It is likely that Comcast will have no problems getting the support of U.S. lawmakers for its proposed $45.2 billion merger with Time Warner Cable. Why, you ask? Well according to several campaign finance watchdog groups (as reported by Ars Technica), the majority of lawmakers reviewing the merger in hearings have taken campaign contributions from the cable operator directly or indirectly.
Comcast has begun to lay out its arguments to the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department on why its $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable should be approved. In a public interest statement to the FCC released today, Comcast said that the merger will help the company compete against competition in the broadband space like Google and streaming entertainment service such as Netflix. It also claimed that the merger would bring the next-generation of broadband services to millions of households and businesses in America.
The European Parliament has voted to implement net neutrality rules that would - if fully approved - restrict internet service providers' from charging data-intensive services such as Netflix for faster network access. The new law still needs to be approved by Europe's Council of Ministers.
The new rules would also prohibit mobile networks and broadband providers from blocking services such as WhatApp messages or Google Drive storage, which critics argue could be exploited to allow child pornography to be shared via these types of services.
After saying less than a month ago that its deal to pay Comcast for direct access to its customers had little to do with net neutrality rules, entertainment streaming service Netflix has changed its tune and has come out swinging against America's top service providers.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in a blog post on Thursday that once it agreed to pay Comcast its subscribers no longer had any problems with service speeds.
On March 12th, 1989, Tim Berners-Lee put forth a proposal to make information sharing possible over computers, using nodes and links to create a "web." While the CERN physics lab where he worked could not justify the project, his bosses allowed him to do the work there in his spare time. That little side project by Tim Berners-Lee became what we know now as the Internet.
Speaking at the Cebit tech fair in Hanover, Germany recently, European Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes said that the future of the internet has to be based on trust. Kroes is responsible for the European Commission's Digital Agenda, and was giving the speech to an audience which included such state leaders as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
Comcast offers regulators a reason to approve its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable: it keeps its promises. The company said on Monday that it had "met or exceeded" all of the obligations it accepted as a condition of its previous merger with NBC-Universal in 2011. To prove it, the company released a new compliance report.
We are all well aware that Netflix has agreed to pay Comcast in order to get direct access to its customers, but it looks like the popular TV and movie streaming service will be paying another ISP very soon. According to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, Netflix and his company are in talks right now to finalize a paid interconnect agreement for direct peering to Verizon customers.
In a recent interview with IDG News Service, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said that customers who use lots of bandwidth should be charged more. People who download lots of files or stream content on a regular basis should naturally be charged, in his mind.
Today the United States Senate announced that it plans to hold hearings on the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. The hearing is scheduled to take place March 26 before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearing is to figure out how the merger might affect market competition, television services, internet pricing and more. No doubt the FCC's Open Internet Order will be talked about during this hearing as well.
Speaking on NBC's "Press:Here" show over the weekend, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) said that it's a good thing that the Federal Communications Commission has decided to tackle the thorny task of tweaking the Open Internet Order (commonly referred to as "net neutrality") because it will empower consumers.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler issued a statement today laying out the agency’s strategy for preserving and restoring open Internet policies, but also confirmed that the FCC had no plans on appealing an earlier court decision in the case against Verizon. The Appeals Court ruled that the agency did not have the authority to enforce its net neutrality rules over broadband networks under section 706 of the Telecommunications Act.
The Obama Administration has responded to a petition on "We The People" calling on the president to compel the FCC to fix net neutrality rules and lobby congress to do the same. In its response the administration reaffirmed its commitment to net neutrality rules, while at the same time highlighting the fact that the Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency.
The day after Comcast announced its intentions to buy out Time Warner Cable, it mobilized its army of lobbyists and consultants to gauge the atmosphere in Washington D.C concerning the deal. The company has no problem lobbying lawmakers and padding their campaigns with cash to get the job done either.
Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) has come out strongly against a proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, Sen. Franken said that there is already not enough competition in this [we assume he means broadband and cable television] space and this deal goes in the wrong direction. He also said that he is thinks this deal will increase cable prices and decreased the quality of service for Time Warner Cable customers.
Comcast is expected to announce a deal worth $44 billion to buy out rival cable operator Time Warner Cable today, according to a Bloomberg report. The company will reportedly announce today that it plans to pay $159 a share to Time Warner Stock holders.
The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has issued an action alert urging members and the internet-community-at-large to contact their elected officials in Washington D.C. and urge them to support two stop-gap measures that would restore net neutrality rules until a more permanent solution can be worked out by lawmakers. You can check out the appeal from the ECA below:
California US Reps. Henry Waxman and Anna Eshoo (both Democrats) submitted legislation this week that would reinstate the net neutrality rules recently struck down by a D.C Federal Appeals Court decision. Rules that were part of the Open Internet Order preventing Internet service providers from blocking or discriminating against content were vacated last month after a Federal Judge said that the Federal Communications Commission failed to properly justify its authority to implement them.
This week rights group Free Press led a coalition of organizations (including the ACLU, Avaaz, Common Cause, ColorOfChange, CREDO, DailyKos, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, the Harry Potter Alliance, MoveOn, RootsAction and the Sierra Club's SierraRise community) that delivered a petition signed by one million people to the Federal Communications Commission urging the agency do whatever it has to do to restore Net Neutrality.
A new patent filed by AT&T Mobility in September 2013 and published this month hopes to keep customers from "abusing a telecommunications system" by consuming too much bandwidth, according to a report on TorrentFreak. The ultimate goal of such a patent is to apparently keep users from using certain services within the confines of packages they subscribe to.
The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has issued an action alert concerning the future of net neutrality, asking its members and the Internet community at large to contact their representatives in Congress, President Barack Obama, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and ask them to preserve and revise the Open Internet Order so that it can survive future legal challenges.
Public Knowledge on Thursday announced that former Justice Department antitrust official Gene Kimmelman has joined the watchdog group as its new president. Kimmelman has long been a leading proponent of net neutrality, and given the recent Appeals Court decision striking down part of the FCC's rules in its Open Internet Order, Public Knowledge and other organizations that support Net Neutrality need all the help they can get.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has put the brakes on a plan by AT&T to raise prices for "special access" customers, which could have led to a rate hike to businesses and cell phone users. AT&T had planned to make that hike happen today, but the FCC stepped in and suspended the action for five months while it conducts an investigation on the matter.
Newly anointed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said this week that it would be okay for Internet service providers to charge Netflix and other companies for a faster lane to consumers. While some think that Wheeler's stance is surprising given that the FCC implemented the Open Internet Order in 2010 to stop ISPs from discriminating against certain types of traffic, anyone who knows Wheeler's past is not in the least bit surprised. Wheeler is a former lobbyist for the cable and wireless industries.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is rolling out a broadband speed test app for Android phones beginning this week, with plans for an iOS version sometime later down the road. The app was announced at the Nov. 14 meeting, which was the first under the agency's new chairman Tom Wheeler.
"If we are going to be making fact-based decisions, we need facts," said Wheeler, "and you are enlisting the American people for those facts."