Net neutrality on agenda for Dec. 21 FCC meeting; spectrum reclamation begins

> The FCC reportedly wants to wrap up the net neutrality issue by its December meeting which, reports say, has been moved from Dec. 15 to Dec. 21. In something of a surprise, CrunchGear reports that ISPs aren't unhappy about the idea and "Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is particularly happy since the new rules would be in effect for all the nation's ISPs and not just Comcast." Story.

> This could turn out to be both fun and the story of the year in 2011. The FCC has put a bunch of spectrum reclamation issues on its Nov. 30 meeting docket as ways to find 120 MHz of broadcast spectrum for mobile broadband purposes. Broadcasters, of course, have been unhappy about returning any of their spectrum and cable operators should be looking at this closely for what it will mean for their added participation (must-carry) of local broadcast signals. Story.

> Continuing the FCC theme, the agency has said it will be the deadline for compliance with next generation emergency alert system (EAS) rules from March 29, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2011, affording both cable operators and broadcasters more time to get their acts in gear. The FCC has been setting and extending deadlines on various EAS items since the process started in 2007. Story.

> In still more FCC news, the Tennis Channel, unable to find an amenable spot on the Comcast channel lineup, is taking its case to the FCC for mediation. The fuzzy round ball folks think Comcast's giving it a hard time because it owns little dimpled round ball purveyor the Golf Channel and rodeo, bicycling and hockey (among other ball and non-ball related sports) channel Versus. Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice, taking a break from explaining why Comcast should be allowed to buy NBC Universal, offered up this reason for why the Tennis Channel shouldn't be unhappy: "Far from discriminating against Tennis Channel, we are carrying it in a manner similar to many other distributors and fully honoring the terms of the parties' agreement." Story.

> We know this holiday is Thanksgiving, but doesn't it give you Halloween-like chills to hear that News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA) is willing to spend $360 million to buy a technology-based education start-up, Wireless Generation, that provides software and services for instructors teaching grades K through 12? One can only imagine the way this software might be used to teach current events and history. Story.

And finally... this would never happen in the U.S., right? Eleven Bulgarian cable operators and ISPs have come together to form one company called Bulgarian Telecom and Television (BTT), creating a presence in 40 cities and 110 towns and villages and covering nearly a million households. Strangely, with all these pieces, there are only about 150,000 subscribers. U.S. cable operators lose that many subs in a quarter. Story.

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