7 things to know ahead of the FCC's net neutrality vote

Protesters demonstrate across the street from the Comcast Center Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, in Philadelphia. Demonstrators called for further Federal Communications Commission regulation of Internet traffic to support "net neutrality," advocates who want strong government protections for the open Internet. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)After years of hearings, lawsuits and bickering, you would think there is nothing left to say about … Read More

What the FCC’s net neutrality ruling means for journalism

The battle over regulation of the Internet moves to Congress this week. Until now, the question of whether the Federal Communications Commission should have the power to force Internet service providers to treat all customers equally has been a legal matter, tied up in federal courts. But on Tuesday, FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler heads to Capitol Hill to face the … Read More

Proposed FCC net neutrality rules could favor large content providers

The Wall Street Journal | The New York Times In what would amount to a reversal on net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission will propose new rules that would allow companies like Netflix and Amazon to pay for high-speed delivery of their content, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported Wednesday. The rules to be presented Thursday would prevent Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner from blocking or throttling individual websites called up by users, the Journal's Gautham Nagesh reported. But broadband providers could offer companies preferential treatment for speedier lanes to get their content quickly to consumers based on "commercially reasonable" terms. Consumers could end up paying more for services if companies pass on the additional charges. Read More

Local TV stations defeated in FCC rules on joint ad sales, retransmission fee talks

The Federal Communications Commission handed local TV station owners two big defeats Monday. The FCC made it tougher for TV stations in the same market to sell advertising together. The so-called Joint Sales Agreements, or JSAs, Michael Manis have become increasingly common in recent years as smaller stations tap into the efficiencies of having one sales force sell for multiple stations. The FCC’s new rules will ban JSAs in which one station sells 15 percent or more of the advertising time of another station. The JSAs have become especially useful to stations that could not get FCC approval to outright manage another station in the market. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said stations have used JSAs as an “end-run” around FCC ownership rules. Dennis Wharton, the National Association of Broadcasters executive vice president of communications, said, "For a decade, Republican- and Democratically-controlled FCCs have approved JSAs, which allow free and local TV stations to survive in a hyper-competitive world dominated by pay TV Giants. That model is now declared illegal, based on the arguments of pay TV companies whose collaborative interconnect advertising sales practices make JSAs seem pale by comparison.” Some local broadcasters have said “unwinding” the JSAs would mean stations would have to cut back on spending. A couple of weeks ago, Marci Burdick, senior vice president for Schurz Communications which owns 10 stations and operates three JSAs, told a congressional subcommittee that ending JSAs would hurt local broadcasters: “For instance, our JSA in Wichita provides the only Spanish local newscast in the state of Kansas. In Springfield, Missouri, our JSA helped take a struggling station to one that is winning national awards for local news coverage. Read More