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Google Fiber could get FCC help in fights to compete against...

New ISPs would get faster access to utility poles under FCC plan.

After years waiting for Google Fiber, KC residents get cancellation e-mails

Google Fiber cancels customer accounts, doesn't explain why.

Google Fiber makes expansion plans for $60 wireless gigabit service

As Google Fiber scales back fiber builds, signs point to wireless expansion.

Google and Netflix join fight against municipal broadband restrictions

Enlarge / Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.Getty Images | Joe Daniel Price reader comments 44 Share this story Google and Netflix joined a handful of advocacy groups and other companies lobbying against a proposed Virginia state law that would make it far more difficult for municipalities to offer Internet service. As we previously reported, the "Virginia Broadband Deployment Act" would prohibit municipal broadband deployments except in very limited circumstances.

For example, localities wouldn't be allowed to offer Internet service to residents if an existing network already provides 10Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speeds to 90 percent of potential customers.

Even if that condition is met, municipalities would have to jump through several legal hoops before being allowed to build a network. "This bill would effectively ban new public broadband networks and public-private partnerships and cripple existing ones, harming both the public and private sectors, retarding economic growth, preventing the creation or retention of jobs around the Commonwealth, particularly in rural areas, hampering work force development, and diminishing the quality of life in Virginia," bill opponents including Google and Netflix wrote in a letter last week to State House Commerce Committee Chairman Terry Kilgore, a Republican. Google Fiber has brought gigabit broadband to eight metro areas, but it's scaling back and has complained that local regulations make it difficult for newcomers to challenge incumbent ISPs. Netflix has a less direct connection to the municipal broadband battle, but the company would benefit from more customers having the speeds necessary to stream high-definition video. In addition to Google and Netflix, the letter was signed by Atlantic Engineering, the Coalition for Local Internet Choice, CTC Energy & Technology, the Fiber to the Home Council, Indeed, the Internet Association, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, Next Century Cities, Nokia, OnTrac, the Telecommunications Industry Association, Ting Internet, and the Utilities Technology Council. Cities and towns with speeds limited to 10Mbps/1Mbps "cannot realistically hope to attract or retain modern businesses or provide their residents, particularly their young people, a reason to stay in them," the letter to Kilgore said. "These communities will be condemned to economic stagnation or worse—like the 'ghost towns' that died a century ago for lack of adequate electricity." The Virginia legislation was proposed by Republican lawmaker Kathy Byron, and it was referred to the Commerce Committee but has not been scheduled for a hearing yet. "A number of local governments have already passed resolutions condemning the legislative attack on their right to make local telecommunications decisions and we expect to see more," the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's Community Networks project wrote Monday.

The 10Mbps/1Mbps speeds specified in the legislation are "reminiscent of antiquated DSL," the group said.

Trump voters need fast broadband and net neutrality too, Tom Wheeler...

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in his Washington, DC, office in February 2016.Jon Brodkin reader comments 13 Share this story Donald Trump's election has put Republicans in position to eliminate net neutrality rules and gut the Federal Communications Commission's authority to regulate broadband providers. But Trump voters need the consumer protections provided by the FCC as much or more than anyone, said Tom Wheeler, whose resignation as FCC chairman takes effect today. Wheeler, a Democrat appointed to the FCC by President Barack Obama, isn't happy about Trump's victory.

But in making the case for continued net neutrality rules and consumer protections, he pointed out that Trump voters in rural areas are vulnerable to the actions of major broadband providers. "The Trump administration campaigned that they are the voice of the forgotten," Wheeler said in a phone interview with Ars yesterday. "Well you know, the half-dozen major carriers [lobbying against FCC regulations] are hardly forgotten." The people who are forgotten are the "two-thirds of consumers in America who have one or fewer broadband choices," Wheeler said. "Where are those choices most limited? In the areas where Donald Trump got the strongest response, in rural areas, outside of major cities.
If indeed this is an administration that is speaking for those that feel disenfranchised, that representation has to start with saying, 'we need to make sure you have a fast, fair, and open Internet because otherwise you will not be able to connect to the 21st century.'" Wheeler brought up Trump voters again when asked about his own Internet service. Wheeler once noted that he is "a happy Comcast subscriber" but has generally avoided describing his own experiences as an Internet customer. "I’m a privileged consumer, you know? I live in the Georgetown section of Washington, DC.

The problem is what do you do about the non-privileged?" Wheeler said. "Let's talk about Trump voters.

The Trump voters are people who don’t have choices in Internet providers, the Trump voters are folks that don’t have the resources to pay the ever escalating bills for either cable or broadband." Wheeler: Gutting consumer protection is “tragic” But so far, signs point to the Trump-era FCC dismantling consumer protections opposed by Internet service providers. Republicans at the FCC and Congress say they intend to repeal or replace net neutrality rules.

Trump's transition team is also reportedly pushing a proposal to strip the Federal Communications Commission of its role in overseeing competition and consumer protection and to move those functions to the Federal Trade Commission.
Such a major change would require Congressional approval and thus may not happen, but it's worrying to Wheeler nonetheless. "I think it would be tragic," Wheeler said of taking away the FCC's competition and consumer protection authority. "This is tragic for the American consumer and the competitive marketplace." Upon my @FCC departure, I would like to sign off with 3 words of wisdom that guided me well: competition, competition, competition — Tom Wheeler (@TomWheelerFCC) January 20, 2017 The FTC is "a great agency" that does excellent work but has more narrow authority over communications providers than the FCC, Wheeler said.

The FTC "has enforcement authority, not rulemaking authority," he said. "They can say, 'we think this is an unfair and deceptive act or practice,' but they can't say, 'here’s how networks have to operate so they're fast, fair, and open.'" The only companies that would benefit from a weaker FCC and the repeal of net neutrality are the major ISPs, Wheeler said. (That would include Comcast, Charter, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile USA, and Sprint.) "We’re talking about a handful of companies who are lobbying for their own self-interest, and trying to say to the new commission, 'you need to listen to us, not to consumers, not to a competitive marketplace, not to those who could be affected by a network where we act as gatekeepers,'" Wheeler said. "And if they are successful, that will put in jeopardy tens of thousands of other companies that rely on open networks and millions of consumers." FTC could be powerless to stop ISP abuses As evidence of the dangers of shifting FCC functions to the FTC, Wheeler pointed to a recent US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision that could dramatically limit the FTC's ability to regulate ISPs. The FTC is statutorily forbidden from regulating "common carriers," a designation the FCC has long applied to phone companies like AT&T and Verizon and more recently to all ISPs.

The FTC attempted to punish AT&T for throttling the Internet connections of customers with unlimited data plans before the FCC reclassified broadband as a common carrier service.

The FTC assumed it could punish AT&T for activity that at the time was unrelated to its common carrier services, but judges ruled in favor of AT&T, saying that the carrier is exempt from FTC oversight entirely. ISPs have been pushing the idea of moving FCC authority to the FTC for years, Wheeler said. "The surprise is that they continue with this mantra despite the fact that AT&T sued the FTC alleging that they did not have authority over common carriers," he said. The idea of removing FCC authority has also been pushed by the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI), "and lo and behold AEI comes in as the principal force in the Trump transition," Wheeler said.

Three of the advisors Trump appointed to make recommendations about the FCC transition are affiliated with the AEI, and one of them has proposed eliminating most of the FCC. ISPs, competition, and Google Fiber Under Wheeler, the FCC pushed for more competition in part by requiring further broadband construction as a condition for granting the AT&T/DirecTV and Charter/Time Warner Cable mergers.
In May 2015, Wheeler challenged cable companies to compete directly against each other. "I thought [calling for competition] was a conservative message," Wheeler said. "I thought Republicans would be responsive to the idea that a competitive economy is the basic bulwark of how the American economy works and that there ought to be competitive alternatives.
I went to the cable association and I said, 'hey, the costs of building are going down, you guys have to start thinking about competing with each other and not just having an exclusive franchise.'" Cable companies have continued avoiding each other's territory for the most part, but the emergence of Google Fiber was important for boosting competition, Wheeler said.

Though Google Fiber recently downsized, Wheeler said, "I’m thrilled at what Google Fiber did because every time they built something, wasn’t it amazing that the incumbent suddenly decided that it was time for them to build fast fiber as well?" The FCC tried to encourage municipal broadband by preempting state laws that limit the rights of cities and towns to offer Internet service, but it lost in court.

Going forward, Wheeler said local policies should encourage competition by providing easier access to poles, conduits, and rights-of-way. He'd also like to see new ISPs get more affordable access to video programming so they can offer competitive TV-and-Internet bundles. Chairman leaves unfinished business Wheeler regrets not finishing certain initiatives, such as a rulemaking that would have required pay-TV operators to make free TV applications, giving customers an option besides rented set-top boxes.

Also unfinished was a proposed $100 million fine of AT&T for allegedly misleading customers about unlimited data throttling, as well as price cap decreases for business data services. Wheeler told Ars that he didn't have enough Democratic votes to push final versions of those items through.

Though Democrats had a 3-2 majority led by Wheeler, Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel didn't support a final version of the set-top box rules because of concerns over how cable company applications would be licensed to third-party device makers. "We lost. We got outmuscled" on the cable app rules, Wheeler said. "I call it Cablewood: it’s cable and Hollywood in this incestuous relationship... they did an excellent job lobbying the issue both here at the commission and in the Congress." Regarding that $100 million fine, the FCC never was able to negotiate a settlement with AT&T.

Given that, the FCC could have issued a final ruling requiring AT&T to pay the fine, waited for AT&T to sue, and then let a court decide.

But Wheeler said he didn't have enough votes to support that approach, either. Wheeler also ran out of time while challenging major wireless carriers over paid data cap exemptions. Just last week, Wheeler accused AT&T and Verizon Wireless of violating net neutrality rules by letting their own video stream without counting against mobile data caps while charging other video providers for the same data cap exemptions (aka "zero-rating"). Wheeler's statement and a related report by FCC staff won't have any impact in the short term because the FCC's Republicans vowed to ignore the findings and they want to overturn the net neutrality rules altogether. Wheeler said the FCC's net neutrality rules didn't ban zero-rating entirely because free data services can benefit consumers. "Free is good, OK?" he said. "But the problem is that when a carrier decides to favor its non-carrier activity by placing that for free on the network, but anybody who competes with that non-carrier activity has to pay full freight, that is a blatantly anti-competitive activity." This is the sort of behavior that shows "why you have to have an open Internet," Wheeler said. "Unfortunately, we’re not going to be around to do something about it, so we thought it was important to make sure the record was clear." Wheeler won’t be a lobbyist again Wheeler, a former lobbyist for the cable and wireless phone industries, surprised some observers by pushing for more extensive regulation of ISPs during his 39 months as chairman.

As he leaves the FCC, he said, "I’m proud of what we accomplished.
I wish there were other circumstances but the American people had other thoughts about that and I respect that decision." When asked if he might become a lobbyist again, Wheeler answered with an emphatic "no." For now, Wheeler is joining the Aspen Institute as a senior fellow, becoming the sixth consecutive FCC chairman to do so upon leaving the commission.

The nonpartisan policy forum has become "the home for recovering chairmen," Wheeler joked. "What it allows you to do is, while you are chairman, not worry about what you do next, and therefore not have to lose focus, not have to start recusing yourself" from matters that might affect a potential future employer, Wheeler said. That'll be a temporary job for the 70-year-old Wheeler, who said he plans to "decompress" and spend more time with his wife. "I hope to write and teach and maybe do some consulting, but we’ll just see how things develop," he said. "I don't think I'm going to have a 'job' job, if you will."

Nashville fights Comcast lawsuit over rules that help Google Fiber

Enlargereader comments 15 Share this story The Nashville metro government wants a court to throw out a Comcast lawsuit that seeks to overturn rules designed to speed up deployment of Google Fiber. Nashville filed a motion to dismiss Comcast's lawsuit in US District Court in Tennessee on Wednesday, saying that Comcast incorrectly claimed Nashville's rules are preempted by state and federal law. The case is about Nashville's "One Touch Make Ready" ordinance that gives ISPs faster access to utility poles. One Touch Make Ready (also known as "Climb Once") lets new competitors move existing ISPs' wires in order to make room for new pole attachments, instead of having to wait for the incumbent ISPs to send work crews to move their own wires. The metro government passed the rules to help Google Fiber install wires faster, but both AT&T and Comcast are seeking to invalidate the ordinance. "Comcast’s Complaint should be dismissed because it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted," Nashville wrote. "Comcast has not demonstrated that the Metropolitan Government’s Climb Once ordinance is preempted by federal law. The enactment of Climb Once was a legitimate exercise of police powers to manage public rights-of-way. As it affects poles owned by the Nashville Electric Service ('NES'), federal pole attachment law is inapplicable to those poles, so preemption does not apply. As it affects privately owned poles, there is no preemption because the FCC timeline [the time allowed for pole attachments] does not conflict with Climb Once ordinances—a position espoused by the FCC itself." Nashville asked the court to dismiss Comcast's claim entirely and declare that the Climb Once ordinance is constitutional. But if the court finds that the ordinance does conflict with FCC regulations, Nashville's motion "asks that the Court refer primary jurisdiction over this issue to the FCC." Comcast argues that the previous pole-attachment process protected public safety and prevented damage to existing networks. Google Fiber is offering service in parts of Nashville but says the old rules slowed down deployment because of long waits for AT&T and Comcast to make poles ready for new wires. Google Fiber is apparently still trying to expand service in Nashville despite recent layoffs. Nashville also argued that Comcast is inappropriately making a legal claim on behalf of Nashville Electric Service, which owns most of the utility poles. "Comcast does not have standing to bring this claim on NES’s behalf," Nashville argues. "To the extent that Comcast is empowered to bring this claim at all, it also fails substantively, as the Metropolitan Government is empowered through its Charter to govern its public rights-of-way." In addition to the motion to dismiss, Nashville filed a memorandum of law supporting its position. One Touch Make Ready ordinances are one of several strategies municipalities are using to boost competition in the home Internet service market, much to the chagrin of existing ISPs who don't want to give up market share. Louisville, Kentucky, also has a One Touch Make Ready ordinance that it is trying to defend against a lawsuit filed by AT&T. The FCC recently weighed in on the Louisville case, saying that, "Historically, restrictions on access to utility poles have been a significant impediment to the deployment of competitive telecommunications services."

10 things you need to worry about in 2017

Each year, including last year, I’ve supplied you with “areas of concern”—that is, stuff that might not go well for you or our comrades in the coming 12 months.
I’m happy to oblige once again this year with 10 items that may go bump in the night. Hadoop distributions Big data, analytics, and machine learning are alive and well, and they’ll eventually transform business in most of the ways they’ve promised.

But the big, fat Hadoop distribution is probably toast. This isn’t to say everyone involved is in trouble, but we’re looking at more of an à la carte situation, or at least a buffet, where you don’t have to swallow the whole elephant.

Burned by projects that never completed or met their promise in previous years, companies will be more reluctant to bite off the whole dish and instead look at what they’re trying to do and actually need at the infrastructure level.

Technology companies that can adapt to this reality will make even more money. Hadoop vendors Three major Hadoop vendors along with big “do everything companies” (especially the Big Blue one) are in this game. We already saw Pivotal essentially exit.
It’s hard to see the market continue to support three Hadoop vendors.
See the above item to figure out who I’m betting on. Oracle  Oracle likes to buy companies.
It helps make up for the fact that the core Oracle database is old and clunky, and Oracle doesn’t make anything new or great.
If it buys something you use, expect the price to go up. Oracle loves the long tail, particularly entrenched, hard-to-remove, older technology. Once it’s in the company’s clutches, you get that famed Oracle technical support, too. Databricks Something will change at Databricks, the cloud company built around Spark, the open source distributed computing framework that has essentially supplanted Hadoop. While Spark is great, the Databricks business model isn’t as compelling, and it seems easily disrupted by one of the big three cloud vendors.

The company is run by academics, and it needs hard-knuckled business types to sort out its affairs.
I hope the change won’t be too disruptive to Spark’s development—and can be accomplished without hurt feelings, so we don’t lose progress. Deregulation Now that we have the Trumpocalypse to look forward to, you can expect “deregulation” of everything, from unlimited poison in your groundwater to the death of Net neutrality. Lest you think that will boost the tech economy, note that software vendors make big money selling compliance solutions, fewer of which will be necessary.

Also, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and electronic medical/health records have been a boon for tech.
Some of Obamacare may remain, but very likely the digital transformation of health will be scaled way back. Clinton’s plans had their own problems, but regardless of where you stand politically, the Trump presidency will hit us where it hurts—especially after California secedes. (Or will there be six Californias?) Game consoles How is this related to enterprise software? Well, the game industry is a good chunk of the tech sector, and some giants depend on console games as blockbusters.

Game consoles are specialized computers with a very specific programming models and guaranteed upgrades.

Everyone is doing “pro” versions to get shorter-term revenue grabs—instead of waiting, say, seven years to sell new consoles—which comes at the cost of a stable platform that game developers can depend on. Meanwhile, mobile games are huge, Steam keeps rising, and people are playing computer games again.
I suspect this will start to depress the console business.

Game developers will struggle with how many platforms they need to keep up with, and some giants will stumble. Yet another hacking scandal Once again, tech, government, and business will fail to learn the lesson that security can’t be bought and deployed like a product.

They will persist in hiring the cheapest developers they can find, flail at project management, and suffer nonexistent or hapless QA.
If a program runs, then it has stmt.execute(“select something from whatever where bla =”+ sql_injection_opportunity) throughout the code.

That’s in business—government is at least 20 years behind.
Sure, we’re giving Putin a big hug, but don’t expect him to stop hacking us. The economy It seems like the Great Recession was just yesterday, but we’re due for another.

At the same time, we don’t have a lot of big, new enterprise tech to brag about.
I’m not saying it’s time to climb in the lifeboat, but you might want to make sure you have a safety net in case we're hit with another downturn. My guess is it will be smaller than the dot-bomb collapse, so don’t fret too much. Telco-cable mergers With Google dialing back Google Fiber and an impending AT&T-Time Warner merger, our overpriced connections to the internet are unlikely to get cheaper—and speed increases will probably be less frequent. Your math skills Thanks to machine learning, it will be harder to command a six-figure developer salary without a mathematical background.

As companies figure out what machine learning is and what it can do, before paying a premium for talent, they’ll start to require that developers understand probability, linear algebra, multivariable calculus, and all that junk.

For garden-variety programming, they’ll continue to accelerate their plan to buy talent in “low-cost countries.” Now let’s crank it to 11: As you may have heard, we’ve elected a narcissistic agent of the white supremacist (now rebranded “alt-right”) movement who doesn’t even know how to use a computer, and we’ve put him in charge of the nukes.

This is going to be a disaster for everyone, of course, but for tech in particular if we all survive.

But hey, next week I’ll try looking on the bright side.

AT&T falsely claimed pro-Google Fiber rule is invalid, FCC says

Mike Mozartreader comments 21 Share this story The Federal Communications Commission has given a helping hand to Louisville, Kentucky, in the city's attempt to enforce local rules that would make it easier for Google Fiber to compete against AT&T. AT&T sued the local government in Louisville and Jefferson County in February to stop a One Touch Make Ready (OTMR) ordinance designed to give Google Fiber or other new competitors faster access to utility poles.

Today, the US government submitted a statement of interest (full text) on behalf of the FCC, which says that one of AT&T’s primary legal arguments is incorrect. AT&T—also known as BellSouth Telecommunications in Kentucky—argued that the Louisville ordinance is preempted by the FCC’s pole-attachment rules.

The local ordinance "conflicts with the procedures created by the FCC, and upsets the careful balances struck by the FCC in crafting its pole attachment regulations," AT&T's lawsuit said. But that is false, the FCC says. The FCC does have rules ensuring reasonable access to utility poles, but states are allowed to opt out of the federal pole-attachment rules if they certify to the commission that they regulate the rates, terms, and conditions of pole attachments. Kentucky is one of 20 states that has opted out of the federal regime and imposed its own rules, the FCC noted. “Accordingly, the federal pole-attachment regulations enacted under Section 224 [of the Communications Act] simply do not apply here,” the FCC wrote. More generally, One Touch Make Ready rules are consistent with federal communications policies and regulations that seek expanded broadband deployment, the FCC also wrote. AT&T told Ars that it is reviewing the FCC's filing but has no comment yet. AT&T's lawsuit claimed that because of FCC rules, it is allowed to take 60 days or more to modify wires to accommodate new pole users such as Google Fiber.

But AT&T’s federal preemption argument isn’t the only one it makes; the company also argues that Louisville lacks jurisdiction to regulate pole attachments under Kentucky state law. Google Fiber and other companies that want to attach wires to utility poles often must wait for the poles’ existing users to move their own wires and make room for new ones. One Touch Make Ready ordinances let a single company make all of the necessary wire adjustments on utility poles itself instead of having to wait for incumbent ISPs like AT&T to send work crews to move their own wires. The FCC’s court filing said this “make ready” work often causes delays for companies that seek to compete against those that already have wires on the poles.

Existing users of the poles have little incentive to move quickly if the new pole user is a competitor, the FCC noted. “In many cases, the pole owner is itself a telecommunications provider that competes with—and therefore has incentive to impede or discriminate against—new attachers seeking access to the pole,” the FCC said.

But this process can cause delays whether the pole is owned by the existing ISP or a different entity, the FCC said. "Historically, restrictions on access to utility poles have been a significant impediment to the deployment of competitive telecommunications services," the FCC said.

The Louisville ordinance "prevents pole owners or existing attachers from needlessly delaying or impeding the deployment of new competitors," the FCC said. Most of the Louisville poles used by AT&T are owned by AT&T itself or by Louisville Gas & Electric. Charter also sued Louisville to stop the One Touch Make Ready ordinance, and Frontier has supported AT&T’s lawsuit against Louisville.
Separately, AT&T and Comcast each sued Nashville, Tennessee, over a similar One Touch Make Ready ordinance. Google Fiber expressed gratitude to the FCC for its filing in the Louisville case. "We're pleased to see that the Federal Communications Commission this morning filed a supportive statement in the Kentucky court with regard to the AT&T lawsuit over One Touch Make Ready, a common sense measure passed by Louisville earlier this year to bring superfast Internet to residents more safely and quickly," a Google Fiber statement said. "We fully support the FCC's conclusion that there is no conflict between the federal pole attachment regulations and the principles of OTMR." Google Fiber struggles, and AT&T celebrates Google Fiber is cutting staff and pulling out of some cities where it tentatively planned to build, but it's continuing to operate in Nashville and says it still plans to build a network in Louisville. While filing lawsuits that could stall Google Fiber’s progress, AT&T has simultaneously been taking public victory laps in response to the Alphabet-owned ISP’s struggles.

AT&T wrote a blog post in August, when the first reports of layoffs surfaced, lecturing Google Fiber about the challenges of broadband investment, and the company wrote another self-congratulatory blog post last week after Google Fiber confirmed the layoffs. “We don’t take shortcuts,” AT&T’s most recent post said. “This is about good old-fashioned hard work, not new-age marketing promises that fall short in the end."

Comcast sues Nashville to halt rules that help Google Fiber

Comcastreader comments 36 Share this story Comcast yesterday sued the Nashville metro government and mayor to stop a new ordinance designed to give Google Fiber faster access to utility poles. Comcast's complaint in US District Court in Nashville (full text) is similar to one already filed by AT&T last month. Both ISPs are trying to invalidate a One Touch Make Ready ordinance that lets new ISPs make all of the necessary wire adjustments on utility poles themselves instead of having to wait for incumbent providers like AT&T and Comcast to send work crews to move their own wires. The ordinance was passed largely to benefit Google Fiber, which is offering service in Nashville but says that it hasn't been able to deploy faster because it is waiting to get access to thousands of poles. Nearly all the Nashville utility poles are owned either by the municipal Nashville Electric Service or AT&T. Because Comcast has wires on many of the poles, it has some control over how quickly Google Fiber can expand its network. When Google Fiber wants to attach wires to a new pole, it needs to wait for ISPs like Comcast to move their wires to make room for Google Fiber's. The Nashville One Touch Make Ready ordinance "permits third parties to move, alter, or rearrange components of Comcast’s communications network attached to utility poles without Comcast’s consent, authorization, or oversight, and with far less notice than is required by federal law and by an existing Comcast contract with Metro Nashville," Comcast's complaint said. Comcast asked the court to declare the ordinance invalid and permanently enjoin Nashville from enforcing it. The pre-existing Make Ready process "seek[s] to ensure that all providers can share available pole space cooperatively and safely, without interfering with or damaging any provider’s equipment or services," Comcast said. The new procedures mandated by Nashville "are so intrusive that, tellingly, Metro Nashville has wholly exempted its own utility pole attachments from the Ordinance’s coverage." Specifically, the ordinance exempts Nashville government pole attachments "that consist of cameras, radios, or any equipment used for emergency communications," and equipment used for traffic signals. Nashville Mayor Megan Barry defended the ordinance in a statement to The Tennessean. “One Touch Make Ready has been litigated in the court of public opinion, and the public overwhelmingly supports this measure designed to speed up the deployment of high-speed fiber in Nashville," Barry said. "Now, we hope that this federal litigation is quickly resolved so that we can get on with the business of expanding access to gigabit Internet throughout Davidson County.” Nashville's ordinance says that the Federal Communications Commission's pole attachment orders do not address One Touch Make Ready rules, giving the metro government "the right to address one touch make ready within its boundaries." There is a similar fight going on in Louisville, Kentucky, where AT&T and Charter have both sued the local government to stop a utility pole ordinance. Google Fiber announced layoffs yesterday and will "pause" or end fiber operations in 10 cities where it was considering whether to build new networks. But the Alphabet-owned ISP said it would continue operations in Nashville and still plans to build a network in Louisville.

FTC says it may be unable to regulate Comcast, Google, and...

Enlarge / A Comcast service vehicle.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images reader comments 37 Share this story The Federal Trade Commission is worried that it may no longer be able to regulate companies such as Comcast, Google, and Verizon unless a recent court ruling is overturned. The FTC on Thursday petitioned the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing in a case involving AT&T’s throttling of unlimited data plans.

A 9th Circuit panel previously ruled that the FTC cannot punish AT&T, and the decision raises questions about the FTC’s ability to regulate any company that operates a common carrier business such as telephone or Internet service. While the FTC's charter from Congress prohibits it from regulating common carriers, the agency has previously exercised authority to regulate these companies when they offer non-common carrier services.

But the recent court ruling said that AT&T is immune from FTC oversight entirely, even when it’s not acting as a common carrier. It isn’t clear whether the ruling sets an ironclad precedent preventing the FTC from regulating any company with a common carrier business.

But the FTC’s petition for a rehearing (full text) describes that outcome as a real possibility.

The FTC wrote: The panel’s ruling creates an enforcement gap that would leave no federal agency able to protect millions of consumers across the country from unfair or deceptive practices or obtain redress on their behalf. Many companies provide both common-carrier and non-common-carrier services—not just telephone companies like AT&T, but also cable companies like Comcast, technology companies like Google, and energy companies like ExxonMobil (which operate common carrier oil pipelines).

Companies that are not common carriers today may gain that status by offering new services or through corporate acquisitions.

For example, AOL and Yahoo, which are not common carriers, are (or soon will be) owned by Verizon.

The panel’s ruling calls into question the FTC’s ability to protect consumers from unlawful practices by such companies in any of their lines of business. The Federal Communications Commission regulates common carriers such as landline and mobile phone companies and Internet service providers, "but it lacks authority over other products or services, such as e-mail and e-commerce" and doesn't have the FTC's authority to seek refunds for consumers, the petition said. The FCC's recent decision to reclassify broadband providers as common carriers increases the potential impact of the AT&T ruling, the FTC argued. "For example, Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider (and the owner of NBCUniversal), is now a common carrier because it provides broadband service," the FTC said. "Technology giant Google, which runs a variety of businesses, provides common-carrier broadband service through its Google Fiber subsidiary.

Dish Network, a satellite television provider, also provides satellite broadband.

All these companies have been subject to FTC enforcement actions—Google four times since 2011—but may now seek to shield all of their conduct from consumer protection enforcement." The "enforcement gap" could be particularly severe in data privacy and security. "The FTC is the nation’s primary protector of consumer data privacy, but under the panel’s ruling it could be powerless against any company that provides a common-carrier service," the FTC said. "Consumers would have no protection from breach or misuse of their personal information or practices like false advertising or improper billing." The ruling that went against the FTC (full text) was issued by a panel of three judges.

The FTC's petition last week seeks an en banc hearing in front of 11 judges; if that fails, the FTC can appeal to the US Supreme Court. The FTC argues that the appeals court panel ruling conflicts with prior decisions of the 9th Circuit and other appeal courts. "This Court has held that the same company may be a common carrier 'in some instances but not in others, depending on the nature of the activity which is subject to scrutiny,'" the FTC said.

The commission also argued that the FTC Act of 1914 was passed at a time when "common carrier" clearly referred to the activity of a company and not the company's overall status. FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez has also argued that Congress should remove the common carrier exemption, saying that it is an outdated relic from an era when telecommunications companies were highly regulated monopolies that didn't also own a variety of unrelated services.

WatchGuard Releases Industry’s Fastest Full UTM Tabletop Appliance

New WatchGuard T70 Network Security Appliance Delivers Over 1 Gbps UTM Throughput4 October 2016 – WatchGuard® Technologies, has announced its new Firebox T70 hardware appliance, which sets a new standard for tabletop UTM performance.

According to Miercom, an independent testing lab, the T70 delivers the fastest throughput available in the industry today, with speeds over 1 Gbps when operating in full Unified Threat Management (UTM) mode.

This means that customers don’t have to compromise between network bandwidth and leveraging the UTM security services to protect their networks. WatchGuard T70 Miercom found that the T70 achieves over 1 Gbps throughput in full UTM mode, which is 52 percent higher than the average competitor appliance tested and 38 percent higher than the next competitor.
So, even with today’s environment of heavy HTTPS traffic, network users and administrators will always get the full benefit of all WatchGuard security services. KEY FEATURES:Performance: Customers benefit from the highest speeds and performance levels available in a tabletop security appliance, with over 1 Gbps throughput with full UTM protection enabled. Power over Ethernet (PoE): Using the two PoE+ ports to power peripheral devices, such as wireless access points, network administrators can extend the reach of their networks without having to run costly AC power to remote devices. RapidDeploy: Centralised IT teams can use RapidDeploy to pre-configure appliances for quick and non-technical installations at distributed locations. Full UTM Protection for Fibre Broadband: Organisations can benefit from fibre broadband services, such as Google Fiber, knowing the T70 can easily manage these expanding speeds. SUPPORTING QUOTES:Andrew Evers, Group IT Manager at Red Carnation Hotels: “The T70 provides the highest levels of performance and capability I’ve seen in such a small unit.
I can now deploy the same enterprise-grade security services across our entire organisation, whether in a small office, or at larger sites.

The T70 delivers a small footprint, allowing for a good amount of diversification and growth, before needing to trade-up. Ultimately, this solution represents a valued addition to the WatchGuard family because it hardens security, enables automation for my team and creates greater flexibility and enablement for my users.” Dave Ashton, Sales Director at Sec-1: “The T70 is a great addition to the WatchGuard range and has been universally welcomed by the WatchGuard channel.
It offers unmatched price / performance for our SME customers who want enterprise level security and performance at affordable prices.” Rob Smithers, CEO, Miercom: "Overall, the WatchGuard Firebox T70 exhibited the best overall throughput performance of the competitive security appliances tested.
In addition, while competitors' performance was greatly reduced as more security functions and features were enabled, the WatchGuard Firebox T70's continued to prove exceptional performance.” Andrew Young, Vice President of Product Management at WatchGuard Technologies: “Organisations today require fast, reliable and secure internet connectivity, but are struggling to find network security solutions that can keep up with their ever-growing needs.

This challenge is further exacerbated by the growing availability of fibre broadband around the world.

The WatchGuard T70 is ideal for small and midsize businesses or distributed enterprises that need the highest performance available in a tabletop security appliance.

The blazing fast performance of the T70 will make network slowdown concerns a thing of the past.” ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: WatchGuard will be showcasing the Firebox T70 at this week’s IP Expo Europe. About WatchGuard TechnologiesWatchGuard® Technologies, Inc. is a global leader in network security, providing best-in-class Unified Threat Management, Next Generation Firewall, secure Wi-Fi, and network intelligence products and services to more than 75,000 customers worldwide.

The company’s mission is to make enterprise-grade security accessible to companies of all types and sizes through simplicity, making WatchGuard an ideal solution for Distributed Enterprises and SMBs. WatchGuard is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, with offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America.

To learn more, visit WatchGuard.com. For additional information, promotions and updates, follow WatchGuard on Twitter, @WatchGuard on Facebook, or on the LinkedIn Company page.

Also, visit our InfoSec blog, Secplicity, for real-time information about the latest threats and how to cope with them at www.secplicity.org. Contacts:Rowena Case, WatchGuard Technologies0203 608 9070, ukmarketing@watchguard.com Peter Rennison, PRPR01442 245030, pr@prpr.co.uk

Google Fiber wins vote in Nashville—next step, AT&T to sue city

Google Fiberreader comments 49 Share this story The Nashville Metro Council last night gave its final approval to an ordinance designed to help Google Fiber accelerate deployment of high-speed Internet in the Tennessee city, despite AT&T and Comcast lobbying against the measure.

Google Fiber's path isn't clear, however, as AT&T said weeks ago that it would likely sue Nashville if it passes the ordinance.

AT&T has already sued Louisville, Kentucky over a similar ordinance designed to help Google Fiber. The Nashville Council vote approved a "One Touch Make Ready" ordinance that gives Google Fiber or other ISPs quicker access to utility poles.

The ordinance lets a single company make all of the necessary wire adjustments on utility poles itself, instead of having to wait for incumbent providers like AT&T and Comcast to send work crews to move their own wires. One Council member who opposed the ordinance asked AT&T and Comcast to put forth an alternative plan, but the council stuck with the original One Touch Make Ready proposal. "It’s a great day for Nashville," Google Fiber said in response to the vote. "This will allow new entrants like Google Fiber to bring broadband to more Nashvillians efficiently, safely and quickly." The ordinance now heads to Mayor Megan Barry, who said she plans to sign it into law, The Tennessean reported last night.

But she is getting ready for a lawsuit. "Unfortunately, the likelihood of protracted litigation could delay implementation of this law designed to benefit Nashville’s consumers," she said, according to the report. "That is why I encouraged fiber providers to work together on a solution they could all agree upon, which they were not able to do. My hope now is that any potential legal disputes over this new law can be resolved quickly, and we can move forward with expanding fiber access throughout the city.” Google Fiber owner Alphabet offered to share the company's attorneys with Nashville to fight a lawsuit.

AT&T said last month that it expected the ordinance's passage would "result in litigation." AT&T and Comcast both expressed disappointment in last night's vote.

AT&T said the ordinance "is not a good solution for faster deployment of infrastructure," while Comcast said, "we thank the council members who were willing to take a deep look at the risks associated with, and inaccuracies of ‘One Touch’ and stand up for a better solution that is beneficial for all consumers." AT&T previously complained that the ordinance could disrupt its contract with its workers' union and that Google Fiber crews sometimes have not followed safety codes.