sherwood of Vantage Point

in Broadband's Impact by

KEYSTONE, Colorado, June 6, 2016 – My interview with Lori Sherwood, following her panel discussion on “Financing Options for Municipal Networks” at the Mountain Connect conference here. Panelist during her discussion were Jason Gredell of J.P. Morgan Chase, Brian Garcia of Aegis Capital and Kevin Padrick of Symmetrical Networks.

Drew Clark Live at Mountain Connect: Kelleigh Cole of the Utah Broadband Project

in Broadband's Impact by

KEYSTONE, Colorado, June 6, 2016 – Continuing my live interviews at Mountain Connect, I interview Kelleigh Cole of the Utah Broadband Project. Kelleigh holds the position in Illinois similar to the role I had as Executive Director of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois from 2010-2013.

Drew Clark Live at Mountain Connect: Colorado Fiber Community

in Broadband's Impact by

KEYSTONE, Colorado, June 6, 2016 – Here at the Mountain Connect conference at the heart of the Rockies, I caught up with Paul Recanzone and Alex Telthorst of Colorado Fiber Community. They addressed the benefits of shared infrastructure for rural broadband communities.

FCC Broadband Facts Labels | BroadbandSearch.net | BroadbandSearch

in Broadband's Impact by

In April 2016, the FCC developed a base “Nutritional Facts” label for cable internet providers to follow. Well, we have put together labels for what the top brands currently offer!

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.broadbandsearch.net

The Federal Communications Commission’s broadband facts label has this group to assemble a comparison by providers at broadbandsearch.net

See on Scoop.itBroadbandPolicy

Digital Inclusion Day

in Broadband's Impact by

National Digital Inclusion Day
Join us Friday, May 13th for the first National Digital Inclusion Day as we focus attention on empowering under-connected communities through increased internet access and usage. NDIA invites you to participate in a nationwide Twitter Town Hall at 10:00 AM PT / 1:00 PM ET to discuss the impact digital access and skills can have on society, families and individuals.

Twitter Town Hall (10:00 AM PT / 1:00 PM ET)
You can join the Twitter Town Hall discussion by submitting questions and offering stories at #digitalinclusion. By joining the Twitter Town Hall, your organization will help to create a unified voice for digital inclusion programs and leaders around the country. More importantly, by participating in this day of action your organization will gain exposure as a leader in the digital inclusion movement. Discussion topics include: 

Home Broadband Access
Local Technology Training
Access to Low or No Cost Devices
Local Policies
Future of Digital Inclusion

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.digitalinclusionalliance.org

Information on National Digital Inclusion Day for #broadband, this Friday, May 13, at 1 p.m. ET, from NDIA!

See on Scoop.itBroadbandPolicy

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