FCC’s Wheeler is No Shrinking Violet

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler does not think small.

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Fiber boost for local journalism?

A Q&A with Susan Crawford, Harvard Law School’s John A. Reilly Visiting Professor in Intellectual Property, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and a former special assistant to President Obama for science, technology and innovation policy.

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Chairman Wheeler Quibbles With Stations’ Share Tactics

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is on a mission to crack down on TV station sharing arrangements, particularly ones that look like efforts to skirt the rules.

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Apple in Talks With Comcast About Streaming-TV Service

Apple is in talks with Comcast about teaming up for a streaming-television service that would use an Apple set-top box and get special treatment on Comcast's cables to ensure it bypasses congestion on the Web, people familiar with the matter say. The deal, if sealed, would mark a new level of cooperation and integration between a technology company and a cable provider to modernize TV viewing.

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Michelle Obama says Internet access should be ‘universal right’

Michelle Obama declared that access to the Internet should be a universal right, in a rare and controversial foray into the world of international politics during a cultural visit to China.

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Why do governments keep banning social media when it never works out for them?

You'd think world leaders would know better. Shut down the Internet (or some services that it hosts), and the users will come after you.

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Move toward Competition, But Where is Diversity?

FCC Chairman Wheeler yesterday announced his intention to make an important step forward toward more media competition.  The really good news is that Chairman Wheeler is not proposing to permit additional consolidation, which is a significant improvement over the ill-conceived proposal of the prior Chairman, Julius Genachowski.

In addition, Wheeler is proposing to close some loopholes in the existing rules addressing jointly-run (but not jointly-owned) TV stations.  Many years ago, the Supreme Court said about jointly-run news outlets, “it is unrealistic to expect true diversity from a commonly owned … combination. The divergency of their viewpoints cannot be expected to be the same as if they were antagonistically run.” The same holds true today. When two TV stations merge, they join staff, news teams and sales teams. There are fewer journalists, and fewer places for members of the community to share stories or to get news. If one reporter isn't interested in a news story, no one is, because there is only one reporter! We see the same effects when those two TV stations are operating together using a complex financial agreement as when the joint ownership is out in the open.


And yet, it is still unclear what Chairman Wheeler is proposing to promote media diversity. Today, ownership diversity is devastatingly low. The inadequately collected and analyzed data released by the FCC in 2012 indicated that we have virtually no TV stations owned by people of color or women in the United States, and that number will surely be lower when the more recent data from last December is released.  TV still holds an unprecedented sway over our national conversation, political dialogue and values. Two hundred eighty-three million people (that's out of over 310 million total) in the U.S. watch an average of 146 hours of TV every month.  Without owners from all walks of life and reflecting the full diversity of our nation, our national and local dialogues suffer.


The last Obama FCC Chairman Genachowski kicked the can down the road and left office without addressing these issues. The new FCC Chair is pointed in the right direction, but he needs to get across the finish line.

Next Steps in Promoting the Values of the IP Transition

IP transition imageCheryl spoke in March in a Capitol Hill Briefing on the Values of the IP Transition sponsored by Public Knowledge discussing the values which are important to maintain through the IP transition. She emphasized the importance of technology enabling everyone in our society to be able to achieve based on their own intelligence, willingness to work hard and succeed, highlighting ways in which people’s race, ethnicity or income currently impact their use of technology.  She noted a number of ways her client, the United Church of Christ’s media justice ministry, has advocated for policies to ensure the IP transition does not harm the least vulnerable in our nation.

Cheryl brought not only a thoughtful understanding of the intersection of technology and social justice values, but also her economic knowledge to how telecommunications competition must be tied with universal service in order to ensure all people in the U.S. receive service.  Check out the video below. Cheryl’s remarks appear at 11:20, 26:47, 46:12, 55:59 and 1:02:31.