The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Telecommunications

Opening up Wi-Fi to the Internet of Things

Over the weekend, a high school freshman printed a history report; a man researched job postings over the Internet on his tablet; a family watched a TV show on their laptop while waiting for an appointment; and, a woman talked to her mother on her home’s cordless phone.  All of these actions used unlicensed spectrum either through a Wi-Fi connection, or near-point radio frequencies.

TV Viewing for the Next Generation

Today’s TV viewing options are much different than when Congress passed the Cable Act of 1992.  This Act was passed in response to cable television rate increases following deregulation, a lack of competition in the cable marketplace and the concern of broadcasters that their local stations would not be carried by cable companies.  The law prohibited cable operators and other multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), which now include satellite and fiber optic networks, from rebroadcasting or “retransmitting” commercial television, low power television and radio broadcast signals

Freeing Up Government Held Spectrum

On December 11, 2013, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to approve a bi-partisan measure that would provide incentives to federal agencies to free up more spectrum.

Public Utility Model Doesn’t Hold Traction for Broadband

On November 4, 2013, a study released by Reason Foundation found that government-owned broadband networks (GONs) do not provide the value that cities and towns hope to achieve.

CAGW's Prime Cuts Hones in On Programmatic Waste

Every year, Citizens Against Government Waste produces Prime Cuts, a comprehensive list of spending cuts that could be used by Congress to reduce spending and keep the budget under the Budget Control Act spending caps.  Here are just a few of the programs CAGW includes in its Prime Cuts report.

Eliminate the Rural Utilities Service

1-Year Savings: $9.6 billion

5-Year Savings: $48.1 billion

Private Sector Solution to Digital Literacy

As students return to school this fall, they are finding that their teachers are using technology tools, such as online curriculums and textbooks, and assigning online homework more frequently.  Today, virtually all schools and libraries are connected to the Internet.  However, once the school day has ended, students may find a different picture when they return home.

Keeping Internet Access Free of Taxes

On November 1, 2014, the moratorium banning discriminatory taxes on the Internet and taxes on Internet access imposed by the Internet Tax Freedom Act in 1998 will expire.  At the time the legislation was initially enacted, the Internet had approximately 300 million users.  Since then, the number of users on the Internet has increased to nearly 2.3 billion world-wide.

E-Rate Program Reform To Take Center Stage at FCC

On Friday, July 19, 2013, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be meeting to discuss, among other items, reforms to the Universal Service Fund (USF)’ E-Rate program, which was highlighted in the July edition of Wastewatcher.  It is expected that the outcome of this meeting will be a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) to obtain comment on how the program can be re-organized to meet the goals of the President Obama’s recently

Halting Wireless Tax Increases

The June 2013 early release report on wireless substitution by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that the percentage of adults and children living in households with wireless only telephone service has been on a steady increase since 2003.  The data in the report indicates that wireless-only population is now about 36.5 percent and overall household adoption of wireless is now set at 89 percent of the population in the U.S. as of the end of 2012.

Unchanging Laws in a Marketplace of Change

The Center for Disease Control released a June 2013 report showing the number of households using only wireless telephone services is on the rise.  This trend reinforces the need to update existing telecommunications law to reflect the current state of the marketplace.  No longer are Americans reliant on only one form of communication service, but are using innovative tools and devices that rely on wireless services, broadband Internet, and fiber optic lines to share and communicate with one another.

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