The Switchboard: Meet Comcast’s regulatory fixer


David Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast Corp., left, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Arthur Minson Jr., executive vice president and chief financial officer of Time Warner Cable Inc., in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Here’s how Washington is preparing for a future of wireless everything. "The Federal Communications Commission expects to set aside at least 18 megahertz of spectrum for unlicensed uses in its upcoming broadcast auction," reports the Switch's Brian Fung. "The auction, which is slated for 2015, will be one of the FCC's biggest undertakings ever. It involves simultaneously encouraging TV stations to hand over their spectrum to the government, which will compensate the broadcasters before turning around and selling the spectrum to wireless carriers so they can upgrade their LTE service for phones and tablets."

Aereo’s CEO on the future of Netflix, TV sports and the public airwaves. Gigaom's Jeff John Roberts interviews Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia, whose start-up is going before the Supreme Court Tuesday to face off against ABC and the other major broadcasters in a case that could change the future of television.

Comcast's real repairman.  Michael Sokolove at the New York Times profiles Comcast executive vice president David L. Cohen, who oversees the company's lobbying operations and strategies for antitrust and regulatory issues. "It’s a big job — and one that would fully occupy almost anyone else — because Comcast’s appetite for expansion is large, and it needs to be fed with a frequency that some find alarming."

One-third of Americans are pessimistic about tech — and they’re more likely to be poor, less educated, and female. The Switch reports on the third of Americans who a recent Pew survey reports believe that technological advances will make peoples lives "mostly worse."

Amazon moving fast to improve Fire TV. In her original review of Amazon's Fire TV, the Switch's Hayley Tsukayama was disappointed to find the voice search features touted in a bizarre Gary Busey ad only worked for Amazon's own video streaming services. But last week, "the company announced that it would be extending the device's voice search capabilities to a handful of third-party apps including Hulu Plus, Crackle and Showtime's app, Showtime Anytime, starting this summer."

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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Andrea Peterson | April 18