Visiting Dignitaries

Marlee Matlin on the FCC’s Feeble Attempts at Online Closed Captioning

Ms. Matlin (Getty)

For some of us, it’s all too easy to get lost in a seven-hour Netflix marathon, but for the deaf and hearing impaired, getting through a single episode of an online TV show can be nearly impossible. Captions on the web are often inaccurate and unreliable — but new regulations going into effect this week will hopefully change things.

Last week, Betabeat met with Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, who’s been deaf since she was 18 months old. She told us a frustrating story from three years ago, about the time she’d tried to stream a CNN video about the unveiling of the Hellen Keller statue at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. Read More

Internet Wants to Be Free

Net Neutrality Is Dead, Long Live Net Neutrality

net neutrality

Since it became part of the average American’s life, the Internet has been the place where the best content — video, photo, written — is supposed to rise to the top. What you see on your screen is largely outside the control of the media powers that be.

But today, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion compelling the Federal Communications Commission to redo network neutrality rules. The three judge panel said the FCC does have the authority to regulate net neutrality, but that the current regulations are overreaching. Read More


Booting Up: FCC Might Allow In-Flight Calls Because the FCC Hates You

Soon? (Photo: SarahPAC/Flickr)

Gilt might file for an IPO in early 2014…or could delay it until early 2015. Guessing is fun! [AllThingsD]

This might be the nine worst words in the English language: “FCC to consider allowing cell phone calls on flights.” [CNN]

Spotify has secured $250 million in fresh funding, which values the company slightly north of $4 billion. [MarketWatch]

NBCUniversal is reportedly taking a “minority stake” in Kara Swisher’s new tech site. [New York Times]

Let’s high five a million angels because HBO Go now works with Chromecast. [USA Today]


How Far Will Cable Companies Go to Sell You a Bundle of Shit You Don’t Need?

Her van? (Photo: File)

Anyone that’s ever had the pleasure of a telephonic interaction with their unfriendly, corporate cable and broadband provider knows just how invested they are in upselling. Calling because your cable box stopped working for no discernable reason? Well, how would you like to add a landline while you wait. And wait. And wait. And wait.

The flip side of that upselling, of course, is hiding cheaper, unbundled options from consumers. Today, the Federal Communications Commission imposed an $800,000 fine on Comcast for failing to market its standalone broadband Internet service, reports PCWorld. Read More

Internet Switzerland

Net Neutrality Lives to Fight Another Day

The Democrats defeated the Republicans in a strict party line vote, meaning our government won’t throw away the rules put in place by the FCC to protect “net neutrality”, which are set to go into effect Nov. 20.

Advocates of internet freedom didn’t love the new rules cooked up by the FCC, but keeping them was the lesser of two evils.

“Though the FCC’s rules are not great, they do offer some protections for net neutrality on the wired Internet and overturning them would have been a huge setback for free speech on the web. During debate on the Senate floor yesterday supporters of the resolution railed against government regulation while opponents defended the rules saying they were necessary to maintain the openness and innovation that has allowed the Internet to thrive,” the ACLU wrote on its blog.

Open Government

The FCC’s Open Source Stance and the Case of the Vanishing Blog Post

House Judiciary Cmte Holds Hearing On AT&T T-Mobile Merger

On July 6, the Federal Communications Commission put up a blog post entitled “Contributing Code Back:’s Open-Source Feedback Loop,” articulating the agency’s commitment to open source and open source development. “Here at the FCC, we’re always excited when we can contribute to open source software,” new media fellow and developer Ben Balter wrote. At some point between then and this week, the FCC deleted the blog post and the Google cache. Some open source developers found this alarming, given that the agency changed leadership around the same time–ex-Microsoftie Steven VanRoekel left the agency in June to become the nation’s CIO and was replaced by Robert Naylor, previously CIO at the Small Business Administration. Read More