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Digital Liberty blog

Keep Spam Out of Text Messages By Demri Scott | December 04, 2018

Text messaging is a trusted source of communication for Americans. That is not a coincidence.

Historically, text messaging has a spam rate of 2.8% while other messaging services such as email have spam rates as high as 53%. The rate of spam on SMS is so low for a reason—carriers are able to filter out spam messages. But that is only because the regulatory definitions currently in place allow providers to do that.

On this month’s FCC Open Meeting is an item on robotexts, ruling on a petition from Twilio, a mass texting service. The draft item on text messages would formally classify messaging as an information service, not a telecommunications service, reaffirming the regulatory definition of mobile messaging. It might seem mundane but maintaining the regulatory definition of SMS would ensure that consumers do not see an influx in text messaging spam.

Broadband in Space By Katie McAuliffe | November 14, 2018

America has a goal of connecting everyone to high-speed Internet access with a particular focus on connecting rural areas. Over the last two years, the president and congress have approved additional rural broadband spending and we are likely to see more in the Farm Bill.

We also want more competition in the marketplace so that people have a choice of providers. With 5G wireless will be better able to compete with wireline services.  The FCC is even reducing regulatory barriers for broadband from space.

SpaceX has been the focus in the news, but the FCC is reviewing satellite proposals for broadband from Telesat, LeoSat and Kepler Communications as well.

The FCC’s consideration shows a move to increase market competition for broadband as never before. These approvals are a positive and the FCC has shown diligence in balancing satellite needs with safety for other space mission and the decommissioning of space junk.

On 5G San Jose doesn’t get it By Demri Scott | November 13, 2018

A number of cities are getting ready for 5G by setting up policies that will allow companies to invest in next generation technologies. Unfortunately, some cities like San Jose still do not get it that exorbitant fees would effectively prevent 5G deployment. 

Earlier this year, the FCC approved several items that will speed up the deployment of next generation technologies by setting guidance on reasonable cost recoupment fees, and a timeline for the approval process, all of which were guided by and are in line with preexisting legislation at the state level. While previous generations relied on large cell towers, 5G will require a dense concentration of small cells to cover a particular area.

Since 5G deployment relies on small cells, which are so different from previous generations, the regulatory process for deployment needed to be updated so providers were not effectively prohibited from deployment. 

Net Neutrality's Impact on the Midterms By Brooke Starr | November 05, 2018

Technology policy has origins almost as far back as the founding of the country itself, while today the U.S has the largest tech market in the world, reaching $1.6 trillion in 2018. Tech policy, however, does not seem to be a pivotal issue in our nation when it comes to elections, although it has incredible importance to not only the economy, but also our daily lives in the form of the internet and social media. Roslyn Layton recently published, “Tech Policy and the Midterm Elections” for the American Enterprise Institute, arguing that although tech policy has deep roots in American policy, it does not seem to be a key driver in elections. She analyzes the potential effects of the net neutrality debate in particular.

5G Depends on America’s Carriers By Demri Scott | October 23, 2018

5G will revolutionize our lives whether it’s through IOT technologies such as telemedicine, or automated vehicles, the opportunities are endless.

But, the switch to 5G will require providers to make fundamental changes in spectrum use and infrastructure, while implementing softwarization.  A new report released by MIT economist Dr. William Lehr details these changes and explains that companies will need to invest in a massive amount of financial, technical and operational resources to make 5G technologies available in the near future.

5G will require Mobile Network Operators to have a combination of high, mid and low band spectrum assets. In the past, MNOs have relied on licensed spectrum and build up their spectrum assets through auctions and mergers. Access to spectrum helps consumers the most as it leads to lower cost and higher quality of service. 5G requires a lot of spectrum and in order to remain competitive in the market, MNOs will need to have enough spectrum to deploy 5G.

ATR & Digital Liberty support the Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act By Demri Scott and Brooke Starr | October 12, 2018

On October 11, Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore) introduced a bill to promote neutrality, simplicity, and fairness in the taxation of digital goods and digital services (S.3581). The bill establishes a framework that would protect Americans from being charged duplicative and discriminatory taxes online. A sister bill, H.R.7058, was introduced in the House on October 12. 

A similar bill (S.851/H.R.1643) was previously introduced in the 114th Congress by Senator Thune (R-S.D.) in the Senate and Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) in the House. The House bill made it through four separate committees and a mark-up before being ordered to be amended in June of 2015. The Senate bill was read twice then referred to the Committee on Finance.

California Passes Extreme Net Neutrality Bill By Demri Scott and Brooke Starr | October 01, 2018

Over the weekend, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a so-called net neutrality bill into law following the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of Title II regulations. Within minutes the Department of Justice sued California for “unlawfully [imposing] burdens on the Federal Government’s deregulatory approach to the Internet”

Digital Liberty Statement on FCC 5G Order By | September 07, 2018

This week, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr announced the Wireless Infrastructure Order, which would pave the way for 5G deployment.

The following statement can be attributed to Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director of Digital Liberty:

“5G will revolutionize our lives whether it’s through telemedicine, IoT or automated vehicles, the opportunities are endless, and the FCC’s draft order clarifies a basic framework for localities to follow that will accelerate the deployment of 5G infrastructure.  

It sets guidance on reasonable cost recoupment fees, accounts for aesthetic review, and sets a timeline for approval process, all of which have been guided by and are in line with preexisting legislation at the state level.

We look forward to working with the Commission on this Order.”

Digital Liberty Submits Comments to the FTC Ahead of Hearings By Demri Scott | August 22, 2018

On August 20, 2018, Digital Liberty submitted comments to the Federal Trade Commission ahead of Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.

In their comments, Digital Liberty highlighted the repeal of Title II regulations at the FCC, international tax laws that threaten innovation in Silicon Valley and the consequences of distorting the market through government intervention and regulation.

The comments detailed that: