TLJ News from November 1-5, 2012

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11/5. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) heard oral argument in Northern Valley Communications v. FCC, App. Ct. No. 11-1467. This is petition for review of an order of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding access charges for completing long distance calls. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and Qwest have intervened. Northern Valley, a small local exchange carrier in northeastern South Dakota, wants to change long distance companies to complete calls to its non-paying customers, contrary to FCC rules (47 C.F.R. 61.26). See, FCC brief [77 pages in PDF].

BLS Releases October Employment Estimates

11/2. The Department of Labor's (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released employment data for the U.S. for the month of October 2012.

The BLS stated in a release that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the US in October was 7.9%. This is unchanged from September. (The BLS reported one month ago that the unemployment rate for September was 7.8%. It then revised this to 7.9%.)

The BLS stated in this release that "the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent". It also stated that Hurricane Sandy did not affect this rate because it is based upon data collected prior to the hurricane.

Table A-1, which is based on household surveys, shows that the seasonally adjusted total labor force grew from 155,063,00 to 155,641,000, and that the labor force participation rate rose from 63.6% in September to 63.8% in October. This same table shows that total employment rose from 142,974,000 to 143,384,000, and that total unemployment rose from 12,088,000 to 12,258,000.

Table B-1, which is based upon business surveys, reveals employment trends in various industry sectors, including information and communications technology (ICT) sectors. The BLS's categories do not facilitate precise analysis of trends in ICT. Nevertheless, the data set out in the table below contains ICT related categories.

The table below contains ICT related excerpts from the BLS table titled "Table B-1. Employees on nonfarm payrolls by industry sector and selected industry detail". This is the seasonally adjusted data.

Table: Total Number of Employees in Thousands by ICT Industry Sector
  Computer & peripheral equipment 160.7 167.1 164.7 164.6
  Communication equipment 113.2 108.3 107.8 107.0
  Semiconductors & electronic comp. 388.2 386.2 385.0 387.0
Information Services:        
  Publishing industries, except Internet 748.6 739.7 739.6 738.9
  Motion picture & sound recording 356.5 374.4 368.2 368.4
  Broadcasting, except Internet 280.3 278.6 279.0 278.4
  Telecommunications 853.1 829.5 827.6 829.0
  Data processing, hosting & related serv. 242.4 242.7 240.3 240.3
  Other information services 163.3 169.3 170.5 170.5
Professional Services:        
  Legal services 1,115.0 1,119.7 1,121.0 1,121.6
  Computer systems design & related serv. 1,548.5 1,612.6 1,616.9 1,623.5
Source: BLS, November 2, 2012 employment report, Table B-1.

While overall employment grew by 410,000 in October, ICT employment changed little.

The one bright spot in ICT employment is the category of "Computer systems design and related services". Total employment in this category is up for the month and for the year. Employment in "Telecommunications services" was up too in October, but this is a short term aberration. The long term trend in this category is downwards, regardless of economic cycles.

The government collects data from two sources -- households (that is, its survey of individuals) and establishments (reports from businesses that employ people). The unemployment rate (7.9%) is based on household data.

The household data also reveals that many people entered the workforce, and that the work force participation rate grew. Both are signs of economic strength. And, both the number of persons with jobs, and without jobs, increased. However, the participation rate remains lower than in recent years.

US Submits Proposed Treaty Language for WCIT

11/2. On October 31 the Department of State (DOS) submitted to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for next month's World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) its filing [17 pages in PDF] titled "Additional Proposals for the Work of the Conference".

This filing consists largely of a marked up copy of the existing treaty with the proposed additions and deletions of the U.S.

The conference will be held on December 3-14, 2012 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

This is the second filing by the DOS. See, first filing [6 pages in PDF], and story titled "US Submits Proposals to ITU for WCIT" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,421, August 5, 2012.

The DOS stated in a release on November 1 that these proposals "focus on creating an enabling environment for increased investment in global telecommunication infrastructure by promoting competition, transparency, and consumer choice".

It added that this filing reaffirms "the U.S. view that competition and commercial agreements -- not regulation -- is the best model for exchanging international telecommunications traffic".

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski stated in a release that "The proposals would eliminate regulatory burdens and recognize that international arrangements between telecommunications providers should be based on commercial agreements, which is the reality in 98% of the market today. Global telecommunications markets have thrived under this approach, which provides incentives for investments in telecommunications infrastructure, particularly in developing countries. The U.S. contribution also specifically encourages such investment, recognizing that improved connectivity around the world will maximize the benefits of 21st century communications to consumers everywhere."

On August 2, the House passed HConRes 127 regarding this upcoming WCIT. See, stories titled "House Approves Resolution Opposing International Internet Regulation" and "Ambassador Kramer Addresses Upcoming WCIT" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 2,420, August 4, 2012.

On October 25 the DOS released the U.S. Delegation List for the WCIT. It lists both government and private sector members.

On November 2 the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) submitted a filing [7 pages in PDF] to the ITU. It criticizes the ITU for conducting the WCIT in a non-transparent, non-multi-stakeholder manner.

The CDT also criticizes proposals to amend the term "telecommunication" by adding either "data processing" or "ICT(s)", and to change the definition of "recognized operating agencies" to "operating agencies" so as to subject internet content and service providers to the provisions of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITR)s.

The CDT also criticizes proposals to impose restrictions on the routing of internet communications, to impose a sender pays interconnection model, and to harmonize laws that contain data retention mandates.

Go to News from October 26-31, 2012.