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As congressional leaders battle over the looming sequester, the need and expense of basic social service programs has been subject of national debate. On Capitol Hill, the costs and benefits of such services are described in terms of dollars and cents. The Universal Service Fund (USF) is no exception from scrutiny and it is the position of Public Knowledge that cuts to our communications service safety net, is a mistake that would harm millions of Americans.
On Tuesday, the Senate Commerce Committee held its first FCC oversight hearing of the year. All 5 Commissioners attended and Senators discussed their laundry list of priorities and pet projects. While Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) pressed hard on funding for FirstNet, there were several other topics important to the public interest addressed in the hearing.
Mike Masnick at Techdirt characterizes this (at least in the article's title) as the US "signing away" its ability to enact a more permanent exemption for phone unlocking.
Continuing our explanation of Public Knowledge’s Five Fundamentals to guide the phone network upgrade to an IP-based system, this week we’ll elaborate on the third principle: protecting all consumers.
For those who are journeying down to sunny Austin, Texas for the kick-off of the SXSW Music festival today, don’t forget to check out Public Knowledge’s panel tomorrow, where we’ll be talking about the effects of market concentration on consumers, artists, and digital platforms.
The panel, inspired by the recent merger between major record labels Universal Music Group and EMI, will also include artist advocate and principal of WYZ Girl Entertainment Lita Rosario, CEO of indie label association Merlin Charles Caldas, manager and CEO of V. Brown & Company Vernon Brown, and Paul Geller, co-founder of The BKRY and former SVP of Grooveshark.
Whether or not you're in Austin for SXSW, click here and sign a petition to show your support for open networks!
Events like South by Southwest can highlight the limitations of wireless Internet access. Put a large number of techies in the same city and as they all try to tweet, share photos, and stay connected they can quickly saturate Internet connections--leading to websites not loading, messages not being sent, and connections dropping.
Engineers have already solved this problem--but there are legal challenges as well as technical challenges. Policymakers in DC have to make sure that FCC rules allow people to take advantage of new wireless technologies that are already being built. They need to set WiFi free.
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