Friday, June 18, 2010

Morning Brief: FCC seeks more authority to regulate broadband services; the ultimate app - a vuvuzela silencer

On what might be called a party-line vote, the FCC voted three to two yesterday to increase its authority to regulate broadband services. The move overturns a previous commission vote that limited the regulatory powers of the FCC in this area.

The vote means that the proposed changes to its regulations would bring broadband into the same regulatory classification as telecommunication services.

All of this is in reaction to a court ruling in April that overturned the commissions approach to regulation of broadband Internet services. The case involved Comcast which was blocking access to users of BitTorrent, the peer-to-peer file sharing software.

Not surprisingly the ISPs reacted negatively to the vote. "This is impossible to justify on either a policy or legal basis, and we remain confident that if the FCC persists in its course—and we truly hope it does not—the courts will surely overturn their action," said Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s Senior Executive Vice President-External and Legislative Affairs, in a statement.

On the other hand Joel Kelsey from the Consumer's Union reacted differently: "The FCC must have the authority to set broadband policy. Broadband is too important to the U.S. economy to go without public policy that expands access and lowers costs."

Skype, which depends on not having cable and telecommunications companies interfering with its services reacted positively, as well: "Skype supports quick action by the FCC and today's vote. Moving forward with a solid legal foundation is critical to promoting investment and consumer choice throughout the Internet ecosystem," said Christopher Libertelli, Skype's senior director of government and regulatory affairs.

Most of Reed's B2B properties in the U.S. are long gone, but the company still has a large portfolio in the U.K. One of its titles, Personnel Today, will stop producing its print product after the June 29 issue, retaining its website. Twelve positions are at risk, according to the company, though four new will be created.

Competing surveys both show pretty much the same thing: tablet sales are set to explode. According to Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps, tablet computer sales should reach 60 million by 2015. The company goes on to recommend moving early on tablet publishing, with Epps saying "So for publishers, you don’t need to be perfect, but there are some advantages to being an early mover,” according to the WaPo.

Another prediction comes from Oliver Wyman, a management consulting firm, which projects that by 2014, 40 million color tablets will be sold. Additionally, they predict that the number of smartphones in circulation will increase to 131 million in the same time frame.

OK, here is a product well worth investing in: Vuvux, a p-lug-in for the AudioHijack Pro software that eliminates (or softens) the sound of those awful vuvuzelas blasting at all the World Cup soccer matches.

Go U.S. -- they play Slovenia this morning and must win to have a chance at advancing to the knock-out stage.