Overnight Tech: FCC chief headed back to Congress

LEDE: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler will face the agency's congressional overseers on Tuesday morning.

He and Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai go before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, where they will lay out their priorities for the coming months.

It's also something of a milestone: subcommittee Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) will note in her opening remarks that it is Wheeler's eighth appearance before Congress this year. She claims that is a record for the most appearances by a chair in a calendar year.

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Wheeler will say that in the fall, the commission will consider an order aimed at giving over-the-top video services the same program access rights as cable and satellite providers. The chairman will also say that the agency needs to reform the E-Rate subsidies program to bring schools and libraries the Internet and look at the support program for small rate-of-return carriers.

Pai will criticize the commission's reforms to the designated entity program -- which provides discounts to small businesses bidding on wireless spectrum -- and question the agency's actions in advance of the 2016 spectrum auction. He will also tout his plan to expand rural access to broadband and say that the commission needs to quickly address "AM radio revitalization."

TECH COMPANIES SIGN CLIMATE PLEDGE: Apple, Google and Microsoft joined 10 other major companies in a White House climate pledge that will bring "at least $140 billion in new low-carbon investment and more than 1,600 megawatts of new renewable energy. The pledge comes ahead of global climate negotiations in Paris that are happening in December.

WHERE IS AT&T'S FIBER GOING?: In a filing with the FCC, AT&T outlined the 87 market areas that are candidates for its high-speed fiber Internet. As part of its merger with DirecTV, it vowed to have fiber serve 12.5 million customers. The potential locations span the country from, San Diego, Calif., to Jacksonville, Fla. The final picks will be based on demand, receptive policies, engineering conditions and investment.

MAYDAY HAS NEW CEO: Zephyr Teachout, who unsuccessfully ran for New York governor last year, is taking over as the chief executive of MayDay PAC, which is dedicated to reforming campaign finance laws. Teachout, an associate professor at Fordham University, will take over for Lawrence Lessig. In the 2014 cycle, the outside group attracted high-dollar donations from a number of tech founders. Only two of the seven candidates it backed last cycle ended up winning.

ROBOCALL LOBBYING: Dunlap Consulting is lobbying for Bond & Associates on behalf of the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (ACA) regarding reforms to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which places restrictions on robocalls. The firm is keying in on reform "with respect to non-marketing communications," according to disclosures filed last week.

GOOGLE PUTS DISTANCE BETWEEN SERVICES AND GOOGLE+: Google said Monday you will no longer need a Google+ login to use the company's services. YouTube will be one of the first services to drop the login. It's a turnaround for the company, who has long looked to boost its struggling social network by tying it to its more popular products.

 

ON TAP:

At 10 a.m., the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on Tuesday will hold a hearing on the exploration of the solar system.

At 10:15 a.m., FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Ajit Pai will testify at an oversight hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

At 11:45 a.m., the Free State Foundation hosts a policy seminar on FCC process reform featuring a keynote from Republican Commissioner Michael O'Rielly.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

AT&T has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to withdraw and cancel a document proposing the company be hit with a $100 million fine for misleading customers.

Federal intelligence officials are promising to delete old records picked up under a controversial National Security Agency (NSA) program that was overhauled earlier this summer.

One Republican on the Federal Communications Commission warned that rate regulation of broadband companies is already happening, judging by the conditions imposed on the merger of AT&T and DirecTV.

Facebook will expand its year-old initiative to provide free mobile Internet services in developing countries, the company said on Sunday.

The House Judiciary Committee's lopsided approval of patent reform legislation last month would not have looked as overwhelming if every member showed up.

— This post was corrected to reflect the correct client of Dunlap Consulting. 

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