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]

Verizon: We Can Basically Charge Netflix For Peering Forever And There’s Nothing The FCC Can Do To Stop It

Verizon: We Can Basically Charge Netflix For Peering Forever And There’s Nothing The FCC Can Do To Stop It

The FCC is facing a lot of opposition this year, but Verizon in particular just really seems to thrive on challenging the agency. The latest move from the telco giant is a message to the FCC that even if they use Title II to regulate net neutrality, there is nothing the commission can do to prevent interconnection fee spats like the one Verizon and Netflix had this year. [More]

Consumer Advocates Head Back To FCC, Continue Urging Agency To Reject Comcast/TWC Merger

Consumer Advocates Head Back To FCC, Continue Urging Agency To Reject Comcast/TWC Merger

After a long pause, the FCC’s review of the Comcast/TWC merger is back underway. Now, the wave of comments in response to Comcast’s last data dump are starting to roll in, once again asking the agency to block the merger. [More]

(Misfit Photographer)

FCC Reportedly Planning To Fine Sprint $105M For Wireless Bill-Cramming

Just two months after the Federal Communications Commission imposed its largest fine on AT&T for overcharging consumers using a practice known as “bill-cramming,” the regulator is reportedly poised to saddle Sprint with the same $105 million fine for similar practices. [More]

Roku And Comcast Finally Make Nice, Will Allow HBO Go And Showtime Apps

Roku And Comcast Finally Make Nice, Will Allow HBO Go And Showtime Apps

A personal anecdote, if you’ll allow… A few years back, I — ever a good son — bought my mother a Roku box for her TV (that I’d also bought her), only to find out that she, like millions of other Comcast subscribers, was not allowed to access the device’s HBO Go app because she’s a Comcast customer. But those darks days are coming to an end, now that Kabletown and Roku are suddenly buddies. [More]

FCC Releases Massive Study On Mobile Phone Theft, Asks Wireless Companies To Start Making Changes

FCC Releases Massive Study On Mobile Phone Theft, Asks Wireless Companies To Start Making Changes

Smartphones are amazingly convenient: tiny little hand-sized computers that make it easy to organize our lives on the go. They’re also amazingly good targets for theft: tiny, portable, expensive, and full of personal information. Mobile device theft is on the rise, just as mobile devices are, and the FCC has been trying to find ways to protect consumers when their devices get yanked from their hands. [More]

New Coalition Steps Up To Fight “Mega Comcast” Merger As FCC Restarts Review Clock

New Coalition Steps Up To Fight “Mega Comcast” Merger As FCC Restarts Review Clock

It’s the plot of a certain kind of action movie or video game that we’ve all seen and played a thousand times: the big bad robot/alien/lizard comes crashing into town and the only thing that will stop it is when an unlikely band of allies group up and save the world. If politics and business are a game, as so many participants seem to think, then now they are apparently one of that genre, as an unlikely band of allies is now grouping together under one banner to fight the Comcast/Time Warner Cable mega-merger. [More]

This chart from the GAO report shows that the top 15% of cable Internet users will be surpassing current data caps by 2018, and using several times that amount of data by 2020.

Govt. Report Criticizes Cable Companies For Cashing In On Data Caps

A growing number of cable companies are implementing data caps (sorry — “data thresholds”), which put limits on how much data a subscriber could use before facing penalties ranging from warning messages to throttled speeds to overage fees. A new report from the federal Government Accountability Office says that lack of competition in the broadband market could result in these caps being implemented with no one benefiting other than cable companies’ bottom lines. [More]

(Matt McGee)

Verizon Pinky-Swears It Won’t Sue FCC Over Net Neutrality (If It Doesn’t Reclassify Broadband)

A few weeks after Verizon made it clear that it would sue to block the FCC’s attempt to enact strong net neutrality rules, and only days after FCC Chair Tom Wheeler shrugged that a lawsuit seems inevitable no matter what he does, the telecom titan is now saying it may not go the legal route if the Commission decides against reclassification. [More]

FCC Expects To Be Sued Over Net Neutrality No Matter What It Does

FCC Expects To Be Sued Over Net Neutrality No Matter What It Does

In 2010, the FCC enacted net neutrality rules aimed to prevent Internet service providers from blocking, slowing down, or speeding up access to websites based on how much they pay — and the agency was sued by Verizon for overstepping its authority. Now that the FCC is reconsidering those rules to either make them weaker or possibly reclassify ISPs so that the agency can enforce neutrality. But no matter how it moves forward, the agency expects to be sued. [More]

FCC Proposes Some Consumer Protections As They Inch Closer To Killing Off Copper Landlines

FCC Proposes Some Consumer Protections As They Inch Closer To Killing Off Copper Landlines

Phones are wireless, consumers are cutting back, and copper is expensive: all are reasons why the big phone companies want permission from the FCC to walk away from old-fashioned landline networks and to keep moving toward an internet-based future. The FCC tentatively agrees, and voted 3-2 today to take another baby step in the process that will end up making the nation’s century-old copper landline network obsolete. [More]

(Great Beyond)

Court Bars FCC From Disclosing How Much Comcast, DirecTV Pay Broadcasters

Last week’s last-minute legal battle between just about every major TV broadcaster and the FCC came to a quietly disappointing conclusion this morning, with a federal appeals court refusing to allow the government to share confidential details about the mergers of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, and DirecTV and AT&T. [More]