House to look at future of video, FCC oversight #thecircuit

Future of video: The House subpanel on communications and technology announced that it will look into how online video is affected by existing regulations and how the government can respond to changes in consumer video habits going forward.

Subpanel chariman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) also announced Thursday that he will hold another hearing on oversight of the Federal Communications Commission, and will invite all five commissioners, including the newly confirmed Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai.

Rockefeller cramming bill: Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) introduced a bill Thursday that would prohibit telecommunications companies from adding most third-party charges to phone bills without notifying customers.

The practice, known as cramming, was the subject of a Senate Commerce Committee investigation that determined that some companies -- including AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink — had taken positive steps to deal with the problem. The Fair Telephone Billing Act would ensure all wireline services would have to take similar steps.

Nokia layoffs:Nokia announced Thursday that it plans to cut 10,000 jobs by the end of 2013 and will shut down facilities in Germany, Finland and Canada, the Associated Press reported.

It’s the latest round of cuts for the Finnish smartphone manufacturer, which announced more than 10,000 layoffs last year. The company has struggled to compete against smartphone-makers such as Apple, Samsung and HTC, losing its hold as the world’s top mobile phone producer in April. Nokia was still third — behind Apple and Samsung — in tech analysis firm IDC’s May release. The company managed to grab 8.2 percent of the global market share, but it was a 50 percent decline from the same period last year.

Universal-EMI: The Consumer Federation of America and Public Knowledge filed a joint report with the Federal Trade Commission Thursday saying that they believe the proposed merger between Universal Music Group and EMI violates anti-trust law.

The Senate is scheduled to hold hearings on the merger next week. The European Commission has said it may file its own antitrust complaint about the merger.

In a statement to the New York Times, Universal said that the new complaint was off-key.

“The music industry is intensely competitive and barriers to entry have evaporated in today’s digital environment,” the statement said.

DOJ video probe: A key part of the Justice Department’s investigation into online video competition is the type of content that cable Internet service providers decide to count against monthly caps, The Washington Post reported.

Known by many terms — most-favored-nation agreements or managed services — cable and telecom firms are expected to roll out a dizzying array of these options for consumers that do not count against data caps. Such options pose new competitive concerns for Silicon Valley Web firms, who will find themselves competing against streaming video services offered by cable and media firms at much more attractive prices, analysts say.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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