Connect with us

Broadband Roundup

Google Wins Fair Use Case, New Texas Broadband Authority, Vetro Cares For Maine, ADTRAN Hire

Published

on

Photo of Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick from August 2017 by Red White and Boujee used with permission

April 5, 2021—The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Google on Monday morning in a copyright dispute that has spanned more than a decade, setting precedent for the fair use of programming.

In a 6-2 decision (the case was heard before Justice Amy Coney Barrett had been confirmed), the Supreme Court agreed with Google’s argument that their use of some 12,000 lines of code was protected by fair use and rejected Oracle’s argument that they were owed monies by Google.

Google argued that they used only what was necessary to craft a “new and transformative program.”

A fair use defense stipulates that that which is produced must add something of value, whether that is commentary in the context of media, or the provision of fundamentally new aspects in the context of software.

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Neil Gorsuch, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh, and Sonia Sotomayor. Justice Clarence Thomas penned the dissent and was joined by Justice Samuel Alito. Thomas argued that Google’s use of the code “was anything but fair.”

Texas aims to address lack of broadband

Texas’s senate passed a bill that would establish a state broadband development office with a goal of implementing a broadband plan within the next year.

Senate Bill 5, which passed the senate unanimously on March 31 and awaits final signing by Governor Greg Abbott, would allow for technology-neutral deployment of broadband infrastructure to underserved areas of the state, with the goal of statewide coverage. To do this, the office will identify barriers to deployment, study the benefits of statewide access to broadband, and track the progress of broadband implementation.

The plan will include the appointment of 17 experts and representatives, all of whom would be selected by the governor, with two exceptions: one member of the house of representatives will be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, and one state senator will be appointed by the lieutenant governor.

The experts appointed to this office would represent various sectors of the economy, ranging from hospitality, public health, and broadband service providers.

In a press release from his office, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick committed to his goal of shrinking the digital divide and stated that Senate Bill 5 would benefit all of Texas’ economy and overall standard of living.

Vetro Cares for Maine expands

Vetro last week ushered in its second round of participants into its Vetro Cares for Maine program, which provides broadband mapping software that allows for planning, projecting trends, and other analytics.

The program gives participants a six-month subscription to the Vetro Fibermap and the training and support necessary to use it.

The Town of Rome, the Town of Northport, Greater East Grand Region Broadband, Mount Desert, Southwest Waldo County Broadband Coalition, Mid-Coast Internet Coalition, and the Town of Sebago are the most recent entities to join the Vetro Cares for Maine program.

Vetro says the transparent nature of the software will allow for greater accountability as data is more easily able to flow between ISPs and the state they are operating in.

Todd Gandy joins ADTRAN

Telecommunications equipment provider ADTRAN announced that it has hired industry veteran Todd Gandy, who will work on expanding the companies reach into government agencies.

“ADTRAN has a short line of communication to these agencies to better understand their challenges and find the right solutions needed to address them,” Gandy said in a statement.

Adtran’s federal sales team will continue to focus on campus solutions, using both fixed wireless and fiber delivery methods to provide gigabit speeds and remove dependencies on existing infrastructure, it said.

Reporter Ben Kahn is a graduate of University of Baltimore and the National Journalism Center. His work has appeared in Washington Jewish Week and The Center Square, among other publications. He he covered almost every beat at Broadband Breakfast.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Broadband Roundup

DOJ Investigates TikTok, Google’s Generative AI Tool, Charter Counsel Retiring

An internal TikTok investigation found employees had allegedly spied on journalists, the Times reported.

Published

on

By

Photo of Sundar Pichai from 2021 by World Economic Forum used with permission

March 21 – Federal authorities are investigating Chinese-owned video sharing app TikTok over allegations its spying over journalists, reported The New York Times on Friday.

Three people familiar with the case told the Times that the Department of Justice has been investigating the company ByteDance after internal emails showed the company had conducted an internal investigation and “found employees gained access to data from two journalists and people associated with them,” the Times said.

According to the Times, a spokesperson said the company “strongly” condemns the actions of the four employees who obtained the data on the journalists and are no longer working for the company.

The investigation comes during a time Washington and state governments are on heightened alert of the app they say is a national security risk. A new memorandum by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget published in February outlines how agencies are to identify and ban problematic software, like TikTok, from government devices and networks.

Senators have also introduced the RESTRICT Act to further strength national cybersecurity by empowering the Department of Commerce to examine critical infrastructure products and ensure “comprehensive actions to address risks of untrusted foreign information communications and technology products.”

Google releases new Bard generative AI tool for trialing  

Google has released an artificial intelligence tool intended to assist users in daily tasks, the search engine giant’s attempt to enter the generative AI space shared by the popular ChatGPT application.

Called Bard, the tool allows users to use the generative AI software as a personal assistant to ask the machine to come up with ways to accomplish tasks. The tool presents a chat box that the user inputs questions into, with the “large language model” generating tips automatically.

Google said the machine is in “experiment” mode and is asking users to contribute to its refinement.

Bard comes a week after OpenAI, the company behind generative AI tool ChatGPT, announced the latest version of the tool that has been able to craft novels using basic prompts. In the latest version, the tool has been able to create websites and versions of 2D video games.

Its power has concerned lawmakers and has sparked calls by experts for its regulation.

Aleksander Mądry, professor of Cadence Design Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a recent subcommittee hearing that generative AI is a very fast moving technology, meaning the government needs to step in to confirm the objectives of the companies and whether the algorithms match the societal benefits and values.

In January, ChatGPT eclipsed 100 million monthly users.

Charter’s executive vice president is retiring

Richard Dykhouse, executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Charter Communications, is set to retire from his position, but will remain until the company picks a successor, the cable company announced Monday.

“Rick has played a significant role in Charter’s transformation and growth story – including its reorganization in 2009, the acquisitions of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, and the largest-ever integration of cable companies,” Chris Winfrey, Charter’s president and chief executive officer, in a press release. “I am grateful for Rick’s leadership, advice and sound judgment over the years and pleased that he will continue to assist us throughout the transition to his successor.”

Once the company finds the right person, Dykhouse will remain as executive counsel to support the transition, the release said.

Dykhouse joined Charter in 2006.

Continue Reading

Broadband Roundup

Sohn Speaks After Withdrawal, MasterCard Back Indigenous Connectivity, Liberty-CityFibre in Buy Talks

The former FCC nominee spoke for the first time regarding future plans after withdraw.

Published

on

By

Photo of Gigi Sohn from 2012 by Joel Sage used with permission

March 20, 2023 – Former Federal Communications Commission nominee Gigi Sohn told The Washington Post in an interview published last week that she feels she “got a book to write” about her 16-month-long battle to get the Senate to vote her onto the commission.

Earlier this month, the two-time nominee of President Joe Biden withdrew her candidacy after what she called “dark money political groups” tainting her career. Sohn has been accused by Republicans of being impartial and donating to members of the Commerce committee that had previously pushed her nomination forward but which did not get to Senate votes.

“There’s been a bunch of stuff that’s happened over the past 16 months … that is going to make people’s eyes bug out,” Sohn told the Post.

During Sohn’s confirming process, she said she has been repeatedly subject to “unrelenting, dishonest and cruel attacks” from extremist groups and media.

“That was the first time I felt like ‘Oh my god, this could really rile up some crazies to come to my house … and threaten me and my family,’” the Post said she said. “I owed a duty to me and my family to move on, and this was very, very difficult on me emotionally.”

Sohn said she was “very proud” of the support she received from allies throughout the process, the Post said.

Sohn told the Post she had “several opportunities” lined up, which might be the intent to advocate internet access at the state level. But she also said she could do “something bigger and more,” according to the Post.

Mastercard Foundation partners with indigenous institute for internet access

The Mastercard Foundation announced Monday it is investing $3.7 million CAD, or $2.7 million USD, to help the Indigenous Connectivity Institute expand its current digital equity program.

The funding will “enable the ICI to expand current programs and develop new initiatives to reach 10,000 Indigenous young people over the next three years,” according to the release.

“This support from the Mastercard Foundation has the potential to advance Indigenous digital equity beyond our imaginations and make real the projects and collaboration we’ve been dreaming up for years. I am so excited to see this new partnership in action,” Darrah Blackwater, ICI Advisory Council member, said in a press release.

The indigenous-led organization is focused exclusively on digital equity in Canada and the United States by providing training programs to advance technical and advocacy skills, the release said.

“A fast, reliable internet connection is essential to ensuring that Indigenous young people can access high-quality education and meaningful employment opportunities,” says Jennifer Brennan, Director of Canada Programs at the Mastercard Foundation. “The shared vision for this partnership is a commitment to ensuring Indigenous young people and communities have the capacity, support, knowledge, and financial resources to lead digital equity to advance their aspirations and strengthen their communities.”

State broadband leaders will join Broadband Breakfast’s online event and talk about how their states are approaching the digital equity planning process and what they hope to accomplish with federal funding on Wednesday April 15 at 12 noon ET.

Liberty Global acquisition of Cityfibre and Liberty Global unlikely to be approved

Virgin Media O2 is seeking to acquire fiber competitor CityFibre for £3 billion, according to media reports.

The Telegraph reported Saturday that Virgin is in talks with the competitor, but questions remained about the likelihood of the deal moving past regulators.

Capacity reported Monday that equity analyst Jerry Dellis from Jefferies Equity Research does not believe it will get past the Competition and Markets Authority.

“A VMO2-CityFibre combination would appear to threaten the regulatory objective of network competition providing choice for ISPs, leading to better outcomes for consumers,” a Dellis research note said, according to Capacity.

“With a back-book comprising millions of customers that have been subject to multiple years of retail price increases, we question what incentive VMO2 has to compete down wholesale pricing.”

Continue Reading

Broadband Roundup

TikTok U.S. Must Sell or Get Banned, T-Mobile’s New Buy, 5 More States Receive ECF Money

The threats come ahead of the first congressional committee appearance by TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew.

Published

on

By

Photo of T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert from the company

March 16, 2023 – President Joe Biden and his administration said it wants the Bytedance, TikTok’s owner, to sell the U.S. version of the video sharing app or face a ban, according to the New York Times.

The demands were sent to ByteDance in recent weeks, said the Times, citing anonymous sources.

The threats come ahead of the first congressional committee appearance by TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew next Thursday.

TikTok’s efforts to win U.S. government approval come in the face of growing Congressional hostility toward the platform. Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and John Thune, R-S.D., on Tuesday unveiled a bill aimed at giving the Commerce Department the ability to impose a complete ban of the app.

The Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act (RESTRICT Act) requires the Commerce Department to examine critical infrastructure products, including those that go toward telecommunications networks, and to ensure “comprehensive actions to address risks of untrusted foreign information communications and technology products by requiring the Secretary to take up consideration of concerning activity identified by other government entities,” a White House release said.

Last month, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget required agencies to identify a banned application, such as TikTok, remove it and disallow installation on devices, and prohibit internet traffic within 30 days, as part of the governments’ efforts to rid security threats on government devices.

T-Mobile to acquire Mint Mobile for $1.35B

T-Mobile just announced Wednesday that it has agreed to acquire Ka’ena Corporation and its subsidiaries and brands including Mint Mobile, Ultra Mobile and wholesaler Plum, according to a press release.

T-Mobile is acquiring the brands’ sales, marketing, digital, and service operations, and plans to use its supplier relationships and distribution scale to help the brands to grow and offer competitive pricing and greater device inventory to more U.S. consumers seeking value offerings, it said in the release.

T-Mobile will pay up to a maximum of $1.35 billion, 39 percent in cash and 61 in stock to acquire Ka’ena, with the actual price based on the performance of Ka’ena during certain time period before and after the closing, the release said.

“Mint has built an incredibly successful digital direct-to-consumer business that continues to deliver for customers on the Un-carrier’s leading 5G network and now we are excited to use our scale and owners’ economics to help supercharge it – and Ultra Mobile – into the future,” said Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile, in the release.

“Over the long-term, we’ll also benefit from applying the marketing formula Mint has become famous for across more parts of T-Mobile. We think customers are really going to win with a more competitive and expansive Mint and Ultra,” Sievert added.

FCC commits $1.7M from Emergency Connectivity Fund

The Federal Communications Commission announced on Wednesday it is committing $1.7 million through the Emergency Connectivity Program to help over 5000 students gain better access to internet.

Wednesday’s announcement will support approximately 15 schools and 2 libraries in California, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, and New York.

“Closing the Homework Gap means we need to connect all our students to digital tools for communicating with teachers and schools,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Today’s funding round is another important step toward reaching that goal.”

Since the launch of the $7.171 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund in 2021, the FCC has allocated a total of $6.6 billion in funding commitments. The program is set to end this year, with the service delivery deadline for the first two rounds approaching on June 30.

Some organizations have called on Congress to allocate additional funding for its extension.

Continue Reading

Signup for Broadband Breakfast News



Broadband Breakfast Research Partner

Trending