Connect with us

#broadbandlive

Small Town’s Telecom Drama Continues: Municipal Utility Sues Cable Group For Discriminatory Access To Programming

NEW YORK, June 10, 2010 – A long-running feud between a municipal utility in Lafayette, La. and Cox Communications appears to have revived itself Wednesday when LUS Fiber filed a lawsuit against the National Cable Television Cooperative. LUS Fiber charges that the cable group is unfairly denying it membership, thus depriving the Lafayette utility from millions of dollars in savings when buying television programming.

Avatar

Published

on

NEW YORK, June 10, 2010 – A long-running feud between a municipal utility in Lafayette, La. and Cox Communications appears to have revived itself Wednesday when LUS Fiber filed a lawsuit against the National Cable Television Cooperative. LUS Fiber charges that the cable group is unfairly denying it membership, thus depriving the Lafayette utility from millions of dollars in savings when buying television programming.

The dispute’s worth tracking because LUS Fiber is one of a growing number of municipalities around the country that has built a publicly-financed fiber-to-the-home network, the economics of which are still unproven. The project is being watched closely by others in the telecom industry across the country: An executive from Google’s gigabit-per-second fiber-to-the-home project  in April made her only conference trip of the year to visit and inspect LUS Fiber’s 100 megabit-per-second fiber-to-the-home  roll-out.

This dispute is one of a long-string of others in a long-running legal tug-of-war across the country with commercial providers trying to block such developments, calling them unfair competition. Municipalities such as Lafayette, for their part, say that commercial providers aren’t providing a robust enough of a service that their businesses and residents need.

For its part, LUS Fiber has filed a complaint against NCTC and its board of directors with the Federal Communications Commission. Cox Communications is a LUS Fiber competitor and has in the past tried vigorously to prevent the utility from building its own fiber-to-the-home network. A member of the company is on the NCTC’s board of directors.

In filing its complaint, LUS Fiber says that access to reasonably-priced television programming is an essential component to the process of rolling out broadband to its rural customer base.

“Without membership in NCTC, LUS will pay millions of dollars more each year for access to essential video programming than it would have to pay if it had access to the huge price discounts and other benefits of NCTC,” reads the complaint filed by LUS Fiber’s lawyer Jim Baller of the law firm of The Baller Herbst Law Group of Washington, DC.

LUS Fiber charges that NCTC is violating section 628 of the Communications Act, which addresses the issue of the availability of television programming and making it unavailable for anti-competitive reasons.

The municipal utility wants the FCC to act quickly, to state that NCTC and its board of directors violated specific provision of the Communications Act,  to stop the alleged discriminatory treatment, monetary damages, attorneys’ fees, and other penalties.

Neither Cox Communications nor NCTC could be reached for comment at the time of this filing.

Sarah Lai Stirland was Contributing Editor for BroadbandBreakfast.com until April 2011. She has covered business, finance and legal affairs, telecommunications and tech policy for 15 years from New York, Washington and San Francisco. She has written for Red Herring, National Journal's Technology Daily, Portfolio.com and Wired.com. She's a native of London and Hong Kong, and is currently based in San Francisco.

#broadbandlive

Broadband Breakfast Live Online Wednesday, April 28, 2021 – Today’s Infrastructure, Tomorrow’s Speeds

Mala Goodrich

Published

on

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can watch the April 28, 2021, event on this page. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “Today’s Infrastructure, Tomorrow’s Speeds”

  • An estimated 50 percent of United States households will be served by fiber-optic technology by 2025. While impressive, the figure still leaves half of America to rely on older technologies in an increasingly bandwidth-hungry world. In this installment of Broadband Breakfast Live Online, we’ll explore innovative solutions that increase the capabilities of infrastructure already in place.

Panelists:

  • Panelists have been invited
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

Continue Reading

#broadbandlive

Broadband Breakfast Live Online Wednesday April 21, 2021 – Intellectual Property and Fair Use

Mala Goodrich

Published

on

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can watch the April 21, 2021, event on this page. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “Intellectual Property and Fair Use: Restoring Balance to the Universe”

  • Intellectual Property is often seen as a cornerstone of innovation, creating an incentive structure that lets those investing in research and development reap the benefits of their hard work. But many argue that it is possible for intellectual property laws to go too far in the other direction, stifling the very progress they aim to protect. Just weeks after a landmark Supreme Court ruling on fair use, in Google v. Oracle, and one week before World Intellectual Property Day, this episode of Broadband Breakfast Live Online will feature technology and media industry insiders address the current balance in intellectual property right now.

Panelists:

  • Joseph Gratz, Partner, Durie Tangri LLP
  • Arthur Sidney, Vice President of Public Policy, Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA)
  • Other panelists have been invited
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Joseph C. Gratz is partner with Durie Tangri LLP in San Francisco.  His practice focuses on intellectual property litigation relating to the Internet. He has represented Facebook, Google, and Amazon, among others, and testified last year before the Senate Judiciary IP Subcommittee regarding Internet intermediary liability.

Arthur D. Sidney, LLM is the VP of Public Policy at CCIA, where he started in June 2020. Formerly, he was chief of staff and chief counsel to Rep. Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr., Chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, and served as an international trade attorney with the U.S. Department of Commerce where he focused upon trade remedies. Arthur has served as an adjunct professor at Howard University School of Law, American University, Washington College of Law, and University of Maryland University College now University of Maryland Global campuses.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

Continue Reading

#broadbandlive

Broadband Breakfast Live Online Wednesday, April 14, 2021 – Financing Broadband Infrastructure

Guests include Jeff Johnston of CoBank, Tim Herwig of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Lauren Mathena of Mid-Atlantic Broadband and Christopher Mitchell or the Institute for Local Self Reliance. Moderated by Drew Clark of Broadband Breakfast.

Mala Goodrich

Published

on

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can watch the April 14, 2021, event on this page. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “Less Than a Billion: Financing Broadband Infrastructure”

  • Congress has appropriated $3.2 billion for the Emergency Broadband Benefit and $7.2 billion for the Emergency Connectivity Fund, and more is being discussed. But internet projects still face financial constraints and regulatory hurdles in navigating the maze to obtain broadband infrastructure financing. This panel will consider funding and cost issues from the perspective of a broadband builder. How can broadband entities most effectively deploy private and public financing to meet increasing high-speed connectivity needs?

Panelists:

  • Jeff Johnston, Lead Communications Economist at CoBank
  • Tim Herwig, District Community Affairs Officer at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
  • Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Institute for Local Self Reliance’s Community Broadband Network Initiative
  • Lauren Mathena, Director of Economic Development and Community Engagement at Mid-Atlantic Broadband (MBC)
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Jeff Johnston is a lead communications economist in CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange research division, where he focuses on the communications industry. His work revolves around identifying emerging technologies, business models, risks and opportunities within the industry, and providing strategic analyses to both internal and external stakeholders. Prior to joining CoBank in 2018, Mr. Johnston was an equity analyst covering the tech, media and telecom sectors. Jeff has also held various senior management positions in the telecommunications industry. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from York University and he is also CFA charterholder.

Timothy Herwig is a District Community Affairs Officer with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).  He is officed in Chicago.  Among other responsibilities, Herwig advocates for community reinvestment by providing technical assistance to banks interested in financing rural broadband infrastructure and rural ISPs looking for private sources of debt or equity financing.  The OCC is an independent bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The OCC charters, regulates, and supervises all national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches and agencies of foreign banks.

Christopher Mitchell currently serves as the director of the Institute for Local Self Reliance’s Community Broadband Network Initiative. His work focuses on helping communities ensure that the telecommunications networks upon which they depend are accountable to the community. He was honored as one of the 2012 Top 25 in Public Sector Technology by Government Technology, which honors the top “Doers, Drivers, and Dreamers” in the nation each year.

Lauren Mathena is the Director of Economic Development and Community Engagement at Mid-Atlantic Broadband (MBC). In her role, Mathena serves as a regional ecosystem builder and represents MBC to a variety of local and state partners, including Southern Virginia’s economic developers who rely on MBC’s network for business attraction, retention and expansion. She is currently leading program development for the SOVA Innovation Hub, a 501(c)3 non-profit created in early 2020 with investments by MBC and Microsoft TechSpark.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

Continue Reading

Recent

Signup for Broadband Breakfast

Get twice-weekly Breakfast Media news alerts.
* = required field

Trending