Items tagged with FCC

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...
The FCC has another battle on their hands. On Thursday, the “Future of TV” Coalition, a group consisting of mostly of the top TV providers, released plans for their “Ditch the Box” campaign. The pay-TV industry would commit to creating apps to allow consumers to watch programs without needing to lease a box. The FCC could implement regulations enforcing the commitment. This legislation would potentially affect roughly 50 million subscribers. A trade group supported by Google, Netflix, and Amazon has criticized the plan for being a ploy to delay negotiations. INCOMPAS, a law firm that represents... Read more...
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and the rest of the gang were all smiles on Tuesday when a federal appeals court completely upheld the agency's 400-page Open Internet Order, a set of net neutrality rules that wireless carriers and broadband service providers must abide by. The FCC emerged the victor as a result of a 2-1 ruling in its favor. The ruling reinforces the FCC's authority and power to regulate broadband Internet service as a utility, similar to phone service, and to lay out rules to prevent what it deems are unfair practices for consumers. One of the biggest net neutrality rules is that ISPs... Read more...
There are enough bad drivers on the road as it is, but what's particularly frustrating is seeing a fellow motorist drive recklessly as a result of using a mobile phone. Jason R. Humphrey from Florida must have seen it one too many times, hence his decision to use a cell phone jammer during his commute. That decision will cost him tens of thousands of dollars. The Federal Communications Commission fined Mr. Humphrey $48,000 for using a cell phone jammer in his car going to and from his place of employment in Tampa. Mr. Humphrey managed to evade detection and interfere with cellular service along... Read more...
When it comes to the often slow pace of security updates being pushed to the mobile devices that are at center of our daily digital lives, both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are looking for some answers. The FCC is taking U.S. wireless carriers (like AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile) to task while the FTC has hit up top hardware manufacturers including Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, and HTC. At a time when U.S. intelligence agencies like the FBI and NSA are looking for ways to use vulnerabilities to their advantage to solve crimes... Read more...
Comcast has sparked the ire of customers across the country with its restrictive broadband data caps. Earlier this week, we reported that during the first half of 2015, Comcast received 863 complaints about its data caps. However, for the second half of the year, those complaints skyrocketed to nearly 8,000 as it expanded its data cap “trials” to additional markets. And it’s not just customers that are fed up with data caps; the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has also let it be known that it won’t tolerate such nonsense. In fact, the FCC stipulated that in order for Charter to win approval... Read more...
Much to the chagrin of cable TV providers that profit from leasing out set-top boxes to customers, the Obama administration joined the Federal Communications Commission in pushing for changes that would give consumers the option of buying less expensive third-party boxes that would offer full functionality with their TV service. At the beginning of the year, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler issued a proposal that would do exactly that. The FCC ultimately approved the proposal by a 3-2 vote, which kicked off a 60-day "information-gathering process" to give the FCC and cable providers a chance to work out... Read more...
Early last month, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler revealed a proposal that would give low-income Americans a monthly subsidy to help cover the cost of home broadband Internet access. Wheeler explained that the subsidy would be made possible thanks to updates to the Lifeline program, which has drawn its fair share of controversy over the years. The FCC today announced the measure was approved in a 3-2 vote, predictably split along ideological lines with the three Democratic appointees voting for, and the three Republican appointees voting against. The main reason... Read more...
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