Thursday, March 11
In a move to free up more of the nation’s spectrum for wireless use, the House Energy & Commerce Committee passed a spectrum inventory bill yesterday. Via Broadcasting & Cable:
H.R. 3125, the Radio Spectrum Inventory Act, requires the FCC and the National Telecommunications & Information Administration to conduct an inventory of how spectrum is being used, by whom and how efficiently.
House Communications & Internet Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Rick Boucher, who co-sponsored the bill, said the new four-year time frame was “in recognition that the agencies simply need time in order to perform the complex evaluations that will undermine these evaluations.”
Wednesday, March 10
As part of its upcoming national broadband plan, the FCC has announced it wants to create a “digital literacy corps” to help educate people in low broadband adoption areas about the benefits of broadband. Reports Broadcasting & Cable:
[FCC Chairman Julius] Genachowski said that rural, minority, low-income, seniors, the disabled and tribal communities have fallen behind in broadband, and the cost of digital exclusion is “high and growing higher every day.”
Other inclusion proposals include creating an “online skills” portal with free lessons and digital education, though of course that will require broadband availability.
The FCC will also recommend public funding for the National Telecommunications & Information Administration to support public-private partnerships for outreach and education and targeted support for senior citizens.
Via Salon comes the heartwarming tale of comedian Conan O’Brien, an anonymous Twitter user, and the contest O’Brien held to “change someone’s life forever.”
Massively Multiplayer Online games — think World of Warcraft — are big business in the United States. How big? According to Games Industry, in 2009 there were 46 million players. And all told, those players spent a staggering $3.8 billion.
In a surprising move — for government, anyway — the FCC has announced that it’s much anticipated national broadband plan will now be released on March 16 — a day earlier than originally scheduled.
Tuesday, March 09
Reuters reports that as part of its national broadband plan — due to be presented before Congress in just eight days — the FCC will recommend dedicating some spectrum to provide free or low-cost wireless Internet service to low-income and rural communities.
Back in 2001, an idea was hatched to create the domain .xxx specifically for adult websites. Though the domain was approved four years later, ICANN — the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — eventually reversed the plan after complaints from parents and Christian groups.
Now, Ars Technica reports, ICANN may be exploring the idea of .xxx again:
Two weeks ago, an independent panel from the International Center for Dispute Resolution said that ICANN goofed when it rejected .xxx. The decision was not a binding one, but ICANN clearly feels that the issue is worth reconsideration after all; the organization confirmed to the BBC that it would discuss the TLD again this week to decide whether it wants to move forward on it—again.
With broadband stimulus funds slowly making their way to applicants, a new wrinkle has emerged that may slow down recipients putting the money to good use. As Phone Plus reports, it comes down to the question of taxes:
[I]f the government doesn’t clarify whether the grants are considered taxable income, onlookers fear recipients won’t use the money any time soon – defeating the purpose of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
When asked whether recipients would be taxed on the stimulus funds, the Treasury Department reportedly offered no concrete answer. Stay tuned…
Via Krebs on Security, from July to September of 2009 cyber criminals bilked $25 million from businesses — $15 million more than traditional banks robbers netted during the same time period.
Monday, March 08
TechCrunch highlights a new report from Forrester Research that predicts online retail will continue to grow in the next five years — from $155 billion in 2009 to as much as $250 billion by 2014.