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Broadband Roundup: Verizon Not Likely to Sue FCC Again, Google to Launch Internet Satellites, and New Broadband Definition

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WASHINGTON, June 2, 2014 – In an interview on C-Span’s “The Communicators,” Verizon’s senior vice president of Craig Silliman said that the tech giant will likely not pursue a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission over net neutrality rules – provided that the agency doesn’t attempt to reclassify broadband as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act.

“There are a number of people in the industry who are ready to move on from this issue,” Sullivan said. “There are far more important policy issues we should be talking about.”

However, attempts to reclassify broadband as a public utility would make lawsuits “inevitable,” he said.

Silliman said there was a need to “modernize communications laws,” adding that many of the debates surrounding the agency’s open internet order have been “symptoms” of policy makers applying outdated regulations that weren’t written with modern markets and technologies in mind.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Google Inc. is spending over $1 billion on satellites to extend Internet service to unwired regions of the world.

The project will begin with 180 small satellites orbiting at a relatively low altitude compared to other satellites. The hope is to later expand the project.

“Google and Facebook are trying to figure out ways of reaching populations that thus far have been unreachable,” said Susan Irwin, president of Irwin Communications Inc., a satellite-communications research firm, according to the Journal. “Wired connectivity only goes so far and wireless cellular networks reach small areas. Satellites can gain much broader access.”

Also, Search Engine Land reported that Google is complying with a European Union court decision on a so-called “fight to be forgotten” ruling. The decision allows anyone in the union to request that certain information be removed from Google’s search engines.

Google has created a form that allows people to request specific URL takedowns. Removals are exclusive to European Union-versions of Google. Disclosure will be made available on which takedowns occur.

The ruling doesn’t just apply to Google, Search Engine Land reported. Other companies with a presence in a European Union nation must comply. Yahoo is reportedly working on developing a solution, while Bing has taken no discernible action thus far, reports Search Engine Land.

Forbes reported that an internal notice is currently circulating at the FCC on whether the definition of high-speed Internet should be updated to a higher standard.

Currently, Forbes said that the agency uses a 4 Megabit per second (Mbps) defition. The FCC will seek public comment on whether the new minimum for broadband service should extend to 10 Mbps or 25 Mbps.

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