The FCC’s draft rules call for a budget cap on the new Internet subsidy program of $2.25 billion per year, to be paid by phone carriers, who usually tack the fees onto customer phone bills. In a statement, Wheeler said that since Internet service providers handle all network traffic, the companies have a “broad view of all of your unencrypted online activity”. The rules would require customers to affirmatively opt in, however, for use of their data for other purposes, including third-party advertising. The FCC countered that criticism today by including in its proposal a plan that would create a national verification system, to cut down on fraud. “We want ISPs to secure clear permission from subscribers before using the data collected for any objective other than to provide broadband service”, he said. The regulatory agency is expected to submit a final proposal to FCC members Tuesday that would subsidize internet access in low-income households to the tune of $9.25 a month.
“Internet access has become a pre-requisite for full participation in our economy and our society, but almost one in five Americans is still not benefitting from the opportunities made possible by the most powerful and pervasive platform in history”, Wheeler continued.
“Strong security protections are crucial to protecting consumers’ data from breaches and other vulnerabilities that undermine consumer trust and can put their health, financial and other sensitive personal information at risk”. The FCC’s broadband subsidy expands the program further, to help pay for in-home Internet service. Those firms wouldn’t be covered by the new FCC rules, and their use of customer data would continue to be regulated by the Federal Trade Commission-which most firms prefer, saying the FTC does more to balance privacy concerns against other goals like innovation. Finally, cable operator Cox Communications announced2 it will host more than 200 events across the nation for low-income families with kids in school, automatically qualifying attendees for the operator’s low-cost broadband option. While optimistic about that court battle, FCC officials are hoping to find additional legal authority to support these rules in case the 2015 authority is struck down.
Still, the Times’ sources believes there’s a good chance the proposal will be “approved by the FCC’s commissioners, who have a Democratic majority”.
But extensive new rules may not be necessary with more customers using encryption to protect their data, some critics said.
TRAI releases draft direction on delivering broadband services in a transparent manner
For fixed broadband service, the authority has directed telcos to provide (i) data usage limit with a specified speed; (ii) speed of broadband connection up to a specified data usage limit; and (iii) speed of broadband connection beyond data usage limit. The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) vide a notification dated the 18th July, 2013, amended the definition of broadband which reads as under: “Broadband is a data connection that is able to support interactive services including internet access and has the capability of the minimum download speed of 512 kbps to an individual subscriber from the point of presence (POP) of the service provider intending to provide broadband service”. All the telecom companies providing broadband (wire-line or wireless) services have been directed to provide on their websites as well as in all advertisements the usage details of all broadband tariff plans offered under Fair Usage Policy.
For mobile broadband, the telecom regulator said the data usage limit with specified technology (3G or 4G) for providing services has to be specified. As per the proposal, telecom operators should “ensure that download speed of broadband service provided to the fixed broadband subscriber is not reduced below 512Kbps in any broadband tariff plan”. It also wants them to specify data usage limits for 3G and 4G technologies for the benefit of customers.
In the draft, Trai has reiterated direction to service providers that they should provide alert to the subscriber when the data usage reaches 80 percent of the data usage limit under his plan. In a media statement, Trai said it wants broadband service providers to “furnish compliance to the new direction to ensure transparency in delivery of internet and broadband services and to also protect the interest of consumers”. Trai has sought comments and counter-comments from all industry stakeholders on its new broadband delivery compliance direction by February 1 and 8 respectively.
The US has made major strides1 bringing high-speed internet to more parts of the country, but federal regulators are concerned the efforts haven’t been aggressive enough. The FCC’s broadband definition is politically controversial because the agency a year ago took the opportunity to revise its standard upward, from the previous broadband definition of 10 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up. It’s been almost a year since the Federal Communications Commission voted to reclassify the definition of broadband from a paltry 4Mbps down / 1Mbps up to its current definition of 25Mbps down / 3Mbps up.
Broadband Progress Report2. The FCC will consider the 2016 Broadband Progress Report3, which “examines whether advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” The FCC released a Fact Sheet discussing the Broadband Progress Report on January 7, which is discussed in detail below. And those people mostly live outside the city: 39 percent of the rural population lacks access, compared with just 4 percent in the city.
41 percent4 of schools have not met the FCC’s goal of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students/staff. The projected $1 billion in investments is based on the merger requirements set by the commission, including an estimated $305 million to hit 300 Mbps statewide and some $355 million for line extensions bringing broadband service to those 145,000 unserved customers. Both USTelecom and NCTA5 pointed out that another FCC report6 released December 30 found that ISPs are generally delivering the speeds they advertise. “Unfortunately, this annual process has become a cynical exercise, one that eschews dispassionate analysis, and is patently meant to reach a predetermined conclusion that will justify a continuing expansion of the agency’s own regulatory reach”.
The lobbyist group represents some of the biggest broadband providers in the USA, including AT&T7, Verizon and CenturyLink. One accuses the FCC8 of using the report to “serve political ends and maximize agency power”. The FCC report evaluated satellite, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), cable and fiber Internet access services from 16 providers, covering more than 80 percent of the United States residential marketplace. Given that mega-ISPs like AT&T having a vested interest in convincing everyone there’s no broadband industry market failure, you can be fairly certain that the real statistics are probably notably worse than what the FCC’s report found.