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Aussie Law Would Make Tech Giants Pay For News, Loon’s Bubble Bursts, Peter Huber Dies

Derek Shumway

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Photo of Loon's balloons floating 20km above sea level, by Project Loon

January 25, 2021—Australia’s Parliament is considering legislation that would require certain U.S. internet companies to subsidize local news content producers by imposing obligations such as payment for links to news content.

The Australian government announced the legislation last month after an investigation found U.S. tech giants held too much market power in the media industry, a situation it said posed a potential threat to a well-functioning democracy.

In response on Friday, Google threatened to make its search engine unavailable if the Australian government approves the legislation forcing tech companies to pay for journalism shared on their platforms.

Facebook, which appeared with Google at an Australian Senate hearing, reaffirmed a threat of its own, vowing to block users in Australia from posting or sharing links to news if the bill passed.

The law is designed to address losses in advertising revenue affecting grassroots media outlets.  America’s trillion-dollar digital behemoths are threatening traditional news media with extinction, as for every $100 spent on online advertising—$53 goes to Google, $28 to Facebook and $19 to others, including print and traditional media.

The ad-based revenue system is causing many traditional media outlets to go bankrupt, resulting in ‘news deserts’ across the globe. Though subscription revenues partially offset advertising revenue losses, those gains are nowhere near enough to put a stop to the layoffs newsroom staff members and journalists are experiencing.

Reactions to the move have varied. The U.S. government has asked Australia to scrap the proposed laws.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association’s President Matt Schruers argued that this policy will “hurt readers, publishers, and advertisers, all of whom depend on links.” Schruers wrote that CCIA encourages dialogue towards a consensus solution that “does not attempt to re-design how the Internet works, or question basic principles of market-based economies.”

Alphabet is shutting down Loon, its ambitious internet balloon venture

After eight years of trying, Loon, a company attempting to expand broadband access via flying balloons, has been shut down by Alphabet, as the project was unable to produce a long-term, sustainable business model. When Google announced “Project Loon” in 2013, the project quickly turned into a running joke, as no Googlers believed a network of flying balloons was a feasible idea.

Google has finally come to realize that expanding broadband through flying balloons is indeed, not feasible. The shutdown of Loon comes after Google cited economic problems with Titan Aerospace , a strategy to deliver the Internet via drone, in 2017. At the time, Google said balloons would be a more promising delivery mechanism for bringing Internet access to remote and rural areas; however, now it appears Google will need to rethink its vision to deliver broadband entirely, as neither its drone or balloon projects have borne any fruit.

The name “Loon” came partly from the fact that the project utilizes flying balloons as a kind of ultra, low-orbit satellite. The balloons were flying cell phone towers that could deliver LTE signals down to smartphones, requiring no special equipment for the end user.

One issue that arose with utilizing floating balloons, was that the inflated equipment had no directional control and relied on differing wind directions at various altitudes. Another reason Loom never panned out is due to its unique equipment being too expensive.The project was supported by partnerships with AT&T, Telkom Kenya, and Telefonica in Peru.

At its height, Google launched up to 250 balloons a year that could stay floating for 300 days before needing to be recovered. Thankfully, not all of Project Loom’s life was a waste. In 2017, Loom managed to connect 200,000 people to the Internet in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria knocked out land-based infrastructure.

Peter Huber, author of “1987 Report on Competition”, passes at age 68

Peter W. Huber, credited with popularizing the term “junk science” and playing an instrumental role in communications’ antitrust lawsuits, passed away on January 8 at the age of 68 years old, having succumbed to frontotemporal dementia.

Huber’s work for the U.S. Department of Justice’s victory in its historic antitrust suit against AT&T in 1984 was miraculous. After AT&T, the country’s largest corporation at the time, was broken up, the DOJ promised to release a report every three years to document changes in the telecommunications sector, with the first report being due in 1987.

In 1986, the DOJ was unprepared to deliver its report. The DOJ had no team in the U.S. government that could understand the complex and enormous telecommunications market. Of the few consulting firms available for hire, there remained no options, as all the employees had previously worked for AT&T.

The DOJ turned to Huber, who never studied the communications sector before, to write the report. Known widely as “the massive Huber report,” The Geodesic Network: 1987 Report on Competition in the Telephone Industry was released and became a runaway bestseller for the Government Printing Office. Huber authored the report in 11 months and turned in the final product weeks early. The report detailed how technology was primed to crush old monopolies with new network disruptions—personal computers, software, and devices.

Huber was born in Toronto, Canada, and grew up in Geneva, Switzerland. At the age of 17, he enrolled in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he earned his doctorate. Hubert became an MIT professor at age 23 and received tenure just eight years later. He also earned a law degree at age 30, graduating first in his class from Harvard Law School.

In his law career, Huber clerked for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. He greatly admired both and said Ginsburg was loyal to the logic of the law. “Her decisions were reproducible,” he said. Huber authored a biography, Sandra Day O’Connor: Women of Achievement, for young girls ages 9 to 12.

Broadband Roundup

Rural Broadband Bill, Semiconductor Letter to White House, FCC March Meeting Agenda

Tim White

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on

Photo of Sen. Susan Collins from October 2018 by Gage Skidmore used with permission

January 25, 2021—Australia’s Parliament is considering legislation that would require certain U.S. internet companies to subsidize local news content producers by imposing obligations such as payment for links to news content.

The Australian government announced the legislation last month after an investigation found U.S. tech giants held too much market power in the media industry, a situation it said posed a potential threat to a well-functioning democracy.

In response on Friday, Google threatened to make its search engine unavailable if the Australian government approves the legislation forcing tech companies to pay for journalism shared on their platforms.

Facebook, which appeared with Google at an Australian Senate hearing, reaffirmed a threat of its own, vowing to block users in Australia from posting or sharing links to news if the bill passed.

The law is designed to address losses in advertising revenue affecting grassroots media outlets.  America’s trillion-dollar digital behemoths are threatening traditional news media with extinction, as for every $100 spent on online advertising—$53 goes to Google, $28 to Facebook and $19 to others, including print and traditional media.

The ad-based revenue system is causing many traditional media outlets to go bankrupt, resulting in ‘news deserts’ across the globe. Though subscription revenues partially offset advertising revenue losses, those gains are nowhere near enough to put a stop to the layoffs newsroom staff members and journalists are experiencing.

Reactions to the move have varied. The U.S. government has asked Australia to scrap the proposed laws.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association’s President Matt Schruers argued that this policy will “hurt readers, publishers, and advertisers, all of whom depend on links.” Schruers wrote that CCIA encourages dialogue towards a consensus solution that “does not attempt to re-design how the Internet works, or question basic principles of market-based economies.”

Alphabet is shutting down Loon, its ambitious internet balloon venture

After eight years of trying, Loon, a company attempting to expand broadband access via flying balloons, has been shut down by Alphabet, as the project was unable to produce a long-term, sustainable business model. When Google announced “Project Loon” in 2013, the project quickly turned into a running joke, as no Googlers believed a network of flying balloons was a feasible idea.

Google has finally come to realize that expanding broadband through flying balloons is indeed, not feasible. The shutdown of Loon comes after Google cited economic problems with Titan Aerospace , a strategy to deliver the Internet via drone, in 2017. At the time, Google said balloons would be a more promising delivery mechanism for bringing Internet access to remote and rural areas; however, now it appears Google will need to rethink its vision to deliver broadband entirely, as neither its drone or balloon projects have borne any fruit.

The name “Loon” came partly from the fact that the project utilizes flying balloons as a kind of ultra, low-orbit satellite. The balloons were flying cell phone towers that could deliver LTE signals down to smartphones, requiring no special equipment for the end user.

One issue that arose with utilizing floating balloons, was that the inflated equipment had no directional control and relied on differing wind directions at various altitudes. Another reason Loom never panned out is due to its unique equipment being too expensive.The project was supported by partnerships with AT&T, Telkom Kenya, and Telefonica in Peru.

At its height, Google launched up to 250 balloons a year that could stay floating for 300 days before needing to be recovered. Thankfully, not all of Project Loom’s life was a waste. In 2017, Loom managed to connect 200,000 people to the Internet in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria knocked out land-based infrastructure.

Peter Huber, author of “1987 Report on Competition”, passes at age 68

Peter W. Huber, credited with popularizing the term “junk science” and playing an instrumental role in communications’ antitrust lawsuits, passed away on January 8 at the age of 68 years old, having succumbed to frontotemporal dementia.

Huber’s work for the U.S. Department of Justice’s victory in its historic antitrust suit against AT&T in 1984 was miraculous. After AT&T, the country’s largest corporation at the time, was broken up, the DOJ promised to release a report every three years to document changes in the telecommunications sector, with the first report being due in 1987.

In 1986, the DOJ was unprepared to deliver its report. The DOJ had no team in the U.S. government that could understand the complex and enormous telecommunications market. Of the few consulting firms available for hire, there remained no options, as all the employees had previously worked for AT&T.

The DOJ turned to Huber, who never studied the communications sector before, to write the report. Known widely as “the massive Huber report,” The Geodesic Network: 1987 Report on Competition in the Telephone Industry was released and became a runaway bestseller for the Government Printing Office. Huber authored the report in 11 months and turned in the final product weeks early. The report detailed how technology was primed to crush old monopolies with new network disruptions—personal computers, software, and devices.

Huber was born in Toronto, Canada, and grew up in Geneva, Switzerland. At the age of 17, he enrolled in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he earned his doctorate. Hubert became an MIT professor at age 23 and received tenure just eight years later. He also earned a law degree at age 30, graduating first in his class from Harvard Law School.

In his law career, Huber clerked for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. He greatly admired both and said Ginsburg was loyal to the logic of the law. “Her decisions were reproducible,” he said. Huber authored a biography, Sandra Day O’Connor: Women of Achievement, for young girls ages 9 to 12.

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Broadband Roundup

California Net Neutrality, Georgia Broadband Maps, New House Antitrust Bill

Derek Shumway

Published

on

Photo of California State Sen. Scott Wiener from Housing is a Human Right

January 25, 2021—Australia’s Parliament is considering legislation that would require certain U.S. internet companies to subsidize local news content producers by imposing obligations such as payment for links to news content.

The Australian government announced the legislation last month after an investigation found U.S. tech giants held too much market power in the media industry, a situation it said posed a potential threat to a well-functioning democracy.

In response on Friday, Google threatened to make its search engine unavailable if the Australian government approves the legislation forcing tech companies to pay for journalism shared on their platforms.

Facebook, which appeared with Google at an Australian Senate hearing, reaffirmed a threat of its own, vowing to block users in Australia from posting or sharing links to news if the bill passed.

The law is designed to address losses in advertising revenue affecting grassroots media outlets.  America’s trillion-dollar digital behemoths are threatening traditional news media with extinction, as for every $100 spent on online advertising—$53 goes to Google, $28 to Facebook and $19 to others, including print and traditional media.

The ad-based revenue system is causing many traditional media outlets to go bankrupt, resulting in ‘news deserts’ across the globe. Though subscription revenues partially offset advertising revenue losses, those gains are nowhere near enough to put a stop to the layoffs newsroom staff members and journalists are experiencing.

Reactions to the move have varied. The U.S. government has asked Australia to scrap the proposed laws.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association’s President Matt Schruers argued that this policy will “hurt readers, publishers, and advertisers, all of whom depend on links.” Schruers wrote that CCIA encourages dialogue towards a consensus solution that “does not attempt to re-design how the Internet works, or question basic principles of market-based economies.”

Alphabet is shutting down Loon, its ambitious internet balloon venture

After eight years of trying, Loon, a company attempting to expand broadband access via flying balloons, has been shut down by Alphabet, as the project was unable to produce a long-term, sustainable business model. When Google announced “Project Loon” in 2013, the project quickly turned into a running joke, as no Googlers believed a network of flying balloons was a feasible idea.

Google has finally come to realize that expanding broadband through flying balloons is indeed, not feasible. The shutdown of Loon comes after Google cited economic problems with Titan Aerospace , a strategy to deliver the Internet via drone, in 2017. At the time, Google said balloons would be a more promising delivery mechanism for bringing Internet access to remote and rural areas; however, now it appears Google will need to rethink its vision to deliver broadband entirely, as neither its drone or balloon projects have borne any fruit.

The name “Loon” came partly from the fact that the project utilizes flying balloons as a kind of ultra, low-orbit satellite. The balloons were flying cell phone towers that could deliver LTE signals down to smartphones, requiring no special equipment for the end user.

One issue that arose with utilizing floating balloons, was that the inflated equipment had no directional control and relied on differing wind directions at various altitudes. Another reason Loom never panned out is due to its unique equipment being too expensive.The project was supported by partnerships with AT&T, Telkom Kenya, and Telefonica in Peru.

At its height, Google launched up to 250 balloons a year that could stay floating for 300 days before needing to be recovered. Thankfully, not all of Project Loom’s life was a waste. In 2017, Loom managed to connect 200,000 people to the Internet in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria knocked out land-based infrastructure.

Peter Huber, author of “1987 Report on Competition”, passes at age 68

Peter W. Huber, credited with popularizing the term “junk science” and playing an instrumental role in communications’ antitrust lawsuits, passed away on January 8 at the age of 68 years old, having succumbed to frontotemporal dementia.

Huber’s work for the U.S. Department of Justice’s victory in its historic antitrust suit against AT&T in 1984 was miraculous. After AT&T, the country’s largest corporation at the time, was broken up, the DOJ promised to release a report every three years to document changes in the telecommunications sector, with the first report being due in 1987.

In 1986, the DOJ was unprepared to deliver its report. The DOJ had no team in the U.S. government that could understand the complex and enormous telecommunications market. Of the few consulting firms available for hire, there remained no options, as all the employees had previously worked for AT&T.

The DOJ turned to Huber, who never studied the communications sector before, to write the report. Known widely as “the massive Huber report,” The Geodesic Network: 1987 Report on Competition in the Telephone Industry was released and became a runaway bestseller for the Government Printing Office. Huber authored the report in 11 months and turned in the final product weeks early. The report detailed how technology was primed to crush old monopolies with new network disruptions—personal computers, software, and devices.

Huber was born in Toronto, Canada, and grew up in Geneva, Switzerland. At the age of 17, he enrolled in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he earned his doctorate. Hubert became an MIT professor at age 23 and received tenure just eight years later. He also earned a law degree at age 30, graduating first in his class from Harvard Law School.

In his law career, Huber clerked for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. He greatly admired both and said Ginsburg was loyal to the logic of the law. “Her decisions were reproducible,” he said. Huber authored a biography, Sandra Day O’Connor: Women of Achievement, for young girls ages 9 to 12.

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Broadband Roundup

Women Dems Speak Up for FCC’s Jessica Rosenworcel, UTOPIA Fiber’s New Funding, Starlink Speeds Double

Samuel Triginelli

Published

on

Photo of UTOPIA Fiber Executive Director Roger Timmerman

January 25, 2021—Australia’s Parliament is considering legislation that would require certain U.S. internet companies to subsidize local news content producers by imposing obligations such as payment for links to news content.

The Australian government announced the legislation last month after an investigation found U.S. tech giants held too much market power in the media industry, a situation it said posed a potential threat to a well-functioning democracy.

In response on Friday, Google threatened to make its search engine unavailable if the Australian government approves the legislation forcing tech companies to pay for journalism shared on their platforms.

Facebook, which appeared with Google at an Australian Senate hearing, reaffirmed a threat of its own, vowing to block users in Australia from posting or sharing links to news if the bill passed.

The law is designed to address losses in advertising revenue affecting grassroots media outlets.  America’s trillion-dollar digital behemoths are threatening traditional news media with extinction, as for every $100 spent on online advertising—$53 goes to Google, $28 to Facebook and $19 to others, including print and traditional media.

The ad-based revenue system is causing many traditional media outlets to go bankrupt, resulting in ‘news deserts’ across the globe. Though subscription revenues partially offset advertising revenue losses, those gains are nowhere near enough to put a stop to the layoffs newsroom staff members and journalists are experiencing.

Reactions to the move have varied. The U.S. government has asked Australia to scrap the proposed laws.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association’s President Matt Schruers argued that this policy will “hurt readers, publishers, and advertisers, all of whom depend on links.” Schruers wrote that CCIA encourages dialogue towards a consensus solution that “does not attempt to re-design how the Internet works, or question basic principles of market-based economies.”

Alphabet is shutting down Loon, its ambitious internet balloon venture

After eight years of trying, Loon, a company attempting to expand broadband access via flying balloons, has been shut down by Alphabet, as the project was unable to produce a long-term, sustainable business model. When Google announced “Project Loon” in 2013, the project quickly turned into a running joke, as no Googlers believed a network of flying balloons was a feasible idea.

Google has finally come to realize that expanding broadband through flying balloons is indeed, not feasible. The shutdown of Loon comes after Google cited economic problems with Titan Aerospace , a strategy to deliver the Internet via drone, in 2017. At the time, Google said balloons would be a more promising delivery mechanism for bringing Internet access to remote and rural areas; however, now it appears Google will need to rethink its vision to deliver broadband entirely, as neither its drone or balloon projects have borne any fruit.

The name “Loon” came partly from the fact that the project utilizes flying balloons as a kind of ultra, low-orbit satellite. The balloons were flying cell phone towers that could deliver LTE signals down to smartphones, requiring no special equipment for the end user.

One issue that arose with utilizing floating balloons, was that the inflated equipment had no directional control and relied on differing wind directions at various altitudes. Another reason Loom never panned out is due to its unique equipment being too expensive.The project was supported by partnerships with AT&T, Telkom Kenya, and Telefonica in Peru.

At its height, Google launched up to 250 balloons a year that could stay floating for 300 days before needing to be recovered. Thankfully, not all of Project Loom’s life was a waste. In 2017, Loom managed to connect 200,000 people to the Internet in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria knocked out land-based infrastructure.

Peter Huber, author of “1987 Report on Competition”, passes at age 68

Peter W. Huber, credited with popularizing the term “junk science” and playing an instrumental role in communications’ antitrust lawsuits, passed away on January 8 at the age of 68 years old, having succumbed to frontotemporal dementia.

Huber’s work for the U.S. Department of Justice’s victory in its historic antitrust suit against AT&T in 1984 was miraculous. After AT&T, the country’s largest corporation at the time, was broken up, the DOJ promised to release a report every three years to document changes in the telecommunications sector, with the first report being due in 1987.

In 1986, the DOJ was unprepared to deliver its report. The DOJ had no team in the U.S. government that could understand the complex and enormous telecommunications market. Of the few consulting firms available for hire, there remained no options, as all the employees had previously worked for AT&T.

The DOJ turned to Huber, who never studied the communications sector before, to write the report. Known widely as “the massive Huber report,” The Geodesic Network: 1987 Report on Competition in the Telephone Industry was released and became a runaway bestseller for the Government Printing Office. Huber authored the report in 11 months and turned in the final product weeks early. The report detailed how technology was primed to crush old monopolies with new network disruptions—personal computers, software, and devices.

Huber was born in Toronto, Canada, and grew up in Geneva, Switzerland. At the age of 17, he enrolled in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he earned his doctorate. Hubert became an MIT professor at age 23 and received tenure just eight years later. He also earned a law degree at age 30, graduating first in his class from Harvard Law School.

In his law career, Huber clerked for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. He greatly admired both and said Ginsburg was loyal to the logic of the law. “Her decisions were reproducible,” he said. Huber authored a biography, Sandra Day O’Connor: Women of Achievement, for young girls ages 9 to 12.

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