Tech News 2Night 88 (Transcript)


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Tech News 2Night 88

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Tonight, the FCC approves new broadband rules, how will this change the internet forever?

Tech News 2Night is Next!

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This is Tech News 2Night Episode 88, for Thursday, May 15, 2014

I'm Jason Howell, Let's get right to the top story

We may all remember today as the day the The Federal Communications Commission changed the Internet as we know it. The FCC voted in favor of a preliminary proposal to allow Internet "fast lanes," with a 3-2 vote, while asking the public for comment on whether the commission should change the proposal before enacting final rules later this year. The FCC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, set back in 2010, addressed "network neutrality," the concept that Internet service providers need to treat all Internet traffic equally, even from competitors. Those rules prevent ISPs from blocking content outright, but allow ISPs to charge third-party Web services for a faster path to consumers. Those net neutrality rules were struck down in a federal appeals court ruling in January. The new rules are, again, still in proposal.

Joining me to talk all about the complexities of this story is Steve Kovach, Senior Editor at Business Insider. Welcome, Steve!

Today, you co-wrote an article about this FCC proposal, and you say right off the top that its likely to change the Internet as we know it.

-So let's start with the rules that the commissioners voted on. How might things change if these rules are enforced?

- the next step is public comment, including whether or not the FCC should ban paid prioritization. Why didn't the commission just vote to ban it?

- FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, said in statement before voting: ""there is one Internet: Not a fast internet. Not a slow Internet. One Internet."" What does he mean, especially if fast lanes are allowed?

- many in the tech sector have rallied against prioritization, saying smaller companies/startups with less money won't be able to compete with large companies that can pay for faster access. If there's a baseline service everyone gets, is that good enough?

- Netflix is already paying both comcast and Verizon for better access to their networks, known as a "peering agreement". Wheeler says this is ""a different matter that is better addressed separately. Today's proposal is all about what happens on the broadband provider's network and how the consumer's connection to the Internet may not be interfered with or otherwise compromised."" Is it a different matter?

-These rules are based on Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, which grants limited authority to the FCC for promoting competition via net neturality rules. It's entirely possible that what Wheeler sees as an "invitation for the FCC to act" here could actually lead to a congressional draft bill that takes the FCC's authorita away. How likely is that outcome in your opinion?

//Thanks Steve! Where can people follow your work online?

And now the Tech Feed...

So you thought we were done with the FCC? Nope. Also today the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to approve a framework to sell more broadcast television airwaves. Set for 2015, the plan limits how much spectrum the top two players, AT&T and Verizon, can buy, and leaves some of the new spectrum for smaller outifts like Sprint. Broadcasters can voluntarily sell airways and then take a cut of the proceeds. The broadcast industry in general does not favor the auction and Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters said, "The order today threatens diverse programming sources and diminishes a vibrant free and local news, entertainment and information source for millions of Americans who can't afford $200 a month for pay TV and broadband bills." The vote was strictly on political party lines with the two Republicans opposing the plan stating it limited competition.

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Minnesota signs the first smartphone 'kill switch' law. Starting on July 1, 2015 all smartphones sold in Minnesota must be --quote-- "equipped with preloaded antitheft functionality or be capable of downloading that functionality." There was no specific definition of what antitheft means, just that the user would be able to remotely disable and wipe the phones if stolen. It is estimated that nationally one in three robberies involves smartphones, according to the FCC. Now, most smartphone makers have plans for some sort of remote lock or memory wipe before next Jully. This law also criminalizes buying used phones for cash and not complying with new recordkeeping requirements. The wireless industry has argued that smartphone antitheft laws are unnecessary due to software like Find My iPhone and Android Device Manager.

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If you have an LTE device on AT&T, your calls are still falling back to 3G technologies, so they don't sound as good as they could. That's what AT&T's new service, HD Voice is all about: improving the sound quality of calls between two supported devices using its new Voice Over LTE service. After some delay, AT&T announced that those subscribers with a supported device like the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini will be able to hear a noticeable difference in their call quality thanks to the way voice conversations are transmitted via IP technology as opposed to traditional circuit-switched connections. Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac also says that people briefed on Apples plans are pointing to the possibility that iOS8 and the iPhone 6 might also support making calls over AT&T's LTE network. AT&T's VoLTE and HD Voice service launches in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin on May 23rd, with a broader roll-out taking place in the coming months.

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Starting today the country's four big wireless providers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, will officially route texts addressed to 911 to your local police. With that said- It's hard to say whether your local police department can recieve or respond to these texts. Each call center must decide how and when to allow Text-to-911. There are financial and logistical issues to work out. Since they are not real-time texts, they could experience delivery delays and there are no guarantees your emergency text will make it through. And if it doesn't make it through, the sender should receive a bounce-back message. But that right there tells you all you really need to know about the reliability of using text for 9-1-1, doesn't it?

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In Google Glass news, the University of California Irvine School of Medicine is issuing a pair of Glass to all of its students. Irvine will be the first medical school to fully incorporate Glass into its four-year curriculum. Its first- and second-year students will use the device in their anatomy and clinical skills courses, while third- and fourth-year students will wear Glass during their hospital rotations. The university says it's found Glass helpful in pilot tests that it has conducted in operating rooms, intensive care units, and the emergency department.

[Kicker!]

And finally, Will the next step in room service include a champagne delivery drone? At the posh Casa Madrona luxury resort in Sausalito, California just outside of San Francisco, that's what you get. With rates starting at $25-thousand a night, the "mansion suite" is a restored 1865 home which can sleep 24 people. The drone, complete with custom name badges for the hotel, was unveiled at the mansion's grand opening last week and can deliver up to three bottles of premium bubbly. Alcohol delivery: Showcasing the true, undeniable power of what drones really can do for us humans. Important stuff here, people. And now I'm thirsty.

[good bye] That's it for this edition of Tech News 2Night.

Subscribe to this show at Twit.tv/tn2, and write us at tn2@twit.tv

Don't miss our morning news program, Tech News Today, tomorrow and every weekday at 10am Pacific, 1 pm Eastern. I'm Jason Howell, thanks for watching.

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