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News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: www.scientificcomputing.com

This year many mobile carriers are launching early services for 5G -- the next generation of wireless that promises speeds 10 to 100 times faster than 4G LTE -- and a host of other technology companies are testing devices and systems for the Internet of Things that will depend on this coming glut in capacity. To make research and development for 5G and other revolutionary applications of wireless communications easier, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today launched a new web portal that lets researchers apply for a program experimental license. The new application system reduces barriers to experimentation for universities, research laboratories, health care institutions, and manufacturers with demonstrated experience in radio frequency technology, and provides an overarching licensing program for innovative entities to rapidly acquire specific experimental licenses on an ongoing, as-needed basis in designated campus areas. (FCC Public Notice and Announcement) NYU WIRELESS, a world leading academic research center in wireless communications located in NYU's Tandon School of engineering, is a pioneer in establishing millimeter-wave (mmWave) technology as a core part of the world's 5G vision, and was one of only two academic institutions --The University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) is the other -- working with the FCC to help test, debug, and provide feedback on the web-based licensing system. NYU WIRELESS became the first applicant to receive the program experimental license using the new portal. "The license will allow the center to do cutting-edge work throughout the spectrum, not just at frequencies critical to 5G, but also far beyond," said Theodore (Ted) Rappaport, Founding Director of NYU WIRELESS and the David Lee/Ernst Weber Professor of Electrical Engineering at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering. He added that the FCC's new program experimental licensing process is perhaps the first like it in the world, and it promises to reduce the waiting time and burden for innovators to experiment in the radio spectrum, allowing experimenters to focus on science and engineering while giving a rapid, 15-day turnaround on experimental license decisions in most cases. "We believe massively broadband mobile communications will eventually migrate to both lower and higher frequency ranges, and we are honored that the FCC chose NYU to be one of two academic institutions to test the portal for usability and accuracy to help pave the way for our wireless future," Rappaport said. "The efficiency and transparency of the new FCC experimental program portal will aid institutions like ours -- as well as governmental spectrum holders and corporations-- to accelerate experimentation of new systems and devices that will eventually become part of our interconnected world. I am particularly grateful to doctoral electrical engineering student Yunchou Xing, who worked closely with the FCC staff as a beta tester for the new portal. His work illustrates the unusual role that NYU WIRELESS has embraced to expand the potential of wireless communications: Not only through fundamental research, modeling and experimentation, but also by building an ecosystem of industrial affiliate sponsors committed to expanding the wireless frontier and working with governments and agencies such as the FCC toward a better wireless future." Xing, an electrical and computer engineering doctoral student at NYU WIRELESS in NYU Tandon, helped the FCC test two websites within the experimental license platform: the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology's Experimental Licensing System, for which he verified log-in and application procedures; and the new Experiments Notification System, which lets a program experimental licensee alert others of plans to conduct research within a particular radio band within a particular geographic region. This feature of transparency allows entities that hold licenses in those bands -- as well as those who stand to be affected by the applicant's research -- to object or to comment. "The FCC's move today launches a new tool that will hopefully reduce the wait time for government authorization to do cutting-edge research and experimental transmissions," said Rappaport. The Office of Engineering and Technology grants more than 2,000 requests for experimental licenses annually, to more than 600 universities, researchers, businesses, and other innovators, according to Julius Knapp, Chief of the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology. "This year alone we have over 35 experimental licenses that have a 5G focus or are in the bands raised in the Spectrum Frontiers proceeding," said Knapp, referring to the conference that led to rules expediting 5G technology. In July 2016, the FCC unanimously adopted the "Spectrum Frontier" rules for wireless broadband operations in frequencies above 24 GHz, making the United States the first country in the world to make this spectrum available for next generation wireless services, thereby quadrupling the amount of spectrum for wireless providers. NYU WIRELESS played a leading role in proving the viability of mmWave spectrum for future mobile communications. To speed the development of 5G, NYU WIRELESS last year launched the first open-access mmWave channel simulator software (NYUSIM) with a complete statistical spatial channel model, which is based on the research group's experiments showing the channel characteristics at mmWave frequencies.


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

PISCATAWAY, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Telemarketers and robocalls using spurious Caller ID to trick consumers into answering their phones – also known as ‘spoofing’ – are the primary source of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) complaints and reports of telecom fraud, and the problem is increasing at an alarming rate. A new industry white paper titled, Caller ID: The Impact of Robocalling and Spoofing, has been released that provides a brief overview of the issue as well the techniques being developed to help alleviate the problem. The paper is provided by iconectiv, an authoritative partner of the global communications industry. In the telecommunications industry, spoofing refers to the illegal practice of manipulating Caller ID to mislead consumers in accepting unwanted calls from live telemarketers or automated pre-recorded messages, also known as robocalls. According to the FCC, fraudulent Caller ID hit a record 1.7 million calls in the first four months of 2016, up 41% from the previous year.1 Disreputable parties use spoofed Caller IDs to either avoid regulatory penalties or to impersonate banks and other entities to defraud consumers. The paper looks at the efforts of academic researchers and leading telecom associations and companies to develop the SHAKEN (Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) standard, a framework that provides end-to-end cryptographic authentication and verification of the telephone identity and related information. Leveraging the standard, iconectiv has developed a solution that can, among other important functions, identify the point of origin to better determine if the Caller ID has been misrepresented or altered. Uniquely positioned to assist in the mitigation of spoofing and robocalling, iconectiv’s core competencies include highly scalable industry database management, numbering services (the company will soon serve as the U.S. Local Number Portability Administrator), identity/authentication and network fraud prevention for the telecommunications industry. 1 Phone Scam 'Onslaught' Has Authorities Scrambling, The Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2016 At iconectiv, we envision a world without boundaries, where the ability to access and exchange information is simple, seamless and secure. As the authoritative partner of the communications industry for more than 30 years, iconectiv realizes this vision for more than two billion people every day by providing market-leading solutions that enable the interconnection of networks, devices, and applications. Working closely with private, government and non-governmental organizations, iconectiv continues to protect and secure telecommunication infrastructures for service providers, governments and enterprises, while providing network and operations management, numbering, registry, messaging and fraud and identity solutions to more than 1,200 organizations globally. A US-based company, Telcordia Technologies, doing business as iconectiv, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ericsson. For more information, visit www.iconectiv.com.


News Article | May 17, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Bowling Green, Ky., May 17, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has filed a bill that would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to collect accurate and up-to-date data on wireless broadband coverage, according to a report in the online publisher Global Affairs. Dubbed the Rural Wireless Act of 2017, the bill would help provide access to families, businesses, schools, agricultural producers, and others in rural areas by ensuring current mobile broadband coverage data is correct. “Having an accurate assessment of which rural areas are most in need of wireless broadband coverage is critical to closing the digital divide, but the availability of broadband coverage can be difficult to assess,” Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) told Global Affairs. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan bill to strengthen data collection for wireless broadband coverage so we can best direct federal resources to the places where it needs to be improved the most, helping rural Michigan residents start businesses, access educational resources, and stay connected with the world.” Using a combination of broadband mapping processes, field validation methodologies, and public feedback, Connected Nation (CN) has worked for nearly two decades to bring better definition to America’s broadband landscape. Connected Nation has partnered with local, state, and federal leaders and Internet Service Providers (ISP) across the country, and in states like Michigan, to ensure no one is left on the wrong side of the digital divide. “Having good data is where everything starts,” said Tom Ferree, CEO of CN. “There is no way for a county commissioner, much less an FCC commissioner, to know what really needs to be done until accurate data is collected and analyzed. For that reason, Connected Nation has always relied on a team of skilled broadband engineers and GIS analysts to not only map where broadband is and where it isn’t, but in also determining that where access does exist, is it truly to today’s requirements for speed and reliability. These additional qualitative measures must be in place to further ensure that we are not effectively leaving families and businesses out of opportunities for improved economics, better education, and even regular healthcare.” “The broadband mapping methodologies that we have developed and continue to evolve allow us to pinpoint the areas that are consistently being left out,” said Ashley Hitt, Director of GIS Services for CN. “For mobile wireless coverage, we’ve been able to collect and analyze very detailed data for a number of carriers across the country that not only show the service gaps, but help both local officials and the ISPs visualize where expansion efforts should be focused.” The CN subsidiary, Connect Michigan, found 44 percent of working-age Michigan adults rely on Internet access to seek or apply for jobs, while 22 percent further their education by taking online classes. But, it all starts with accurate data mapping, which is so important. A fact U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) each acknowledged this week when they introduced the Rural Access bill. “Millions of rural Americans in Kansas and many other states depend on the promise of mobile broadband buildout efforts, and this critical expansion depends on the accuracy of current coverage data and uniformity in how it is collected,” Senator Moran told Global Affairs. “As we work to close the broadband gap, our providers must have standardized, clear data so they can plan out ways to reach communities most in need of access.” “We can’t close the digital divide if we don’t know where the problem is,” Senator Schatz said. “This bill will help us understand which communities still have bad wireless broadband coverage, so that we can move ahead and fix it.” Connected Nation is a leading technology organization committed to bringing affordable high-speed Internet and broadband-enabled resources to all Americans so no one is left on the wrong side of the digital divide. For more information, please visit: www.connectednation.org or follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter. For more details on Connect Michigan, head to http://www.connectmi.org/. A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/6b6f85b3-8e88-49dd-8aac-0989c4599454


News Article | May 17, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Bowling Green, Ky., May 17, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has filed a bill that would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to collect accurate and up-to-date data on wireless broadband coverage, according to a report in the online publisher Global Affairs. Dubbed the Rural Wireless Act of 2017, the bill would help provide access to families, businesses, schools, agricultural producers, and others in rural areas by ensuring current mobile broadband coverage data is correct. “Having an accurate assessment of which rural areas are most in need of wireless broadband coverage is critical to closing the digital divide, but the availability of broadband coverage can be difficult to assess,” Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) told Global Affairs. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan bill to strengthen data collection for wireless broadband coverage so we can best direct federal resources to the places where it needs to be improved the most, helping rural Michigan residents start businesses, access educational resources, and stay connected with the world.” Using a combination of broadband mapping processes, field validation methodologies, and public feedback, Connected Nation (CN) has worked for nearly two decades to bring better definition to America’s broadband landscape. Connected Nation has partnered with local, state, and federal leaders and Internet Service Providers (ISP) across the country, and in states like Michigan, to ensure no one is left on the wrong side of the digital divide. “Having good data is where everything starts,” said Tom Ferree, CEO of CN. “There is no way for a county commissioner, much less an FCC commissioner, to know what really needs to be done until accurate data is collected and analyzed. For that reason, Connected Nation has always relied on a team of skilled broadband engineers and GIS analysts to not only map where broadband is and where it isn’t, but in also determining that where access does exist, is it truly to today’s requirements for speed and reliability. These additional qualitative measures must be in place to further ensure that we are not effectively leaving families and businesses out of opportunities for improved economics, better education, and even regular healthcare.” “The broadband mapping methodologies that we have developed and continue to evolve allow us to pinpoint the areas that are consistently being left out,” said Ashley Hitt, Director of GIS Services for CN. “For mobile wireless coverage, we’ve been able to collect and analyze very detailed data for a number of carriers across the country that not only show the service gaps, but help both local officials and the ISPs visualize where expansion efforts should be focused.” The CN subsidiary, Connect Michigan, found 44 percent of working-age Michigan adults rely on Internet access to seek or apply for jobs, while 22 percent further their education by taking online classes. But, it all starts with accurate data mapping, which is so important. A fact U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) each acknowledged this week when they introduced the Rural Access bill. “Millions of rural Americans in Kansas and many other states depend on the promise of mobile broadband buildout efforts, and this critical expansion depends on the accuracy of current coverage data and uniformity in how it is collected,” Senator Moran told Global Affairs. “As we work to close the broadband gap, our providers must have standardized, clear data so they can plan out ways to reach communities most in need of access.” “We can’t close the digital divide if we don’t know where the problem is,” Senator Schatz said. “This bill will help us understand which communities still have bad wireless broadband coverage, so that we can move ahead and fix it.” Connected Nation is a leading technology organization committed to bringing affordable high-speed Internet and broadband-enabled resources to all Americans so no one is left on the wrong side of the digital divide. For more information, please visit: www.connectednation.org or follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter. For more details on Connect Michigan, head to http://www.connectmi.org/. A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/6b6f85b3-8e88-49dd-8aac-0989c4599454


News Article | May 19, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) released its May 2017 WasteWatcher, a monthly dispatch to members of the news media, highlighting some of the most prominent fiscal issues affecting American taxpayers. The stories from its May edition of WasteWatcher are listed in part as follows: Setting the Internet Free By Deborah Collier On May 18, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted by a 2-1 margin to open a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Restoring Internet Freedom. Full story here. House Passes the American Health Care Act, Senate Up Next By Elizabeth Wright On May 4, 2017, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The AHCA repeals many provisions in Obamacare and makes significant and positive changes to current law. Full story here. Safeguarding Infrastructure Investment By Sean Kennedy As a candidate, President Trump pledged to invest in upgrading the country’s infrastructure. Hopefully, the president is not trying emulate the (not-so-) “shovel-ready” standard that was attached by President Obama to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Full story here. HUD: Noble Motives, Fiscal Disaster By Curtis Kalin The stated mission of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to “create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.” While that goal is laudable, the systemic dysfunction that permeates the department will prove to be a tough challenge for HUD Secretary Ben Carson. Full story here. Making Unauthorized Spending Wrong Again By William M. Christian One of the best potential reforms of the way that Congress does business is H.R. 2174, Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ Unauthorized Spending Accountability (USA) Act, which she introduced on April 26, 2017. Full story here. Going Off the Rails in Texas By Andrew Nehring America’s first high-speed rail project could happen in Texas, where Houston and Dallas would be connected along a 240-mile stretch of railroad. However, CAGW considers the project a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars. Full story here. Making the Case for Dynamic Scoring By Rachel Cole When Congress considers legislation to lower taxes, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will be using dynamic scoring to help estimate its cost. Full story here. CAGW is the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) applauded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for officially beginning the process of restoring internet freedom by approving Chairman Ajit Pai’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which seeks to repeal the 2015 “Open Internet Order (OIO).” The OIO placed the internet under the antiquated regulatory regime of Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. On May 8, 2017, CAGW submitted public comments in support of the NPRM, which said, in part, “This utility-style big brother approach to regulating the internet was a problem in search of a solution, and a massive overreach of authority by the agency. The reclassification harmed the internet ecosystem and created uncertainty regarding the application of several provisions of Title II to internet service providers (ISPs).” CAGW President Tom Schatz said: “I would like to congratulate the FCC and Chairman Pai for their work to restore internet freedom. Through the agency’s action today, a free and open internet will be reinstated and economic growth will flourish. A light-touch regulatory approach to internet governance has always proven to be best for taxpayers, consumers, and the economy. On behalf of CAGW’s more than one million members and supporters, we thank the FCC for voting to move forward with this much-needed rulemaking. We also look forward to the publication of the NPRM in the Federal Register, and submitting further comments to the FCC.” Citizens Against Government Waste is the nation's largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.


News Article | May 15, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP is pleased to announce that former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy is returning home to Wilkinson Barker Knauer. Ms. Abernathy’s unmatched combination of top-level government and corporate experience makes her uniquely suited to counsel WBK’s clients throughout the media, communications, energy, and technology sectors. Ms. Abernathy will provide strategic guidance on business, legal, and policy issues, navigating the firm’s clients through a fast-changing regulatory environment, both domestically and around the world. Ms. Abernathy recently retired from Frontier Communications, where she first joined the company as an independent Board member and then moved into the role of Chief Legal Officer and Executive Vice President, External Affairs as the company pursued major strategic acquisitions. At retirement she was EVP, External Affairs, overseeing all state, federal and external relationships. During her time at Frontier, she guided the company through the regulatory aspects of three major acquisitions of properties from AT&T and Verizon, and was also a key player in the company’s advocacy at the FCC, including recent opposition to the Commission’s business data services (BDS) proposal. Ms. Abernathy also sits on the board of ISO New England, a regional energy transmission organization authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to ensure the constant availability of competitively-priced wholesale electricity. Nominated by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Abernathy served as FCC Commissioner from May 2001 until December 2005. As part of the Republican majority during her time as a Commissioner, she advocated for a light regulatory touch as she helped craft policies for broadcast television, cable, satellite, domestic and international telecommunications, wireless telephony, consumer protection and education, and general enforcement of Commission rules. She also chaired the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service and participated in international bilateral and multilateral negotiations, including the 2002 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference and the 2003 ITU World Radiocommunications Conference. In 2004 she was selected by the ITU to Chair the Global Symposium for Regulators. Ms. Abernathy was a partner at WBK both before and after her time at the agency. Earlier in her career, Ms. Abernathy worked in a variety of private and public sector roles, including advising prior Commissioner Sherrie P. Marshall and Chairman James H. Quello, working for several telecommunications companies, and serving as an adjunct professor at both Georgetown University Law Center and Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law. Ms. Abernathy is an active member and former President of the Federal Communications Bar Association. She is a graduate of Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law and of Marquette University. Bryan Tramont, Managing Partner of Wilkinson Barker Knauer, said, “Kathleen’s unmatched experience fighting for more limited, thoughtful regulation makes her the perfect catalyst for developing relationships with clients who face federal and state regulatory issues in communications, media, and energy. At a personal level, Kathleen has been a mentor, boss and friend for many years. I am excited to team up again—as they say, the third time’s the charm!” Ms. Abernathy added, “The fun, positive culture and exciting, growing practice areas at WBK consistently pull me back. I have known these people for many years and very much look forward to returning to my WBK team.” Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP, one of the largest law firms in the nation dedicated primarily to the practice of communications and energy law, is ranked as a “first tier” firm by Chambers USA (Telecom, Broadcast, and Satellite: Regulatory), and Legal 500 (Telecoms and broadcast: regulatory), and was twice named “Law Firm of the Year” in communications law by U.S. News - Best Lawyers (2012 & 2014). The firm, with offices in Washington, D.C. and Denver, Colorado, advises clients ranging from global Fortune 100 companies to small start-ups in regulatory, transactional, privacy/cybersecurity, consumer protection, intellectual property, corporate and litigation matters involving all aspects of communications and energy law, at both the state and federal levels. Ms. Abernathy will be resident in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office and can be reached at 202-383-3399 and at kabernathy@wbklaw.com. Additional information about Ms. Abernathy can be found at http://www.wbklaw.com/Our_Team/Kathleen_Abernathy.


News Article | May 17, 2017
Site: www.bbc.co.uk

Bots appear to be spamming a US regulator's website over a proposed reversal of net neutrality rules, researchers have said. According to three separate analyses, a flood of automated comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was detected over the weekend. More than 400,000 comments with remarkably similar wording have been detected in recent days. Net neutrality proponents argue that all internet traffic should be equal. This means that no content provider should be able to, for example, charge more for faster access to certain data. One expert described bot activity as a new form of protest. "Someone has gone out of their way to make these seem like real submissions," wrote Chris Sinchok in a blog post about the apparently automated activity. Having downloaded the comments and associated data, Mr Sinchok noticed that the names and email addresses associated with thousands of them also turned up in lists of personal data stolen from websites. He told the BBC that this suggested someone might be using information collected from breached databases to make the submissions look more authentic. "It really seems like this is getting pooled from some place in an automated fashion and it's coming in at unreasonable rates," he said. He added that the uniformity of the data was also a possible giveaway. For example, many comments are essentially identical save for the occasional, small difference - such as the exact same sentence appearing in multiple comments, but with different letters capitalised each time. And the rate at which comments were posted also seemed suspicious, starting and stopping in bursts, he added. Other watchers, including a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and another at Harvard University, have also tracked a boom in apparently automated activity directed at the site in recent days. Earlier this month, the FCC said it had been targeted by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that led to downtime for the comments system. This followed a television appearance by comedian John Oliver in which he urged people to post comments against the proposals on the FCC's website. "Net neutrality is such a hot-button issue and it's one of the few examples of online activism that's actually amounted to something," noted Prof Phil Howard at the Oxford Internet Institute. He cited the 2014 online protests, after which President Obama stepped in to recommend that the FCC drop earlier proposals to curtail net neutrality. "This is how people protest these days," said Prof Howard, referring to the apparently automated comments. He also pointed out that a growing number of people had the necessary programming skills to do it. However, Mr Sinchok is concerned that the bot activity will create the impression that genuine opposition to the FCC's current proposals does not really exist. "There are people that care about this issue a lot," he told the BBC. "Activity like this is really muddying the waters - and I don't want it to give [the FCC] an excuse to say, 'Hey, there's mixed support for this.'" The FCC has not yet responded to a BBC request for comment.


News Article | May 23, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted last week to start dismantling 2015 rules that regulated internet service providers the same way as utilities. So what does that mean for your internet access? The answer to that question will take months to hash out. The debate swirls around two related issues: whether the internet is a public utility, and how (or if) to ensure a concept known as net neutrality. Net neutrality is the framework for an internet in which all data is treated equally. For example, a provider such as Comcast can't throttle back Netflix's streaming speeds because Netflix's video content competes with its cable offerings. Nor can a company block legal websites or apps, or require them to pay extra for a broadband boost. [6 Politicians Who Got the Science Wrong] Net neutrality advocates argue that the regulations on internet service providers (ISPs) enacted under President Barack Obama's administration are necessary to ensure that providers don't try any of these strategies. Meanwhile, advocates of Thursday's FCC decision — including FCC Director Ajit Pai — argue that market forces and alternative rules could keep the internet neutral, and that the current FCC regulations stifle innovation. Here's how we got here. The net-neutrality debate is perhaps the biggest internet argument of all, and it's been going on since the late 1990s. In 1996, Congress passed the Telecom Act, leading the FCC to classify cable broadband providers as "information services" rather than "telecommunications services," which would have been subject to stricter regulation. The FCC did, however, want to do some regulating. In 2010, it passed the Open Internet Order, which prohibited ISPs from blocking, throttling or offering paid prioritization. Blocking is cutting off access to legal websites, devices or apps; throttling is degrading the service to certain devices, websites or apps so as to render them unusable; and paid prioritization is offering sites, apps or device-makers the opportunity to pay for a speed boost for their traffic. Net-neutrality advocates argue that without these rules, large, established companies will dominate the web, while startups without the cash to pay for access will struggle. Without regulation, ISPs could also block content from a particular political position or point of view, stymying free speech. Unfortunately for the FCC, Comcast challenged the rules over whether the provider could slow down traffic through BitTorrent, peer-to-peer sharing software used to transfer large files like movies or audio clips. In 2010, a federal appeals court ruled in that case that the FCC didn't have the authority to regulate ISPs such as Comcast. The FCC formalized the order as rules, but that workaround didn’t fly in court either: In 2014, a lawsuit by Verizon also ended with the court ruling that the agency had overstepped its boundaries by trying to regulate ISPs as if they were old-fashioned phone companies, or "common carriers." That ruling set the stage for the last net-neutrality fight in 2015. At the time, the Obama White House came out strongly advocating for reclassifying ISPs as common carriers — essentially, as utilities. The FCC under then-Chairman Tom Wheeler ended up taking this route, reclassifying ISPs under the auspices of Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which was originally designed to regulate radios, telegraphs and telephones. So far, the courts have given the Title II classification the nod. But now, with the FCC under new leadership, the debate is back. On May 18, the FCC voted 2-1 to review the 2015 rules— the first step in the process of repealing and replacing them. Pai called the Obama-era regulations "a bureaucratic straitjacket," according to NPR. What's not clear is what the replacement would be. There are several options, said Larry Downes, an internet industry analyst and co-author of "Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in the Age of Devastating Innovation" (Portfolio, 2014). The federal appeals court that previously struck down the FCC's non-Title II attempts to regulate ISPs suggested the agency try Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, which focuses on broadband access but is not as comprehensive as Title II. That would be one option for removing the utility-like regulations but keeping net neutrality, Downes told Live Science. However, many net-neutrality advocates think Section 706 isn't strong enough to ensure a neutral internet. [How Big Is the Internet, Really?] "[S]ection 706 doesn't stand on the solid legal foundation of Title II when it comes to treating internet access providers as common carriers," Timothy Karr, a spokesman for the nonprofit Free Press, which advocates for net neutrality, wrote in an email to Live Science. "Title II has withstood several court challenges to that end. We don't believe section 706 would withstand such scrutiny." Another possibility is that the FCC will revert back to the pre-2010 status quo, Downes said. Many advocates argue that this would be disastrous for the free flow of data online, but Downes disagrees. Between 1996 and 2015, there was only one court case over an alleged violation of net neutrality, Downes said. (That was the peer-to-peer file sharing Comcast case that killed the FCC's first attempt at regulation.) "The reason it didn't happen was, the Federal Trade Commission was on the job," Downes said. "It's illegal to discriminate in terms of how we manage internet traffic if you are doing it for anti-competitive purposes." If the FCC went back to pre-2010 regulations, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would regain its status as the enforcer of those rules. But the FTC rules are not as strong as the FCC's. One Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case  held that companies that provide internet and also provide a common carrier service (such as phone lines) were exempt from FTC regulation. That decision was recently vacated as the Ninth Circuit will rehear the case, and it is uncertain whether the FTC will ultimately hold on to that regulatory power. A final option, Downes said, would be to cut off the endless FCC squabbling with congressional action. A new law could give the FCC clear regulatory control over net-neutrality issues without regulating ISPs as utilities, Downes said. That would be a fight in its own right. Advocates of managing ISPs the same way as utilities argue that ISPs otherwise behave monopolistically, and that consumers end up with poorer, more expensive internet service. "What really matters is whether, someday, we'll take on as a country the issue of the dismal state of high-speed internet access in America," Harvard Law professor Susan Crawford wrote on the tech site Backchannel. "If the Title II reclassification holds, it's more likely that we will take that step sooner." Meanwhile, opponents of regulating ISPs the same way as utilities say the extra rules stifle investment and innovation. "The kinds of things that they [utilities] work for don't really reflect the nature of broadband, which is competitive, which changes all the time, which is consumer-driven," Downes argued. A congressional battle would probably bring these issues to the forefront. In February 2015, three House members — Reps. John Thune, R-South Dakota; Greg Walden, R-Oregon; and Fred Upton, R-Michigan — released a draft bill that would have enshrined net neutrality into law while otherwise limiting FCC regulation of broadband providers. The draft law never went anywhere. Now, Recode reports that congressional Democrats are planning to take a stand on regulating ISPs, which could be a stumbling block to a bill like the one proposed by Thune, Walden and Upton. That means the public can expect a lot more uncertainty over internet regulations, no matter how the FCC handles net neutrality this time around.  "Chairman Wheeler said Title II; Chairman Pai said not Title II," Downes said. "Guess what happens the next time a Democrat is the head of the FCC?" 10 Technologies That Will Transform Your Life


BEAVERTON, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MinnowBoard.org Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to open source software and hardware for embedded computing, today launched MinnowBoard Turbot quad-core, a small, low cost, powerful open source hardware board that supports most Linux operating systems, Windows® 10 IoT Core, and Android™. The Turbot quad-core is Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Class B compliant and ready for developers to begin prototyping embedded projects right out of the box. “The MinnowBoard program is committed to helping the IoT community get products out the door quickly and cost effectively,” said Kathleen Kovatch, President, MinnowBoard.org Foundation. “The Turbot quad-core is perfect for professional engineers pursuing embedded projects in industries such as consumer electronics, smart home devices, and industrial or factory automation.” The MinnowBoard Turbot quad-core is a versatile, embedded board with PC-like capabilities. It runs with the quad core Intel® Atom™ E3845 processor (4 x 1.91 GHz, 2MB cache) for high performance in a small and flexible form factor. MinnowBoard prototyping and vertical solutions provide broad support of ready-made or custom expansion cards for easy customizability. Unlike other developer boards, MinnowBoard’s complete design collateral (schematics, design files, BOM, etc.) is posted in open source, allowing developers to quickly create their custom derivative design and get to market. Additional information about the MinnowBoard Turbot quad-core, including tutorials, data sheets and other resources are available at www.MinnowBoard.org. The MinnowBoard.org Foundation is a US-based non-profit providing education and promotion of the design and use of open-source software and hardware in embedded computing, on Intel® Architecture. MinnowBoard.org supports the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA.org) principles and makes its designs publicly available so “anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design.” MinnowBoards are designed to offer exceptional performance, flexibility, openness, and standards. These embedded boards have an enormous range of capabilities for hardware, software, and firmware developers: from creating a fun hobby or professional maker project, to evaluating SoCs and developing high performance embedded applications or products. Microsoft, Encarta, MSN, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Android is a trademark of Google Inc. Intel is a trademark of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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