32 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for September 11, 2013
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Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2013 14:48:04 -0700 (PDT) From: Joseph Singer <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Verizon Decides To Not Force Sub-Par Service On New Yorkers Left Without Phones By Hurricane Message-ID: <1378849684.47287.YahooMailNeo@web121404.mail.ne1.yahoo.com> Last fall, Hurricane Sandy tore through the Mid-Atlantic, leaving entire coastal towns in New York and New Jersey without landline service. Verizon only made it worse for some residents, choosing to test replacing the ruined copper-wire network with its craptastic Voice Link service. After months of complaints from residents businesses and concerns about public safety, Verizon has decided to abandon that test and replace the copper lines in Fire Island, NY, with fiber optic cable. Among the complaints about Voice Link, which uses wireless technology to simulate a landline network, was that it is not as dependable as a fixed-line system. Furthermore, it does not work with certain oft-used items like fax machines and credit card readers. For operators of businesses in the towns where Verizon tested Voice Link, this was a huge headache. http://consumerist.com/2013/09/10/verizon-decides-to-not-force-sub-par-service-on-new-yorkers-left-without-phones-by-hurricane/ -or- http://goo.gl/uvFI7f
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2013 15:14:32 -0700 (PDT) From: Neal McLain <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Eshoo bill triggers retransmission-consent showdown Message-ID: <email@example.com> By Steve Donohue, FierceCable September 10, 2013 | Broadcasters may not be able to use the threat of blackouts to | squeeze increased retransmission-consent fees from pay TV | providers, if Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) wins support for a | bill released Monday. | | Introduced one week after Time Warner Cable and CBS Corp. | reached an agreement to end the 32-day blackout of CBS | stations and Showtime Networks, the bill would give the FCC | the power to grant "interim carriage" of a TV station during a | dispute. | The 1992 Cable Act gives local broadcasters the option of | negotiating retransmission-consent deals with operators or | electing must-carry, which gives a station distribution | without compensation. Eshoo's bill would require stations that | elect retransmission consent to be carried on a tier separate | from basic cable tiers containing must-carry stations and PEG | (public, government, education) channels. | While retransmission-consent reform advocates at the American | Cable Association and American Television Alliance cheered | Eshoo's bill, it drew criticism from lobbyists at the National | Association of Broadcasters. CEO Gordon Smith said the bill | has a "pro-pay TV slant" and would "embolden pay-TV giants to | continue to game the system rather than negotiate in the free | market for programming most valuable to viewers." Smith also | complained that the bill doesn't contain a provision that | would force operators to compensate subscribers who lose | programming during a blackout and doesn't address the practice | of pay TV distributors charging early termination fees to | subscribers who want to switch providers during a retrans | blackout. Continued: http://tinyurl.com/nz9mfna "...embolden pay-TV giants to continue to game the system rather than negotiate in the free market for programming most valuable to viewers..." Meaning, apparently, that before forced to choose between paying whatever the station licensee demands or dropping the station is the same as "negotiating in a free market." Neal McLain
Date: Sun, 8 Sep 2013 21:32:20 -0700 (PDT) From: Neal McLain <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Aereokiller Cuffed Nationwide Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> By Harry Cole, CommLawBlog, September 6, 2013 > U.S. District Judge in D.C. enjoins Aereo-like service > everywhere but the Second Circuit. > > Score a big one for the broadcasters! A federal district judge > in the District of Columbia has enjoined FilmOn X (that would > be the folks formerly known as "Aereokiller" who operated at > "BarryDriller.com") from operating its dime-sized wannabe-MVPD > service, much like a judge did in Los Angeles late last year. > > But get this - the D.C. judge went way further than the L.A. > judge by extending the injunction NATIONWIDE (except for New > York, Vermont and Connecticut). To say that this complicates > matters in the overall Aereo/Aereokiller universe would be an > understatement. > > First things first. The latest decision was issued by Judge > Rosemary M. Collyer, of the U.S. District Court for the > District of Columbia. FilmOn X had cranked up its service in > the D.C. area last spring, which prompted D.C. broadcasters to > ask the D.C. federal court to shut it down -- essentially the > same scenario that had already played out in New York (with > Aereo's similar service) and L.A. (where FilmOn X, but not > Aereo, was the defendant). As our readers already know, the > Second Circuit judges in NYC declined to enjoin Aereo's > operation, but a U.S District Judge in the Ninth Circuit in > L.A. did enjoin FilmOn X. (We're still awaiting a decision > from the three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit reviewing that > latter decision.) > > Both the NYC and L.A. decisions were based on the same facts > and underlying precedent presented to Judge Collyer, so she > had two flatly inconsistent model approaches (in her words, "a > binary choice") that she could use as guidance. She opted to > go West Coast, but with a couple of twists. Continued: http://tinyurl.com/oehy45n As somebody once said, "When the Supreme Court decides not to decide, it decides an awful lot." But in this case, it may not be able to dodge the issue. If the Ninth Circuit upholds the district court's decision in the FilmOn X case, two circuit court decisions will be in direct conflict. Sooner or later, the Supreme Court will have to resolve the issue. Unless Congress steps in and revises the Copyright Act to clarify the situation. Neal McLain
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