If you’re the wireless industry, you have to pay attention to the FCC. Everything it does determines everything you can do. So it’s not surprising that at the industry’s big annual event today, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler would take the stage for a keynote. And in that speech, he brought together a whole bunch of different FCC actions into one whole picture of what he hopes the communications future can be.
A newly released study from the National Toxicology Program, a division of the National Institutes of Health, has found a link between the kind of radiation emitted by cell phones and cancer in rats. [More]
Texting isn’t just the purview of teenagers. Bulk texting is a huge business. Sometimes they’re scam spam in about the same category of usefulness as emails from a wealthy Nigerian prince who doesn’t exist, granted, but sometimes they’re useful blasts from businesses or public entities that let a whole bunch of people get useful information quickly in a low-bandwidth way. But what they aren’t, quite yet, is clearly regulated. A case moving through the FCC right now, however, may change that.
As it was foretold, so it has come to pass: with the Open Internet Rule finally entering the Federal Register yesterday, lawsuit season is now officially open. And as promised, threatened, and endlessly discussed, the trade groups representing all of the big broadband providers have vaulted into action right on cue, asking the courts to stop this piece of consumer protection before it can happen.
It’s Almost Lawsuit Season: Broadband Trade Groups Prepping Their Legal Arguments Against Net Neutrality
The FCC voted on the Open Internet Order — net neutrality — about six weeks ago. But nobody ever accused the wheels of bureaucracy of turning quickly and so it is only this week that the rule has been sent off to the fine folks at the Federal Register. That means we’re finally in the home stretch handoff; the rule will become the law of the land 60 days after the Federal Register publishes it. And that means we’re finally in the window for the big wave of down-and-dirty lawsuits and legal challenges we’ve been awaiting since basically forever.
Yesterday, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler confirmed that he intends to have the Commission reclassify broadband as the vital piece of telecommunications infrastructure that it is, which has resulted in immediate backlash from the wireless and cable industry and the handful of astroturfed “advocacy” organizations they support. [More]
Most of media coverage surrounding the net neutrality — or rather, cable company f*ckery — issue raise concerns about the current FCC plan, which would create an unbalanced, non-neutral Internet where the quality of data delivery depends on how much the sender is paying. A number of op-ed pieces have popped up in recent weeks cheering the plan on, or claiming that broadband competition is just fine (hint: it isn’t), but these are just fictions sponsored by the cable and telecom industries. [More]
With nearly 3 million phones vanishing — often into the hands of sticky-finger thieves — each year, there has been a recent push to introduce legislation that would require wireless providers to include a “kill switch” functionality in all devices, allowing phone owners to remotely deactivate their devices until, and only if, they are located. But one such bill in California has been thwarted, and supporters are blaming the wireless industry. [More]
In a perfect world, once a customer has completed a mobile phone contract or paid the full unsubsidized cost of their device, they should be able to take that device to any carrier of their choice. While carriers will adopt voluntary standards next year, that’s next year. Sprint wants consumers to know that you won’t be able to unlock any devices you get from them for use on any domestic networks until the standards go into effect on February 11, 2015. [More]
You might remember that late last year, American wireless carriers adopted some voluntary standards for the unlocking of devices so they can be used on other carriers. Yet Sprint and Virgin Mobile customers have complained to us that their carriers won’t unlock their devices, even when they’re off contract or the customer is moving abroad. What’s the deal here? [More]
Have you ever downloaded an app that didn’t seem like it was going to chew up a ton of data only to later find out that it was devouring megabytes without you knowing? A wireless industry group has put together a website that measures data usage on the most popular iOS and Android apps (sorry Windows phone users) so consumers can know what to expect before they download. [More]
A month after new FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler asked the wireless industry to stop futzing around and agree to some consumer-friendly standards for unlocking wireless devices, the wireless biggies get around to revealing what they believe are guidelines that are the best for everyone. [More]
A year ago, the Librarian of Congress — who has the authority to interpret the fine points of the much-derided Digital Millennium Copyright Act, inexplicably reversed his previous rulings regarding the rights of consumers to unlock wireless devices by making it illegal for people to unlock new phones and tablets without permission from their wireless provider. That change went into effect in January, and since then, everyone from consumers to lawmakers to the White House have declared it a huge mistake that needs to be rethought. Today, new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler urged the wireless industry to put voluntary standards in place that would at least make it easier for consumers to know when they can unlock their devices. [More]
The president and a vice-president for CTIA, a lobbying organization for the wireless industry, spoke recently with CNET about why they think the FCC should leave their members alone. The vice-president, Chris Guttman-McCabe, is a lawyer and as such his answers are useless. President Steve Largent, however, actually has a couple of candid moments during the interview.
Here are the cellphone industry’s talking points on why early termination fees are the cat’s tits.