Items tagged with FCC

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 Once” policies for fiber-optic along roads and highways and offered tax incentives to convince companies... 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 Upper Microwave Flexible Use service in the 28 GHz (27.5-28.35 GHz), 37 GHz (37-38.6 GHz), and 39 GHz... 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 without leaving her own surgery suite? Or how about students sitting in a classroom taking a virtual... 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 communications and technology companies,  has also accused the industry of making apps-based promises... 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 must treat all online traffic equally rather than implement so-called Internet fast lanes for services... 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 Interstate 4 on his daily commute for two years before he was finally caught. "This case highlights... 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 and in some cases potentially abuse power, the FCC instead wants to ensure that wireless carriers are... 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 for its Time Warner Cable acquisition, it cannot impose data caps on customers for the next seven... 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 the details on how to implement the proposal. "You could have a set a standards such that anyone could... 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 for this expansion of the Lifeline program is to provide broadband access to the 43 percent of poor... Read more...
During his tenure as FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler has taken on the telecom industry with net neutrality, and more recently, is looking to upend the cable box market by forcing cable and satellite providers to open their services to third-party hardware manufacturers. Now, Wheeler is turning his attention to another hot topic in the tech sphere these days — privacy. Wheeler penned a blog post this afternoon that outlines the FCC’s proposal for new privacy regulations that would require your Internet Service Provider (ISP) — be it a home-based service like Comcast or Time Warner Cable, or a wireless carrier like AT&T or T-Mobile — to gain your permission before sharing your private data and browsing... Read more...
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is looking to give poor Americans greater access to the Internet via an update to the controversial Lifeline program. The proposal, which would give low-income Americans a $9.25 monthly subsidy for home broadband access, is meant to bridge the technological gap between the haves and the have-nots. According to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, only 48 percent of households with a total income of less than $25,000 per year can afford to have high-speed Internet at home. However, it should come as no shock that the number climbs to 95 percent for American households with yearly incomes of over $150,000 or greater. It’s this “digital divide” that Wheeler wants... Read more...
Just over a year ago, lawmakers asked for the assistance of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) in investigating Verizon’s use of supercookies to track users. After a lengthy investigation, the FCC returned its verdict today, fining Verizon $1.35 million for tracking users without their consent in an effort to deliver targeted advertising. For those that might not remember, a supercookie, which is technically called a Unique Identifier Header (UIDH), is inserted into Internet traffic and cannot be removed like traditional cookies used by Internet browsers. Supercookies are persistent, are always tied to your Verizon account, and originally were implemented for all customers — there was... Read more...
If anyone was concerned that appointing a former cable industry insider as the FCC chairman would mean that the regulatory body would favor the cable industry, those concerns have been completely obliterated over the past few years. First there was the ruling on net neutrality, which sent telecoms into a tizzy, and we have a ruling that already has the cable industry spitting fire. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler issued a proposal last month that would give cable customers the freedom to ditch their service provider-supplied cable box in favor of units made by third-parties. Making this move would not only allow customers to save on leasing/rental fees on often outdated and power-hungry cable box hardware,... Read more...
The Federal Communications Commission is looking into various wireless plans with so called zero-rating services to see if they run afoul of net neutrality legislation, including T-Mobile's popular Binge On program. In case the FCC is need of any advice on the matter, T-Mobile has a message for the agency—"tread lightly.""The commission has to tread lightly," said Kathleen Ham, Vice President of Federal Regulatory Affairs at T-Mobile. "And certainly more lightly than for the wired world in the wireless space — when there is so much experimentation happening, so much differentiation happening. And a lot of it customers responding to. We do have to be transparent about it. We have to make sure... Read more...
It’s hard to believe that anyone in the United States expects the cable industry to react quickly to anything; be it customer complaints, innovation, or even something as simple as showing up on time for a scheduled service appointments. However, if you threaten a steady revenue stream for America’s cable giants, there’s sure to be a swift and furious response. Such was the case when the FCC issued a proposal that would give customers more choice when it comes to accessing cable video content, allowing them to save hundreds of dollars in fees at the same time. Under the FCC’s proposal, cable companies would be forced to deploy open standards that would give customers the option of using a third-party... Read more...
If there’s one U.S. industry that could use a healthy dose or regulation, it’s likely the cable industry. The cable industry has been slow to change and adapt to new technologies because existing regulations have allowed it to basically get it way, commanding service monopolies (or duopolies) in most regions and fighting tooth and nail to thwart any fresh competition (i.e. municipal broadband). The FCC has taken steps to weaken the power of cable companies in recent years by siding with towns looking to offer their own Internet services, and it now looks as though the regulatory body has another trick up its sleeve that could save customers a few bucks in more ways than one. FCC Chairman Tom... Read more...
T-Mobile’s Binge On initiative at first seemed like a pretty good deal for its customers. In exchange for reduced video quality (480p), T-Mobile customers could enjoy unlimited streaming from partner services including Hulu and Netflix without hitting their monthly data pool. Initially, FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler gave Binge On the thumbs up, stating that it is an “innovative” service. "It's clear in the Open Internet Order that we said we are pro-competition and pro innovation. Clearly this meets both of those criteria. It's highly innovative and highly competitive," added Wheeler. However, upon further examination, it looks as though the FCC is beginning to question the motives behind Binge... Read more...
Several Internet service providers (ISPs) have drawn the attention of the Federal Communications Commission with so-called "zero-rating" offerings, which is the practice of exempting certain services from counting against a customer's data cap. What FCC chairman Tom Wheeler wants to figure out is whether or not zero-rating services run afoul of net neutrality rules. This is a relatively new thing on the part of mobile operators. T-Mobile made waves when it introduced Binge On, which allows customers to stream an unlimited amount of video from over 20 services, including Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu, Crackle, and many others. The video streams are optimized to deliver DVD quality (480p) or better and... Read more...
It probably won't come as much surprise that Comcast and its customers aren't on the same page when it comes to data caps. Simply put, Comcast is in favor of charging extra when a customer goes over a set amount of data per month, while customers despise them and have filed over 13,000 related complaints with the Federal Communications Commission. Here's the thing, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts doesn't like the term "data cap" because hey, if you're a Comcast customer and you reach your monthly data allotment, the ISP will happily charge you a fee for more data. In other words, there's no off switch or ceiling to how much data you can use, so long as you pay for it. "We don't want anybody to ever... Read more...
T-Mobile's been on a mission to disrupt the wireless market, hence why it calls itself the un-carrier. One of the more recent and controversial initiatives to come from T-Mobile is Binge On, a program that allows that allows customers to access certain streaming services without it counting against their data caps. On the surface, that sounds like a net neutrality violation, though Federal Communication Commission Tom Wheeler says there's nothing wrong with what T-Mobile's doing.Just the opposite, Mr. Wheeler praised the program as "innovative" when a reporter asked if it raises any net neutrality red flags."It's clear in the Open Internet Order that we said we are pro-competition and pro innovation.... Read more...
Have you ever felt like you're being followed? Excuse us for feeding into your paranoia, but you are being tracked. It happens each and every time you surf the web, and it's going to keep happening, even if you've enabled that feel-good "Do Not Track" setting in your browser that most websites and online services ignore. They ignore it because they can, and the Federal Communications Commission isn't stepping in to help. Consumer Watchdog just tried forcing the FCC's hand by petitioning the government agency to "initiate a rulemaking proceeding requiring 'edge providers (like Google, Facebook, YouTube, Pandora, Netflix, and LinkedIn) to honor 'Do Not Track' requests from consumers," but the attempt... Read more...
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