April 27, 2015 |
OK, let's all take a deep breath about our hometown cable powerhouse. You can make merry or mourn over Comcast's decision - pushed by federal regulators - to drop its $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable. Then you can join me in focusing on more pressing business at hand now in Philly: the expected renewal of Comcast's citywide franchises - the first in 15 years. City officials have scheduled six public meetings for this week as they start negotiating. It's your chance to speak up. Does the national news matter to the deal Mayor Nutter and City Council should be pushing to get - or to people in the hundreds of other towns nearby with Comcast franchises also due to come up for all-but-certain renewal?
March 30, 2015 |
Dr. Ethel Allen Elementary School in Strawberry Mansion lets out at 2:49, and not long afterward, on most afternoons, 40 to 50 boys and girls stream through the white door of Pastor Hezekiah Lampley's North 31st Street church for free soda, bags of chips, and a quick prayer. Some days, some of those same kids also climb the creaky stairs to the second floor of Lampley's Morning Star Church of God in Christ, where the pastor keeps six broadband-connected desktop computers. Lampley inherited the computers as castoffs six or seven years ago, but they are still serviceable for research or writing school papers.
March 9, 2015 |
Wayne attorney Edmond Tiryak doesn't much dwell on telecommunications law, though he thinks the FCC did right last month when it backed net neutrality. That's the rule that says network owners like Comcast and Verizon can't block or discriminate when handling Internet traffic - say, to offer other businesses access to higher-priced "fast lanes. " As Tiryak sees it, data "should be like water - you can't get purer water if you pay more. " But Tiryak has his own telecom story to tell - and his analogy suggests an intriguing question.
February 5, 2015 |
Give credit to scrappy open-Internet advocates, Silicon Valley start-ups, and the everyday Internet users that HBO comedy-news host John Oliver summoned into an army of four million commenters to the Federal Communications Commission. Together, they turned the tide on one of the most arcane topics ever to stir the public: Net neutrality. With their help, the big story Thursday will likely be that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has moved to strengthen the agency's authority over broadband.
December 25, 2014 |
A contentious period of public comment regarding Comcast Corp.'s proposed $45 billion deal to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc. ended Tuesday with opponents again calling for the government to reject it and Comcast again saying the deal will lead to public good. The federal regulatory review of the megadeal - to merge the largest and second-largest cable-TV companies - now enters a negotiation phase that could last through March or April. Many industry observers believe that the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Justice Department will seek conditions on Comcast/Time Warner Cable that would limit its post-merger economic power in the cable-TV and high-speed broadband industries.
May 29, 2014
WHEN THE Federal Communications Commission voted May 15 to move forward with a four-month public-comment period on how best to protect and promote an open Internet, there was a whole lotta chatter about the impending end of net neutrality - the idea that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. There was considerably less discussion about what impact new rules would have on small businesses and startups. (The FCC's open Internet rules were struck down by a federal appeals court in January.)
January 16, 2014 |
Verizon Communications Inc. won a partial victory Tuesday from a federal appeals court in the long-running fight over how the government regulates broadband Internet providers. But the battle - which could affect consumers' access to a wide variety of websites and services - is far from done, according to telecommunications experts and advocates on both sides of the issue. Verizon, a leading provider of landline and wireless phone service as well as Internet access, accused the Federal Communications Commission of overreaching in its 2010 "Open Internet" order, which barred broadband providers from discriminating against or blocking any data distributed over their networks - a goal of those advocating a concept also known as network neutrality.
June 14, 2013 |
We are getting close to the day. Not quite - but it's close. The day, that is, when more people use smartphones (cell phones always connected to the Internet, the world of apps, e-mail, media sharing, instant messaging) than use home broadband (your laptop or tower computer). A new study by the Pew Research Center shows that, for the first time, more than half of all adults - about 56 percent - own smartphones. That proportion has been growing rapidly: 19 percent in just the last two years.
May 24, 2013 |
By David L. Cohen This week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors convenes its "Innovation Summit" here in Philadelphia, including a focus on broadband, the Internet, and all they enable. There's no better location for this summit. After all, Philadelphia was home to Benjamin Franklin, America's first great innovator. Franklin founded our nation's first public hospital, first public library, Philadelphia's Fire Department, and the University of Pennsylvania. He conducted the world's first grand experiments with electricity.
December 14, 2012 |
Columbia University law professor Tim Wu may have coined a phrase - "network neutrality" - that's become the cri de coeur for a generation of geeks and Internet evangelists. But maybe more than anyone, Wu knows it's a concept easier said than accomplished - or protected. It might sound painfully wonkish, but bear with me. Net neutrality is essential if the Internet is to continue to live up to its tremendous promise. And it's once again at risk, thanks to some powerful companies and some wishful decisions by Congress, federal regulators, and the courts.