|AT&T to Acquire T-Mobile
3/20. AT&T, Inc. and Deutsche Telekom AG announced in a
release that they "have entered into a definitive agreement under which AT&T
will acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom in a cash-and-stock transaction"
and that this agreement "has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both
This transaction is subject to numerous regulatory reviews, including
antitrust merger reviews by the Department of Justice's (DOJ)
Division and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The two companies stated that "AT&T commits to a significant expansion of
robust 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) deployment to 95 percent of the U.S.
population to reach an additional 46.5 million Americans beyond current plans --
including rural communities and small towns". (Parentheses in original.)
This transaction would reduce the number of competitors in wireless voice and
broadband access services. However, AT&T asserted that "The U.S. wireless
industry is one of the most fiercely competitive markets in the world and will
remain so after this deal. The U.S. is one of the few countries in the world
where a large majority of consumers can choose from five or more wireless
providers in their local market."
AT&T added that "This transaction quickly provides the spectrum and network
efficiencies necessary for AT&T to address impending spectrum exhaust in key markets
driven by the exponential growth in mobile broadband traffic on its network."
The DOJ and FCC have yet to attempt to block a wireless merger.
This transaction may enable the FCC to impose rules, which it may label
"voluntary concessions", without a rulemaking proceeding, and which it may lack
statutory authority to impose by rulemaking. Numerous companies, interest
groups, and others will likely lobby the FCC for imposition of such concessions
for their own benefit. Network neutrality rules may be one focus of attention.
However, any such rules or concessions would bind the merged entity, but not
other competing wireless service providers. Thus, if this acquisition is
consummated, and even if the Court of Appeals does not overturn the FCC's
recently promulgated broadband internet access service (BIAS) rules, AT&T and
Verizon could be subjected for years to disparate wireless regulatory regimes.
Congressional Reaction. Sen. John
Rockefeller (D-WV), the Chairman of the Senate
Commerce Committee (SCC), stated in a
release that "With every passing day, wireless services are becoming more
and more important to the way we communicate. So it is absolutely essential that
both the Department of Justice and the FCC leave no stone unturned in
determining what the impact of this combination is on the American people.
Consumers across the country and at home in West Virginia want lower rates,
competition and better coverage. As always in a transaction this large, the
Commerce Committee will review the details of the acquisition."
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), a senior member
of the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC),
stated in a
release that "Consumers have borne the brunt of the increasingly concentrated market for mobile
phone service. The explosion of cell phone usage -- especially smart phones -- makes
competition in this market more important than ever as a check on prices, consumer choice,
and service. That's why the Antitrust Subcommittee will take a close look at what this
loss of competition will mean for people who increasingly rely on wireless phone service
to connect to friends, family and the Internet."
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), the ranking Democrat
on the House Commerce Committee's (HCC)
Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, stated in a
release that "Competition is essential to promoting a vibrant wireless market,
where consumers have a choice in the innovative services and devices available to them.
As the FCC and DOJ begin their regulatory and antitrust review, I urge them to carefully
examine the proposed transaction."
She added that "it is essential that we conduct oversight hearings
and I look forward to leading that process."
Opposition Groups. The Public
Knowledge's (PK) Gigi Sohn stated in a
release that "The combination of the second-largest wireless carrier, AT&T,
with the fourth-largest, T-Mobile is, as former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt once said,
'unthinkable.' We urge policymakers to think similarly today. The wireless market, now
dominated by four big companies, would have only three at the top. We know the results
of arrangements like this -- higher prices, fewer choices, less innovation."
She added that "The fact that AT&T and T-Mobile would even think of such a
combination shows how desperately the U.S. needs both strong network
neutrality rules and a competition policy that requires dominant
broadband providers to make their networks available to competitors."
The Free Press's Derek Turner stated in a
release, "Don't believe the hype: There is nothing about having less
competition that will benefit wireless consumers. And if regulators approve this
deal, they will further cement duopoly control over the wireless market by AT&T
Turner added that "A market this concentrated -- where the top four companies
already control 90 percent of the business, and two of them want to merge --
means nothing but higher prices and fewer choices, as the newly engorged AT&T
and Verizon exert even more control over the wireless Internet."
The Media Access Project's (MAP) Andrew
Schwartzman stated in a
release that "If approved, this
deal would further increase costs and decrease choices for the public. Needless to say, it
also presages a major confrontation at the Justice Department and the FCC. The FCCs National
Broadband Plan, issued last year, warned about the absence of sufficient competition in
the wireless market. The possibility that three players would control nearly three-quarters
of that market will surely trigger intense scrutiny by the agencies."
|House Passes Bill to Limit
3/17. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) introduced
HR 1076 [LOC |
WW], a bill
to limit federal funding of National Public Radio (NPR), on March 15, 2011. The House
passed this bill on March 17 by a vote of 228-192. See,
Roll Call No. 192. Republicans
voted 228-7. Democrats voted 0-185. The Senate has not passed this bill.
This bill provides in part that "No Federal funds may be made available ...
for the acquisition of radio programs (including programs to be distributed or
disseminated over the Internet) by or for the use of a radio broadcast station
that is a public broadcast station ...". (Parentheses in original.)
Republicans who spoke in the House made the argument that taxpayers should
not be subsidizing radio broadcasting, more than the argument that NPR leans to
the left ideologically.
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) spoke only
about the needlessness of taxpayer subsidies.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) stated
that this is "a bill to get the Federal Government -- and Federal taxpayers --
out of the business of buying radio programming they do not agree with."
She continued that this bill "does not defund public radio stations. They
still may use Federal funding to operate their stations or to produce their own
programming. Public radio stations may also continue to purchase programming
from NPR or other sources, just not with Federal taxpayer dollars. Also, this
bill has no impact ... on public television."
Rep. Lamborn offered this summary of the bill: "First, it prohibits public
radio stations from using Federal funds to purchase programming. Current Federal
law requires that about 26 percent of Federal grants to public radio stations be
used for the production or acquisition of programming. Many stations use these
restricted grants to purchase programming from NPR. These programming fees are
the largest single source of NPR revenue at $56 million in fiscal year '10. Second,
H.R. 1076 prohibits stations from using Federal funds to pay NPR dues: in fiscal year
'10, over 400 member stations paid a total of $2.8 million in dues to NPR. Third, my
bill prohibits direct Federal fundings of National Public Radio."
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the
ranking Democrat on the House Commerce
Committee (HCC), and other Democrats praise NPR. Rep. Waxman stated in the House
that "This bill will cripple National Public Radio, public radio stations, and
programming that is vital to over 27 million Americans. We are now voting to deny the
public access to one of our Nation's most credible sources of news coverage."
The HCC's Democratic staff wrote a
memorandum [PDF] that states that this bill "would have a significant
impact on public radio stations across the country, eliminating all funding for
NPR through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Hundreds of stations
rely on CPB funding as a major source of funding, especially rural stations and
The memorandum adds that "the legislation did not go through the normal
Committee process, there have been no hearings, testimony, or expert review, and
members have little information about its impact."
It also lists subsidies by Congressional district in 2009. Stations in the at large
district for the state of Alaska received the largest total subsidy -- $5,033,526.00.
Rep. Don Young (R-AK) did not vote on
On March 15, 2011, the House passed
HJRes 48, a
three week continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through
April 8. The Senate passed it on March 17. President Obama signed it on March
18. It is now Public Law No. 112-6.
Rep. Lamborn stated in a
release on March 17 that HJRes 48 "contains $50 million in cuts for NPR's
parent organization, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). H.R. 1, the
CR passed by the House last month, rescinded all federal funding for CPB through
the end of this fiscal year. The Senate rejected that funding bill and has yet
to offer an alternative." He added that he "will continue to push for the
elimination of taxpayer dollars for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
through the annual appropriations process."
|Obama Nominates Lisa Monaco to
Be Head of DOJ's National Security Division
3/17. President Obama nominated Lisa Monaco Assistant Attorney General (AAG) in charge
of the Department of Justice's (DOJ) National
Security Division (NSD). See, White House news office
The NSD has responsibilities with respect to wiretaps, electronic
surveillance, and accessing stored data, under the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act (FISA).
Monaco is currently Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General at the DOJ.
She has worked at the DOJ or the DOJ's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
since 1998. She was Counsel to former Attorney General Janet Reno. She worked
for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. And, she was Chief
of Staff to FBI Director Robert Mueller.
If confirmed by the Senate, Monaco would replace David Kris, who announced
his departure in January, after serving for two years.
|This issue contains the following items:
AT&T to Acquire T-Mobile USA
House Passes Bill to Limit NPR Funding
Obama Nominates Lisa Monaco to Be Head of DOJ's National Security Division
More People and Appointments
New items are highlighted in
The House will be in recess Monday, March 21 through Friday, March 25.
It will next meet on Tuesday, March 29.
The Senate will be in recess Monday, March 21,
through Friday, March 25. It will next meet at 2:00 PM on Monday, March 28.
9:30 - 11:30 AM. The Information Technology
and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) will host a discussion of the
book [Amazon] titled "The Great Stagnation", by
Tyler Cowen (George Mason University). The speakers will be Cowen, Rob
Atkinson (ITIF), and Edward Luce (Financial Times). See,
Location: ITIF/ITIC, 1101 K St., NW.
12:15 - 1:30 PM. The New America
Foundation (NAF) will host a discussion of the
book [PDF] titled "World Wide Mind: The Coming Integration of Humanity,
Machines and the Internet", by
Michael Chorost. The speakers will be Chorost and Andres Martinez (NAF).
Location: NAF, 1899 L St., NW.
|Tuesday, March 22
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Day one of a two day meeting of the Department of
Energy's (DOE) Advanced
Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC). See,
notice in the
Federal Register, February 22, 2011, Vol. 76, No. 35, at Pages 9765-9766.
Location: American Geophysical Union, 2000 Florida Ave., NW.
TIME? The Office of the U.S.
Trade Representative (OUSTR) will hold a hearing regarding preparation of its 2011
Special 301 report, regarding countries that deny adequate and effective protection of
intellectual property rights (IPR) or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons
who rely on IP protection. See,
notice in the Federal Register, December 30, 2010, Vol. 75, No. 250, at Pages 82424-82426.
See also, story titled "OUSTR Seeks Input for Special 301 Report" in TLJ Daily
E-Mail Alert No. 2,191, January 3, 2011. Location: OUSTR, 1724 F St., NW.
TIME? The National Science Foundation
(NSF) will host an event titled "Assumption Buster Workshop:
Defense-in-Depth Is a Smart Investment for Cyber Security". See,
notice in the Federal
Register, February 7, 2011, Vol. 76, No. 25, at Pages 6637-6638. Location?
|Wednesday, March 23
9:00 AM - 12:00 NOON. Day two of a two day meeting of the
Department of Energy's
(DOE) Advanced Scientific
Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC). See,
notice in the
Federal Register, February 22, 2011, Vol. 76, No. 35, at Pages 9765-9766.
Location: American Geophysical Union, 2000 Florida Ave., NW.
12:15 - 1:45 PM. The DC Bar Association
will host an event titled "An End to the Kludge?: Potential Issues in the Transition
to IPv6". The speakers will be Robert Cannon (FCC), Bobby Flaim (FBI), Doug
Montgomery (NIST Advanced Network Technologies Division), and Bill Woodcock (Packet Clearing
notice. The price to attend ranges from free to $15. For more information, call 202-626-3463.
Location: Dow Lohnes, 8th floor, 1225 New Hampshire Ave., NW.
12:15 - 1:30 PM. The Federal Communications
Bar Association's (FCBA) Homeland Security and Emergency Communications
Committee will host a brown bag lunch titled "Public Safety
Interoperability". The speakers will include Robert Pavlak (Office
of the Chief Technology Officer, District of Columbia), Genaro Fullano (FCC's
Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau), Chris Essid (Director of the
DHS's Office of Emergency Communications), and Morgan Wright (Alcatel-Lucent).
Location: Mintz Levin, Suite 900, 701 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.
No events listed.
|Friday, March 25
Supreme Court conference day (discussion of argued
cases, and decision on cert petitions). Closed.
|Monday, March 28
8:00 AM - 5:30 PM. Day one of a two day
meeting of the National Science Foundation's (NSF)
National Science Board's (NSB) Task Force on Data Policies. The agenda for
this meeting includes discussion of "Data-Intensive Science" and "High
Performance Cyberinfrastructure". See,
notice in the
Federal Register, March 21, 2011, Vol. 76, No. 54, at Pages 15349-15350.
Location: NSF, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Room 1235, Arlington, VA.
Deadline to submit reply comments to the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its
Inquiry (NOI) [31 pages in PDF] regarding how dynamic access radios and techniques
can provide more intensive and efficient use of spectrum. The FCC adopted and released this
NOI on November 30, 2010. It is FCC 10-198 in ET Docket No. 10-237. See,
notice in the Federal
Register, December 28, 2010, Vol. 75, No. 248, at Pages 81558-81559. See also, story titled
"FCC Adopts NPRM and NOI on Spectrum Innovation" 2,168, December 4, 2010.
Deadline to submit initial comments to the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) in response to its
Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding extending to June 30, 2012, the current freeze
of jurisdictional separations category relationships and cost allocation factors.
This NPRM is FCC 11-34 in CC Docket No. 80-286. The FCC adopted and released it on March
1, 2011. See, Federal Register, March 14, 2011, Vol. 76, No. 49, at Pages 13576-13579.
|More People and
3/17. The Senate confirmed Amy Jackson to be a Judge of the
U.S. District Court (DC) by a vote of
Roll Call No. 45, and Congressional Record, March 17, 2011, at Page
3/17. The Senate Commerce Committee
(SCC) approved the nomination of Philip Coyle to be an Associate Director
of the Office of
Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). See, Congressional Record,
March 17, 2011, at Page S1826.
3/17. The Senate
Judiciary Committee (SJC) approved the nomination of James Cole to
be Deputy Attorney General, by a partisan vote of 10-8. See SJC
release. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT),
the Chairman of the SJC, praised Cole, and summarized bipartisan support for his
nomination. Sen. Charles Grassley
(R-IA), the ranking Republican on the SJC, stated that "I have serious concerns
with the nomination of James Cole" because of his "views on national security
and terrorism". Sen. Grassley discussed a 2002 opinion piece written by Cole
about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and concluded that "it appears
that if given a choice of prosecuting high ranking terrorists in civilian courts
or military commissions, Mr. Cole would likely favor civilian courts".
3/17. The Senate Judiciary Committee
(SJC) approved the nomination of Edward Chen to be a Judge of the
U.S. District Court (NDCal), by a partisan
vote of 10-8. See,
statement of Sen. Dianne Feinstein
(D-CA) in support of Chen. Sen. Charles
Grassley (R-IA), the ranking Republican on the SJC, predicted that "there
will be considerable debate" on the Senate floor.
3/17. The Senate
Judiciary Committee (SJC) held an executive business meeting for which
numerous judicial nominees were on the agenda. The nomination of Caitlin
Halligan (currently General Counsel in the
New York County District Attorney's Office) to be a Judge of the
U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) was
not on the agenda. However, Sen. Charles
Grassley (R-IA), the ranking Republican on the SJC, spoke about her in the
context of Democrats' dilatory tactics that prevented two of former President
Bush's nominees for the DC Circuit from coming to a vote in the Senate --
Miguel Estrada (now
at Gibson Dunn) who was filibustered by Senate Democrats in Bush's first term,
and Peter Keisler (now
at Sidley Austin), who was effectively blocked by the Democratic controlled SJC
in Bush's second term. Sen. Grassley said that "Keisler waited 918 days for some
committee action, which never came". See also, story titled "Obama Nominates
Caitlin Halligan for DC Circuit" in
TLJ Daily E-Mail
Alert No. 2,138, October 4, 2010.
3/17. The Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC)
held an executive business meeting at which it held over consideration of the nominations
of Gordon Liu to be a Judge of the U.S.
Court of Appeals (9thCir), Kevin Sharp (USDC/MDTenn), Roy Dalton
(USDC/MDFl), and Claire Cecchi (USDC/DNJ).
3/16. The Senate Homeland Security and
Governmental Affairs Committee (SHSGAC) approved the nomination of
Heather Higginbottom to be Deputy Director of the
Office of Management and Budget
(OMB) by a vote of 6-4. See, SHSGAC
release and Congressional Record, March 16, 2011, at Page S1750.
3/16. President Obama nominated Mary Lewis to be a Judge of the U.S.
District Court for the District of South Carolina. See, White House news office
3/16. President Obama nominated Jane Margaret Milazzo to be a Judge of the
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. See, White House news office
3/14. President Obama reappointed
Dan Arvizu (head of the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy
Laboratory) and Alan
Leshner (CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science) to be
members of the National Science Foundation (NSF) National
Science Board (NSB), for terms expiring on May 10, 2016. See, White House news office
|About Tech Law
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