The Commission claims it needs the extra time to pore over and distill a massive amount of information and comments collected from the docket, public workshops, and hearings, and to ensure the Commissioners are fully briefed before the plan is sent along.
In the meantime, the FCC docket's been filling up with comments about its proposal to create formal network neutrality rules, and the Commission's making moves that intend to clear out valuable 700MHz real estate. Here is the latest:
The NCTA doesn't want the FCC to codify those rules, claiming it could discourage investments. However, if the FCC does move ahead on rulemaking, it urged the Commission to apply rules that impact all Internet access providers, including wireless providers.
More specifically, the group warned the FCC not to make rules containing "Hummer-size loopholes for powerful content companies" that can exploit small MSOs. The ACA's point of emphasis is Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS)'s business model for ESPN360, which offers a broadband-based subset of sports programming. The ACA's complaint is that Disney denies access to it unless MSOs pay Disney wholesale fees that all subscribers must pay. "Disney's refusal to engage in a direct relationship with customers is the antithesis of an open Internet where consumer sovereignty reigns," the ACA wrote.
Amazon's motive for priority could be linked to offerings such as Amazon Unbox, an over-the-top video download service.
Groups and consumers using microphones that operate in the 700MHz band have until June 12, 2010, to find devices that use "appropriate frequencies."
In late 2008, the FCC adopted a proposal that allows unlicensed devices to use white spaces (unused portions of the TV band) to deliver mobile broadband services to rural and underserved areas. But critics, including the cable industry, claim that the use of such devices can cause interference and knock out digital TV services. (See FCC Rocks the 'White Spaces' Vote and Cable Worried About 'White Space' Tech.)
In case you missed it, here's some other recent regulatory news of note:
- Recovery Act Round 2: Ding! $4.8B in the Ring
- Comcast vs. the FCC
- FCC Lets Cablevision Lock Up Its Basic TV Tier
- Consumer Groups to FCC: Redo the Set-Top Rules
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News