Items tagged with FCC

Telecommunications corporations are under fire again. The Federal Communications Commission has accused Verizon and AT&T of violating net neutrality rules with their “zero-ratings” promotions. Jon Wilkins, the chief of wireless telecommunication for the FCC, sent a letter of complaint to both corporations. First off, what is “zero-rating”? Zero-rating is when mobile network operators (MNOs) and ISPs do not charge customers for data used by specific applications or internet services through their network, in limited or metered data plans. Verizon and AT&T introduced their own zero-rating... Read more...
President-Elect Donald Trump is in full swing when it comes to filling out positions in his incoming administration. Although we’re reluctant to delve into unrelated topics like picks for Secretary of Defense or Treasury Director, we did take notice of Trump’s appointment of Mark Jamison as a member of his tech policy transition team. One of the pressing matters on his plate is to plot out a new course for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which Jamison has recently stated should be effectively dismantled. Jamison describes the FCC, currently under the leadership of Chairman Tom Wheeler,... Read more...
If you're in the market for a new tablet that also doubles as an e-reader, you may want to hold off for just a little bit. Rumors suggest Barnes & Noble will be releasing a new iteration of its NOOK Tablet in the very near future to battle in the low-end sector of the tablet market traditionally dominated by the Amazon Kindle Fire. According to the leaked specs, it seems certain that this NOOK, called Tablet 7, will not be that expensive. It is likely being used to help Barnes & Noble better compete against the likes of Amazon, which itself offers a meager-spec'd Fire tablet for a... Read more...
What kind of information do ISP’s collect from their customers and what do they do with that information? The Federal Communications Commission just passed a new rule to protect online user’s privacy and regulate how and when ISPs can share information with third parties. The FCC rule was passed this morning with a 3-2 vote. It requires ISPs, or internet providers, to obtain a customer’s explicit consent before sharing certain information with third parties. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler remarked, “It's the consumers' information. How it is used should be the consumers' choice. Not the choice of some... Read more...
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has its hands in various aspects of the internet. Some of its consumer-centric actions have sprouted strong roots, while others have been pared back or shutdown altogether. Led by Chairman Tom Wheeler, the FCC is back at it again, this time in an effort to fight for the privacy of U.S. internet users. Wheeler is calling for internet service providers (ISPs) to obtain express consent from its customers before they siphon web browsing data and other private information to share with advertisers (or other potentially lucrative deals with third-parties).... Read more...
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...
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