The Washington Post

The Circuit: Senate confirms new FCC commissioners; Franken asks about Comcast; DT asks to halt Verizon deal

Senate confirms FCC commissioners: The Senate has confirmed the nominations of Federal Communications Commissioners Ajit Pai and Jessica Rosenworcel on Monday.

The vote had been held up after Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) placed a hold on the vote because he wanted documents from the agency regarding LightSquared. He lifted his hold on the confirmation late last month.

Franken raises questions around Comcast: The heat is rising on Comcast, as Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) urged the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department to look into whether Comcast is violating net neutrality rules. The issue — also raised by Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings — is that Comcast doesn’t count Web usage for the Xfinity On Demand Xbox app when calculating whether a consumer has reached a data cap, but it does count all other Xbox apps.

As The Washington Post reported, it’s unclear if the service is a violation of net neutrality rules since it doesn’t appear that videos streamed on the Xfinity service travel over the public Internet. The Federal Communications Commission approved Comcast’s joint venture with NBC Universal in late 2010 with the condition that the company abide by “net neutrality” rules that would prohibit any favoritism of some content over others. Franken opposed the merger.

Verizon, cable deal: Deustche Telekom has asked the FCC to stop proposed agreements between Verizon and cable companies that would grant spectrum and cross-licensing partnerships.

As the National Journal reported, DT chief executive Rene Obermann called FCC chairman Julius Genachowski personally to ask him to block the spectrum deal.

Last Tuesday, the FCC said it would delay its review of Verizon’s spectrum deal, saying that the companies were late in delivering paperwork.

LightSquared: LightSquared may get another weeklong extension from its creditors, Bloomberg reported, Billionaire Philip Falcone, the chief executive of main LightSquared backer Harbinger Capitol, had reportedly agreed to step aside last week as the public face of the company.

LightSquared has struggled to reorient itself after the FCC said it was reconsidering a preliminary waiver to build its broadband network.

Just-in-time search: Half of all smartphone owners have used their devices to immediately search for information to settle an argument, according to a report released Monday by the Pew Internet &American Life Project.

As The Washington Post reported, men are more likely than women to reach for their phones to settle the score in a conversation. Smartphone users also use their devices to decide on restaurants, navigate traffic, coordinate a meeting or reach out for help in an emergency situation.

Google chats with FTC: Google has reportedly been in discussion with the Federal Trade Commission over the size of a fine it will have to pay for circumventing Apple’s security measures, Bloomberg reported Friday.

The tech giant was found to be placing additional cookies on Safari browsers in February. The company said that cookies were placed by accident and that it had pulled the cookies after discovering they had been put on users’ browsers.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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