(Great Beyond)

FCC Pauses Review Of Both Media Mega-Mergers Because Content Companies Won’t Share Confidential Info

The slowly-turning wheel of the approvals process for two big media mergers has temporarily ground to a halt, as the FCC today announced delays in their reviews of both AT&T’s planned acquisition of DirecTV and also the Comcast/Time Warner Cable union. The delays in both proceedings stem from the same core issue: media content companies who don’t want their rivals to learn their secrets. [More]

FCC: Verizon To Pay $7.4M To Settle Consumer Privacy Investigation

FCC: Verizon To Pay $7.4M To Settle Consumer Privacy Investigation

Verizon is the now the owner of a title it probably would rather not have: the largest settlement related to the privacy of telephone customers’ personal information in Federal Communications Commission history. The not-so-great distinction comes as the company agreed to pay $7.4 million to settle allegations that it failed to notify millions of customers of their privacy rights before marketing services to them. [More]

Media Companies Afraid To Leave Public Comments Privately Tell FCC Why The Comcast/TWC Merger Stinks

Media Companies Afraid To Leave Public Comments Privately Tell FCC Why The Comcast/TWC Merger Stinks

Plenty of big companies have left lengthy public comments explaining their opposition to Comcast buying Time Warner Cable. Still, though, not everyone who is afraid of the potential consequences of the merger is able to go air their grievances publicly. Media organizations that usually love announcing their opinions to anyone and everyone have been suspiciously silent on the matter, perhaps, as Sen. Al Franken suggested, due to fears of retaliation from their largest business partner. But just because those companies aren’t filing public comments doesn’t mean that they’re in love with the merger, and they may be telling a very different story behind closed doors. [More]

Lawmakers Wade Into Fight Over FCC Chair’s Potential Plan To Overturn Bans On Municipal Broadband

Lawmakers Wade Into Fight Over FCC Chair’s Potential Plan To Overturn Bans On Municipal Broadband

Not very much happens in Washington, D.C. in August. But even as the city slows down, FCC chair Tom Wheeler continues to make strong noises about using the FCC’s authority to preempt state laws that prohibit the expansion or creation of municipal broadband utilities. And now, some members of Congress are joining him. [More]

Phone Company Routed 911 Calls To Automated Recording Telling Callers To Dial 911

Phone Company Routed 911 Calls To Automated Recording Telling Callers To Dial 911

Although consumers in some areas of the United States can now text message 911 in the event of an emergency, it’s always nice to know that calling a real, live human is still an option. Unless of course it isn’t, which was the case for residents of Caddo County, OK, for several months in 2013. [More]

Robocaller Fined $2.94M For Ignoring Warning To Not Call Cellphones Without Permission

Robocaller Fined $2.94M For Ignoring Warning To Not Call Cellphones Without Permission

When the FCC lets you off the hook with a warning after allegedly making 4.7 million illegal automated, recorded calls to cellphones, your best bet is to heed that warning or get out of the business. One company didn’t do either of these things and is now being fined $2.94 million. [More]

Even Business Travelers Don’t Want Anyone Yakking Away On The Phone In Mid-Air

Even Business Travelers Don’t Want Anyone Yakking Away On The Phone In Mid-Air

Who do you think of when you imagine the chatty kind of person who might want to make phone calls in the middle of a crowded airplane, mid-flight? While your mental picture might land on a businessperson in a suit yelling something about mergers and Hong Kong markets and getting that deal done before they close, a trade group representing business travelers has come out against the idea. [More]

FCC: Thousands Of Hotels Don’t Have Phones With Direct Access To 9-1-1

FCC: Thousands Of Hotels Don’t Have Phones With Direct Access To 9-1-1

A few weeks ago, Federal Communications Commission member Ajit Pai decided to start asking hotels if their phones offered direct access to 9-1-1, or if guests would have to dial “9” first to get an outgoing line or are routed through the front desk first. The results are in, and Pai is not pleased.

[More]

FCC To TV Companies: You Can’t Broadcast Emergency Alert Tones If It’s Not An Emergency

FCC To TV Companies: You Can’t Broadcast Emergency Alert Tones If It’s Not An Emergency

The thing about the Emergency Alert System is that it’s only supposed to be used to alert people when there’s an actual emergency. So anyone viewing the trailer for 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen might’ve been alarmed to hear those telltale tones along with “This is not a test” — at least until Gerard Butler’s face hits the screen. [More]

The DOT Wants To Know: Should Cell Phone Calls Be Allowed On Planes?

The DOT Wants To Know: Should Cell Phone Calls Be Allowed On Planes?

Back in December when the Federal Communications Commission announced it would start investigating whether or not it’s a good idea to lift the ban on cell phone calls on planes — from a technological point of view — the Department of Transportation was all, “Hold on, we’re going to look into this too.” The DOT is now turning to the public to hear your thoughts. [More]

FCC Wants First-Responders To Know Exactly Where 911 Calls Are Coming From

FCC Wants First-Responders To Know Exactly Where 911 Calls Are Coming From

No one wants to be in a position where calling 911 is necessary, but if the situation does occur we’d all like to think first-responders could easily find us. But that’s just not the case now that more consumers are using cell phones to make emergency calls. Especially when those calls are being made indoors, out of the view of GPS satellites. [More]

FCC Checking With Hotels To See If Reaching Help With 9-1-1 Is As Easy As It Should Be

FCC Checking With Hotels To See If Reaching Help With 9-1-1 Is As Easy As It Should Be

If you were to pick up the phone in a hotel room and dial 9-1-1, what would you get? You probably wouldn’t be in the state of mind to dial 9 first, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting in contact with emergency services as fast as possible, which is why one member of the Federal Communications Commission is looking into how it works at different hotel chains across the country. [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]

(kfas)

FCC Yells At 2 Million People To Turn Those Darn Cell Phone Signal Boosters Off, Changes Its Mind

What’s an average citizen to do if they can’t get a cell phone call to go through, perhaps because they live far from cell towers or their network is just shoddy? About 2 million people in the United States currently use wireless signal boosters, devices that can help strengthen cell phone signals. The Federal Communications Commission adopted new rules on those yesterday, at first saying everyone would have to turn them off and get permission from carriers, but backpedaling shortly after. [More]

The FCC Thinks It Might Want To Start Collecting Taxes On Broadband Internet Service

The FCC Thinks It Might Want To Start Collecting Taxes On Broadband Internet Service

Here’s something you might have missed — there could soon be a new tax on your broadband Internet service, if the Federal Communications Commission has its way. The proposed tax would go toward ensuring more people have access to the Internet, along the lines of the taxes already consumers pay for landlines and cellular phone service. [More]

FCC Tells Comcast It Had Better Get To Marketing That Standalone Broadband Service

FCC Tells Comcast It Had Better Get To Marketing That Standalone Broadband Service

The Federal Communications Commission has slapped Comcast with a $800,000 fine for not doing its part to market its standalone broadband Internet service. It was supposed to do just that as part of the conditions of its merger with NBC Universal last year. [More]

FCC Taking Another Look At Mobile Phone Radiation

FCC Taking Another Look At Mobile Phone Radiation

For the first time in 15 years, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission says it’s planning on asking if its standards protect people from mobile-phone radiation, partly because of how often we use smartphones now and since we yak away on them for longer periods of time than we used to. [More]

Court Says Banning Political Ads From Public TV Is Unconstitutional

Court Says Banning Political Ads From Public TV Is Unconstitutional

Let’s hope we don’t see Mitt Romney or President Barack Obama angling for votes in between Sesame Street segments — but that could be the reality in the future. An appeals court in California ruled that banning political and public-issue ads from public TV and radio stations is unconstitutional. Oh, First Amendment! Look what you’ve done! [More]