By Gautham Nagesh and Brendan Sasso - 12/01/11 11:19 PM EST
“The decisiveness of the vote shows the tremendous bipartisan support for this bill. Through hard work and compromise we have struck a delicate balance that provides strong protections for privacy and civil liberties, while still enabling effective cyber threat sharing and providing clear authority for the private sector to defend its own networks. American businesses are suffering dramatic losses every day to cyber espionage, and we remain vulnerable to catastrophic cyber attacks against our critical infrastructure. This bill addresses the urgent need to help our private sector better defend itself from these insidious attacks." — Rogers
Both sides trade barbs over FCC staff report on AT&T/T-Mobile: AT&T came out swinging on Thursday morning against an FCC staff report that concluded the firm's proposed $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile USA would not be in the public interest. AT&T accused the commission of ignoring the deal's benefits and suggested the outcome of the review might have been pre-determined. The FCC pushed back by defending the report's analysis, and was joined by several opponents of the merger including Sprint, Public Knowledge and Consumers Union.
"We have consistently warned that by eliminating T-Mobile as a low-cost competitor, price increases would be inevitable, which the FCC also concluded. AT&T’s argument that they did not receive a fair evaluation are simply unfounded and an attempt to distract from the truth — that this merger means higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.” — Consumers Union policy counsel Parul Desai
Industries weigh in on spectrum bill: Industries affected by the House's spectrum bill voiced their opinions on Thursday after the Energy and Commerce telecom subpanel voted to move Chairman Greg Walden's (R-Ore.) JOBS Act forward. CTIA, which represents wireless carriers such as Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, applauded the bill, which would incentivize television broadcasters to give up their spectrum for the government to auction to wireless companies.
“CTIA is pleased that the subcommittee approved the JOBS Act to authorize incentive auctions and free additional spectrum for wireless broadband services," CTIA President Steve Largent said. "We look forward to seeing this important legislation considered by the full Energy and Commerce Committee as soon as possible."
A provision to cover up to $3 billion of the broadcasters' expenses and an amendment that would require coordination with Mexico and Canada to protect television stations near the borders seems to have satisfied the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).
"NAB strongly endorses spectrum provisions in the incentive auction bill passed out of the House telecommunications subcommittee today," NAB President Gordon Smith said. "NAB's position on TV spectrum auctions remains unchanged: We support them so long as they are truly voluntary, and so long as TV stations that choose to remain in business are held harmless."
The Wireless Innovation Alliance, which includes Google, Microsoft and Public Knowledge, said they "share the goals of both parties" but expressed concern that the bill does not allow the FCC to designate re-claimed spectrum for unlicensed use.
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) wrote to mobile intelligence firm Carrier IQ demanding answers on whether the firm is tracking the actions of smartphone users.
Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board Chairman Earl Devaney announced his retirement after 41 years in the federal government. House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) credited Devaney for establishing the model for the use of technology to oversee federal spending.