“Privacy” is the buzz of our era, but… what even is privacy? Different consumers, businesses, and regulators each have their own definitions and perspectives on the issue, while the law, too, is always evolving. [More]
Election years beget a compressed Congressional schedule. The House and Senate just got back to work in D.C. after a six-week break, and will be taking another six-week break as soon as we hit October 1 (picking up again after the election), so everything the committees want to do has to get done now. Like bringing in all five FCC commissioners for another episode of everyone’s favorite series, The FCC Explains And Defends Literally Everything It’s Doing. [More]
Between the FCC’s efforts to reform the set-top box market and the cable industry’s thinly veiled threats of litigation — not to mention divided opinions on the issue on Capitol Hill — the old cable box is a big topic of conversation these days. And while much of the focus has been on the billions of dollars the cable and satellite companies make from monthly lease fees on these devices, we’d like to hear from people who have had to go toe-to-toe with their pay-TV provider over their set-top boxes. [More]
Within minutes of FCC Chair Tom Wheeler unveiling his final proposal for reforming the multibillion-dollar set-top box market, Comcast was already firing back, accusing the Commission of violating the law and hinting at a legal challenge to come. [More]
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.
Early this year, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler put forth a proposal: how about doing away with those set-top boxes you’re required to rent, for lots of money, in order to watch pay-TV? After all, it’s 2016, surely we can do better? Naturally, the suggestion became an instant political football. But after seven months of working it out, the rumor mill says a compromise is on its way. [More]
Nearly two years ago, the Federal Trade Commission sued AT&T for allegedly misleading wireless customers by charging them for “unlimited” data plans while simultaneously throttling their cellular connection speeds when they passed certain monthly thresholds. AT&T failed in 2015 to get the case dismissed in District Court, but yesterday succeeded in convincing a federal appeals court to throw out the government’s complaint. [More]
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]
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]
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]
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.
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]
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.
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]