Items tagged with FCC

Your mom may think that you spend too much time on the Internet, but Netflix most certainly does not. Netflix has asked the FCC to prohibit data caps, because it claims that caps are unreasonable and noncompetitive. Netflix insists that caps “may impede the ability of some households to watch Internet television in a manner and amount that they would like.” Netflix submitted a filing last week for the FCC’s annual investigation of broadband deployment. This review is required by Congress in Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act and requires the FCC to determine whether all Americans are receiving... Read more...
After taking on Internet service providers (ISPs) and wireless carriers with a set of net neutrality rules, it looked as though FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler was on the verge of going to war with cable companies next. That was the plan when, earlier this year, Wheeler talked about forcing cable companies to use open standards so that consumers could choose their own set-top box rather than paying rental or leasing fees for sub-par models provided by their service provider. Now the FCC is ditching that plan in favor of apps. What's that, apps you say? Yes indeed—rather than continue to push for the adoption... Read more...
In the twenty-first century, many regard Internet as a service that everyone should be able to affordably access. AT&T, however, has used a loophole in its merger with DirecTV to avoid providing inexpensive internet to low-income families. What did the merger specify? The FCC demanded that AT&T offer its services for $10 a month in areas where download speeds of 10 Mbps and 5 Mbps are available. AT&T must also provide services for $5 in places where download speeds of 3 Mbps are available. The FCC did not state what the company should do if downloads speeds are less than 3 Mbps. Consequently,... Read more...
You know what everyone hates? Robocalls. AT&T, Apple, Google, Verizon, and Comcast are joining together to create the “Robocall Strike Force” which will work with the FCC to eliminate the annoyance. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson will lead the effort. A robocall is a phone call with a prerecorded message, and are often used to defraud people. Time Warner Cable was actually forced to pay $230,000 USD in July 2015 for robocalling one woman 153 times. One of the worst cases of fraud is when people fall for a robocall claiming it is from the IRS. This practice is so prevalent that the IRS has... Read more...
A filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reveals just how adamant Google is about building out a wireless version Fiber, its high-speed Internet service that offers up to 1Gbps upload and download speeds in select locations across the United States. The wireless transmission technology is already being tested in Kansas City, which is one of the locations where Fiber service is offered, and Google wants permission to expand.According to the redacted FCC filing, Google wants to use "experimental transmitters" in around two dozen locations, including several cities in California and... Read more...
The Federal Communications Commission led by chairman Tom Wheeler suffered a setback today in its plan to encourage and allow cities to build and expand their own broadband networks, as a federal appeals court ruled the agency didn't have the authority to block two states from setting limits on municipal broadband expansion. Municipalities in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina wanted to expand their broadband networks to neighboring communities and counties, which would increase competition with private Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that have regional monopolies. However, there... Read more...
Should privacy on the internet come at a premium? FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler does not think so. Wheeler has been battling ISP’s in order to guarantee that all internet customers have an equal amount of privacy. He remarked, “I would hope that privacy doesn't become a luxury item”. This comment is an obvious snub to both AT&T and Comcast who offer discounts to customers if they agree to let go of some of their privacy or charge a premium for extra privacy. AT&T charges customers $30 to $50 USD more per month if they want to opt out of "Internet Preferences”. This program tracks user’s browsing... Read more...
AT&T and the FCC are butting heads, but for once, it is not over net neutrality. AT&T has been fined $7.75 million USD for indirectly participating in a directory assistance billing scam. Affected customers are expected to receive $6.8 million of these funds while the remaining $950,000 is a fine that will go to the United States Treasury. AT&T essentially allowed third-party scammers to charge customers $9 per month for a non-existent “directory assistance service”. FCC Chief Travis LeBlanc remarked, “Today’s settlement ensures that AT&T customers who were charged for this sham... Read more...
Internet providers are still hashing out issues with the FCC. In particular, Comcast is currently defend its “pay-for-privacy” model to the FCC [PDF]. Comcast has even contended that  “the FCC has no authority to prohibit or limit these types of programs.”So what exactly is the “pay-for-privacy” system? Essentially, companies like Comcast offers discounts to customers in exchange for allowing ISP's to use their data. Comcast then floods these customers with various behaviorally-targeted ads. Customers who prefer privacy over pricing are charged a premium.Several weeks ago a number of lawmakers... Read more...
It seems that the net neutrality battle is just getting started. The National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA), and the American Cable Association (ACA) want the federal courts to repeal its ruling on net neutrality.What is the net neutrality mandate? The FCC has authority to regulate broadband internet service as a utility. Internet providers are also no longer able to implement “fast lanes” for services that are willing to pay a premium. This prevents ISP’s from favoring their own streaming services and charging fees for third-party... Read more...
The Federal Communications Commission pointed its finger at the telecommunications industry over the weekend and asked for decisive action to be taken against the growing problem of robocalls, a move that prompted AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson to respond by spearheading a new Robocalling Strike Force. Sounds intimidating, doesn't it? AT&T says the Strike Force's mission will be to "accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions to abate the proliferation of robocoalls and to make recommendations to the FCC on the role government can play in this battle." It almost sounds... Read more...
Yesterday the FCC voted to adopt new rules that would facilitate the development of 5G wireless networks. Today the Obama Administration announced that it will launch launch a $400 million Advanced Wireless Research Initiative led by the National Science Foundation (NSF).The administration claimed that these next steps are simply building on the “President’s legacy of forward-leaning broadband policy”. When President Obama signed the Recovery Act into law, he funded nearly $5 billion in broadband investments. This included more than 114,000 miles of broadband infrastructure. He supported “Dig... Read more...
The FCC just voted to adopt new rules that would facilitate the development of 5G wireless networks. This vote makes the United States the first country in the world to make spectrum available and set guidelines for it. These plans have been in the works since Spring, and have finally come to fruition. The rules particularly apply to wireless broadband operations in frequencies above 24 GHz. They will open up nearly 11 GHz of high-frequency spectrum for flexible, mobile and fixed use wireless broadband – 3.85 GHz of licensed spectrum and 7 GHz of unlicensed spectrum. The FCC just created a new... Read more...
Today's wireless networks can handle applications like Snapchat, but what about the emergence of virtual reality? FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said his eyes were opened to the need for significantly faster wireless signals when he donned a pair of VR goggles in Washington, DC, and controlled an excavator to dig up dirt 1,400 miles away in Texas. "Granted, remotely digging dirt in Dallas probably isn't high on the list of transformational advancements that will define the 21st century. But what if you replace the heavy machinery with a scalpel so a world-class surgeon can move from hospital to hospital... Read more...
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