Telecom

‘Right to Know Act’ puts lawyers’ interests ahead of consumers

The Right to Know Act has a great ring to it. Even if you don’t care to read the substance of the legislation—sponsored by state Sen. Michael Hastings, …

Senate to FCC: Privacy regulation is not your job

The U.S. Senate narrowly passed a resolution Thursday that would halt Federal Communications Commission efforts to create rules for the way internet service providers use their customers’ personal …

Comments regarding the Energy & Commerce Committee’s hearing on “Deploying America’s 21st Century Infrastructure”

Dear Chairmen Walden & Blackburn, and Ranking Members Pallone & Doyle, We commend you and the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology for holding this hearing. Telecom policy is ripe …

The ‘Dig Once’ bill could bring better broadband to rural areas

Telephone and cable companies are routinely slammed for being slow to build infrastructure in rural areas. Critics wrongly attribute delays to "market failure," claiming that because rural service …

Thank you for killing PBS funding, President Trump

The hue and cry from critics protesting the proposed cuts to the Public Broadcasting System made in President Trump’s budget makes clear those same critics haven’t looked at …

January promises an end to FCC’s zero rating attack

There’s a quote posted in the guidance counselor’s office at my son’s middle school: “Fairness isn’t everyone gets the same.” Unfortunately, that is how outgoing Federal Communications Commission Chairman …

Time for a reset breath on tech antitrust

Just as the Senate was holding hearings on the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger last week, an interesting tidbit of information crossed my tablet: a story finding that …

Will the Trump administration revisit net neutrality and zero rating?

Network neutrality, the most significant piece of internet regulation championed by the Obama administration, might be yet another casualty of the coming Donald Trump presidency. That wouldn’t be …

After it works too well, NYC scraps free web access

For years, the primary argument for municipal broadband has been about the need to bridge the digital divide. Government-run wireless networks, we’ve been told, are needed bring the …

DFS and the right to gamble – even a little bit

With football season two weeks away, we can expect an uptick in interest in fantasy-sports leagues and their controversial offshoot, daily fantasy sports (DFS). The kerfuffle over DFS speaks …

The EU’s misguided call to ban zero rating

The net neutrality debate has come to Europe. Following a go-ahead European Parliament in October 2015, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) is writing the …

Statement from R Street Institute’s Policy Analyst Nathan Leamer on the unanimous passage of HR 699

WASHINGTON (April 27, 2016) - The R Street Institute is pleased by this strong statement of unanimous support from the House. Most of our lives are on our …

R Street urges House Judiciary Committee to pass Email Privacy Act

WASHINGTON (April 13, 2016) – As the House Judiciary Committee moves today to mark up electronic privacy legislation, the R Street Institute believes the manager's amendment forwarded by …

Beyond the box

If you subscribe to pay TV, the odds are 99–1 you have what the TV industry calls a “set-top box.” Even greater are the odds that, if you …

New Report: Opposition to Free Basics plan in India is shortsighted

WASHINGTON (March 11, 2016) – February's victory by net-neutrality activists to shut down Facebook’s Free Basics initiative in India might kill the country's best near-term hope to address …

Charting a path forward for Internet access in India

The attached policy short was co-authored by R Street Associate Fellow Sharada Srinivasan.   When India’s network-neutrality activists won an overwhelming victory in February, their first impulse was to celebrate on …

Why R Street is engaging on international Internet policy

  This post was co-authored by R Street Innovation Policy Director Mike Godwin. Readers may notice that R Street has been increasingly vocal on international Internet-policy and tech-policy issues. …

A tale of two Internet tax bills

Poll after poll demonstrates clearly that Americans oppose Internet taxes. Yet even as Congress is poised to act on a wildly popular bill to bar states from imposing …

FCC targets cable set-top boxes — why now?

  With great fanfare, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Thomas Wheeler is calling for sweeping changes to the way cable television set-top boxes work. In an essay published Jan. 27 …

Congress scrambles to settle US-EU data spat this weekend

Having procrastinated beyond all reason in its duties to help resolve a pressing international disagreement over how U.S. companies use Europeans' data, the rush is now on for …

45 organizations sign on in bipartisan show of support for permanent ban on Internet Access Tax

Dear Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid, The undersigned organizations, which represent millions of American consumers, strongly support the permanent extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) in …

‘Dig once’ could lead to smarter broadband

The following was co-authored by R Street Outreach Manager Nathan Leamer. The hardest part of building broadband Internet just might be figuring out how to get more wires into …

Support permanent Internet tax freedom – Vote ‘yes’ on H.R. 644

Dear Member of Congress, On behalf of the millions of members of our organizations, we strongly urge you to support the conference report to H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation …

YouTube Kids is not a regulatory problem

Google has continued to fine-tune its YouTube Kids application amid complaints that the family-friendly interface, a free download for smartphone and tablets, is not as family-friendly as claimed. The …

Facebook’s basic instincts

Facebook’s announcement last week that it is rebranding its Internet.org initiative—a bundle of free Internet services that has been rolled out, step by step, in developing countries over …

Coalition urges strong opposition to Washington takeover of state gaming rules

Dear Chairman Goodlatte: We appreciate your steadfast support of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution and your leadership in the face of constant threats from both political parties. We …

R Street joins Wifi Forward coalition to expand Wi-Fi availability

WASHINGTON (Sept. 23, 2015) – The R Street Institute announced today it has joined a host of technology companies and public-policy groups in the Wifi Forward coalition. The …

The elephant in the room: The GOP’s tech dilemma

Fifteen months ahead of the presidential election, a number of the 17 Republicans vying for their party’s nomination have invested considerable energy courting Silicon Valley. These candidates are …

Free-market groups urge International Trade Commission not to assert authority over digital transmissions

Dear Chairwoman Broadbent, On behalf of the undersigned free-market organizations, we write to express our deep concern about the International Trade Commission's April 9, 2014 decision in investigation 337-TA-833. …

Cities, states keep piling on the Internet taxes

The City of Chicago has the dubious distinction of becoming the first jurisdiction to apply a sweeping tax to "cloud-based" services, ranging from streaming video to tax preparation. Beginning …

As video on-demand expands, TV regulation should shrink

WASHINGTON (June 30, 2015) – On-demand services that stream video instantly over the Internet already are radically changing the way we watch television. But rather than expand regulatory …

TV regulation in the age of digital downloads

Television viewing must now be added to the long list of activities the Internet has changed. The time when audiences across the country simultaneously experienced a televised event—such …

Muni broadband: sanity in Seattle, questions in Council Bluffs

The mayor of Seattle has shelved a plan to use city funds to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network after a feasibility study projected the cost could be as …

A gambling ban’s federalism problem

Even as the rise of the Internet has driven communications and economic growth to heights previously unimagined, some lawmakers are using that very explosion as pretext to expand …

Questions for the record on Restoring America’s Wire Act

Questions for the Record to Andrew Moylan Executive Director, R Street Institute "H.R. 707, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act" Hearing of the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, …

Assurance contracts and the indie film market

In some ways, there has never been a better time for fans of independent film. The video on-demand revolution has led to thousands of titles becoming available for …

What the ‘zero rating’ debate reveals about net neutrality

February's vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to impose demanding net-neutrality rules on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) has now been followed by a 300-plus-page Report and Order. Add in more …

Moylan testimony on the Restoration of America’s Wire Act

The video below features R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan in his testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations during their March …

Lawsuit over cable and satellite sports packages may be a bad play for fans

As major league baseball teams ready for the start of the new season this weekend, a federal court in New York is considering whether to grant class-action status …

Net neutrality rules full of faults, R Street warns

WASHINGTON (April 1, 2015) – The R Street Institute expresses deep concern about this morning's announcement by the Federal Communications Commission that it would expand its recently proposed …

Single-device user Hillary Clinton actually used two devices at State

Remember when Hillary Clinton stood in front of a press gaggle at the United Nations and claimed that she used her personal email in order to simplify her …

Testimony on H.R. 707, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act

The attached testimony from R Street Executive Director and Senior Fellow Andrew Moylan was delivered to the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations …

The myth of the child poker player

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations is scheduled hold hearings today on a federal bill aimed at stopping states from legalized online gambling. The Restoration …

Don’t let the FCC muck up on-demand TV

Apple’s Web TV plan spotlights the opportunities and challenges ahead in what will be the most dramatic shift in the distribution of television content since the advent of …

Amicus brief in Google v Hood

Amici Curiae submit this brief because the stakes of this case go well beyond the particular burden the attorney general's investigation may place on one service provider. This …

Muni broadband: Even dumber in 2015 than 2005

Ahead of his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama went to Cedar Falls, Iowa to tout municipal broadband. Despite a landscape littered with missed goals, incomplete …

Charlottesville gets the gift of high-speed broadband

Toronto-based Tucows Inc. – best known for the domain registrar Hover and the wireless service provider Ting – will be jumping in to the ultra-high-speed broadband market pioneered …

The Internet is out in North Korea

Apparently, they actually do have Internet. Or...erm...they did. According to the New York Times, North Korea is now suffering a complete Internet blackout. What appears to be a Denial of Service Attack (or …

ITC: The new digital cop?

Do you know where your e-mail account is located? No, "the Internet" is not a valid answer. More specifically, do you know on which of Google's many servers …

Network neutrality and a dubious leap of faith

The latest wrinkle in the ongoing debate over network neutrality comes from Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, who suggests …

FCC’s Wheeler likes the ‘idea’ of muni broadband

Speaking at the recent National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors annual meeting, Federal Communications Chairman Thomas Wheeler endorsed Lafayette, La.’s municipal fiber optic system—or more specifically, he …

The unfortunate rise of data protectionism

The age of Internet exceptionalism is at risk of coming to a close. Thus far, the Internet has served as a platform for data transfer and information sharing …

Are Google Fiber speeds ‘too fast’?

Our recent policy study by Associate Fellow Steven Titch -- "Alternatives to government broadband" -- looks to recent efforts some municipalities have made to attract Google Fiber's super-high-speed …

The Friday Five: Questions to get your conversations going this weekend

The Alabama Education Association (AEA) in crisis – This week, former AEA head Paul Hubbert penned a bombshell letter to members of the AEA board highlighting a crisis …

Local governments should reform to encourage broadband investment

WASHINGTON (Sept. 9, 2014) – Local governments should explore ways to cut taxes, fees and regulations to spur renewed investment in broadband infrastructure, according to a new paper …

Alternatives to government broadband

  Universal access to high-speed broadband is a desirable social goal. There is no question that broadband brings incalculable utility and value to individuals, businesses and organizations. Because broadband …

Letter to U.S. Senate on permanent Internet tax moratorium

    Dear Senators, On behalf of the undersigned, we encourage you to pass a clean permanent extension of the Internet Tax Moratorium, and commend the House of Representatives on passage …

Letter to FCC on Comcast-Time Warner merger

    Federal Communications Commission 445 12th Street SW Washington, DC 20554 VIA ELECTRONIC COMMENT FILING SYSTEM Re: Comcast - Time Warner Cable, MB Docket 14-57 Aug. 21, 2014 Dear Commission Members: On behalf of the …

Muni broadband: The gift that keeps on taking

LUS Fiber, the municipal broadband system in Lafayette, La., last month received another warning from city auditors, an advisory that appears to have become an annual thing. Although losses …

The net neutrality end-game

This Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to decide whether the network neutrality principle is feasible in a world where on any given evening, Netflix and YouTube …

Coalition letter on H.R. 4301 to Judiciary Committee

April 28, 2014 Hon. Bob Goodlatte Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary U.S. House of Representatives 2138 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Hon. John Conyers, Jr. Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary U.S. House of …

The Supreme Court case that will decide the future of television

In the past decade, home-media consumption of television content has changed significantly. Millions of people, particularly among younger generations, are becoming cord-cutters and converting to Netflix or Hulu. …

Why Congress must rethink sanctions on Cuba

Alan Gross, the 64-year-old American who has been imprisoned by Cuban authorities since 2009, is an unremarkable man on the surface. He could be a friend or colleague, …

Letter to FCC on process reform

March 31, 2014 Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary Federal Communications Commission 445 12th Street, SW Washington, DC 20554 RE: GN Docket No. 14-25 Dear Ms. Dortch, Our organizations share and support the Federal …

Republicans dip toes in TV reg reform waters

Just when it seemed that Republicans might take the plunge in reforming outdated retransmission consent laws, it sounds like they found the water colder than expected and have …

Has the NSA poisoned the cloud?

The U.S. technology industry enters 2014 facing a backlash to its perceived role as accomplice to a series of National Security Agency surveillance programs, each making extensive use …

R Street welcomes privacy reforms, asks they go further

WASHINGTON (Jan. 17, 2014) – The R Street Institute welcomed today's speech by President Barack Obama as a significant step forward on electronic privacy, but expressed disappointment that …

Scalise to the retrans reform rescue

I've been working on the issue of retransmission consent, the process by which broadcasters and television service providers negotiate a price for delivering video content to consumers, for …

The problem is NSA overreach, not the technology we use

Blaming big tech companies for enabling our runaway surveillance state is like blaming Toyota or Ford for drunk drivers. It's a dangerous distraction, and it's the wrong strategy …

Good news for Amtrak? Not so fast (just like their wifi)

I'm a big fan of train travel in the Northeast, at least relative to the other options. I've never understood people who fly between DC and New York …

States should freeze new fees on wireless services

July 29, 2013 Dear Member of Congress: We the undersigned groups, representing millions of Americans, urge you to co-sponsor the bi-partisan Wireless Tax Fairness Act of 2013, H.R. 2309, which was introduced by Reps. …

Spectrum squeezing America

Have you noticed the cost of your smartphone plan keeps increasing? There was quite a hullabaloo last year when AT&T hiked rates and Verizon--affectionately known as "Big Red"--switched …

Grow your pie and eat it too

The Politics of Abundance: How Technology Can Fix the Budget, Revive the American Dream, and Establish Obama’s Legacy By Reed Hundt and Blair Levin 101 pages; Odyssey Editions, 2012 A …

Government-owned broadband networks a headache for their owners

Last year the R Street Institute expressed serious concerns with a proposed government-owned broadband network (GON) project in southwest Florida. After attending a public input workshop organized by …

The ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of the Fiscal Cliff

With the end of the year fast approaching, the conversation about how Congress should address the “fiscal cliff” is heating up. If Washington fails to act, the New …

Florida doesn’t need government broadband to stay connected

Government overreach into the broadband market has recently become increasingly popular in the Sunshine State. According to a recent report from the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), cities, counties …

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