By Brendan Sasso - 07/27/11 09:17 PM EDT
THE LEDE: Eleven state attorneys general from both parties urged the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department to approve AT&T's $39 billion merger with T-Mobile in a letter Wednesday.
"Our citizens need and deserve the public interest benefits that this merger will generate — expanded LTE deployment to 97% of the population; fewer dropped calls; faster broadband; and expanded and rapid capacity — which will benefit consumers and businesses across the country," the officials wrote in the letter.
“We are extremely pleased that 11 Attorneys General from across the country recognize the substantial benefits the merger would provide to consumers, businesses and rural communities nationwide in their bipartisan support of the proposed transaction," said Wayne Watts, general counsel for AT&T. "These chief state law enforcement officers understand their respective state’s needs and see the merger as advancing the public interest."
The letter came the same day the Louisiana Public Service Commission voted to approve the deal. The commission is the state's regulatory body for utilities and certain telecommunications sectors and joined the Arizona Corporation Commission in approving the deal by a vote of 4-1. Hawaii, California and West Virginia are still conducting reviews of the merger.
GOP senators seek cost-benefit analysis of net-neutrality: Eleven Republican senators wrote to the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday requesting a cost-benefit analysis of the agency's net-neutrality rules, arguing such a review would be in the spirit of the president's push to reduce burdensome regulations.
The senators, led by Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), cited President Obama's July memorandum instructing the independent agencies to join executive agencies in eliminating outdated or burdensome regulations. They suggested the FCC's vote on net neutrality might have turned out differently if the memo had come out earlier.
Lieberman supports Reid's spectrum plan: Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on Wednesday praised a provision in Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) debt-ceiling bill that would allocate the D Block section of spectrum to emergency responders. He was disappointed the bill set aside only $7 billion for the creation of a nationwide public-safety network instead of the $11 billion in Sen. Jay Rockefeller's (D-W.Va.) bill.
Homeland Security Committee ranking member Susan Collins (R-Maine) said the issue should not be dealt with in debt-ceiling legislation.
Coalition formed to push for legalization of online poker: Supporters of legalizing online poker launched a new coalition this week aimed at building grassroots support for legalizing the game.
FairPlayUSA will be based in Washington, D.C., and led by executive director Marisa McNee with a board of advisers that includes former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, child-safety advocate Parry Aftab and poker professional Greg Raymer. Casino owners Ceasars and MGM provided the initial funding.
Universities launch high-speed computer network project: A coalition of 29 universities announced a project to deploy ultra-high-speed broadband networks in their communities. The project, named Gig.U, was announced Wednesday and aims to deliver Internet service faster than what is currently commercially available to the areas around universities.
The universities hope the project will attract high-tech start-ups to their communities and accelerate the deployment of next generation networks around the country.They will seek funding from non-profits and corporations that have an interest in developing high-speed networks.
Fox limits new shows on Hulu to pay-TV subscribers: Starting Aug. 15, Fox will give pay-TV subscribers an exclusive eight-day window to view new TV shows online, the firm said late Wednesday.
Subscribers of participating cable, satellite or digital TV providers can log onto Hulu using Fox.com subscriber usernames and passwords to view new episodes before they are available to the general public. DISH Network is the first participating TV provider.
The Federal Aviation Administration said a revised proposal from LightSquared to create a national wireless broadband network still interferes with global positioning systems.
British police say they arrested a member of the hacker vigilante group, Lulz Security.
The White House pulled a popular Internet prank known as "Rickrolling" on a Twitter user.
On Tap Thursday: The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold a hearing at 2:15 p.m. on enforcing the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.