Odds Of Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger Are Pretty Slim

Odds Of Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger Are Pretty Slim

Given a shared history of treating subscribers like ATMs and of taking the “do the least” approach to customer service, it almost made sense last month when the merger rumor mill went into overdrive with reports that Comcast was looking to acquire Time Warner Cable. But the odds of this marriage being blessed by regulators seem pretty slim. [More]

Imagine all these people talking on phones. (frankieleon)

Goodness Gracious — Please Tell Us The FCC Isn’t Going To Allow Cellphone Calls On Planes

It hasn’t even been a month since the Federal Aviation Administration said it would finally let airline passengers use devices like tablets and phones from gate to gate, but now another federal agency is considering letting loose the hounds of Hades: The Federal Communications Commission is considering allowing travelers to make phone calls in midair. [More]

FCC Chair Asks Wireless Industry To Make Cellphone Unlocking Easier For Consumers

(Consumerist)

A year ago, the Librarian of Congress — who has the authority to interpret the fine points of the much-derided Digital Millennium Copyright Act, inexplicably reversed his previous rulings regarding the rights of consumers to unlock wireless devices by making it illegal for people to unlock new phones and tablets without permission from their wireless provider. That change went into effect in January, and since then, everyone from consumers to lawmakers to the White House have declared it a huge mistake that needs to be rethought. Today, new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler urged the wireless industry to put voluntary standards in place that would at least make it easier for consumers to know when they can unlock their devices. [More]

FCC Android App Lets You Test Wireless Broadband Speeds

FCC Android App Lets You Test Wireless Broadband Speeds

In an effort to include more wireless data in its periodic reports on the state of broadband in America, the Federal Communications Commission has released an Android app that lets consumers test the speed and quality of their wireless provider (and of course shares that data with the FCC). [More]

Michael Powell thinks customers should pay more per GB of data in order to get a better value. He also got his job at the FCC because his dad knew the president.

Former FCC Chair Urges Cable Companies To Hurry Up & Implement Data Caps And Usage-Based Pricing

Former FCC chair turned cable-industry frontman Michael Powell thinks that, in spite of the fact that delivering data to consumers continues to get less expensive, cable companies should be rushing to put caps on data usage and implement usage-based, metered broadband service. [More]

Bank Of America To Pay $32 Million Over Robocall Allegations

Bank Of America To Pay $32 Million Over Robocall Allegations

Two of our favorites kinds of stories — big bank badness and robocalling — all wrapped into one breakfast burrito. Earlier this week, Bank of America reached a $32 million deal to settle complaints, filed on behalf of 7.7 million customers, that BofA repeatedly violated federal regulations by robocalling consumers’ mobile phones without permission. [More]

(mytoenailcameoff)

FAA Panel: You Should Be Able To Use Smartphone On Planes, As Long As You Don’t Use The ‘Phone’ Part

Travelers were hopeful last week when news came down that an FAA panel would soon be recommending that the use of smartphones be allowed during takeoffs and landings of commercial flights. Those recommendations have finally come through, but don’t get all excited and think that you’ll be using your phone to text or chat through the flight. [More]

Now maybe you'll actually be able to find Bloomberg on your cable listings.

FCC Tells Comcast To Put Bloomberg With The Rest Of The News Stations

There’s a practice known as “neighborhooding” in cable programming, in which cable/satellite providers tend to group similarly themed channels together. That’s why MTV and Vh1 were often right next to each other (because, believe it or not, they used to both air music videos!) and why the dedicated networks for the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA are usually within a few slots of each other (and usually within free-throw distance of ESPN). But sometimes a channel gets left out in the cold, apart from its similarly programmed stations. [More]

One of writer Jeff Jarvis's many fruitless interactions with Verizon support.

Verizon Doesn’t Know The Difference Between “Can’t” And “Won’t”

I can jump off my third-floor balcony, but I won’t because it would just make an absolute mess. The fact that I won’t do it doesn’t negate my ability to do it. This is a distinction that apparently eludes the folks at Verizon Wireless. [More]

(Consumerist)

Commerce Dept. Asks FCC To Require Wireless Companies To Unlock Cellphones

A year ago, the Librarian of Congress decided that consumers no longer own their cellphones, and that they can not legally unlock that phone to take to another, compatible wireless carrier, without the permission of their current service provider. Because this is idiotic, everyone from consumer advocates to the FCC to members of Congress to the White House has called for this rule change to be reversed. Now another important governmental group has piped in, calling for a rule change that could undo some of the damage done. [More]

(Drriss & Marionn)

Proposed Law Aims To Curb TV Blackouts, Let You Choose To Pay For Broadcast Channels

In the wake of the month-long blackout that affected 3 million CBS viewers in several major cities and Showtime subscribers nationwide, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo of California has drafted legislation that would give the Federal Communications Commission the authority to prevent blackouts, and give consumers the right to decide whether or not they want to pay for watching broadcast networks on cable. [More]

So What Was The Point Of The Whole Time Warner Cable, CBS Blackout?

So What Was The Point Of The Whole Time Warner Cable, CBS Blackout?

When Time Warner Cable pulled CBS from subscribers in L.A., NYC, Dallas, and others on Aug. 2, everyone knew it was inevitable the cable company would cave and make a deal with the broadcaster resulting in it paying higher fees — and subscribers paying higher rates. So was there any point to the month-long staring contest? [More]

Acting FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn, pictured here speaking to school children, who are probably a better audience than lawyers for TWC and CBS.

FCC Will “Consider Appropriate Action” If CBS Blackout Continues, But Does That Mean Anything?

While it could (and probably does) mean absolutely nothing, the acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission did something her predecessors have rarely done — expressed an opinion on, and hinted at possible intervention in, the ongoing war of words and numbers between Time Warner Cable and CBS. [More]

(MarkAmsterdam)

Networks To FCC: No One’s Watching Our Shows, So Stop Being So Uptight About Decency Standards

Remember the days when basic cable was considered a joke and all the real shows were on the broadcast networks? Back in those days, it sort of made sense that the FCC might care about things like bad language, nudity (and supposedly violence, though that never really seemed to be an issue) on network TV. But now, with the majority of viewers spending their TV-watching time glued to basic cable shows featuring loudmouthed, obnoxious, hateful, “real” people shouting at each other in between commercials, the networks are asking the FCC to lighten the heck up. [More]

(Consumerist)

Incoming FCC Chair Calls For End To Ban On Unlocking Cell Phones

Earlier this year, an ill-advised ruling by the Librarian of Congress made it illegal for cellphone owners to unlock their new wireless devices — thus allowing the phones to be used on compatible networks — without permission from their current carriers. Recently exited FCC Chair Julius Genachowski had expressed concerns over this new rule, but he’s gone back to the private sector. Luckily, his apparent successor also wants consumers to be able to do what they want with the devices they buy. [More]

Today Was The Deadline For Wireless Companies To Enact Bill Shock Alerts. Did Everyone Make It?

Today Was The Deadline For Wireless Companies To Enact Bill Shock Alerts. Did Everyone Make It?

In October 2011, the FCC and the nation’s major wireless providers agreed to put systems in place that would alert subscribers when they neared and passed their plans’ thresholds for things like calling minutes, texts, data, and international roaming. Per the agreement, all the providers were supposed to have all their alerts in place by today. So did everyone finish on time? [More]

(Consumerist)

Consumers Union Calls On FCC, Lawmakers To Relax Rules On Cellphone Unlocking

As many of you know, the Librarian of Congress, who has the authority to interpret (and reinterpret) the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, recently heeded the siren song of the wireless industry and decided that after the DMCA no longer allowed consumers to unlock their cellphones — i.e., unleash them from their current provider to be used on a competing but compatible network — without getting permission from that current provider. It’s move the public doesn’t like. Neither does the White House, the FCC, or members of Congress, but what’s being done to remedy the issue? [More]

FAA May Finally Stop Being Such Pains In The Butt About Some Electronics During Takeoff

FAA May Finally Stop Being Such Pains In The Butt About Some Electronics During Takeoff

Back in December, the Federal Communications Commission wrote to their pals at the Federal Aviation Administration about reconsidering its hard-and-fast rules regarding the use of approved electronics during takeoff and landing. Looks like the FAA might be getting the message. [More]