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Klobuchar Drops Big Antitrust Bill, Raimondo’s Nomination Advances, Suicide Hotline Location Data

Tim White

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Photo of Gina Raimondo from July 2017 by Kenneth Zirkel used with permission

February 5, 2021 – Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, unveiled sweeping new antitrust legislation on Thursday to address the growing market power of companies in technology and other industries.

Concern over big tech companies like Google and Facebook has been increasing on a bipartisan basis in Congress. And the Trump administration filed antitrust lawsuits against both companies late last year, together with state attorneys general.

Klobuchar has spoken repeatedly recently about the need to raise merger standards and hobble large companies’ ability to acquire smaller startup companies.

Computer and Communications Industry Association’s President Matt Schruers said that his association’s tech company members share Klobochar’s goal to protect consumers. “New antitrust rules should be based on principles that protect consumers and encourage innovation in various industries across the economy. America out-innovates other countries because we allow companies that can’t compete in the marketplace to fail.  We don’t protect one company from another; we protect the competitive process.”

Public Knowledge’s Charlotte Slaiman approved of the legislation: “This bill does important work to beef up antitrust enforcement, which is one key tool for improving competition,” the group said in a press release. “As a next step, we need new laws and rules targeted at particular industries that are facing a lack of competition.”

Tech Freedom was critical: “Sen. Klobuchar’s bill would move the United States towards a mother-may-I economy, where private companies would have to seek the government’s permission before engaging in routine transactions,” said Asheesh Agarwal, deputy general counsel of the non-profit pro-market group.

Gina Raimondo nomination to be Commerce secretary advances from Senate Commerce Committee 

The Senate Commerce Committee advanced Gina Raimondo for the Commerce secretary nomination on Wednesday in a 21-3 vote.

Currently serving as Rhode Island’s governor since 2015, Raimondo’s “real jobs” initiative in Rhode Island was highlighted by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, previous to the vote. Cantwell said that the state project helped 11,000 people connect with 1700 employers throughout the state and helped lower Rhode Island’s unemployment rate.

“We’re blessed with Gov. Raimondo being both in the public and private sector,” Cantwell said. “That will give her a great deal of insight to the many challenges facing our economy, the competitiveness of businesses, the challenges of the information age,” she said.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, expressed concern about the “governor’s reluctance to state unequivocally that she intends to keep Huawei on the Department’s entity list,” referring to Huawei as a growing national security concern for both Democrats and Republicans. “I urge the governor and the administration to make its position clear,” he said.

Republican Ted Cruz of Texas, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Rick Scott of Florida, made up the three “no” votes.

A vote in the full Senate is still required for her to be confirmed, and a date has not yet been set for that vote.

FCC advisory committee discusses location data for 988 suicide hotline

Members of the North American Numbering Council, a federal advisory committee comprised of telecommunication companies, on Thursday discussed the implementation of “988” as the new suicide prevention hotline, akin to the emergency number 911.

The new code was set aside in the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act that passed in October 2020, setting July 2022 as the deadline for the hotline to be fully operational. The current hotline number is 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

All telecommunication carriers are required to make any network changes necessary to switch to the new dialing code. Jesse Goodwin, attorney advisor for the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau, said that many mobile carriers have already employed the new system.

One concern the committee discussed was whether to use locational data to pinpoint a caller’s location, similar to when someone calls 911.

When 911 is dialed, the mobile device goes into a special emergency protocol that overrides its current location setting, explained wireless association CTIA’s Matt Gerst, even if the location setting is turned off. This system has improved in the last 20 years, and helps responders find the caller’s location, he said.

The challenge for the FCC is to decide if and how a similar system is implemented for the 988 code, because the assistance required for someone seeking emergency help versus seeking help in a suicidal situation may be vastly different, committee members said.

Department of Veteran Affairs’ Crisis Line James Wright said that there can be vast differences in the types of calls that come in, with some being obviously suicidal, but others vague. Some calls take just a few minutes, while others take several hours, he said.

A representative from Comcast representative said the decision to use locational data needs to be informed by those working on the ground, and who actually speak to the suicidal callers dialing into the hotline.

Broadband Roundup

US Telecom Report on American vs. European Broadband, COVID Patent Policy, A ‘Dark Force’ in Utah

This was not the first time Darth Vader strode into a council chamber, but this time he had positive news.

Benjamin Kahn

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Photo courtesy UTOPIA Fiber

February 5, 2021 – Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, unveiled sweeping new antitrust legislation on Thursday to address the growing market power of companies in technology and other industries.

Concern over big tech companies like Google and Facebook has been increasing on a bipartisan basis in Congress. And the Trump administration filed antitrust lawsuits against both companies late last year, together with state attorneys general.

Klobuchar has spoken repeatedly recently about the need to raise merger standards and hobble large companies’ ability to acquire smaller startup companies.

Computer and Communications Industry Association’s President Matt Schruers said that his association’s tech company members share Klobochar’s goal to protect consumers. “New antitrust rules should be based on principles that protect consumers and encourage innovation in various industries across the economy. America out-innovates other countries because we allow companies that can’t compete in the marketplace to fail.  We don’t protect one company from another; we protect the competitive process.”

Public Knowledge’s Charlotte Slaiman approved of the legislation: “This bill does important work to beef up antitrust enforcement, which is one key tool for improving competition,” the group said in a press release. “As a next step, we need new laws and rules targeted at particular industries that are facing a lack of competition.”

Tech Freedom was critical: “Sen. Klobuchar’s bill would move the United States towards a mother-may-I economy, where private companies would have to seek the government’s permission before engaging in routine transactions,” said Asheesh Agarwal, deputy general counsel of the non-profit pro-market group.

Gina Raimondo nomination to be Commerce secretary advances from Senate Commerce Committee 

The Senate Commerce Committee advanced Gina Raimondo for the Commerce secretary nomination on Wednesday in a 21-3 vote.

Currently serving as Rhode Island’s governor since 2015, Raimondo’s “real jobs” initiative in Rhode Island was highlighted by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, previous to the vote. Cantwell said that the state project helped 11,000 people connect with 1700 employers throughout the state and helped lower Rhode Island’s unemployment rate.

“We’re blessed with Gov. Raimondo being both in the public and private sector,” Cantwell said. “That will give her a great deal of insight to the many challenges facing our economy, the competitiveness of businesses, the challenges of the information age,” she said.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, expressed concern about the “governor’s reluctance to state unequivocally that she intends to keep Huawei on the Department’s entity list,” referring to Huawei as a growing national security concern for both Democrats and Republicans. “I urge the governor and the administration to make its position clear,” he said.

Republican Ted Cruz of Texas, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Rick Scott of Florida, made up the three “no” votes.

A vote in the full Senate is still required for her to be confirmed, and a date has not yet been set for that vote.

FCC advisory committee discusses location data for 988 suicide hotline

Members of the North American Numbering Council, a federal advisory committee comprised of telecommunication companies, on Thursday discussed the implementation of “988” as the new suicide prevention hotline, akin to the emergency number 911.

The new code was set aside in the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act that passed in October 2020, setting July 2022 as the deadline for the hotline to be fully operational. The current hotline number is 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

All telecommunication carriers are required to make any network changes necessary to switch to the new dialing code. Jesse Goodwin, attorney advisor for the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau, said that many mobile carriers have already employed the new system.

One concern the committee discussed was whether to use locational data to pinpoint a caller’s location, similar to when someone calls 911.

When 911 is dialed, the mobile device goes into a special emergency protocol that overrides its current location setting, explained wireless association CTIA’s Matt Gerst, even if the location setting is turned off. This system has improved in the last 20 years, and helps responders find the caller’s location, he said.

The challenge for the FCC is to decide if and how a similar system is implemented for the 988 code, because the assistance required for someone seeking emergency help versus seeking help in a suicidal situation may be vastly different, committee members said.

Department of Veteran Affairs’ Crisis Line James Wright said that there can be vast differences in the types of calls that come in, with some being obviously suicidal, but others vague. Some calls take just a few minutes, while others take several hours, he said.

A representative from Comcast representative said the decision to use locational data needs to be informed by those working on the ground, and who actually speak to the suicidal callers dialing into the hotline.

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Broadband Roundup

OneWeb Air Force Contract, Municipal Broadband Support, N.C. Bill To Force Electric Co-ops To Pay More

Air Force signs with OneWeb, few Americans want muni build ban, N.C. bill wants electrical co-ops paying for ISP-ready poles.

Benjamin Kahn

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Photo of North Carolina Senator Kevin Corbin

February 5, 2021 – Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, unveiled sweeping new antitrust legislation on Thursday to address the growing market power of companies in technology and other industries.

Concern over big tech companies like Google and Facebook has been increasing on a bipartisan basis in Congress. And the Trump administration filed antitrust lawsuits against both companies late last year, together with state attorneys general.

Klobuchar has spoken repeatedly recently about the need to raise merger standards and hobble large companies’ ability to acquire smaller startup companies.

Computer and Communications Industry Association’s President Matt Schruers said that his association’s tech company members share Klobochar’s goal to protect consumers. “New antitrust rules should be based on principles that protect consumers and encourage innovation in various industries across the economy. America out-innovates other countries because we allow companies that can’t compete in the marketplace to fail.  We don’t protect one company from another; we protect the competitive process.”

Public Knowledge’s Charlotte Slaiman approved of the legislation: “This bill does important work to beef up antitrust enforcement, which is one key tool for improving competition,” the group said in a press release. “As a next step, we need new laws and rules targeted at particular industries that are facing a lack of competition.”

Tech Freedom was critical: “Sen. Klobuchar’s bill would move the United States towards a mother-may-I economy, where private companies would have to seek the government’s permission before engaging in routine transactions,” said Asheesh Agarwal, deputy general counsel of the non-profit pro-market group.

Gina Raimondo nomination to be Commerce secretary advances from Senate Commerce Committee 

The Senate Commerce Committee advanced Gina Raimondo for the Commerce secretary nomination on Wednesday in a 21-3 vote.

Currently serving as Rhode Island’s governor since 2015, Raimondo’s “real jobs” initiative in Rhode Island was highlighted by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, previous to the vote. Cantwell said that the state project helped 11,000 people connect with 1700 employers throughout the state and helped lower Rhode Island’s unemployment rate.

“We’re blessed with Gov. Raimondo being both in the public and private sector,” Cantwell said. “That will give her a great deal of insight to the many challenges facing our economy, the competitiveness of businesses, the challenges of the information age,” she said.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, expressed concern about the “governor’s reluctance to state unequivocally that she intends to keep Huawei on the Department’s entity list,” referring to Huawei as a growing national security concern for both Democrats and Republicans. “I urge the governor and the administration to make its position clear,” he said.

Republican Ted Cruz of Texas, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Rick Scott of Florida, made up the three “no” votes.

A vote in the full Senate is still required for her to be confirmed, and a date has not yet been set for that vote.

FCC advisory committee discusses location data for 988 suicide hotline

Members of the North American Numbering Council, a federal advisory committee comprised of telecommunication companies, on Thursday discussed the implementation of “988” as the new suicide prevention hotline, akin to the emergency number 911.

The new code was set aside in the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act that passed in October 2020, setting July 2022 as the deadline for the hotline to be fully operational. The current hotline number is 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

All telecommunication carriers are required to make any network changes necessary to switch to the new dialing code. Jesse Goodwin, attorney advisor for the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau, said that many mobile carriers have already employed the new system.

One concern the committee discussed was whether to use locational data to pinpoint a caller’s location, similar to when someone calls 911.

When 911 is dialed, the mobile device goes into a special emergency protocol that overrides its current location setting, explained wireless association CTIA’s Matt Gerst, even if the location setting is turned off. This system has improved in the last 20 years, and helps responders find the caller’s location, he said.

The challenge for the FCC is to decide if and how a similar system is implemented for the 988 code, because the assistance required for someone seeking emergency help versus seeking help in a suicidal situation may be vastly different, committee members said.

Department of Veteran Affairs’ Crisis Line James Wright said that there can be vast differences in the types of calls that come in, with some being obviously suicidal, but others vague. Some calls take just a few minutes, while others take several hours, he said.

A representative from Comcast representative said the decision to use locational data needs to be informed by those working on the ground, and who actually speak to the suicidal callers dialing into the hotline.

Continue Reading

Broadband Roundup

Boost Bundles TeleHealth, $100M For South Dakota Broadband, Frequencz Gets Financing

Boost is bundling telehealth services, South Dakota planning $100 million for broadband, Frequencz gets $4 million in capital.

Benjamin Kahn

Published

on

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem

February 5, 2021 – Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, unveiled sweeping new antitrust legislation on Thursday to address the growing market power of companies in technology and other industries.

Concern over big tech companies like Google and Facebook has been increasing on a bipartisan basis in Congress. And the Trump administration filed antitrust lawsuits against both companies late last year, together with state attorneys general.

Klobuchar has spoken repeatedly recently about the need to raise merger standards and hobble large companies’ ability to acquire smaller startup companies.

Computer and Communications Industry Association’s President Matt Schruers said that his association’s tech company members share Klobochar’s goal to protect consumers. “New antitrust rules should be based on principles that protect consumers and encourage innovation in various industries across the economy. America out-innovates other countries because we allow companies that can’t compete in the marketplace to fail.  We don’t protect one company from another; we protect the competitive process.”

Public Knowledge’s Charlotte Slaiman approved of the legislation: “This bill does important work to beef up antitrust enforcement, which is one key tool for improving competition,” the group said in a press release. “As a next step, we need new laws and rules targeted at particular industries that are facing a lack of competition.”

Tech Freedom was critical: “Sen. Klobuchar’s bill would move the United States towards a mother-may-I economy, where private companies would have to seek the government’s permission before engaging in routine transactions,” said Asheesh Agarwal, deputy general counsel of the non-profit pro-market group.

Gina Raimondo nomination to be Commerce secretary advances from Senate Commerce Committee 

The Senate Commerce Committee advanced Gina Raimondo for the Commerce secretary nomination on Wednesday in a 21-3 vote.

Currently serving as Rhode Island’s governor since 2015, Raimondo’s “real jobs” initiative in Rhode Island was highlighted by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, previous to the vote. Cantwell said that the state project helped 11,000 people connect with 1700 employers throughout the state and helped lower Rhode Island’s unemployment rate.

“We’re blessed with Gov. Raimondo being both in the public and private sector,” Cantwell said. “That will give her a great deal of insight to the many challenges facing our economy, the competitiveness of businesses, the challenges of the information age,” she said.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, expressed concern about the “governor’s reluctance to state unequivocally that she intends to keep Huawei on the Department’s entity list,” referring to Huawei as a growing national security concern for both Democrats and Republicans. “I urge the governor and the administration to make its position clear,” he said.

Republican Ted Cruz of Texas, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Rick Scott of Florida, made up the three “no” votes.

A vote in the full Senate is still required for her to be confirmed, and a date has not yet been set for that vote.

FCC advisory committee discusses location data for 988 suicide hotline

Members of the North American Numbering Council, a federal advisory committee comprised of telecommunication companies, on Thursday discussed the implementation of “988” as the new suicide prevention hotline, akin to the emergency number 911.

The new code was set aside in the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act that passed in October 2020, setting July 2022 as the deadline for the hotline to be fully operational. The current hotline number is 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

All telecommunication carriers are required to make any network changes necessary to switch to the new dialing code. Jesse Goodwin, attorney advisor for the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau, said that many mobile carriers have already employed the new system.

One concern the committee discussed was whether to use locational data to pinpoint a caller’s location, similar to when someone calls 911.

When 911 is dialed, the mobile device goes into a special emergency protocol that overrides its current location setting, explained wireless association CTIA’s Matt Gerst, even if the location setting is turned off. This system has improved in the last 20 years, and helps responders find the caller’s location, he said.

The challenge for the FCC is to decide if and how a similar system is implemented for the 988 code, because the assistance required for someone seeking emergency help versus seeking help in a suicidal situation may be vastly different, committee members said.

Department of Veteran Affairs’ Crisis Line James Wright said that there can be vast differences in the types of calls that come in, with some being obviously suicidal, but others vague. Some calls take just a few minutes, while others take several hours, he said.

A representative from Comcast representative said the decision to use locational data needs to be informed by those working on the ground, and who actually speak to the suicidal callers dialing into the hotline.

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