Congress voted to keep a portion of unused TV airwaves for unlicensed, which could help providers connect rural areas with high-speed broadband -- but the bill also has a downside. A Chicago city alderman proposed an ordinance that would forbid the Chicago Police Department from shutting down mobile towers, blocking mobile and Web access or jamming signals. Meanwhile, the FCC has halted LightSquared’s wireless plans and a senator from Iowa is holding up two nominees for FCC commissioner.
The FCC released its 450-page assessment on the future of media. Unfortunately, many the report’s recommendations around localism, media consolidation and transparency are contradictory to its analysis. And Sonic’s new 1 Gbps fiber broadband connection with two phone lines for $70 is sure to shake up the broadband market in Sonoma County.
The FCC opened a new proceeding for public comment on restoring its authority to regulate broadband providers, but have been holding secret meetings with phone and cable companies to discuss a legislative compromise. And public interest and consumer groups filed a petition to deny the Comcast-NBC merger.
President-elect Barack Obama has chosen his Harvard classmate, Julius Genachowski, to head the Federal Communications Commission. And media reformers offer their best wishes for 2009.