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Since 1996, the Benton Foundation has provided free, daily summaries of articles concerning the quickly-changing telecommunications policy landscape. Since September 2005, we've used individual stories to help track developments in telecommunications legislation, the media ownership debate and efforts to ensure universal broadband.

Headlines

Benton Foundation provides free, daily summaries of articles concerning the quickly-changing telecommunications policy landscape.

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What Is All This Talk About 'Forbearance?'

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

The time has come to discuss forbearance. The debate over Network Neutrality has increasingly focused on the Federal Communications Commission’s forbearance powers. This is because the central debate over the Commission’s proposed NN rules is over “reclassification.” Currently, the FCC governs broadband service under Title I of the Communications Act, which gives the FCC relatively few regulatory powers. Many tech companies and public interest advocates want the FCC to invoke the stronger regulatory scheme available under Title II of the Communications Act. Several elements of Title II, the framework long used for traditional telephone-type services, would not be needed and, indeed, could be very counterproductive if applied to broadband. In such situations, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 gives the FCC the power to waive enforcement of certain aspects of Title II (i.e., “forbear”). Hence, the debate about forbearance.

FCC ‘Net Neutrality’ Plan Calls for More Power Over Broadband

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is laying the groundwork for expanding the agency’s authority over broadband service, people familiar with his thinking say, a move long sought by advocates of stricter regulation of Internet-service providers.

The American way of broadband: slow

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
2

Why does it seem as if telecom companies -- phone, cable, satellite -- always appear to be pulling a fast one on customers? The simple answer: because they can. And there's a reason for that: In many places, consumers have only a few telecom providers to choose from.

Verizon Wireless crosses the privacy line on Web browsing

Location:
Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Recommendation:
2

Verizon Wireless, the country's most popular mobile phone operator, has been quietly inserting into its customers' Web browsing sessions an identifier unique to each device they use, making it possible for websites and advertising networks to build profiles of individual customers based on their browsing habits. What's worse, even if Verizon's subscribers happen to find out about this and ask the company to stop, it won't.

Mobile-phone mapping succeeds where national censuses fail

Location:
Kingdom of Belgium, Belgium
Recommendation:
1

Traditionally, the way we know who lives where is the result of national censuses. But those head counts can be expensive and occur rarely, and a new study suggests that the passive tallying that happens every time our mobile phones check into a cellphone tower can provide a sort of living census that, researchers say, can improve how we respond to everything from earthquake devastation to the spread of Ebola.

More Data: Pocket Dialing

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
1

In response to my recent blog post regarding the harmful consumer practice of pocket dialing, I received a letter from Kelly Dutra, the Director of the Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency (WCCCA) in Beaverton, Oregon ...

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Benton Foundation provides free, daily summaries of articles concerning the quickly-changing telecommunications policy landscape.

benton logo

What Is All This Talk About 'Forbearance?'

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

The time has come to discuss forbearance. The debate over Network Neutrality has increasingly focused on the Federal Communications Commission’s forbearance powers. This is because the central debate over the Commission’s proposed NN rules is over “reclassification.” Currently, the FCC governs broadband service under Title I of the Communications Act, which gives the FCC relatively few regulatory powers. Many tech companies and public interest advocates want the FCC to invoke the stronger regulatory scheme available under Title II of the Communications Act. Several elements of Title II, the framework long used for traditional telephone-type services, would not be needed and, indeed, could be very counterproductive if applied to broadband. In such situations, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 gives the FCC the power to waive enforcement of certain aspects of Title II (i.e., “forbear”). Hence, the debate about forbearance.

FCC ‘Net Neutrality’ Plan Calls for More Power Over Broadband

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is laying the groundwork for expanding the agency’s authority over broadband service, people familiar with his thinking say, a move long sought by advocates of stricter regulation of Internet-service providers.

The American way of broadband: slow

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
2

Why does it seem as if telecom companies -- phone, cable, satellite -- always appear to be pulling a fast one on customers? The simple answer: because they can. And there's a reason for that: In many places, consumers have only a few telecom providers to choose from.

Verizon Wireless crosses the privacy line on Web browsing

Location:
Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Recommendation:
2

Verizon Wireless, the country's most popular mobile phone operator, has been quietly inserting into its customers' Web browsing sessions an identifier unique to each device they use, making it possible for websites and advertising networks to build profiles of individual customers based on their browsing habits. What's worse, even if Verizon's subscribers happen to find out about this and ask the company to stop, it won't.

Mobile-phone mapping succeeds where national censuses fail

Location:
Kingdom of Belgium, Belgium
Recommendation:
1

Traditionally, the way we know who lives where is the result of national censuses. But those head counts can be expensive and occur rarely, and a new study suggests that the passive tallying that happens every time our mobile phones check into a cellphone tower can provide a sort of living census that, researchers say, can improve how we respond to everything from earthquake devastation to the spread of Ebola.

More Data: Pocket Dialing

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
1

In response to my recent blog post regarding the harmful consumer practice of pocket dialing, I received a letter from Kelly Dutra, the Director of the Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency (WCCCA) in Beaverton, Oregon ...

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