|FCC Studies Broadband
|8/9. The Federal Communication
Commission (FCC) held a meeting at which it addressed
deployment and use of broadband Internet access services. It
released a summary of its latest statistics, which show rapid
growth in the number of broadband subscribers. It also adopted
a third notice of inquiry (NOI) into broadband deployment
under Section 706 of the Telecom Act.
The FCC released summary statistics on broadband penetration.
It stated that "High-speed lines connecting homes and
businesses to the Internet increased by 63% during the second
half of the year 2000, to a total of 7.1 million. The rate of
growth for the full year was 158%." See, FCC
The FCC also adopted, but did not release, a NOI, as required
706 of the Telecom Act of 1996, into whether
"advanced telecommunications capability" is being
deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.
release. (See, CC Docket No. 98-146.)
The five FCC Commissioners all praised the merits of broadband
Internet access and expressed the desire to see its rapid
deployment. The FCC's last Section 706 report
[PDF], issued on August 21, 2000, found that deployment of
advanced telecommunications capability generally appeared
reasonable and timely. However, it added the usual
"digital divide" rhetoric about certain groups being
Copps stated that he is not satisfied with current
progress. He states that "we need to entertain the notion
of moving away from the tone that most everything is on track,
that progress in rural areas and inner cities is being made,
and might not be quite as much as we like, but we are on
track, and everything is going to be fine. The fact is that we
face an incredible infrastructure buildout here, that I think
is comparable to any of the infrastructure buildouts that we
have had in the history of the United States." See also, prepared
statement submitted by Commissioner Kevin Martin.
|EPIC Seeks Discovery from
DOJ in its Carnivore FOIA Suit
|8/9. The Electronic Privacy
Information Center (EPIC) filed a Motion
to Stay Proceedings Pending Discovery [PDF] with the U.S.
District Court (DDC)
in its action against the Department
of Justice (DOJ) to compel compliance with its Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) request for records pertaining to the
FBI's Carnivore e-mail surveillance program.
EPIC filed its Original
Complaint for Injunctive Relief in August 2000. The DOJ
has searched for, and produced, some records in response to
EPIC's FOIA request. It has also moved for summary judgment.
EPIC asserts that "the record raises substantial doubt as
to the adequacy of the FBI's search. This doubt can only be
resolved through the discovery ..." EPIC seeks a stay of
proceedings on the DOJ's motion for summary judgment while it
conducts discovery. See also, EPIC's Carnivore
|NextWave's 3G Plans
Communications held a press briefing in Washington DC at
which corporate executives described their plans to build out
a Third Generation (3G) wireless network optimized for
bringing broadband Internet access to mobile computing
NextWave is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The FCC has
cancelled its C block licenses and re-auctioned them to other
parties. However, the U.S.
Court of Appeals (DCCir) issued an opinion
on June 22 holding that the FCC is prevented from canceling
NextWave's spectrum licenses by § 525
of the Bankruptcy Code. On August 6 the FCC filed a motion for
stay pending a petition for writ of certiorari. On the same
day NextWave filed a reorganization plan with the bankruptcy
NextWave P/CEO Allen Salmasi stated that he expects that the
Supreme Court will issue an order denying the FCC's petition
for writ of certiorari late this year. He also stated that
NextWave does not need FCC approval to proceed at this time
with buildout operations; it will, however, need FCC approval
to go on air.
NextWave officers stated that it will employ CDMA
technology that will initially provide a peak transmission
rate of 144 Kbps, and later a peak rate of 2 Mbps. They also
stated that NextWave plans to operate as a "carriers'
carrier" that will sell its wireless services at
wholesale rates to "Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO)
|BuildNet Files Chapter 11
|8/8. BuildNet and six of its subsidiaries filed a Chapter 11
bankruptcy petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court (MDNCar).
NxTrend Technology, a
wholly owned subsidiary of BuildNet, is not included in the
petition. BuildNet, of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina,
provides management software to homebuilders and suppliers in
the residential construction industry. NxTrend Technology, of
Colorado Springs, Colorado, makes supply chain management
software. See, BuildNet
|RUS Amends Rules
|8/9. The USDA's Rural
Utilities Service (RUS) published a notice
of rule changes in the Federal Register pertaining to the
financing of new telecommunications services. The notice
states that the RUS is "amending its regulations covering
lien accommodations under certain circumstances where the
borrower's financial strength is sufficient to protect
security for the Government's loans and the lender seeking a
lien accommodation." See, Federal Register, August 9,
2001, Vol. 66, No. 154, at Pages 41755 - 41772.
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|Privacy and Surveillance
|8/8. The Supreme Court
of the Oregon issued its opinion
in Oregon v. Clay, a criminal case regarding Oregon's
photo radar law. Defendant, Sara Clay, was convicted under
Oregon's photo radar surveillance law (ORS 811.123) of driving
11 miles per hour over the speed limit. The Oregon Court of
Appeals affirmed, but the Oregon Supreme Court reversed. The
Supreme Court did not hold the statute unconstitutional.
Rather, the Court reversed on evidentiary grounds. It held
that since the state had not presented evidence that Clay was
either the driver or registered owner of the car, the
conviction cannot stand.
|Trade Promotion Authority
|8/9. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) gave
at the Woodrow Wilson
International Center for Scholars in Washington DC in
which he criticized President George Bush on a wide range of
foreign policy issues. Sen.
Charles Grassley (R-IA) responded by criticizing the
Democrats' positions on trade promotion authority (TPA), and
by calling upon Sen. Daschle to set a date for taking up TPA
legislation in the Senate.
Sen. Daschle's speech covered many issues. It also touched
upon trade and TPA (which is also known as fast track). He
stated that "We need to recognize that the benefits of
trade come with real costs, and to the extent we recognize
those costs and address them, we better position ourselves to
maintain and enhance our status as the world's leading
economic power. We need to address head-on the concerns and
fears that people have about globalization. But we should not
use these concerns as a pretext for protectionism. As we move
forward in opening markets and increasing trade, we need to
address core labor standards and environmental protections,
and help people who are dislocated by trade and
Sen. Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance
Committee, and a leading proponent of TPA, responded to Sen.
Daschle's speech. He stated that "It's ironic that the
Democrats are trying to characterize President Bush and the
Republicans as isolationists. It's President Bush who is
leading the effort to get trade promotion authority through
the U.S. Congress. Trade promotion authority is the key to
unlocking new export markets for U.S. agriculture,
manufactured goods and services. Trade promotion authority is
vital to maintaining U.S. economic leadership in the world. It
seems hypocritical for Democratic party to be criticizing
President Bush for his leadership abroad when it is they who
have stymied our efforts here at home to get the President the
tools he needs to lead.
Sen. Grassley also said that "I would call upon them to
set a date certain to take up legislation granting the
President trade promotion authority in the Senate this year.
Scheduling a vote on trade promotion authority would show real
leadership and speak much louder than words ever could."