Broadband Roundup: House Communications Committee Seeks Comments from Trade Groups on Telecom Law

Broadband Roundup, Broadband's Impact, FCC, Net Neutrality June 17th, 2014

, Reporter, Broadband Breakfast News

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2014 – The House Energy and Commerce Committee put forward an opportunity for individuals and interest groups to offer comment on telecommunications policy, and many individuals and trade groups took advantage of the opportunity, The Hill reported

The Telecommunications Industry Association said that in 1996, lawmakers didn’t grasp the manner in which new technologies “directly challenge each other in the marketplace,”

“A legislative focus on specific, well-defined public interest objectives will ultimately prove more durable in achieving those objectives as technology evolves, rather than an approach which micro-manages how content providers, network operators, and customers should relate to each other,” said the group representing equipment manufacturers.

CTIA – The Wireless Association suggested the FCC adopt a minimal regulation.

“To accommodate this changing landscape, competition should be defined flexibly to include an examination of what consumers consider product substitutes, including services offered by non-carrier providers,” the group said.

Sprint said in a press release that it just reached agreements with 12 rural and regional network carriers on their fourth-generation LTE networks.

“These agreements seek to increase wireless competition by providing the carriers – and their customers – low-cost access to Sprint’s nationwide 4G LTE network and an opportunity to pursue an expanded utilization of 4G LTE across America where the cost of building such networks and the roaming costs are often prohibitively expensive,” read the press release

Dubbed the rural roaming preferred program, the effort was developed in conjunction with Competitive Carriers Association and now extends to “23 states, over 350, 000 square miles and a population of over 34 million people.”

Apple said it is asking schools to apply for its portion of the ConnectED program to improve connectivity and technology in schools, The Washington Post reported.

The company has already invested $100 million to the program and will be contributing further by providing iPads, MacBooks, software and technical training to “schools with a high percentage of students in lunch assistance programs.”

Ron Carruth, superintendent for the Whittier County School District in Whittier, Calif., said “we are looking to partner with schools that share our vision of using technology to transform education. If a school is selected, we will provide it with Apple products, education content and wireless infrastructure, and we will work closely with teachers to further their professional development.”

The applications are due on June 20.

In other news, a study by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation found that about one-third of Americans are not competent in the use of computers and the internet. That’s nearly twice the number of people without internet access.

The report urged increased investments into digital skills education by the public and private sectors.

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