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August 16, 2004, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 959.
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FCC Reports Another Decline in Telephone Subscribership

8/13. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau's (WCB) Industry Analysis and Technology Division (IATD) released its statistical report [53 pages in PDF] titled "Telephone Subscribership in the United States (Data Through March 2004)".

This report states that the percentage of households subscribing to telephone service is 94.2%. This data is based upon a question asked by the Census Bureau: "Is there a telephone in this house/apartment?". This is down .5% from the November 2003 survey. Moreover, this is the third straight decline. In addition, given the large sample sizes of Census Bureau surveys, this .5% decline is statistically significant.

The FCC report (see Table 1 and Chart 1) shows that from the early 1980s through about 2002 or 2003 telephone subscribership grew steadily from 91.4% to 95.5%.

However, neither the data in this report, nor the text that accompanies it, provide an explanation for the recent downward trend.

The report does not attempt to correlate individuals' decisions whether or not to subscribe to telephone service with their decisions whether or not to subscribe to or use other communications technologies. In fact, the report contains no data on subscription to or use other communications services or applications, such as broadband internet access via cable modem, VOIP applications, pagers, blackberries, or wireless devices with internet access.

In contrast, this report, like the reports that have preceded it, contain considerable statistical detail on telephone subscribership by income level, race, and region. Thus, the data collected and reported by the Census Bureau and the FCC examine the effects of income, race, and regional and urban/rural variations upon telephone subscribership, but not the effect of fungible or subsitutional technologies.

The Census Bureau and FCC data and reports once provided an accurate measure of the extent to which the U.S. population has access to easy to use, inexpensive, real time communications. With the deployment and uptake of other communications technologies, the Census Bureau and FCC methodology is likely to become increasingly obsolete and irrelevant as a measure of access to communications.

See also, FCC release [2 pages in PDF].

Pinkos Named USPTO Deputy Director

8/13. Stephen Pinkos was named Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Like the recently appointed USPTO Director, Jon Dudas, he is very young, from Chicago, and has spent most of his short professional career on Capitol Hill. Neither Dudas nor Pinkos is an engineer, scientist, or technologist.

Pinkos graduated from Miami University in Ohio in 1992 with a degree in political science, and from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, Illinois in 1995. From 1995 through 1998 he worked for Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) as Legislative Assistant and then Legislative Director. At the time, Rep. Sensenbrenner was a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee. He became Chairman in 2001. From 1998 through 2001 Pinkos worked for Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) as Counsel. Rep. Hyde was the Chairman at that time. Pinkos then worked as Staff Director and Deputy General Counsel of the Committee.

See also, story titled "Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on Nomination of Dudas to Head the USPTO" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 894, May 10, 2004. See also, USPTO release.

More FCC News

8/13. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a notice in the Federal Register that describes, and sets comment deadlines for, its its Notice of Inquiry (NOI) [15 pages in PDF] on issues relating to the presentation of violent programming on television and its impact on children. Comments due by September 15, 2004 and reply comments are due by October 15, 2004. This NOI is FCC 04-175 in MB Docket No. 04-261. See, Federal Register, August 12, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 155, at Pages 49899 - 49904.

8/13. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a notice in the Federal Register that describes, and sets comment deadlines for, its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to examine the proper number of end user common line charges that carriers may assess upon customers that obtain derived channel T-1 service where the customer provides the terminating channelization equipment and upon customers that obtain Primary Rate Interface (PRI) Integrated Service Digital Network (ISDN) service. Comments due by October 12, 2004 and reply comments are due by November 12, 2004. This NPRM is FCC 04-174 in WC Docket No. 04-259 and RM-10603. See, Federal Register, August 13, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 156, at Pages 50141 - 50146.

8/12. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released an Order and Consent Decree that fines Emmis Communications Corporation $300,000 in connection with citizen complaints about its broadcast of obscene, indecent or profane material, in violation of 47 C.F.R. 73.3999 and 18 U.S.C. S 1464. In FCC nomenclature, the fine is a "voluntary contribution". Emmis also agreed to "conduct training on obscenity and indecency for all on-air TV and radio talent and employees who materially participate in programming decisions". The FCC dismissed all pending complaints with prejudice. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps wrote in a separate statement that "I am most concerned about the effect of today's decision on the Commission's license renewal process. The totality of a broadcasters' record is pertinent and should be considered when licenses are renewed. Today's decision takes an entire part of the record off the table." See also, FCC release.

8/11. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filed its opposition to the petition for writ of mandamus [14 pages in PDF] with the U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) in In re Mid-Rivers Telephone Cooperative. Mid-Rivers is a local exchange carrier (LEC) in the state of Montana. US West is also a LEC. In February of 2002 Mid-Rivers filed a petition with the FCC in which it asserted that it is entitled to be reclassified as the incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC), within the meaning of 47 U.S.C. 251(h)(2), in Terry, Montana. The FCC has not yet acted on Mid-Rivers' petition. Mid-Rivers filed a petition for writ of mandamus with the Appeals Court to compell the FCC to act. The outcome of these proceedings has consequences for the FCC's universal service subsidy system. The case is App. Ct. No. 041163.

More News

8/13. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) published in its web site transcripts, pictures, and video of its July 14, 2004 meeting titled "Kids.us Forum: Developing a Safe Place on the Internet for Children".

8/13. The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Office of the Solicitor General filed its brief in opposition to granting certiorari with the Supreme Court in Visa v. USA, an antitrust case involving the membership rules of Visa and Mastercard's payment card networks. The U.S. District Court (SDNY) held that Visa and Mastercard's exclusionary rules violate Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Visa and Mastercard appealed. See, DOJ brief. The U.S. Court of Appeals (2ndCir) affirmed. See, opinion. Visa and Mastercard petitioned the Supreme Court for writ of certiorari. This case is Supreme Court No. 03-1521. See also, Mastercard's case summary.

8/13. The Federal Trade Commission (FCC) published a notice in the Federal Register that describes, and sets the comment deadline for, its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to implement the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM Act). Comments due by September 13, 2004. There is no reply comment period. See, Federal Register, August 13, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 156, at Pages 50091 - 50107.

Notice
There was no issue of the TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert on Friday, August 13, 2004.
Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Monday, August 16

The House and Senate are in recess through September 6.

9:30 AM. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled "Reorganizing America's Intelligence Community: A View from the Inside". Location: Room 342, Dirksen Building.

9:30 AM. The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on titled "9/11 Commission Recommendations on Transportation Security". The witnesses will be Thomas Kean (Chairman of the 9/11 Commission), Lee Hamilton (Vice-Chairman of the 9/11 Commission), and Asa Hutchinson (Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security, Department of Homeland Security). See, notice. Location: Room 253, Russell Building.

Deadline to submit comments to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau regarding informal complaints submitted to the FCC regarding slamming, or the unauthorized change of a subscriber's selection of telephone exchange or telephone toll service. See, FCC notice [PDF], and notice in the Federal Register, August 4, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 149, at Pages 47152 - 47153.

Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding reserve prices, minimum opening bids, and other auction procedures for the FCC's broadband PCS spectrum auction (Auction No. 58), which is scheduled to commence on January 12, 2005. See, FCC Public Notice [PDF] (DA 04-2451).

Tuesday, August 17

9:00 - 11:00 AM. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will host an event titled "Intellectual Property Rights Roundtable". The speakers will be Nancy Kratzer and David Faulconer of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center. The U.S. Chamber notice states that "This Event Is NOT Open To The Press."

9:30 AM. John Muleta, Chief of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, will hold a briefing. The FCC notice states that this briefing is "for members of the media" and that persons planning to attend should contact Lauren Patrich at 202 418-7944 or lauren.patrich@fcc.gov. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Room TW A-402/A-442.

? 1:00 PM. The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing regarding the 9/11 Commission recommendations on information sharing. The witnesses will include Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, Patrick Hughes. Location: Room 2118, Rayburn Building.

1:30 - 4:00 PM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) WRC 07 Advisory Committee, Informal Working Group 1: Terrestrial and Space Science Services, will meet. See, notice [PDF]. Location: FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, 8th Floor, Room 8-B411 (Conference Room #5).

6:00 - 8:15 PM. The DC Bar Association's Intellectual Property Law Section and Computer and Telecommunications Law Section will host a continuing legal education (CLE) program titled "Introduction to Anti-Spam Laws". The speakers will be Jason Levine (Covington & Burling) and Samuel Kaplan (Department of Justice). Prices vary. See, notice. For more information, contact 202-626-3488. Location: D.C. Bar Conference Center, B-1 Level, 1250 H Street, NW.

Wednesday, August 18

RESCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 2. 1:30 - 3:30 PM. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) WRC 07 Advisory Committee, Informal Working Group 5: Regulatory Issues, will meet. See, notice [PDF]. Location: The Boeing Company, Arlington, VA. See, rescheduling notice [PDF].

Thursday, August 19

10:00 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled "The 9-11 Commission and Recommendations for the Future of Federal Law Enforcement and Border Security". The witnesses will include Asa Hutchinson, the Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security at the Department of Homeland Security. See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The DC Bar Association's International Law Section and Antitrust and Consumer Law Section will host a panel discussion titled "The Reach Of U.S. Antitrust Law After Empagran". The subject will be the U.S. Supreme Court's June 14, 2004 opinion [23 pages in PDF] in F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., v. Empagran, S.A. The speakers will be Steven Mintz (Department of Justice, Antitrust Division), Peter Orszag (Brookings Institution), Elaine Metlin (Dickstein Shapiro), and Jonathan Franklin (Hogan & Hartson). See, notice. Prices vary from $10-$15. For more information, call 202 626-3463. Location: Fried Frank, 1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

6:00 - 9:15 PM. The DC Bar Association's Telecommunications Law Section will host a continuing legal education (CLE) program titled "New FCC Media Ownership Rules Made Simple". The speakers will be Tom Davidson (Akin Gump) and Gregory Masters (Wiley Rein & Fielding). Prices vary. See, notice. For more information, contact 202-626-3488. Location: D.C. Bar Conference Center, B-1 Level, 1250 H Street, NW.

Friday, August 20

10:00 AM. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law and Subcommittee on the Constitution will hold a joint hearing titled "Privacy and Civil Liberties in the Hands of the Government Post-9/11". The witnesses will include Nuala Kelly, Chief Privacy Officer of the Department of Homeland Security. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

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