#thecircuit

FCC broadband report: In its eighth annual broadband report, the Federal Communications Commission reported that 19 million Americans still do not have any access to wired broadband — including nearly one-fourth of the country’s rural population.

The report concluded that the FCC and the rest of the country must take the lead in continuing to address the factors that block expansion and focus on rural buildout of broadband networks.

In a statement, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said, “The U.S. has now regained global leadership in key areas of the broadband economy, including mobile, where we lead in mobile apps and 4G deployment; but, in this flat, competitive global economy, we need to keep driving toward faster broadband and universal access.”

Hearing set on spectrum: The House subcommittee on communications and technology announced Tuesday that it will have a hearing to discuss how to free more federal spectrum for commercial uses.

In a news release, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said that the discussions in the Federal Spectrum Working Group have proved fruitful and that the time is right to have a hearing.

“As the single largest spectrum user, the federal government could save taxpayers money and make more frequencies available to meet American consumers’ growing demand for mobile broadband services,” Walden said in a statement. The date of the hearing has not been set, but will take place in September.

Indian government blocks Web sites: The Indian government has blocked access to more than 250 Web sites, The Washington Post reported, ranging from Facebook to fundamentalist Pakistani sites. The order to block the sites came after the government accused the sites of spreading inflammatory content that the government said prompted thousands of people from northeast India to leave southern and western Indian cities last week.

Authorities also forbade sending text messages to more than five people at a time for two weeks, the report said. Some analysts supported the order, while others said it was a knee-jerk reaction of a weak government.

“This is a government that is trying to hide its incompetence by blaming everybody but unwilling to look at itself for failure to protect its citizens,” an anonymous government official told the Post, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media.

EFF asks IP czar to add openness to agreements: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has asked the Obama administration’s chief intellectual property coordinator to ask for protections for free speech, privacy, transparency and due process to be included in private agreements it negotiates with companies to combat online piracy.

Summarizing a reply from the office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel, the EFF said in a blog post that the administration asks Web advertising companies to be “consistent with...the Administration’s broader Internet policy principles” when crafting agreements not to do business with rogue Web sites.

Apple, Samsung will send case to jury: Apple and Samsung are winding down their cases in their patent dispute, and preparing to send the fate of the case into the hands of the jury. In court Tuesday, Judge Lucy Koh started Tuesday’s session by going over the 109 pages of instructions that the jury must understand in order to reach a unanimous verdict.

Live-blogging from the courtroom, San Jose Mercury News reporter Howard Mintz said that Koh had the jury take “standing breaks” to break up the monotony of the explanations.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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