Wireless Throttling After Net Neutrality Regs Cancelled

Research found throttling of YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, and Skype; Senators ask four major carriers about video slowdowns

Jon Brodkin – 11/15/2018; Original ARS Technica article here.

Three US Senate Democrats today asked the four major wireless carriers about allegations they’ve been throttling video services and — in the case of Sprint — the senators asked about alleged throttling of Skype video calls.

Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent the letters to AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, noting that recent research using the Wehe testing platform found indications of throttling by all four carriers.

The senators wrote.

"All online traffic should be treated equally, and Internet service providers should not discriminate against particular content or applications for competitive advantage purposes or otherwise,"

Specifically, the Wehe tests "indicated throttling on AT&T for YouTube, Netflix, and NBC Sports . . . throttling on Verizon for Amazon Prime, YouTube, and Netflix… throttling on Sprint for YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Skype Video calls . . .[and] delayed throttling, or boosting, on T-Mobile for Netflix, NBC Sports, and Amazon Prime by providing unthrottled streaming at the beginning of the connection, and then subsequently throttling the connection."

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Montgomery County Will Sue FCC Over RF-EMR Exposure Guidelines

Adapted from an article by Dan Schere ; November 15, 2018; Original Bethesda magazin here

The Montgomery County Council and County Executive Ike Leggett are planning to sue the Federal Communications Commission with the goal of forcing the agency to update its radio frequency emissions guidelines for small cell antennas. The council has hired attorney Albert Catalano of the Washington, D.C., firm Keller and Heckman LLP, according to a Nov. 6 memo from County Attorney Marc Hansen to council President Hans Riemer.

For the last two years, the council has been deliberating a bill that would require the antennas to be installed on existing utility poles and allow new poles housing the antennas to be installed in residential neighborhoods in order to bring high-speed 5G wireless service to the county. The “small cell” bill has been met with fierce opposition from residents’ groups who are aware of the hazards of microwave radiation transmitting from utility poles into neighborhoods. To mitigate these hazards, the small cell anteanns could be installed no closer than 2,500 feet from residential zones. The bill is expected to be discussed further during the next council term, which begins Dec. 4.

According to the FCC’s website, the radio frequency exposure limit is “many times greater” than radio frequency levels that are typically found at the base of cell towers. In a Thursday press release, Riemer wrote that almost a year ago he, Leggett and U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), asked the FCC to update its radiofrequency emissions guidelines, but the agency declined. “So we are taking them to court to ensure that they fulfill their responsibility to keep our residents safe,” Riemer wrote.

Riemer also noted the FCC prohibits local governments from enacting legislation regarding such based on environmental effects of RF-EMR exposures.

Reimer wrote:

“we need the FCC to embrace this issue [of adverse health effects from RF-EMR exposures that occur far below the current RF-EMR exposure guidelines] in an open and transparent manner in order to address [substantial evidence of harms to the] public . . . The FCC must work with other federal agencies to examine the science carefully and weigh the costs and benefits of this new technology and share the results publicly,”

Separately, Montgomery County is one of 40 jurisdictions across the country that is involved in a lawsuit challenging the FCC’s preemption order concerning cell antennas, which limits the amount of time local jurisdictions have to install the devices.

Potomac resident Theodora Scarato said Friday that she has concerns about the fact that Keller and Heckman has frequently represented a number of telecommunications companies according to the law firm’s website. She said she isn’t assigning blame to the council, but wants to know more about what motivated the lawsuit.

“I want to know more. Are there conflicts of interest that need to be looked into?” she said.

FCC Starts Auction of First 5G High Band Spectrum

Nov 14, 2018; Telecompaper Article here

The Federal Communications Commission confirmed the start of its first high-band 5G spectrum auction. Bidding starts with the 28 GHz band and then will go to the 24 GHz band, with a total of 1.55 GHz of spectrum available for operators. These are expected to be among the first frequencies used for commercial 5G mobile services and are already being tested by the US’s largest mobile operator, Verizon.

The US regulator confirmed that another auction of high spectrum is planned for 2019, covering the 37 GHz, 39 GHz and 47 GHz mmWave bands. In total, the FCC aims to release almost 5 GHz of spectrum to the market in the next 15 months – equal to more than all the spectrum currently used by mobile operators today.

The auction of the licenses in the 28 GHz band will employ the standard simultaneous multiple round auction format. The 28 GHz licenses will be offered in two 425 MHz blocks by county.

The auction of the 24 GHz band will employ a clock auction format, beginning with a clock phase that will allow bidding on generic blocks in each Partial Economic Area in successive bidding rounds. There will then be an assignment phase to allow winners of the generic blocks to bid for frequency-specific license assignments. The 24 GHz licenses will be offered in seven 100 MHz blocks.

Tenth Circuit Wins Lawsuit Lottery Over FCC WT-Docket 17-79

By Kieren McCarthy in San Francisco 7 Nov 2018; Original The Register article here

Six lawsuits against FCC's 5G idiocy – that $2 billion windfall for telcos – is bundled into one appeals court suit

Six lawsuits filed against controversial new 5G rules drawn up by America's communications watchdog have been bundled into one, and will be heard at the Tenth Circuit of Appeals.

A lottery held late last week selected the appeals court that covers the middle of the country – Oklahoma, Utah, Colorado, etc – and the appellants, who range from West Coast cities to East Coast telco operators – have been told this week to migrate their cases accordingly.

At the heart of the mass challenge is the FCC's recent decision to override state and local governments and insist there be a single flat-fee for installing new 5G cell nodes, as well as standardized national processes and contracts for approving new sites.

Due to its design, 5G will need many more cell sites packed closer together in order to offer greater speeds.


S4WT Comment: This often repeated statement, in red above, however is clearly contradicted by by Verizon CEO, Lowell McAdam, in the following video:

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US Govt Study of Wireless Radiation Exposure Proves Clear Evidence of Link to Heart Cancer

What did $30 million NTP studies find?

NTP studies found that exposure to high levels of Radio-frequency Electromagnetic Microwave Radiation (RF-EMR), like that used in 2G and 3G service for calls and texts, was associated with:

  • Clear evidence of tumors in the hearts of male rats. The tumors were malignant schwannomas.
  • Some evidence of tumors in the brains of male rats. The tumors were malignant gliomas.
  • Some evidence of tumors in the adrenal glands of male rats.

The tumors were pheochromocytomas. For female rats, and male and female mice, it was unclear, also known as equivocal, whether cancers observed in the studies were associated with exposure to RFR. The conclusions were based on the NTP four categories.


Laboratory rats were exposed to 900 MHz, a frequency used by cellphones for cellular calls and texts

Nov. 1, 2018; Adapted from the Original New York Times article here.

For decades, health experts have struggled to determine whether or not cellphones cause cancer. On Thursday, the National Institute of Health and Envionmental Sciences (NIEHS) released the final results of what experts call the world’s largest and most costly experiment to look into the question. The study originated in 1999, cost $30 million and involved some 3,000 rodents. The experiment, by the NIEHS’ National Toxicology Program, found positive evidence that Radio-frequency Electromagnetic Microwave Radiation (RF-EMR) from cellphones is linked to heart cancer, brain cancer and DNA damage in male rats.

John Bucher, a senior scientist at the National Toxicology Program, said in a statement

“We believe that the link between radio-frequency radiation and tumors in male rats is real,”.

Continue reading “US Govt Study of Wireless Radiation Exposure Proves Clear Evidence of Link to Heart Cancer”

Marin County Joining Law Suit re: FCC 4G and 5G Expansion Scheme

November 1, 2018; the original SF Gate article is here.

Marin County officials announced Wednesday they are joining other local governments in challenging a Federal Communications Commission order aimed at accelerating the antenna-densification of both fourth and fifth generation of wireless service, known as 4G and 5G.

Marin County Counsel Brian Washington said the Board of Supervisors reported that it reached the decision in a closed meeting on Tuesday to file a challenge in a federal appeals court. The county and other cities and counties claim a Sept. 26 FCC order on the deployment of the new technology illegally intrudes on their power to regulate the aesthetic and safety aspects of the placement of new antennas and structures for 4G and 5G services.

Washington said Marin County will join a coalition of public entities represented by a Washington, D.C., law firm, Spiegel & McDiarmid LLP, and that the petition will be filed soon.

Twenty-five other West Coast cities and counties, including a group led by the city of San Jose, previously filed similar challenges in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Oct. 24.

The upcoming 5G networks use a different technology, including higher frequencies, and are expected to provide faster service than the previous wireless generations.

5G uses smaller antenna devices, typically no larger than a small backpack, according to the FCC, but have shorter ranges and must be more closely spaced. The new antennas would be placed on existing publicly owned utility poles, new poles or other structures.

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Senator Wyden Introduces the Consumer Data Protection Act

By Colin Lecher, Nov 1, 2018; Original Verge article here. Full bill text here.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) released an early draft of legislation today that would create substantially stiffer guidelines for the misuse of consumers’ data. Among other provisions, the bill suggests creating a penalty of 10 to 20 years imprisonment for senior executives who fail to follow new rules around data use.

Wyden said in a statement:

“It’s time for some sunshine on this shadowy network of information sharing. My bill creates radical transparency for consumers, gives them new tools to control their information and backs it up with tough rules with real teeth to punish companies that abuse Americans’ most private information.”

The tech industry has faced enormous scrutiny over the past two years, as companies like Facebook and Google have been roiled by scandals, including Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data. Lawmakers have suggested possible new standards around the use of data, but so far, no major federal legislation has been passed. Still, Wyden suggested in an interview with The Verge this year that a bill was forthcoming.

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Retired NIEHS Senior Scientist Statement on NTP Final Report

November 1, 2018

Original Environmental Health Trust link here

Statement by Ronald Melnick, PhD on the National Toxicology Program Final Reports on Radio-frequency Electromagnetic Microwave Radiation (RF-EMR) Exposures


Ronald Melnick PhD, the National Institutes of Health Senior Scientist who led the design of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) studies on cell phone radiation released this statement after the NTP released their final reports on rats and mice exposed to long term Radio-frequency Electromagnetic Microwave Radiation (RF-EMR).

Melnick recently published an article in the Journal Environmental Research debunking widely circulated criticisms of the NTP study and also released a scientific criticism of the way the NTP study was treated by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

Ronald L Melnick, PhD presenting at the National Institutes of Health National Toxicology Program Cell Phone Radiation Study Peer Review

Statement by Ronald Melnick, PhD

An important lesson that should be learned from the NTP studies on cell phone radio-frequency radiation is that we cannot assume any current or future wireless technology is safe without adequate testing.

In the interest of public health, government agencies must utilize results from these well-conducted health effects studies and issue clear recommendations to the public on how to reduce exposures to agents that are hazardous to our health. The NTP studies clearly shows that non-ionizing radiation can cause cancers and other adverse health effects.

Prior to the start of the NTP studies, it was assumed by the industry and the regulatory agencies that radiofrequency radiation could not cause adverse health effects other than those due to tissue heating. So we designed this study to investigate if non-thermal exposures would cause health effects.

In the NTP studies, there was clear evidence of cancer development and other adverse health effects at non thermal exposure levels. In the US, the FCC limits for human exposure to radiofrequency radiation are based on the assumption that only thermal effects can cause harm. The NTP studies prove this assumption of safety is not valid.

All new wireless technologies, including 5G, should be adequately tested before their implementation leads to unacceptable levels of human exposures and increased health harms.

It has been said that the NTP cell phone exposures were “high” and therefore the findings may not be applicable to humans. No toxicology or carcinogenicity studies mimic exactly human exposure scenarios. Higher levels of exposure than what most people experience are used in experimental studies due to their limited statistical power and their inability to identify risks in the range of one per thousand or one per million. Because of the widespread use of cell phones among the general public, even a small increase in cancer occurrence would have a serious public health impact.

Results from well-conducted animal studies have been and will continue to be used to quantify the health risks, including cancer risks, under various human exposure conditions. A quantitative risk assessment of the data from the NTP studies on cell phone radio-frequency radiation needs to be performed by the FDA and that information should be used by the FCC to develop health-protective exposure standards.

In fact, it was the FDA that nominated cell phone radio-frequency radiation to the NTP, and I quote

“to provide the basis to assess the risk to human health of wireless communication devices [and infrastructure].”

Therefore, I urge the FDA to immediately conduct the risk assessment of the NTP data.

The NTP studies not only found cell phone radiation increased tumors in the heart and brain but also induced heart damage (cardiomyopathy of the right ventricle in male and female rats) and DNA damage in brain cells of rats and mice.

Health and regulatory agencies need to warn the public about the health effects of radiofrequency radiation and provide clear information on how to reduce exposures, especially for children and pregnant women.

We also can no longer state that adverse effects of radio-frequency radiation are not replicated. Increases in tumors from cell phone radiation have indeed been replicated in several studies.

  • The Ramazzini Institute large-scale rodent study found increased Schwannomas in the heart at lower radiation levels than in the NTP studies.
  • The Lerchl et al., 2015 study also found radio-frequency radiation (at significantly lower doses than the NTP studies) promoted cancer development, with evidence for a heightened synergistic impact when combined with a known carcinogen.

It should also be noted that the adverse health effects caused in rats exposed to GSM-modulated radio-frequency radiation were also observed in rats exposed to CDMA-modulated radio-frequency radiation.


Ronald L Melnick, PhD, was a senior scientist for 28 years with National Institutes of Health leading studies on numerous industrial chemicals and led the design of the National Toxicology Program/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation Studies. Melnick was Director of Special Programs in the Environmental Toxicology Program at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institutes of Health, USA and is now retired and Senior Advisor to Environmental Health Trust.

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FCC Falsely Claims Community Broadband is Ominous Threat to The First Amendment

by Karl Bode Oct 29, 2018; Original Motherboard article here.

In reality, the real threat posed by community broadband is to big telecom’s monopoly revenues.

The Trump FCC has declared towns and cities that vote to build their own broadband networks an “ominous threat to the First Amendment.” The claims were made last week during a speech given at the telecom-funded Media Institute by FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly. In his speech, O’Rielly insinuated, without evidence, that community owned and operated broadband networks would naturally result in local governments aggressively limiting American free speech rights.

O’Rielly claimed:

“I would be remiss if my address omitted a discussion of a lesser-known, but particularly ominous, threat to the First Amendment in the age of the Internet: state-owned and operated broadband networks.”

More than 750 such networks have been built in the United States in direct response to a lack of meaningful broadband competition and availability plaguing America. Studies have routinely shown that these networks provide cheaper and better broadband service, in large part because these ISPs have a vested interest in the communities they serve.

In his speech, O’Rielly highlighted efforts by the last FCC, led by former boss Tom Wheeler, to encourage such community-run broadband networks as a creative solution to private sector failure. O’Rielly subsequently tried to claim — without evidence — that encouraging such networks would somehow result in government attempts to censor public opinion.

O’Rielly claimed:

“Municipalities such as Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina, have been notorious for their use of speech codes in the terms of service of state-owned networks, prohibiting users from transmitting content that falls into amorphous categories like 'hateful' or “threatening,” .

Chattanooga, Tennessee, is home to EPB Broadband, which is owned and operated by the city’s power utility. A recent Consumer Reports survey of 176,000 Americans found the ISP was rated the highest in the country in terms of speed, value, and reliability.

 

A perusal of the EPB terms of service shows no language that varies in any substantive way from the usual restraints on bad behavior and hate speech imposed by most ISPs country wide.

The closest O’Rielly gets to supporting evidence appears to be a 2015 white paper written by Professor Enrique Armijo for the ISP-funded Free State Foundation. That paper similarly alleges that standard telecom sector language intended to police “threatening, abusive or hateful” language somehow implies community-run ISPs are more likely to curtail user speech.

But municipal broadband experts say the argument has no basis in fact.

Christopher Mitchell, a community broadband expert and Director of the Institute for Local Reliance, told Motherboard.

“There is no history of municipal networks censoring anyone's speech. In our experience, the Terms of Service from municipal ISPs have been similar to or better than those of for-profit ISPs in terms of benefiting subscribers . . . And when concerns have been raised about related issues…the municipal ISPs have listened to public sentiments far more than any large cable or telephone company has.”

The FCC refused to comment on O’Rielly’s claims when contacted by Motherboard, only referring us to O’Rielly’s press office, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment. While there’s no substantive evidence that such networks infringe on the public’s free speech rights, there’s ample evidence that such networks frequently force incumbent ISPs to offer better service in areas they face community broadband competition.

In Chattanooga, ISPs like AT&T and Comcast have been forced to dramatically reduce their pricing for gigabit broadband in particular. Comcast was also forced to deploy significantly faster broadband in the city, after it attempted to prevent the network from being built by filing several unsuccessful lawsuits.

ISPs could easily prevent such networks from being built by offering better, cheaper service.

Instead incumbent ISPs have historically turned to more underhanded efforts to not only hamstring these networks, but curtail local authority over how taxpayer money should be spent.

 

Of particular note are the more than 21 state laws the broadband industry has lobbied to pass that greatly restrict your town or city’s ability to build its own networks, even when nobody else will. Such laws are quite literally often written by the telecom industry, then usually proposed via proxy organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council.

O’Rielly was clearly hoping to imply that the community broadband network model shouldn’t be embraced because it will lead to government censorship. In reality, the most frequent result of such efforts (assuming they’re built on solid business models) tends to be better, cheaper, faster, and more widely-accessible broadband.

Trump Lays Out National 5G Strategy

President Trump wants the US to be a leader in 5G.

by Mallory Locklear Oct 25, 2018; Original Engadget article here.

Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum today that described his administration's push for a national spectrum strategy, one that it says should help promote spectrum access and efficiency. In his memo, the president noted the ever-growing importance of adequate wireless communication technology as well as his desire for the US to be a leader in 5G deployment. The memo said:

It is imperative that America be first in fifth-generation (5G) wireless technologies — wireless technologies capable of meeting the high-capacity, low-latency and high-speed requirements that can unleash innovation broadly across diverse sectors of the economy and the public sector.

The president called for government agencies to notify the Secretary of Commerce about their future spectrum requirements and directed the Office of Science and Technology Policy to submit a report on emerging technologies and how they might impact spectrum demand. The OSTP will also issue a set of recommendations for research and development priorities focused on spectrum access and efficiency.

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