Telecom headlines -- week of July 7

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Mon, 7 Jul 1997 10:34:37 -0700 (PDT)

Communications-related Headlines for 7/7/97

Title: A Congressman's Long Crusade for the Arts
Source: New York Times <http://www.nytimes.com/>(B1)
Author: Irvin Molotsky
Issue: Arts
Description: At 88 the oldest and longest serving member of the House,
Representative Sidney Yates (D-IL) is one of the leading defenders of the
National Endowment of the Arts. This year, House republicans have approved
budget legislation with only $10 million for the NEA (President Clinton
asked for $136 million) meant to be used to shut the Endowment down. Rep
Yates is hopeful that the NEA will finally get $99 million (the same amount
it received this fiscal year) after budget negotiations between the House
and Senate conclude. He also sees more, smaller grants going to make a
bigger impact on smaller communities. Republicans criticize the NEA for only
funding projects in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Title: PC Industry Calls for a Truce in TV Wars
Source: New York Times <http://www.nytimes.com/>(D2)
Author: Joel Brinkley
Issue: Digital TV
Description: Just 3 months ago, Compaq, Microsoft and Intel announced that
they were going to muscle their way into the television market valued at
$150 billion over the next 10 years. But IBM, Dell, Packard Bell,
Hewlett-Packard, Gateway 2000, and Sony have all announced that they do not
have plans to build digital TV receivers into their computers. Without the
support of other computer manufactures, the Compaq - Microsoft - Intel
coalition may be ineffective. Compaq is the nation's largest maker of PCs,
but only controls ten percent of the market.

Title: Gate's largesse stirs a discomforting question: Is there indeed a
computer literacy?
Source: New York Times <http://www.nytimes.com/>(D3)
Author: Edward Rothstein
Issue: Education
Description: "Are we using computer technology because we have lost the
political will to fund education adequately?" asks Sherry Turkle, a MIT
social scientist <http://epn.org/prospect/31/31turkf.html>. In Technology
column, Rothstein points to a number initiatives and criticisms of education
technology. See Gates Library Foundation <http://www.glf.org/pr.html>,
National Education Association <http://www.nea.org/cet/BRIEFS/brief9.html>,
San Jose Mercury News
<http://www.sjmercury.com/news/local/schools/main15.html>, and Atlantic
Monthly's cover story "The Computer Delusion" by Todd Oppenheimer
<http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/97jul/computer.htm>.

Title: Integrated Wireless Service May Be Coming Soon to a Windowsill
Near You
Source: New York Times <http://www.nytimes.com/>(D3)
Author: Mark Landler
Issue: InfoTech
Description: Cellularvision is determined to be the nation's first
intergrated wireless provider of voice video and data services. In
Manhattan, the company is already providing unlimited, high-bandwidth
Internet access for $49.95/month and a one time $199 set-up fee. The set up
fee includes a small receiver dish, modem and a set-top convertor box. The
service provides Internet access speeds at 4x that offered by local phone
company Nynex.

Title: SBC's Challenge to Telecom Act Could Hinge on Ruling That Separate
treatment of Bells Is Punitive
Source: Telecommunications Reports <http://www.tr.com/> (p.1)
Issue: Telecommunications Act of 1996/Telephone Regulation
Description: SBC Communications Inc, is challenging the constitutionality of
line-of-business restrictions in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. SBC
says the Act improperly singles out Bell operating companies from other
local exchange carriers. A SBC executive said, "The lawsuit challenges only
that portion of the Act which singles out and excludes SBC from competing in
certain lines of business. SBC is not challenging those portions of the Act
which require all local exchange companies, including SBC, to open their
local networks to competition." On Capitol Hill, Rep Billy Tauzin (R-LA),
Chairman of the House Telcom Subcommittee, said that the law is not the
problem, its the way its being implemented -- blaming the Federal
Communications Commission.

Title: Time Warner wins NYC cable news fight
Source: Broadcasting&Cable <http://www.broadcastingcable.com/> (pg. 5)
Author: DP
Issue: Cable Regulation
Description: An appeals court ruled in Time Warner's favor that New York
City could not air News Corp's Fox News Channel on the city's public access
channels. The city was trying to force Time Warner to show Murdoch's
channels on the public access network after Time Warner wouldn't show them
on any commercial channels. The New York City government argued that the news
network, because it is based in the city, would bring in it a lot of jobs
and was news-based so it should be shown.

Title: When Media Moguls Collide
Source: Broadcasting&Cable <http://www.broadcastingcable.com/> (pg. 4)
Author: John M. Higgins and Steve McClellan
Issue: Media Mergers
Description: Media executives have been closely watching the recent
bidding wars between News Corp. and Walt Disney for children's entertainment
and sports deals. News Corp., not Disney, got a hold of the Family Channel,
and News Corp. also secured Cablevision's SportsChannel to put together a
sports network which will challenge ESPN, owned by Disney. Fights like this
are going to become more common among big media companies. "As the biggest
players continue to gobble up other big players -- Viacom Inc. and Paramount
Communications Inc., Time Warner Inc. and Turner Broadcasting -- they become
emboldened to attack other companies' most lucrative niches."

Title: In search of the I-Chip
Source: Broadcasting&Cable <http://www.broadcastingcable.com/> (pg. 10)
Author: Paige Albiniak
Issue: Internet content
Description: Last week President Clinton said he wanted to gather
industry leaders and representatives of Internet users, parent groups, and
educators to develop protections to shield children from objectionable
content on the Internet in a fashion similar to the television V-Chip.
Representative Ed Markey (D-Mass), according to one of his aides, isn't
too hot
on the V-Chip analogy. Rep. Markey has presented a bill which would obligate
Internet service providers to provide customers with blocking software free
of cost. Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), House Telecommunications Subcommittee
Chairman, agrees that children should be shielded from inappropriate
electronic materials, but a Tauzin aide stated that, "We think that should
happen in the form of a voluntary cooperative agreement with the Industry."
Rep. Tauzin is going to introduce a bill aimed at keeping the government from
bothering the Internet with new regulations.

Title: Take a letter
Source: Broadcasting&Cable <http://www.broadcastingcable.com/> (pg. 16)
Author: B&C Staff
Issue: V-Chip
Description: House Telecommunications Subcommittee Grand Poo Bah Billy
Tauzin (R-La) was planning last week to send a letter to Jack Valenti, who
heads up the entertainment industry's side in the V-Chip debates, promising
that if negotiators can make a deal, broadcasters will not have to deal with
any ratings legislation for three years. Tauzin wanted House Speaker Newt
Gingrich (R-GA) and Rep Thomas Bliley (R-VA), Chairman of the House
Commerce Committee to sign on to the letter. Rep Gingrich would only sign
on if Rep Bliley did and Rep Bliley wasn't ready yet to make promises
without knowing the final deal. There will be no such supportive letters
for broadcasters coming from the
Senate.

Title: Networks to get leeway on kids preemptions
Source: Broadcasting&Cable <http://www.broadcastingcable.com/> (pg. 14)
Author: Chris McConnell
Issue: Children's TV
Description: The FCC will allow networks to move scheduled children's
educational programming around so as to make room for weekend sports. FCC
officials report that they will evaluate how the preempting worked after one
year. Stations must show three hours of 3educational programming for kids a
week and, in a draft of the regulations, though cut from the final, if a
show is
bumped more than 10% of a thirteen week run, the stations couldn't count it.

Title: Broadcasters lobby for loopholes in budget fight
Source: Broadcasting&Cable <http://www.broadcastingcable.com/> (pg. 18)
Author: Paige Albiniak
Issue: Digital TV
Description: The budget bill chugging through the House-Senate conference
has some big wins for broadcasters in terms of spectrum flexibility and
deadlines. The Administration, however, is hoping to add some limitations.
The administration wants spectrum user fees, a set date for when the analog
channels must be returned, and penalties if broadcasters don't meet the
digital rollout deadlines. Ranking Commerce Committee member Rep. John
Dingell (D-Mich) agrees with the President. The conference committee could
start negotiations again tomorrow. "The biggest win for broadcasters so far
is the 'market tests' in both versions of the bill. Those tests would give
broadcasters use of the spectrum far beyond the targeted 2006 give-back
date." The article contains more details on broadcasting-related language
in the bill.

Title: Broadcasters welcome Minnow-less choices
Source: Broadcasting&Cable <http://www.broadcastingcable.com/> (pg. 19)
Author: Chris McConnell
Issue: Digital TV
Description: Broadcasters are happy that Leslie Moonves, President of
CBS Entertainment, is co-chairman on the Administration's advisory group on
the public interest obligations of digital TV broadcasters. Broadcasters are
also happy that former FCC Chairman Newton Minnow is not on the panel.
The other co-chair is Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise
Institute. President Clinton
supports free-time for candidates. In a radio address, Clinton said "That's
the least we can ask broadcasters, who are given access to the public
airwaves worth billions of dollars at no cost, with only the requirement
that they meet a basic public obligation." Ornstein has done much
writing in support of free-time for candidates. FCC Chairman Reed Hundt
was hoping to launch an FCC inquiry into broadcasters' public interest
obligations, but commissioners Quello and Chong have been resisting the
proposal.