AT&T, Verizon Tell FCC That They Should Be Able To Block Texts When They Want To, For Your Own Good

AT&T, Verizon Tell FCC That They Should Be Able To Block Texts When They Want To, For Your Own Good

Texting isn’t just the purview of teenagers. Bulk texting is a huge business. Sometimes they’re scam spam in about the same category of usefulness as emails from a wealthy Nigerian prince who doesn’t exist, granted, but sometimes they’re useful blasts from businesses or public entities that let a whole bunch of people get useful information quickly in a low-bandwidth way. But what they aren’t, quite yet, is clearly regulated. A case moving through the FCC right now, however, may change that. [More]

FCC Chair: Video Streaming That Doesn’t Count Against Your Data Caps Is “Innovative” And “Highly Competitive”

FCC Chair: Video Streaming That Doesn’t Count Against Your Data Caps Is “Innovative” And “Highly Competitive”

The FCC’s Open Internet Rule — net neutrality — has been in effect for months now, but that doesn’t mean every question about the ins and outs of who can do what with their network is settled. Far from it, in fact. Some questions, like zero rating, have been hanging out there unresolved all this time. Except now they’re a bit more resolved, and it seems to be totally okay for the time being. [More]

(Kat Northern Lights Man)

FCC Moves To Make All Wireless Devices Compatible With Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants

While current FCC rules require cellphone makers to offer devices that won’t interfere with hearing aids and cochlear implants, not all wireless devices are included. Today, the Commission made two moves intended to include this compatibility on all wireless phones. [More]

(alexkerhead)

Phone Companies Can Filter Out Robocalls, They Just Aren’t Doing It

Even in an age when everyone has Caller ID on their cellphones and landlines, when more than 200 million numbers are listed on the national Do Not Call Registry, our phones are still inundated with unwanted auto-dialed and prerecorded calls. And though state and federal regulators regularly shut down illegal telemarketing operations, it can seem like a game of Whac-A-Mole, with new robocallers popping up to replace the old ones. [More]

Internet Giants Come Out In Support Of Municipal Broadband

Internet Giants Come Out In Support Of Municipal Broadband

Nearly half the states in the U.S. have laws that ban or severely limit cities and counties from operating broadband networks or from selling that service directly to consumers. This week, a trade group representing the biggest names on the Internet — Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, reddit, Yelp, among others — came out in support of breaking down these anti-consumer barriers. [More]

(Byron Chin)

FCC Declines To Force Internet Companies To Listen When You Ask Them Not To Track You

It’s no secret that the internet, well, follows you around. Browse one product on Monday and you’re seeing ads for it everywhere all week long. Modern browsers have an option that lets users ask businesses nicely not to follow them. One consumer group tried to ask the FCC to make businesses listen but it appears that is not to be. [More]

Cox Receives $595K Slap On Wrist For Failing To Prevent Data Breach

Cox Receives $595K Slap On Wrist For Failing To Prevent Data Breach

In Aug. 2014, a hacker used a clever bit of social engineering to talk his way into accessing the personal information for an unknown number of Cox cable, Internet, and phone customers. For its failure to shield its system from this sort of outside invasion, the pay-TV company has agreed to pay $595,000 to the FCC. [More]

Senators Introduce Bill To Close New Robocall Debt-Collection Loophole

Senators Introduce Bill To Close New Robocall Debt-Collection Loophole

Last week, the president signed an emergency budget bill that kept the government from shutting down, but which also quietly exempted federal agencies from an important consumer protection against automated debt-collection robocalls. A new piece of legislation hopes to turn back the clock on that mistake by closing that recently opened loophole. [More]

Operators of the WiFi network at the Baltimore Convention Center face a $718,000 fine for automatically blocking third-party WiFi hotspots while charging upwards of $1,095 for Internet access.

Company Faces $718K Fine For Blocking WiFi Hotspots At Baltimore Convention Center

Another company is learning about the fine points of Section 333 of the Communications Act, which prohibits willful interference with any licensed or authorized radio communications. This time, it’s the folks who provided the Baltimore Convention Center’s in-house WiFi service who were caught by the FCC trying to block individual WiFi hotspot users from going online. Meanwhile, Hilton is also being slapped with a proposed fine for its failure to comply with an investigation into its alleged hotspot blocking. [More]

Senators Say They Will Try To Reverse Robocall Exemption For Federal Debt Collectors

Senators Say They Will Try To Reverse Robocall Exemption For Federal Debt Collectors

Right now, the U.S. Senate is going through process of discussing the bipartisan budget proposal intended to prevent another federal shutdown. It’s a bill that, by most accounts, is destined to pass without removal of a provision that gives the federal government — and only the federal government — the permission to place unwanted, automated robocalls for the purposes of debt collection without the recipient’s permission. But some lawmakers are pledging to do something after the budget bill has passed. [More]

Federal Budget Proposal Would Allow Government To Robocall Your Cellphone Over Debts

Federal Budget Proposal Would Allow Government To Robocall Your Cellphone Over Debts

Federal law currently prohibits most non-emergency robocalls to cellphones unless the recipient has given their prior express consent to receive auto-dialed calls. But amid the battle over the federal budget, someone has slipped in some language to the budget bill currently before Congress that would exempt government debt collectors from this law. [More]

Verizon Wireless Asks FCC For Permission To Start Offering WiFi Calling

Verizon Wireless Asks FCC For Permission To Start Offering WiFi Calling

Not one to be left behind while the other major carriers are hanging out on the technology bandwagon, Verizon Wireless has asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to enable WiFi calling on its network. [More]

Great Beyond)

FCC Puts Caps On The Sky-High Rates Prisoners Pay To Call Home

Long-distance and collect calling aren’t something most of us have to think about all that often, anymore. But for the families of the 2.2 million Americans living behind bars, the monopoly contracts that exist on phone companies behind bars, and the exorbitant, sky-high rates that spring from them, are a huge problem — one that the FCC has just taken action to mitigate. [More]

FCC Now Sharing Weekly Robocall Complaint Data For Use In Building Call-Blocking Tools

FCC Now Sharing Weekly Robocall Complaint Data For Use In Building Call-Blocking Tools

The FCC has been on a bit of a crusade this year to try and curb the scourge of robocalls, one of consumers’ biggest complaints. To that end, they’re now going to share a new tool to help build weapons for that fight: consumers’ complaints. [More]

Wireless Companies Have A Plan To Make Your Mobile Data Faster And Better… But It Might Break WiFi

Wireless Companies Have A Plan To Make Your Mobile Data Faster And Better… But It Might Break WiFi

Over the last couple of years we’ve all finally gotten used to 4G LTE being the mobile standard our phones use… so of course, the next network tech is already in development. The wireless companies’ plans for expanding LTE networks sound simple: piggyback off spectrum that’s sitting right there, available for anyone to use, so the metaphorical pipes can be bigger. Except that could cause big problems for basically all the wireless tech we already use. [More]

What Key Players Are Telling The FCC About The Charter / Time Warner Cable Merger

What Key Players Are Telling The FCC About The Charter / Time Warner Cable Merger

The three-way Charter/Time Warner Cable/Bright House merger hit one of its major milestones this week, as the first deadline for filing comments with the FCC has come and gone. As one might expect, consumer advocates and competing businesses are less than thrilled with the major merger plan. [More]

(Mike Mozart)

AT&T Gets The Go-Ahead From FCC To Enable WiFi Calling For iPhones

After AT&T had to delay enabling WiFi calling on iPhones — a move it was expected to make, but didn’t, with the release of iOS 9 recently — the carrier is finally getting the go-ahead it needed from the Federal Communications Commission to roll out the feature to its customers. [More]

FCC: Net Neutrality Doesn’t Violate Internet Service Providers’ First Amendment Rights

FCC: Net Neutrality Doesn’t Violate Internet Service Providers’ First Amendment Rights

About a week after the FCC narrowly voted to approve new net neutrality rules that prevent Internet service providers from deciding which types of online content get preferential or detrimental treatment, the telecom industry was ready with lawsuits. One of those plaintiffs argues that net neutrality is a restriction on ISPs’ First Amendment right to free expression, but the FCC counters that this is like trying to claim that your TV or radio have their own constitutionally protected rights to free speech. [More]