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Broadband Roundup: Battle of the Lobbyists, Holding Comcast Accountable and Satellite Reauthorization




WASHINGTON, July 23, 2014 - Broadband providers are outspending internet search and content firms on lobbying lawmakers and regulators, Recode reported. However, among single companies, Google spent more than any internet provider in both of the past two quarters.

ISPs and their trade associations have collectively spent $42.4 million this year. Content creators spent only $25.9 million – more than a third-of it by Google. Google spent $5.03 million last quarter, and $3.82 million in the first quarter of the year. Comcast, by contrast, spent $4.45 million last quarter, and $3.09 million in the first quarter.

Among associations, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association spent $4.01 million last quarter, according to Recode.

Broadband Coalitions Petitions FCC To Hold Comcast Accountable

A Field Poll released this month showed that 25 percent of Californians do not subscribe to broadband services, according to SF Gate. This makes a coalition of broadband activists very unhappy.

Nearly two dozen organizations and broadband access leaders, including Sunne McPeak, CEO of the California Emerging Technology Fund, singled out Comcast for blame. They signed a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, demanding Comcast be held “accountable to improve its Internet Essentials program to achieve acceptable performance” in its offer of broadband internet services to low-income residents.

“Our nation’s economic well-being and ability to compete globally are at risk unless we get all residents connected to high-speed broadband at home. Now is the time to hold Comcast accountable for delivering a real, measurable public benefit,” the group wrote in the letter.

House Passes STELA Reauthorization

The House of Representative passed the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization, The Hill reported. The bill revives communications and copyright provisions of existing law for five years so that satellite providers like Dish Network and DirecTV can bring in TV signals from different markets when subscribers can't pick up local stations.

According to Reuters, STELA will affect roughly 1.5 million people who access satellite programming. The STELA bill:

  • Prohibits joint retransmission consent negotiations
  • Provides broadcasters additional time to unwind business arrangements deemed no longer in the public interest by the FCC through its recent changes in how it calculates ownership interests under the media ownership rules
  • Eliminates the "sweeps" week prohibition on signal change
  • Eliminates the set-top box integration ban



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