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Telecom Business Alert -- Vol VI Issue 42

Date: Oct 26, 2009

FCC Seeks Comment on Draft Net Neutrality Rules

On October 22, the FCC adopted its much-anticipated Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on draft rules to ensure an open Internet. The draft rules propose to codify the FCC's existing Internet policy principles and additional principles of nondiscrimination and transparency. Generally speaking, the major technology companies, such as Google and Amazon, favor the draft rules, while Verizon and AT&T are already expressing significant reservations. The FCC also seeks comment on how to address "managed" or "specialized" services (i.e., Internet-Protocol-based offerings provided over the same networks used for broadband Internet access services), and to what extent the principles should apply to different access platforms. In the event the core proposals in the NPRM are adopted, one outcome is that pricing tiers for Internet access service (based on download speeds) could be implemented broadly. Comments are due by January 14, 2010, and Reply Comments by March 5, 2010.

FCC Seeks Comment on Children's Media Use, Advertising and Privacy

Last week, the FCC released a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on Empowering Parents and Protecting Children in an Evolving Media Landscape. The NOI is a follow-up to the FCC's report to Congress under the Child Safe Viewing Act of 2007, but broadly addresses media use, advertising, and privacy. Among the issues on which the FCC seeks input are trends in children's media use and benefits, the adequacy of educational content, potential harms from electronic media, the impact of exposure to advertising, the impact of new types of digital advertising on children, and use of parental control technologies. Comments will be due 60 days after Federal Register publication, which has not yet occurred. For more information, contact Sheila Millar (202-434-4143; millar@khlaw.com) or Tracy Marshall (202-434-4234; marshall@khlaw.com).

Report on Barriers to Broadband Adoption

The Advanced Communications Law & Policy Institute at New York Law School has released a report to the FCC on barriers to broadband adoption, which focuses on senior citizens, people with disabilities, and the telemedicine, energy, education, and government sectors. The report was prepared for use in the development of the FCC's National Broadband Plan. A copy of the report is available at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/document/view?id=7020142497.