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.



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.


AT&T Says It Hates Robocalls Too; Still Not Giving Most Customers A Way To Block Them

Mike Mozart

AT&T CEO Randall “Dandy Randy” Stephenson has inaccurately claimed that his company can’t proactively block robocalls because it first needs permission from the FCC, and AT&T employees have more than a dozen different — sometimes bizarre — explanations for why the telecom giant has done nothing to rein in these unwanted, pre-recorded and auto-dialed calls. Now AT&T is claiming it is “working hard” to solve the problem, but that hard work does not involve providing a method for most customers to actually block these unwanted calls. [More]


FCC Confirms: Entire U.S. Government Allowed To Place Annoying Robocalls

Last fall, Congress passed — and the President signed — an emergency budget bill that opened up a loophole that allows federal agencies, and private companies working on the government’s behalf, to make debt collection robocalls. However, a recently released ruling from the Federal Communications Commissions makes it clear that the entire U.S. government is exempt from rules limiting the use of robocalls to American consumers, so long at it involves government business. [More]

14 Excuses AT&T Gave Customers For Not Blocking Robocalls


A few weeks back, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson inaccurately claimed that his company can’t offer free robocall-blocking technology because it needs permission from the FCC first. With that explanation debunked, a number of AT&T customers tried to give Darth Randy their permission to install these call-blocking services. As you might expect, the responses from AT&T were a mixed bag of fictions and excuses. [More]


Net Neutrality Survives For Today, But The Legal Battle Is Far From Over

The metaphorical ink on today’s mammoth 184-page ruling upholding net neutrality was barely even dry before everyone with a stake in the matter came out swinging with statements. And while the decision earned praise from consumer advocates and some lawmakers, the telecom industry has vowed to continue the fight.


Court Upholds FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules


More than two years after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sided with Verizon against the FCC over the original “net neutrality” rules, that same court today has ruled in favor of the FCC’s revised rules that regulate broadband internet access as a necessary utility, instead of as a luxury. [More]


How Much Does The Cable Industry Hate Two FCC Proposals? $22M And Counting

The FCC has been surprisingly busy over the last couple of years, taking lots of action on phone, TV, and internet issues that plague consumers. And while their many proposals have definite fans out there in the world… the big cable companies we all love to hate are decidedly not among them.


Anti-Robocall “ROBOCOP Act” Gets New Life In Senate

Anti-Robocall “ROBOCOP Act” Gets New Life In Senate

Two months ago, Rep. Jackie Speier (CA) introduced the ROBOCOP Act, a bill that would compel phone service providers to finally make it easier for customers to block automated and prerecorded robocalls. With that bill sitting idly in committee — and executives like AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson incorrectly claiming they need permission to deploy robo-blockers — maybe it’s time for ROBOCOP 2: The Senate Version. [More]

C x 2

AT&T CEO Says He Can’t Deploy Robocall Blockers Without FCC Approval. He’s Wrong

On his personal phone line, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson blocks unwanted, pre-recorded and auto-dialed robocalls. So why is Darth Randy not making this technology available for all of his customers? He claims it’s because he needs the FCC’s permission to do so, but the FCC says that just isn’t so. [More]


FCC Fines Makers, Users Of Phone-Jamming Devices That Can Disrupt Cell, GPS Services

If you’re thinking of using a phone-jamming device to shut up your fellow motorists and get them off their phones while driving, think again: the Federal Communications Commission could hit you with fines, and could fine the company that sold you the gadget as well. [More]

Ben Roffelsen Photography

Reddit, Yelp, Kickstarter, 55 Other Internet Businesses And Activists Ask FCC To Investigate Zero-Rating

That thing where an ISP — like your wireless or cable company — can exempt certain services from counting against your data cap is called zero-rating, and it exists in a weird regulatory space. There are no rules against it, but there are also no rules explicitly permitting it. The businesses that do it, of course, say it is “innovative” and “competitive.” The FCC hasn’t openly decided whether or not it agrees. So a whole huge group of consumer advocates, business advocates, and businesses have gotten together to ask the FCC officially, and publicly, make up its mind.


Here’s How To Tell The FCC How You Feel About New Debt Collection Robocall Loophole

Dan Coulter

Now that the government has carved out a loophole allowing it to place automated and/or pre-recorded robocalls to consumers to collect any debts owed to the federal government, the FCC is trying to come up with robocall rules that aren’t entirely awful. Consumers have a short window of time to chime in on these rules, so here’s how to share your feelings with the FCC. [More]


Cable’s Top Lobbyist Is Sick And Tired Of All This “Troublesome,” “Distressing” Regulation And Competition

Our old friend Michael “Regulation Is Bad” Powell, former FCC chairman and now top pro-cable lobbyist, is at it again.


Charter-TWC Merger Is Done Deal After California Approval

Charter-TWC Merger Is Done Deal After California Approval

After the FCC gave its blessing to the marriage of Time Warner Cable and Charter, the only thing standing in the way of marital bliss was the possibility that the California Public Utilities Commission might go full drunk-uncle and raise a boatload of objections before the final “I do”s.  However, today the CPUC decided instead to raise a toast to the mega-merger.

Simon Asquith

Government Asks Wireless Manufacturers & Carriers About Device Security Updates

At the same time as their counterparts at the Justice Department are trying to circumvent smartphone security, the folks at the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission are talking to manufacturers about how to make these devices more secure. [More]

FCC Officially Gives Green Light To Merger Of Time Warner Cable & Charter

FCC Officially Gives Green Light To Merger Of Time Warner Cable & Charter

A couple weeks back, both the FCC and the Justice Department made it clear that they were not going to challenge the massive merger of Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications (and the third wheel of the merger á trois Bright House) after putting some conditions on the deal. Today, the FCC officially confirmed that it has given its blessing to this marriage of inconvenience. [More]

FCC Trying To Minimize Annoyances From New Robocall Debt Collection Loophole

Jenn and Tony Bot

Last fall, a rider to a must-pass federal budget bill kicked down the barricade that has prevented government debt collectors from annoying hundreds of millions of consumers with auto-dialed, pre-recorded robocalls. Lawmakers hate the bill, but they won’t consider any legislation to close the loophole. The White House’s own analysis of the loophole shows that it won’t really bring in any more money, and could actually be a revenue loser, but the administration isn’t doing anything to roll back the changes. Attorneys general hate it too, but they enforce laws instead of writing them. With an August deadline looming, the Federal Communications Commission has no choice but to move forward with making the loophole as palatable as possible. [More]