FCC Votes To Give Consumers The Right To Block Annoying Spam Robocalls And Texts

FCC Votes To Give Consumers The Right To Block Annoying Spam Robocalls And Texts

You hate getting robocalls. The FCC knows you hate getting robocalls. And so today the Commission voted to move forward with a proposal that would allow consumers to block all those annoying calls and texts. [More]

FCC Votes To Expand Lifeline To Broadband; Plans To Reduce Waste, Enhance Scrutiny

FCC Votes To Expand Lifeline To Broadband; Plans To Reduce Waste, Enhance Scrutiny

The FCC voted 3-2 today to expand the Lifeline program for low-income consumers to include an optional credit for broadband access. [More]

(frankieleon)

Nobody Really Knows What To Do About Regulating The Sharing Economy

The car in front of you has four wheels and goes “beep.” For a certain fee, its driver will pick you up from where you are now and will shortly thereafter drop you off at the place you want to go. Twenty years ago, that car was an ordinary taxicab that you called on a landline. Now, it’s an Uber you summoned with an app on your smartphone. What’s the difference? In the world of regulation, everything. [More]

How Recalls Work (And Don’t) And Why They’re All So Different

me and the sysop

Manufacturers — of all kinds — usually try hard to get it right on the first try. From banana muffins to bicycle helmets, it’s in a company’s best interests to make their products perfect. Not only is it better for their reputation and their business, but it’s less expensive, in the long run, and causes less trouble. Sometimes, though, something just goes wrong. [More]

Why Your Cable Company Doesn’t Always Know If Your New Address Gets Service

Pixel

There’s a story we hear far too often: someone is buying a house. Before they put any money down, they do their research. They call the local cable/Internet provider to make sure they can get broadband service at this new address. They double-check. They triple-check. They search the property for wires, call back, and make sure they’ll be okay. Then they take out the mortgage, move in, and… surprise! There’s no broadband service after all, there won’t be any, and now they’re up a very expensive creek. [More]

FCC Chair: Relax, Cable Companies, Not All Mergers Are Necessarily Doomed Forever

FCC Chair: Relax, Cable Companies, Not All Mergers Are Necessarily Doomed Forever

The collapse of the much-discussed, absolutely enormous Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger earlier this year might have been an occasion for consumers and consumer advocates to cheer — but for businesses, it was much less good news. Cable companies that want to buy other cable companies are kind of freaked out: what if the FCC is hostile to their plans, too? [More]

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference on May 4, 2015.

FCC Chair: Comcast Made Right Decision Scrapping Merger; Plan For Net Neutrality Is “Not To Lose”

We’re barely into May, and it’s already been an incredibly busy year for the FCC. Even major issues like a spectrum auction and a ruling on municipal broadband were overshadowed by the two huge proceedings around net neutrality and the Comcast/TWC merger. And so when FCC chairman Tom Wheeler sat down for a “fireside chat” at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York this week, he had a lot to say. [More]

FCC Proposes Treating Online TV Like Cable TV; Amazon Objects If It’ll Stop You From Binge-Watching ‘The Wire’

FCC Proposes Treating Online TV Like Cable TV; Amazon Objects If It’ll Stop You From Binge-Watching ‘The Wire’

There’s another internet-related firestorm a-brewing at the FCC. This one is not as broad or as contentious as the now infamous net neutrality ruling, but it is bringing all the big players out to have their say. And what, you might ask, has everyone worked up? It’s the big bandwidth bugaboo of the twenty-teens: online video. [More]

Former FCC Commissioner: “We Should Be Ashamed Of Ourselves” For State of Broadband In The U.S.

Former FCC Commissioner: “We Should Be Ashamed Of Ourselves” For State of Broadband In The U.S.

In Washington, DC today, a group of internet industry executives and politicians came together to look back on the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and to do a little crystal-ball gazing about the future of broadband regulation in the United States. Former FCC commissioner Michael Copps was among the presenters, and he had sharp words for the audience about the “insanity” of the current wave of merger mania in the telecom field and the looming threats of losing net neutrality regulation. [More]

Here’s Why the Justice Dept. Should Block the Comcast and Time Warner Cable Merger

Here’s Why the Justice Dept. Should Block the Comcast and Time Warner Cable Merger

Comcast and Time Warner Cable have done their parade in front of the House and Senate to state their case publicly for why they should be allowed to merger into a truly massive mega-company. But now, it’s time for the investigation that really matters, as regulators at the FCC and the Department of Justice start looking into whether or not this deal is good for the public interest… or violates antitrust law. [More]

Why Starting A Competitor To Comcast Is Basically Impossible

Why Starting A Competitor To Comcast Is Basically Impossible


The mega-rich can dabble in pretty much any business they want to. Warren Buffet owns everything from furniture stores to ice cream chains. Richard Branson started a commercial spaceflight company, for crying out loud. And yet with demand for high-speed, affordable internet access going only up, up, and up, no new business or venture capitalist seems to be stepping into the fray to provide it. People passionately hate their current cable companies — so what’s stopping an enterprising entrepreneur from making a giant wad of cash entering the telecom game? [More]

Michael J. Copps

5 Ways The FCC Has Failed Consumers (And One Way To Fix It), From A Former FCC Commissioner

Former FCC commissioner Michael Copps has a long history of trying to support consumer interests. He has been an outspoken critic of media consolidation for many years. Back in 2011, he was the lone dissenting vote on the Comcast/NBC merger and recently, he’s been calling on the FCC to reclassify broadband ISPs and fix net neutrality ASAP. [More]

Goldman Sachs Loses Money For First Time Since Financial Crisis Began

Goldman Sachs Loses Money For First Time Since Financial Crisis Began

For the first time since the advent of the financial meltdown, and for only the second time since 1999 when it became a publicly traded company, Goldman Sachs has — Gasp! Horror! Shock! — lost some money. [More]

Why You Should Thank BofA For The $5 Debit Card Fee

Why You Should Thank BofA For The $5 Debit Card Fee

Bank of America’s new $5 monthly fee for having a debit card is getting painted as a public enemy, but columnist Michael Hiltzik for the Los Angeles Times says we should be giving it a great big hug. [More]

Credit Card Marketer Uses Clever Way To Circumvent New Regs

Credit Card Marketer Uses Clever Way To Circumvent New Regs

Looks like at least one credit card marketer has cooked up a clever way around regulations that forbid unsolicited credit cards from being issued and showing up in your mailbox. [More]

How Bank Of America Picked $5 As The Debit Card Monthly Fee

How Bank Of America Picked $5 As The Debit Card Monthly Fee

The new $5 monthly fee Bank of America is charging debit card holders wasn’t just picked because the spreadsheet guys really like Subway $5 footlongs. There’s actually a calculation behind it. Here’s the math. [More]

What If Food Labels Looked Like This?

What If Food Labels Looked Like This?

Maybe the real reason Americans are so fat is because our food labels are so ugly. If they were easier on the eye to read, maybe more people would read them and make better eating choices. That was the idea in mind behind a recent design contest at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Journalism aiming to give the standard government-mandated food label a much-needed makeover. The winning entry uses colored boxes for each ingredient that are sized in proportion to how much of each is inside the package. [More]

How Snake Oil Dodged Basic Laws In 1907

How Snake Oil Dodged Basic Laws In 1907

It’s funny how similar the labeling tactics used by hucksters of fake snake oil used after getting busted by new laws in 1907 are to some techniques used by food and product packagers today. [More]