Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
December 13, 2001, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 327.
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House to Vote on Tauzin Dingell Bill
12/12. House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) announced that the House is scheduled to vote on HR 1542, the Tauzin Dingell bill, on Friday, December 14. The House Rules Committee has yet to adopt a rule governing debate, amendments, and other items.
FCC Announces NPRM on Regulatory Framework for ILECs' Broadband Services
12/12. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced, but did not release, a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) initiating a comprehensive examination of the regulatory framework for incumbent local exchange carriers' (ILECs') provision of broadband services.
The FCC issued a release in which it stated that this NPRM seeks comments on what changes the FCC should make in its regulatory requirements for ILECs' broadband service, including "What the relevant product and geographic markets should be for broadband services", "Whether incumbent LECs possess market power in any relevant market", and "Whether dominant carrier safeguards or other regulatory requirements should govern incumbent LECs' provision of broadband service." This is Docket No. CC 01-337.
FCC Chairman Michael Powell said in a statement that "In this proceeding, the Commission will ask whether potentially robust competition among multiple types of broadband service providers suggests that we should avoid subjecting incumbents to the same regulatory burdens that we impose on these carriers with respect to their provision of local telephone service. That is, we ask whether incumbent LECs, which are so clearly dominant in the provision of local phone service, must also be treated as dominant as they use DSL and other technologies to provide high speed telecommunications services in competition with cable modem service providers and other types of platforms." Powell added that "I for one have an open mind as to how these questions should be answered."
See also, statement by Commissioner Michael Copps.
FCC Postpones Issuance of UWB Report and Order
12/12. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had originally included on the agenda for its meeting of December 12 a First Report and Order to provide for new ultra wideband (UWB) devices. However, this item was removed from the agenda earlier in the week. This is ET Docket No. 98-153.
Michael Gallagher, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce, stated in a release that "We appreciate the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC's) recognition of the importance of developing a unified government approach on Ultrawideband. We will continue to work quickly and hard to achieve the proper balance between protecting the national security and meeting 21st century technology needs."
Economic Stimulus Bill and Tech
12/12. The Senate Republican High Tech Task Force wrote a letter to House and Senate negotiators for the "economic stimulus" package requesting that they include the language contained in S 88, the Broadband Internet Access Act of 2001. The group argued that this bill would promote broadband deployment, stimulate the economy, and close a "digital divide".
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) also wrote a letter to House and Senate leaders asking that the "economic stimulus" legislation include not only the language of S 88, but also "a 30 percent depreciation deduction for capital expenses on IT equipment and a five year net operating loss (NOL) carry back provision."
S 88 is sponsored by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), and 64 other Senators. It would provide tax credits for deployment of broadband facilities in rural and underserved areas. Specifically, it would provide a credit of 10% of the qualified expenditures incurred by the taxpayer with respect to qualified equipment with which "current generation" broadband services are delivered to subscribers in rural and underserved areas. It would also provide a credit of 20% of the qualified expenditures incurred by the taxpayer with respect to qualified equipment with which "next generation" broadband services are delivered to subscribers in rural areas, underserved areas, and to residential subscribers.
"Current generation" broadband services is defined in the bill as the transmission of signals at a rate of at least 1.5 Million bits per second (Mbps) downstream, and at least 200,000 bits per second upstream. "Next generation" broadband services is defined as at least 22 Mbps downstream and 5 Mbps upstream.
GAO Releases Report on Computer Controls at FRB
12/12. The GAO released a letter [PDF] to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System regarding "Federal Reserve Banks: Areas for Improvement in Computer Controls".
FTC Releases Further Guidance on Privacy Provision of GLB
12/12. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a document titled "Frequently Asked Questions for the Privacy Regulation: December 2001". The document states that its purpose is "to assist financial institutions in complying with the privacy provisions of the Gramm Leach Bliley Act (GLB Act) and the Commission's financial privacy regulation." This is a staff guidance.
People and Appointments
12/12. House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) announced that he will retire at the end of the 107th Congress. See, statement.
12/7. James Rogan was sworn in as head of the USPTO.
12/12. President Bush nominated Raymond Orbach to be Director of the Office of Science at the Department of Energy, which includes the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research. Orbach is a Professor of Physics and Chancellor of the University of California at Riverside (UCR). He specializes in experimental and theoretical condensed matter physics. See, White House release and UCR release.
12/12. President Bush announced his intent to appoint the following people to the Presidents Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST): Charles Arntzen (ASU), Norman Augustine (Princeton), Carol Ann Bartz (P/CEO of Autodesk), Kathleen Behrens, Erich Bloch, Stephen Burke (President of Comcast), Gerald Clough (President of Georgia Tech), Michael Dell (Ch/CEO of Dell), Raul Fernandez, Marye Anne Fox (Chancellor of North Carolina State University), Martha Gilliland (Provost of Tulane), Ralph Gomory (President of the Sloan Foundation), Bernadine Healy, Robert Herbold (EVP of Microsoft), Bobbie Kilberg (President of the Northern Virginia Technology Council), Walter Massey (Princeton), Gordon Moore (Chairman Emeritus of Intel), Kenneth Nwabueze (CEO of SageMetrics), Steven Papermaster, Luis Proenza (President of the University of Akron), George Scalise (President of the Semiconductor Industry Association), and Charles Vest (President of MIT). The PCAST is an advisory committee created by President Bush by Executive Order 13226. It is Chaired by Floyd Kvamme. See, White House release.
12/11. The Senate confirmed John Bates to be a U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia, Kurt Engelhardt to be a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and Julie Robinson to be a U.S. District Judge for the District of Kansas.
Rep. Boehlert Addresses Cyber Security
12/12. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), the Chairman of the House Science Committee, gave an address to an Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) conference titled "Developing Cyber Security Solutions in the e-Gov Era". Rep. Boehlert used the occasion to discuss HR 3394, the "Cyber Security Research and Development Act", which is sponsored by Rep. Boehlert and Rep. Ralph Hall (D-TX), the ranking Democrat on the Committee. It would authorize the funding of new research and education programs pertaining to cyber security.
Rep. Boehlert stated that "HR 3394 is designed to attract current researchers into the field of cyber security and to create a cadre of students who will become the next, we hope more numerous, generation of researchers. And the bill is designed to promote risky research that can get beyond the current paradigms in cyber security design".
Senate Finance Committee Approves Trade Promotion Authority Bill
12/12. The Senate Finance Committee approved its version [75 pages in PDF] of HR 3005, the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act of 2001, by a vote of 18 to 3.
The Committee will meet again on Thursday, December 13, to complete action on this bill. The Committee voted early because Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), the leading opponent of free trade in the Senate, invoked a rarely used rule to shut down the meeting. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the ranking Republican on the Committee, stated afterwards that Sen. Byrd "invoked a Senate rule that prohibits committees from meeting two hours after the Senate convenes. Because of the time limit, Finance Committee members voted to approve the trade promotion authority legislation subject to amendment. It is uncertain whether or not amendments will become part of the bill before it is taken up by the full Senate."
The three negative votes were cast by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), and Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ). One of the votes in favor was cast by Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), the Senate Majority Leader. Whether he will promptly schedule this bill for a vote in the full Senate is a separate question. Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans, who has been lobbying Members of Congress on this bill, said in a release that "I hope Senator Daschle's support in Committee means the Senate will vote on TPA as soon as possible."
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Thursday, Dec 13
Day one of a two day conference titled the "19th Annual Institute on Telecommunications Policy & Regulation". See, schedule, below. Location: International Trade Center.
9:15 AM - 4:30 PM. The International Trademark Association will host a CLE program titled "Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) Practice for Advanced Practitioners Forum." The price to attend is $395. See, brochure and agenda. Location: Crystal Gateway Marriott, 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA.
10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a business meeting. The agenda includes confirmation of judicial and U.S. Attorney nominees. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.
10:00 AM. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property will hold the second part of a two part hearing titled "The Digital Millenium Copyright Act: Section 104 Report." The witnesses will be Marybeth Peters (Register of Copyrights), Marvin Berenson (Broadcast Music Inc.), Jonathan Potter (Digital Media Association), and Gary Klein (Consumer Electronics Association). Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.
10:00 AM. The Senate Finance Committee will meet to complete its consideration of its version [75 pages in PDF] of HR 3005, the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act of 2001. The Committee approved the bill by a vote of 18 to 3 on December 12, but may pass further amendments. Location: Room 215, Dirksen Building.
10:00 AM. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) will meet. The agenda includes adoption of a request for public comments on proposed voluntary guidelines for computer based voting systems. This item is scheduled for 10:45 AM. See, FEC release. Location: FEC, Commission Meeting Room, 999 E. St., NW, 9th floor.
2:00 PM. The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) and the NanoBusiness Alliance will jointly host a panel discussion on the public policy implications of emerging science and business of nanotechnology. The panelists will be Rob Atkinson (PPI), Mark Modzelewski (NanoBusiness Alliance), Mike Roco (National Nanotechnology Initiative), Steve Johns (Ardesta Capital), Meyya Meyyapan (NASA Ames Center for Nanotechnology), Steve Wilson (NYU Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology), Stephan Maebius (Foley and Lardner Law), and Josh Wolfe (Lux Capital). Location: Capitol Building, Room SC4.
2:00 PM. House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) will hold a "Year-end Q&A". This will be an on the record question and answer session on Committee business, accomplishments and plans for next year. Location: Room 2318, Rayburn Building.
6:00 PM. The FCBA will hold its 15th Annual FCBA Chairman's Dinner. The reception begins at 6:00 PM; dinner begins at 7:30 PM. Location: Washington Hilton & Towers, 1919 Connecticut Ave., NW.
19th Annual Institute on Telecommunications Policy & Regulation:
First Day: Dec 13
9:00 AM. Welcome by Margaret Tobey (FCBA).
9:10 AM. Overview by Henry Rivera, Clark Wadlow, and Richard Wiley.
9:15 AM. Congressional Keynote by Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), Chairman of the House Commerce Committee.
9:50 AM. Keynote by FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy.
10:40 AM. Wireline Telephone Tutorial by Dorothy Attwood (FCC).
11:10 AM. Panel: Developments in Wireline Telephony. The moderators will be Sue Blumenfeld and Henry Rivera. The panelists will be Lauren Belvin, James Cicconi, Kyle Dixon, Russell Frisby, Andrew Levin, and Jo Anne Sanford.
12:15 PM. Luncheon Speaker: Charles James (DOJ Antitrust Division).
1:45 PM. Wireless Tutorial: Thomas Sugrue (FCC).
2:15 PM. Panel: Developments in Wireless Telecommunications. The moderators will be Karen Brinkmann and Clark Wadlow. The panelists will be Diane Cornell, Brian Fontes, Michael Kennedy, Jay Kitchen, Luisa Lancetti, and Peter Tenhula.
3:30 PM. Internet Tutorial by Robert Pepper.
4:00 PM. Panel: Internet Developments. The moderators will be Laura Sherman and William Wiltshire. The panelists will be Mark Cooper, Jack Krumholtz, Jill Lesser, Ira Parker, Orson Swindle, and Howard Waltzman.
Friday, Dec 14
The House has tentatively scheduled a vote on HR 1542, the Tauzin Dingell bill.
8:30 - 10:00 AM. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a press breakfast on "The Role of the FCC in Restricting the Ownership of Licenses". Harold Furchtgott Roth and other AEI scholars will speak. RSVP to Veronique Rodman at 202 862-4871 or Location: AEI, 1150 17th Street, NW, 11th Floor Conference Room.
Day two of a two day conference titled the "19th Annual Institute on Telecommunications Policy & Regulation". See, schedule, below. Location: International Trade Center.
19th Annual Institute on Telecommunications Policy & Regulation:
Second Day: Dec 14
9:00 AM. Tutorial on FCC Legal Issues by Jane Mago and John Rogovin.
9:45 AM. Tutorial on International Issues by Donald Abelson and David Gross.
10:45 AM. Debate: The 1996 Telecommunications Act: A Failure or a Success? The moderator will be Peter Shields. The debaters will be Jeffrey Eisenach and David Leach.
11:30 AM. Panel: Telecommunications Future. The moderators will be Michele Farquhar and Richard Wiley. The panelists will be Scott Cleland, Peter Fannon, Dale Hatfield, William Kennard, Scott Marcus, and Alexandra Wilson.