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]

(Mark Amsterdam)

TV Stations & Radios Can Now Just Tell You To Go Online For Contest Rules

In 1976, the Federal Communications Commission adopted the so-called “Contest Rule,” which sought to increase transparency in on-air contests by requiring that TV and radio broadcasters disclose the terms of the contest over the air. And even though there have been huge technological and cultural changes in the nearly 40 years since, allowing shows to also put their rules online, broadcasters must still explain them on air. That’s about to change. [More]

Government And Industry Get Together At FCC Workshop To Figure Out How To Kill Robocalls Already

Government And Industry Get Together At FCC Workshop To Figure Out How To Kill Robocalls Already

Robocalls suck. They have continued to suck for a very long time. Everyone hates them. The FCC has been trying to make them go away for many months now, and to that end they held a workshop today in Washington, DC bringing together regulators, consumer advocates, and industry executives to talk about what everyone can do to make these lousy, often-fraudulent annoyances go away. [More]

AT&T Unlimited Data Plan Now Tops Out At 22GB/Month Before Throttling

AT&T Unlimited Data Plan Now Tops Out At 22GB/Month Before Throttling

AT&T, which is currently fighting the Federal Communications Commission over a possible $100 million penalty for its practice of throttling data speeds for customers with so-called “unlimited” data plans if they used up more than 5 gigabytes of LTE data in a month, has decided to increase that monthly usage threshold all the way up to 22GB. [More]

Lyft & First National Bank Busted For Forcing Customers To Accept Robocalls & Spam Text

Lyft & First National Bank Busted For Forcing Customers To Accept Robocalls & Spam Text

As we recently pointed out with the PayPal terms of service, it’s against the law for a company to require that its customers to accept spam text messages and pre-recorded, auto-dialed robocalls. Someone should have forwarded that message on to Lyft and First National Bank. The FCC has cited both companies for forcing their customers to agree to unwanted marketing messages, in violation of federal law. [More]

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Sues FCC To Stop Efforts To Block Obnoxious Robocalls

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Sues FCC To Stop Efforts To Block Obnoxious Robocalls

Consumers hate getting endless robocalls on their landlines and cell phones, and with good reason: they’re incredibly annoying. But they exist for a reason, too: legitimate businesses and scammers alike both find that, to some degree, they work. So when the FCC proposes a rule to let consumers cut back on the annoyance in their lives, businesses are not necessarily thrilled. [More]

(Courtesy: Fibrant)

North Carolina City Is First To Offer Internet Service That’s 10 Times Faster Than Google Fiber

While Google is in the process of deploying high-speed gigabit Internet service in North Carolina’s major metro areas of Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, the folks in the much smaller city of Salisbury, NC, are being offered access to broadband that’s several times faster. [More]

Broadcasters Association Sues FCC Over Cable Competition Rules

Broadcasters Association Sues FCC Over Cable Competition Rules

Under federal law, a city can regulate cable TV rates for its residents if there is not “effective competition” in that market — that is, if one cable operator dominated the TV landscape in that area. But the Federal Communications Commission recently revised its way of looking at things so that it now presumes that satellite providers offer effective competition for the cable industry. This change hasn’t gone over well with broadcasters, who have petitioned a federal appeals court to challenge the FCC. [More]

The companies that are taking funds from the Connect America Fund to extend rural broadband coverage.

Ten ISPs Sign On With FCC Fund, Will Expand Rural Broadband To Over 7M Customers In 45 States

While those of us who live in or near the country’s medium and large cities see slow but eventual improvements in broadband service and sometimes even some competition, the same is not true for millions of Americans who live in the more rural parts of the country. Running wires outside of the ‘burbs costs more money than it brings in, so carriers aren’t keen to do it without a boost. And that’s where the FCC’s Connect America fund comes in. [More]

Dish, Sinclair End Broadcast Network Blackout… For Now, At Least

Dish, Sinclair End Broadcast Network Blackout… For Now, At Least

Dish’s latest contract fight with the networks it airs has wrapped up much more quickly than usual: less than a day after nearly 130 Sinclair channels went dark on the satellite provider, the local channels are back on in 5 million subscribers’ homes. At least, for now. [More]

Hundreds Of Local Channels Go Dark For Millions Of Dish Subscribers In Latest TV Blackout Fight

Hundreds Of Local Channels Go Dark For Millions Of Dish Subscribers In Latest TV Blackout Fight

Dish Network subscribers may have a hard time getting their local news and weather today along with some of their favorite network programming. A contract dispute between the satellite TV company and one of the biggest network owners in the country has resulted in one of the biggest TV blackouts to date, with 5 million viewers losing access to nearly 130 channels. [More]

Why Don’t Huge Privacy Flaws Result In Recalled Smartphones?

吉姆 Jim Hofman

When a car has a major flaw, like a potentially lethal airbag, it gets recalled. Same for a coffeemaker, or a surfboard, or a prescription drug. But when that major flaw is in a product’s software — like a huge exploit that puts literally a billion consumers’ privacy and personal data at risk — there’s no universal process out there for remedying the situation. Do we need one? And if so, how can we get one? [More]

(Mike Mozart)

Company Fined $750K For Blocking WiFi Hotspots At Convention Centers

In Section 333 of the Communications Act, it states that “No person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference” with any licensed or authorized radio communications. But a company that provides Internet service for hotels and convention centers around the country has admitted to deliberately preventing people from using their own, legal hotspots to go online. [More]

FCC To Dish: No, You Are Not A Small Business, You May Not Use Small Business Discounts

FCC To Dish: No, You Are Not A Small Business, You May Not Use Small Business Discounts

The FCC has an auction process to sell spectrum to businesses. The FCC also is charged with promoting competition. So there’s a credit available to small businesses who play in the auction. But this week, the FCC has had to tell one behemoth that small means small, and that no amount of pretending otherwise will actually change that. [More]

FCC Proposes Rules To Reduce TV Blackouts, Potentially (But Probably Not) Lower Prices

FCC Proposes Rules To Reduce TV Blackouts, Potentially (But Probably Not) Lower Prices

The FCC has proposed a kind of arcane-sounding rule change that on the surface might not seem to affect consumers very much. But if all goes well, the rule will prove to be the kind of upstream change that prevents all the you-know-what from flowing on downhill to everyone else, and makes one of the most annoying things about cable TV into ancient history. [More]

Verizon Stops Throttling Data For Unlimited Wireless Data Plans, Doesn’t Tell Anyone

Verizon Stops Throttling Data For Unlimited Wireless Data Plans, Doesn’t Tell Anyone

For four years, Verizon has been throttling 3G data speeds for its few remaining “unlimited” data plan holders who dared try to take advantage of having access to supposedly unlimited data on their wireless devices. But earlier this summer, the nation’s largest wireless carrier quietly put an end to this supposed “network management,” but only because it has done such a good job of driving customers away from their unlimited plans. [More]

“Travel Club” Telemarketer Fined $2.96M For Robocalling Consumers

“Travel Club” Telemarketer Fined $2.96M For Robocalling Consumers

Whenever we tell readers that it’s important for them to file complaints when they receive illegal robocalls, some inevitably respond that they believe it’s pointless and nothing ever comes of their gripe. But today, the FCC announced a nearly $3 million fine against a robocalling telemarketer following complaints from consumers who took the time to speak up. [More]

The FCC Wants To Know How Mobile Data, Broadband Caps, And High Prices Shape Broadband Access

The FCC Wants To Know How Mobile Data, Broadband Caps, And High Prices Shape Broadband Access

It’s the FCC’s job to determine if broadband internet service is reaching enough people, quickly enough and competitively enough. To make that determination, every year they issue a report looking at the current state of broadband and how it’s changed. But broadband isn’t about wires anymore; it’s about wireless data and how quickly that moves (or doesn’t), too. And so the commission is considering a big change to their standards for the next go-around — one that would take a hard look at your cell service, too. [More]