City Loses Case for Streaming Revenues, 1/3 Get News from Facebook, Open Broadband Project

Ashdown wanted share of streaming revenues, chunk of Americans regular consumers of news on Facebook, Open Broadband project takes off.

City Loses Case for Streaming Revenues, 1/3 Get News from Facebook, Open Broadband Project
A third of Americans regularly consume news on Facebook, study finds.

October 6, 2021A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit from the City of Ashdown, Arkansas, which sought to take a share of Netflix and Hulu revenues generated from the city.

The lawsuit proposed that Hulu and Netflix owed money to Ashdown because of their use of public broadband infrastructure.

U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey arrived at the conclusion that the streaming services fall within an exclusion for public internet enshrined in the Video Service Act, a state law. Attorneys representing the city, however, claimed that the law requires a franchise fee of 5 percent to be paid to their municipality.

The important legal question was whether streaming services were offered over the “public” internet. Attorneys for Ashdown argued that since customers have to pay a premium for Hulu or Netflix, they are not public.

“The Court finds the analogy offered by Hulu on point: whether a driver locks the car doors while driving does not affect whether the road taken is a public road,” Judge Hickey responded.

A third of Americans get news from Facebook, study finds

A large percentage of Americans are receiving their news from social media platforms, despite recent controversies related to the platforms’ safety.

A recent study from The Pew Research Center, published late last month, found that 31 percent of Americans routinely receive their news from Facebook.

The research found that 22 percent of Americans routinely consumed news from Google’s Youtube, 13 percent from Twitter, 11 percent from Facebook’s Instagram, and six percent from TikTok.

People who regularly receive their news from Facebook are more likely to be women than men. White adult males, though, make up the majority of Facebook’s and Reddit’s regular news consumers. Black and Hispanic adults account for 20% and 33% of regular news consumers of Instagram respectively. And younger adults are far more likely to get their news from TikTok and Snapchat than any other demographic.

The research comes as more Americans hope for the government to curb the spread of misinformation. It also emerged before Frances Haugen, former Facebook product manager turned whistleblower, came forward Tuesday in front of a Senate committee to say that Facebook only takes down 3-5 percent of hate speech on its platform.

The Broadband Forum launches Open Broadband project

The Broadband Forum has launched a new project, Open Broadband, in order to use open-source collaboration to help vendors and operators introduce products to market quicker and with reduced development time cycles.

Open Broadband said it hopes to create a gold-standard for 5G residential technologies, which use open-source technologies for 5G rollout.

Founding members from BT, Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia, Telstra, Verizon and Vodafone UK began the project last month. Project leader David Woolley said there was a need for customer premises equipment (CPE) manufacturers, end-to-end integrators, and hardware and software vendors, “to join the project and share ideas.”  The project participation agreement can be found online here.

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