FCC Removes Set-Top Box, Business Data Services From Agenda

The Federal Communications Commission removed from its list of active proceedings proposed rules on cable set-top boxes and the bulk data connections that telecom companies provide to businesses. The move effectively kills the two measures.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai removed the two items from circulation last week “for further review,” along with other items that were circulated by Pai’s predecessor, Tom Wheeler, that never received a final vote, an FCC official confirmed in an email Monday.

“The items could be put back on circulation following modifications,” the official said, adding that the move is “typical” during a change of administration.

Items on the list are considered pending, and commissioners can vote on them at any time.

The two rules — one aimed at opening up the cable set-top box marketplace by requiring service providers to allow streaming apps for content, and another placing price caps one business data services — were priorities for Wheeler.

The removal of the proposed rules serves as a symbolic beginning of a shift at the agency under Pai, who opposed both of those regulations.

On Jan. 25, Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology called on Pai to close the cable set-top box proceeding altogether, saying they want “to give video programming distributors a clear sign that they can bring technological advances to set-top boxes and video delivery without fear that the Commission overturn them by regulation.”

Price caps in the business data services market have been a priority for Democrats and smaller telecom companies for years. Hospitals, banks, retailers, manufacturers and schools use the lines to send vast amounts of data daily. The market is dominated by big telecom firms like AT&T Inc.

Chip Pickering, chief executive of Incompas, said in a Monday statement that the FCC’s failure to “fix the broken business broadband marketplace” would pose a “serious threat to the infrastructure goals necessary to putting America first in the race for faster, more affordable networks of the future.”

Incompas represents competitive service providers including T-Mobile and Sprint.

Pai’s move gives commissioners the opportunity to make changes to the proposed rules. If they are circulated for a vote at the agency, however, it’s unlikely they will be similar to the proposals put forth during Wheeler’s tenure as chairman. Commissioner Michael O’Rielly (R) also opposed the two proposals removed by Pai.


Tech Brief: Russian Hackers Targeted Elections in 21 States, DHS Official Says

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security official told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russian hackers targeted election-related databases in 21 different states leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Only two states — Arizona and Illinois — have been publicly identified as having their election systems targeted, and officials would not comment on the identities of the other 19 states.

Tech Brief: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Resigns

Uber Technologies Inc. CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down from the helm of the ride-hailing service after five of the company’s major investors demanded that he resign. Kalanick’s resignation comes after a series of scandals forced him to take an indefinite leave of absence from the company last week.

Tech Brief: Data on 198 Million Voters Left Exposed Online

A proprietary data set containing the names and personally identifying information of approximately 198 million registered U.S. voters was left unprotected online for at least 12 days in a large cache of electronic files. The information was compiled by consulting firm Deep Root Analytics, which helps Republican campaigns with voter targeting efforts, and appears to include information on nearly all the estimated registered voters in the United States.

Load More