(Miss Conduct)

Company Caught Switching Customers’ Phone Service Without Permission

So your phone company calls you and says there’s a new plan that can save your on your phone bill, or maybe to let you know that you’re being overcharged for your current service. So you go ahead and switch to the more sensible plan, only to find out weeks later that you’ve actually been switched over to a new service provider you’ve never heard of — and to a plan that costs more than your old one. This was a reality for dozens of people who complained to the FCC about a Michigan-based company that now faces a potential $2.4 million fine. [More]

AT&T: $100M Fine For Throttling Unlimited Data Users Is “Unlawful,” “Coercive,” “Indefensible”

AT&T: $100M Fine For Throttling Unlimited Data Users Is “Unlawful,” “Coercive,” “Indefensible”

In June, the FCC proposed a potentially $100 million fine against AT&T for allegedly failing to disclose to its “unlimited” data plan subscribers the extent to which their data access could be throttled if they used too much of it in any given month. The company recently responded to the allegations, and let’s just say that AT&T isn’t exactly thrilled. [More]

It’s Official: FCC Gives Blessing To Marriage Of AT&T, DirecTV

It’s Official: FCC Gives Blessing To Marriage Of AT&T, DirecTV

After the announcement earlier this week that the FCC commissioners were reviewing and set to vote on deal that would grant regulatory approval to the merger of AT&T and DirecTV, the agency made it official this afternoon by giving its conditional blessing to this $49 billion marriage. [More]

45 Attorneys General Agree: Phone Companies Should Give Consumers Ability To Block Robocalls

45 Attorneys General Agree: Phone Companies Should Give Consumers Ability To Block Robocalls

While the FCC tries to allow consumers to take a more active role in which calls they do or don’t receive, a group of 45 state attorneys general (well, 44 states and the AG for the District of Columbia) are calling on the phone companies to just stop dilly dallying and start offering call-blocking services already. [More]

(Jess)

USDA Providing $85M In Grants & Loans To Support Rural Broadband

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture might not be the first federal agency that pops into your head when thinking about broaband Internet connectivity, but this week the USDA announced a total of $85 million in loans and grants that it hopes will help farmers and other rural Americans bridge the digital divide. [More]

T-Mobile On The Hook For $17.5M After Nationwide 9-1-1 Outage

T-Mobile On The Hook For $17.5M After Nationwide 9-1-1 Outage

How important is it that telephone companies provide constant access to 9-1-1 service? Americans make an average of more than 27,000 of these emergency calls an hour, so when a nationwide wireless provider is unable to connect its users to 9-1-1 for even a few hours, they can be on the hook for millions of dollars. [More]

(Alan Bruce)

FCC Proposal: Phone Companies Need To Offer Backup Power, Actually Notify You If They Kill Off Your Copper-Wire Landline

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is introducing a new proposal to the commission today that would attempt to protect consumers’ interests while advancing the transition away from plain old copper-wire service and onto IP data networks. [More]

(frankieleon)

AT&T Claims 11.7M People Could Get Gigabit Fiber If DirecTV Merger Approved

AT&T and DirecTV are still hoping their mega-merger is on track for approval. While they wait, the FCC has been asking them to clarify some of their earlier statements about why this deal is a good idea for the public. And buried in those new answers is the nugget that post-merger, AT&T plans to bring fiber networks to almost 12 million customers… kind of. [More]

FCC, TracFone Reach Settlement: Provider Will Now Unlock Customers Phones’ Like They Said They Would

FCC, TracFone Reach Settlement: Provider Will Now Unlock Customers Phones’ Like They Said They Would

Unlocking your phone is legal, and the wireless industry agreed months ago to a set of conditions that went into effect earlier this year that allow consumers to do just that. Those companies all promised the FCC that they had a plan. And when you tell a federal agency that you have a plan, you probably actually should, and ought to follow it, too. One company didn’t, and that has landed them in some hot water with the commission. [More]

PayPal Tweaking User Agreement To Remove Mandatory Robocalls

PayPal Tweaking User Agreement To Remove Mandatory Robocalls

PayPal’s new user agreement — the one that gives the company even more latitude to make obnoxious prerecorded marketing calls to “any telephone number that you have provided us or that we have otherwise obtained” — is set to kick in this week, but following an FCC warning that this policy might be in violation of federal law, and a letter from multiple senators asking PayPal to rethink its new terms, the company has agreed to make changes that “clear up any confusion.” [More]

FCC Chair Tom Wheeler Promises No “Utility Style Regulation” Of Broadband

FCC Chair Tom Wheeler Promises No “Utility Style Regulation” Of Broadband

Two weeks ago, a federal appeals court denied the telecom and cable industry’s request to prevent the FCC’s new Open Internet Order (aka net neutrality) from going into effect, but the legal challenge to neutrality continues, with opponents claiming it will quell investment and result in stifling regulations. Today, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler spoke out publicly on these concerns. [More]

(JeepersMedia)

Sprint Stops Throttling Data Speeds As Net Neutrality Goes Into Effect

Net neutrality only became well and truly legal on June 12, and yet already the new rules are prompting change: Sprint stopped intermittently throttling data speeds for its heaviest wireless Internet users during busy times as of Friday, the same day the Federal Communications Commission’s net-neutrality rules went into effect. [More]

FCC Votes To Give Consumers The Right To Block Annoying Spam Robocalls And Texts

FCC Votes To Give Consumers The Right To Block Annoying Spam Robocalls And Texts

You hate getting robocalls. The FCC knows you hate getting robocalls. And so today the Commission voted to move forward with a proposal that would allow consumers to block all those annoying calls and texts. [More]

FCC Votes To Expand Lifeline To Broadband; Plans To Reduce Waste, Enhance Scrutiny

FCC Votes To Expand Lifeline To Broadband; Plans To Reduce Waste, Enhance Scrutiny

The FCC voted 3-2 today to expand the Lifeline program for low-income consumers to include an optional credit for broadband access. [More]

(jpghouse)

The FCC Is Considering A Big Change To Lifeline — But What Is It, And How Does It Work?

The FCC is going to be voting this week on a proposal to make a big change to one of their programs, Lifeline. The program — a subsidy that helps low-income consumers pay for phone service — may expand to help them pay for broadband, too. The topic is politically charged and coverage can be a bit confusing, so here’s a guide on what the FCC currently does with it and what they’re planning to do next. [More]

The First Complaint Of Net Neutrality Violation Is In, And It’s Against Time Warner Cable

The First Complaint Of Net Neutrality Violation Is In, And It’s Against Time Warner Cable

Net neutrality only went into effect last Friday, but the first formal complaint against an ISP for breaking the rule is already on its way. The target? Time Warner Cable. [More]

Senators Ask PayPal To Change Obnoxious RoboCall Clause In User Agreement

Senators Ask PayPal To Change Obnoxious RoboCall Clause In User Agreement

Two weeks ago, we told you how PayPal’s revised user agreement expanded the company’s already-intrusive existing permission to send pre-recorded robocalls and spam texts, and how the company gave users no apparent way to opt out. Then the FCC chimed in, telling the company that its terms appear to violate federal law. Now, several U.S. Senators are asking PayPal to rethink its terms before they go into effect on July 1. [More]

Is Your ISP Not Following Net Neutrality? The FCC’s Got A Complaint Form For That.

Is Your ISP Not Following Net Neutrality? The FCC’s Got A Complaint Form For That.

Hooray! Net neutrality is finally, well and truly, the law. The courts did not uphold industry groups’ requests to press pause on the implementation, and so as of right now, ISPs are common carriers under Title II and are not allowed to mess around with your connections. [More]