(Stephen Depolo)

FCC Fines ESPN, Viacom $1.4M For Improper Use Of Emergency Alert Tones

Hearing the emergency alert warning tones blaring from your television typically makes you take immediate notice (and immediately hit the Mute button). So when a broadcaster allows a commercial or program to air similar sounds without an actual emergency occurring, they could be on the receiving end of a pretty big fine from federal regulators. [More]

Congress Lines Up FCC Commissioners-Turned-Lobbyists For Hearing To Say Why Congress’s Bad Net Neutrality Proposal Is Great

Congress Lines Up FCC Commissioners-Turned-Lobbyists For Hearing To Say Why Congress’s Bad Net Neutrality Proposal Is Great

Depending on your point of view, Congress has been either promising or threatening to come up with a legislative solution to net neutrality, which would do an end-run around the current FCC debate. As of this afternoon, the first draft of the bill is out and the first hearings are on the schedule. So how does it look for fans of an open internet? [More]

Surprise: Sprint Tells FCC That Title II Is Just Fine By Them

Surprise: Sprint Tells FCC That Title II Is Just Fine By Them

Ever since the (current) net neutrality fight got started a year ago, the battle lines have been pretty predictable: the companies that sell you access to data don’t really want stronger regulations, and groups that sell things that need you to have access to someone else’s data plan do. But in a surprise move this week, Sprint just broke ranks with the AT&Ts and Verizons of the mobile world to tell the FCC that actually, they’re cool with Title II regulation. [More]

Why Dish’s Sling TV Is A Factor In Pending Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger

Why Dish’s Sling TV Is A Factor In Pending Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger

Later this month, Dish will finally launch its much-awaited Sling TV streaming service that gives subscribers live online access to a dozen cable channels. And even though Sling has yet to go live, it’s already being factored into the pending mega-merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. [More]

Verizon Investors Worried Company’s Anti-Neutrality Stance Could Backfire

Verizon Investors Worried Company’s Anti-Neutrality Stance Could Backfire

Since 2010, when the FCC introduced its first go at net neutrality rules, Verizon has led the charge to gut the regulations. And Big V ultimately succeeded in early 2014, when a federal appeals court ruled that the FCC didn’t have the statutory authority to enact such strict guidelines. And now that the FCC is taking another stab at neutrality, Verizon is once again dangling the threat of legal action, even though it claims the proposed new rules won’t hurt its business. But what may hurt Verizon’s bottom line, say the company’s investors, is its reputation as a neutrality foe. [More]

(Brad Clinesmith)

Lawmakers Claim Congress Better At FCC’s Job Than FCC Is, Plan To Introduce Net Neutrality Proposal

Large swaths of Congress are not pleased with the FCC’s moves towards regulating net neutrality, and they got even less pleased after the President threw his weight behind Title II and the FCC started to move in that direction. With the FCC set to vote in February, time for Congress to stick its oar in is running out. So now, in addition to the proposed bill that would bar the FCC outright from using Title II, there will soon be proposed new legislation afoot that seeks to do the FCC’s job for it, without letting the FCC in at all. [More]

White House Calls For More Municipal Broadband Networks, Urges FCC To Override State Laws Blocking Them

White House Calls For More Municipal Broadband Networks, Urges FCC To Override State Laws Blocking Them

The White House is on a tear with major internet issues this winter. After two other speeches this week in which the President called for stronger consumer data protections and stronger cybersecurity laws, today President Obama will deliver remarks in Iowa singing the praises of municipal broadband and asking the FCC to do away with the laws that block them. [More]

AT&T Says It Can’t Be Sued By FTC Over Throttling Of Unlimited Data Plans

AT&T Says It Can’t Be Sued By FTC Over Throttling Of Unlimited Data Plans

Last October, the Federal Trade Commission sued AT&T, alleging that the wireless company failed to adequately disclose to its “unlimited” data customers that it could throttle their network speeds and that this throttling could slow their data speeds by upwards of 90%. In a recent court filing, AT&T claims that the FTC doesn’t have the jurisdiction to bring this lawsuit in the first place. [More]

(Jenn and Tony Bot)

Banks Want To Robocall You When It’s Important, But Not Important Enough To Speak To A Human

Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, companies can’t robocall you on your cellphone unless you’ve given them prior consent to contact you at that number. Now the banking industry is trying to gain exemptions for this rule, claiming there are times when they just need to call your cellphone even though the need isn’t urgent enough to have an actual human make that call. They also don’t want to be penalized for robocalling the wrong number. [More]

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler spoke about a possible net neutrality rule during a CES conference.

FCC Chair Hints That Broadband Reclassification Is The Right Path Toward Net Neutrality

During an appearance at International CES this afternoon, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler gave indications that he’s leaning toward reclassifying broadband as part of his plan for net neutrality. [More]

The FCC's map of 25 Mbps broadband deployment. Yellow areas are served; blue are unserved.

FCC To Redefine “Broadband” As 25 Mbps Or Faster

Rumors have been floating around for at least six months that the FCC might change the definition of “broadband” actually to mean the real high-speed connections we need access to in the real world — and now it looks like they finally are. [More]

A screenshot from the FCC's new and improved help center.

FCC Launches New, User-Friendly Help And Complaints Site For Consumers

Despite being the go-to agency for internet issues, the FCC’s website has not exactly got a reputation for user-friendliness. Quite the opposite, in fact. But this week the commission behind the broadband is hoping to change all that with a major site revamp that makes it easier for consumers where to go when they need help. [More]

Report: FCC To Vote On New Net Neutrality Proposal In February

Report: FCC To Vote On New Net Neutrality Proposal In February


After months of comments, discussions, hearings, statements, and delays, the FCC is reportedly preparing to vote on a new Open Internet Rule — net neutrality — at their February 26 meeting. [More]

Marriott: It’s Okay, We Only Want To Jam Your Hotspot In The Rooms You Actually Need It In

Marriott: It’s Okay, We Only Want To Jam Your Hotspot In The Rooms You Actually Need It In

Last fall, Marriott got in trouble for jamming the signals from users’ portable hotspots in one of their conference centers. That’s illegal, and the FCC fined them big bucks for it. Now the hotel chain is trying to make it legal, which has gone over very poorly in the public eye. But wait, Marriott says — we don’t want to stop you from using personal hotspots in your room! We only want to block you from using them in shared spaces where you could actually benefit from having them. [More]

T-Mobile, AT&T Customers Can Now Request Their $170M In Refunds From Cramming Settlements

T-Mobile, AT&T Customers Can Now Request Their $170M In Refunds From Cramming Settlements

Earlier this year, AT&T and T-Mobile both reached major settlements with federal regulators over the illegal practice of cramming: third-party charges snuck onto wireless customers’ bills without their authorization. Combined, the two settlements will put about $170 million back in consumers’ pockets. But in order to get money back, consumers first have to ask for it. [More]

Google, Microsoft Face Down Hilton, Marriott In Fight Over Blocking Hotel Hotspots

Google, Microsoft Face Down Hilton, Marriott In Fight Over Blocking Hotel Hotspots

Hotel wifi really sucks sometimes: it can be expensive, insecure, and slow all at once. When there’s a convention in town, the network’s so overloaded you can’t connect at all. So travelers bring their own mobile hotspots. It’s a win for the consumer, but not for the hotel that suddenly loses the ability to charge you more fees. And that’s the core issue behind a regulatory fight that has hotels and tech firms arguing over what consumers are allowed to do. [More]

Dish, Consumer Advocates Ask FCC To Block Comcast/TWC Merger As Final Comment Deadline Hits

Dish, Consumer Advocates Ask FCC To Block Comcast/TWC Merger As Final Comment Deadline Hits

The Comcast/TWC merger is once again in a brief time-out, but that didn’t stop today from being a major milestone in the FCC’s review process. At long last, the final deadline for the back-and-forth of comments, replies, and replies to replies has come, and merger opponents are taking advantage of their one last chance to ask the FCC to prevent a consumer disaster before it happens. [More]

Comcast, Time Warner Cable Merger Review Delayed Again

Comcast, Time Warner Cable Merger Review Delayed Again

Even with bought-and-paid-for Senators urging the FCC to hurry up its review of the pending merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, there is only so much the regulators can do when they don’t have the documents they need to complete that review. That’s why the FCC has once again hit the pause button on the time clock for this mega-merger. [More]