FCC’s Robocall Strike Force Kicks Into Action Today

FCC’s Robocall Strike Force Kicks Into Action Today

Last month, after FCC Chair Tom Wheeler called on the telecom industry to finally do something about the nuisance of pre-recorded, auto-dialed robocalls, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson agreed to head up a joint private-public Robocall Strike Force tasked with actually doing something about these calls. Today, this elite squad of telephonic titans is meeting for the first time. [More]

What You Need To Know About New Rules Allowing Debt Collection Robocalls From Feds

Joe M. O'Connell

If you ask any American to name the things they love the most, they are sure to reply, “debt collectors, intrusive pre-recorded phone calls, and the federal government!” So today — under orders to do so from a piece of rushed, tacked-on legislation — the Federal Communications Commission released its final rules allowing the federal government and some of its contractors to make debt-collection robocalls to wireless lines. [More]

Appeals Court: Municipal Internet Is Great, But States Can Still Restrict Access

Steve

More than a dozen states have laws that either prohibit counties and cities from operating their own broadband internet networks, selling service directly to consumers, or expanding their service behind a prescribed footprint. In 2015, the FCC voted to preempt two of these laws — in Tennessee and North Carolina — but this morning a federal appeals court says the FCC lacks the legal authority to do so. [More]

Ben Roffelsen Photography

FCC, Historic Preservation Groups Agree To Speed Up This Whole 5G Deployment Thing

For an agency that telecom companies like to lambaste as old-fashioned, out-of-touch, and wedded to the past, the FCC sure is speeding up full-tilt into the future. To wit: the Commission is streamlining a bunch of regulations to make it as easy as possible to build 5G networks as fast as possible.

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jetsetpress

AT&T Penalized $7.75 Million For Allowing Scammers To Charge Bogus “Directory Assistance Service” Fees

Nearly two years after AT&T was hit with a $105 million settlement over bill-cramming — the practice of letting third parties place questionable or false charges on customers’ phone bills — the Federal Communications Commission says the company has agreed to pay another $7.5 million to close the book on additional cramming accusations involving a bogus directory assistance service. [More]

Great Beyond

FCC Adjusts, But Still Can’t Implement, Caps On Sky-High Rates Prisoners Pay To Call Home

We’re used to saying that someone is a “captive audience” for a major monopoly, but for the millions of Americans living behind bars, that phrase becomes painfully literal. Phone companies that connect inmates to their loved ones on the outside have for years taken advantage of their position with sky-high rates and fees, but the FCC is once again stepping in to help mitigate the problem.

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YayAdrian

Comcast: Consumers Are Harmed If We Don’t Get To Charge Extra For Privacy

Internet service providers like making money. They don’t like regulations that prevent them from any avenues that could make them money. And they will argue basically anything they can think of to help prevent those regulations from happening. Like, for example, suggesting that you, the consumer, will actively suffer harm if Comcast and others aren’t allowed to charge you extra for keeping your data to yourself.

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Lenka Reznicek

FCC Wants To Fine Pair Of Idiots $25K Each For Faking Caller ID Of Prison, School To Harass Ex-Wife

Spoofing — the practice of sending out fake caller ID information to disguise the caller’s real identity — is legal, so long as it’s not done to deceive or harm anyone. Reporters, victims of domestic abuse, human rights organizations, all legally use spoofing to protect their locations or sources. This sort of trickery is definitely not allowed when it’s deployed just to make harassing phone calls to your ex. [More]

Tom Richardson

Cable, Wireless Industries Try Yet Again To Take Net Neutrality To Court

We have had had net neutrality as the law of the land for over a year now. Lawsuits immediately followed its implementation, of course, but the appeals court took the FCC’s side. So if you’re industry and you’re still ticked off, what’s left? Ask for a do-over… if you can get one.

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C x 2

FCC Wants AT&T To Pay $170,000 For Overcharging Florida Schools

Commercial-grade phone service is expensive, so there’s a program that helps schools afford it. There are rules about what phone companies, like AT&T, can and can’t charge the schools that apply through that program. And the FCC now says that not only did AT&T not follow those rules, but also it charged two school districts the highest rates in the entire state to keep their phone lines connected.

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Petition Calls On FCC To Rethink Ruling Giving All Govt. Contractors Green Light To Make Robocalls

Dan Coulter

Earlier this month, the FCC released a controversial ruling, concluding that the law allowed the federal government — and all contractors working for the government — to place prerecorded/auto-dialed robocalls to consumers, so long as the calls are made for official government business. Today, a number of consumer advocates have officially petitioned the FCC to rethink its position and close this loophole. [More]

AT&T CEO Says He Will Head Up Anti-Robocall “Strike Force”

AT&T CEO Says He Will Head Up Anti-Robocall “Strike Force”

geetargeek

Cable Lobbying Group’s Set-Top Box Plan: App That Doesn’t Do The Things You Want

It’s been nearly six months since the FCC first proposed doing something about the cable set-top box market. Since then, the White House and Congress have both had their say about it, while all along the cable industry has been lobbying and complaining incessantly. But behind all that, the FCC and the industry are at least talking to each other to try to hash out what the future could look like. Unfortunately, if industry gets its way, that future could leave a lot of consumers’ favorite features behind their TV providers’ big fat “pay me” gates.

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HerArt She Loves

FCC To Phone Companies: Offer Free Robocall Blockers To Customers

Even though the Federal Communications Commission has repeatedly said that wireless and landline phone providers are allowed to offer robocall-blocking services to their customers, some carriers have continued to incorrectly insist — and provide misinformation to consumers — that they simply don’t have the authority to deploy this technology. In an effort to make things clear once and for all, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler has sent letters to these companies that there are no regulatory roadblocks stopping them from helping their customers stop annoying — often illegal — automated and prerecorded robocalls. [More]

Mike Mozart

FCC Votes To Open Up Super-Speedy Airwaves For Future 5G Wireless Broadband

Boy, the future sounds great… at least according to the Federal Communications Commission. From medicine to manufacturing and music, the future’s got a level of autonomy and connected convenience that makes Star Trek look downright pedestrian. And it’s all down to policy that lets tech develop, of course — and so the FCC this morning voted unanimously to take the first step to open up new ultra-fast, super-speedy mobile broadband… for whenever it comes.

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Ben Roffelsen Photography

What The Heck Is 5G Anyway, And Why Does It Matter?

Wireless companies like to throw around a lot of swanky-sounding terms to get you interested in their goods. The new hotness on everyone’s lips is 5G, which does not in fact exist yet. But it will, and the FCC today is going to vote on a proposal that will have a lot to do with getting it off the ground. So here’s everything you need to know about the future of your phone.

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photographynatalia

FCC, Congress Go At It About Pretty Much Everything Once Again

The more the FCC actually tries to create or change regulations around communications companies, the more often chairman Tom Wheeler and the other four commissioners find themselves ordered to Capitol Hill for some kind of hearing. And so today in the continuing series, “The FCC And A Congressional Committee Argue With Each Other,” we learned more about privacy, set-top boxes, and zero-rating.

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Consumerist

Comcast: FCC’s Set-Top Box Proposal’s Impossible. FCC: Nuh-Uh. Who’s Right?

The FCC’s got a proposal in the works right now that Comcast doesn’t like. This is not a shock; Comcast has generally not liked any headlining proposals from the FCC in recent years. Some of the cable giant’s complaints are undoubtedly just sound and noise, signifying nothing other than “we like profit, don’t screw with our thing.” But maybe some of its technological complaints have merit.

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