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Broadband Roundup: Dish Network Lobbying, John Thune Criticizes E-Rate, 10 Gigabits Over Copper

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WASHINGTON, July 10, 2014 – Satellite TV provider Dish Network is lobbying the Federal Communications Commission to block Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable, according to National Journal.

Charlie Ergen, chairman of Dish, told FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler that “serious competitive concerns” would arise from the deal and that Comcast would effectively control “choke points” on the internet, effectively throttling access to competing video services like Dish’s.

Sena Fitzmaurice, a Comcast spokeswoman, said in an email statement according to the Wall Street Journal that “Dish not wanting stronger competitors isn’t surprising and isn’t new. Dish has long been one of our most vigorous competitors, and unlike us has a national footprint available in tens of millions of more homes than a combined Comcast/Time Warner Cable.”

As the FCC gets ready to vote on modernizing the E-Rate program, Senator John Thune, R-S.D., is called on the commission to postpone the vote in light of the proposal’s shortcomings.

The FCC “cannot realistically expect to pay [$5 billion for the proposal] without forcing Americans to pay more for communications services or diverting E-Rate funds that support necessary connectivity in our nation’s schools, particularly in rural areas,” Thune said. He also opposed “raiding Priority I E-Rate funds to support Wi-Fi’ because Wi-Fi’s “impact cannot be felt where there is no broadband to support it.”

“Moving forward in a partisan manner, relying on untested budget assumptions, and shifting E-Rate’s priority from connectivity to Wi-Fi will only erode Chairman [Wheeler]’s and FCC’s stature, and potentially jeopardize support for E-Rate,” Thune said.

Bell Labs announced that a team of its researchers successfully transmitted data over traditional copper telephone lines at a record speed of 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps), BBC News reported.

The results were achieved in a laboratory with two pairs of 98.4 foot long standard phone cables. The tech could eventually be adapted to offer 1 Gbps in “real-world uses.”

“It will enable operators to provide internet connection speeds that are indistinguishable from fiber-to-the-home services, a major business benefit in locations where it is not physically, economically or aesthetically viable to lay new fiber cables all the way into residences,” said Bell Labs’ owner, Alcatel-Lucent, according to BBC.

Internet video streaming service Aereo is also firing back at the legal system, according to Hollywood Reporter.The company said it wanted to pay statutory license fees as a cable operator.

“If Aereo is a ‘cable system’ as that term is defined in the Copyright Act, it is eligible for a statutory license, and its transmissions may not be enjoined (preliminarily or otherwise),” said Aereo’s lawyers.

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