By Sara Jerome - 05/23/11 11:09 PM EDT
House spectrum hearing scheduled: Communications subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) has scheduled a spectrum hearing for June 1 as part of a series of subcommittee meetings aimed at scrutinizing spectrum policy. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is calling for incentive auctions designed to repurpose TV airwaves to wireless companies. Walden has signaled that he wants to ensure broadcasters are not harmed in the process.
Rep. Pitts urges FCC head to protect broadcasting: Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) urged FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in a letter on Monday to safeguard the broadcasting industry as the commission pursues policies to promote mobile broadband. "In promoting broadband adoption, it is equally important that Americans continue to receive the benefits promised by the DTV transition," he wrote. He added that Americans should not lose access to quality broadcast programming. Measures hurting broadcasting would "impede the public's access not only to entertainment and local news programming, but also to vital emergency information. Television viewers should also be allowed to continue to benefit from broadcast video innovation, including mobile DTV."
AT&T questions Sprint's motives: Sprint is being "disingenuous" when it alleges that the merger could cause prices to rise, according to a new AT&T blog post. More: "In the end, it should be clear that Sprint’s motives for making this argument — and raising false alarms — have very little to do with a real fear of rising prices or alleged consumer protection. As [Sprint CEO Dan] Hesse noted just a few weeks ago, for the fourth consecutive quarter, the Sprint brand was the fastest growing national post-paid wireless brand in the country as measured by net subscriber growth. The Sprint brand added 310,000 net post-paid subscribers in the first quarter, and Sprint’s entire post-paid business was net port positive versus its competition for the second consecutive quarter."
Broadband leaders huddle with Genachowski: Verizon's Tom Tauke, AT&T's Jim Cicconi, U.S. Telecom's Walter McCormick, Time Warner Cable's Steven Teplitz and Comcast's Kyle McSlarrow met with the FCC chairman Monday. It was a meeting focused on Broadband for America issues, according to an industry source. The Broadband for America coalition wants FCC reform and wants the agency to recognize that private industry is investing heavily in deployment.
Speaking of deployment, Walden unimpressed with 706 report: The top House Republican on telecom issues was incredulous Monday about an FCC report that found broadband is not being deployed in a speedy manner. The report is controversial because industry sees it as a pretext for regulation. The FCC used last year's negative findings to help justify net-neutrality regulations passed in December.
House E&C not blinking on public safety network: Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee remain wedded to the goal of building a cost-friendly public safety network even though the White House and senators in both parties have backed a more expensive option. A GOP memo drafted to prepare staff for a Wednesday hearing, obtained by The Hill, shows that cost is a serious hang-up for committee Republicans as Congress debates how to build a communications network for police and firefighters.