February 27th, 2015 by Michael Sauers

For those of you that missed it:

Posted in Internet Tagged with: ,

February 3rd, 2015 by Michael Sauers

The Federal Communications Commission is going to allow two cities to ignore state laws that ban them from building community-owned broadband networks, according to chairman Tom Wheeler.

It’s big news for Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina, and it’s a signal to other cities in the 21 states that have laws restricting municipal broadband that they can start considering their own networks without worrying about their state laws.

Some quick background: Many cities that are poorly served by existing cable and internet companies decide to build their own networks. It’s a particularly attractive option for cities and towns in rural areas, and President Obama and Chairman Wheeler have been pushing it as something cities should consider if they are unhappy with their current service.

But many states have laws restricting the practice, which were mostly lobbied for by telecom companies. Wheeler and Obama have said they’d use a process known as preemption, in which the federal government invalidates part of a state law (at least on a case-by-case basis).

Wheeler decided today that North Carolina’s and Tennessee’s laws could be preempted. The full commission will vote on his decision later this month.

It’s exciting, but the move also doesn’t necessarily mean the floodgates are open.

“Federal preemption is a serious matter, so it has to be done on a case-by-case basis,” an FCC spokesperson told me. “It’s not like you do one and then you can clear them all. There still has to be examination of the facts.”

Read the full article @ Motherboard.

Posted in Politics & Law Tagged with:

September 8th, 2014 by Michael Sauers

On Aug. 5, the Federal Communications Commission announced the bulk release of the comments from its largest-ever public comment collection. We’ve spent the last three weeks cleaning and preparing the data and leveraging our experience in machine learning and natural language processing to try and make sense of the hundreds-of-thousands of comments in the docket. Here is a high-level overview, as well as our cleaned version of the full corpus which is available for download in the hopes of making further research easier.

Our first exploration uses natural language processing techniques to identify topical keywords within comments and use those keywords to group comments together. We analyzed a corpus of 800,959 comments. Some key findings:

  • We estimate that less than 1 percent of comments were clearly opposed to net neutrality1.
  • At least 60 percent of comments submitted were form letters written by organized campaigns (484,692 comments); while these make up the majority of comments, this is actually a lower percentage than is common for high-volume regulatory dockets.
  • At least 200 comments came from law firms, on behalf of themselves or their clients.

Below is an interactive visualization that lets you explore these groupings and view individual comments within the groups.

Read the full article @ The Sunlight Foundation.

Posted in Politics & Law Tagged with: ,

June 19th, 2014 by Michael Sauers

Former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps speaking at the Library of Congress on June 18, 2014Copps, however, was anything but retrospective when he stood to speak. “I’m not here to celebrate,” he began, “I’m here to advocate.” And the landscape he laid out is indeed not one to cheer for.

He led off by agreeing with the several executive speakers that true competition is the way of the future, and the best way to serve consumers. “But we haven’t given competition the chance it needs,” he continued, before referring to how poorly U.S. broadband compares on the global stage. “We have fallen so far short that we should be ashamed of ourselves. We should be leading, and we’re not. We need to get serious about broadband, we need to get serious about competition, we need to get serious about our country.”

Read the full post @ Consumerist.

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April 15th, 2011 by Michael Sauers

Back in early March I was accepted into the FCC broadband testing program Sam Knows. AS a result I got a specially-configured Netgear router which reports stats back to the FCC so as to compare what my ISP says I should be getting and what I’m actually getting service-wise. What I didn’t know is that I’d also get a monthly report of those stats. This morning I received the first one and I’ve found them interesting. Below is the complete report.

It looks like overall I’m getting the service I’m supposed to be getting but you can clearly see the days in which my service was lacking, to put it politely. I can confirm that I had no service the weekend of the 12th; where the orange line is nonexistent in the first two charts. Looking to the Latency and Packet Loss charts you can see the problem weekend along with some other days in which I did have the throughput but not everything was getting through.


I’ve not had a chance yet to dive into any of the detailed charts yet. Maybe I’ll share some of those once I’ve taken a look at the actual data they contain.

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