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]
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]
When the FCC voted in February to consider new rules for your cable box, that kicked off a multi-month cycle of public comments, where anyone and everyone can have their say. The deadline for the first round struck at midnight Friday, which means most of the comments are just rolling onto the internet for all and sundry to have a look at.
Earlier today — almost exactly a year after rejecting the merger of Time Warner Cable and Comcast — both the FCC and the Justice Department gave their blessing to the marriage of TWC and Charter. But what does that really mean for the millions of consumers who will be affected by the merger? [More]
Yesterday, only weeks after the FCC voted to draft rules that would require pay-TV companies to open up the set-top box market to competitors, Comcast announced a deal with Samsung that will allow owners of certain TVs to access their cable TV without the need to pay for a cable box every month. The industry and its supporters are heralding the news as a clear demonstration that the FCC should just shut up and stop all its regulating, but the reports of the set-top box’s death are greatly exaggerated. [More]
The House of Representatives passed a bill this morning that seeks to limit the FCC’s net neutrality authority and could limit the commission’s ability to investigate consumer complaints about unreasonable charges from and behavior by their ISPs.
As we’ve shown before, wireless and landline phone companies can do something to provide customers with free and easy-to-use tools to block unwanted automated calls — they just aren’t doing it, even when hundreds of thousands of consumers explicitly ask them to. A new piece of legislation introduced today hopes to compel the telecom providers to finally make it easier for customers to just say no to robocalls. [More]
It may seem like Congress never gets anything done, but sometimes they really do! Case in point: a bill, sponsored by lawmakers who are still angry about the FCC’s net neutrality ruling last year, has managed to come out of committee and is scheduled for a House vote. And should the House and Senate both vote on that bill, it will go to the White House… where the president’s top advisors recommend it promptly be vetoed.
There are pretty good odds your neighborhood is subject to a monopoly on broadband. It stinks and needs to change, but we’re used to it. We think about it. It’s right there every month, when we get our bills or have a crappy customer service call and still can’t switch providers even if we want to. But there’s a whole other monopoly telecom market that’s still probably costing you a couple hundred dollars a year, and it’s basically invisible to most of us. [More]
When the FCC narrowly approved the Open Internet Order a year ago, most of the discussion involved “net neutrality” — the rules against Internet service providers being able to block, slow down, or prioritize access to specific sites and content. However, the Order also contained new transparency rules requiring broadband providers to, well, be more transparent with consumers, which is why today the FCC announced a new labeling system to help keep consumers informed. [More]
The number-one complaint we get from Consumerist readers is “You guys just don’t have enough ads on your site! Where are all the pop-ups, roll-overs, pop-overs, auto-play videos, and page-crashing ad units that make surfing the web so dang enjoyable?” We hear you, we do; we just don’t have the staff to sell all those ads you want bogging down your browser and tracking you across pages and platforms. And even if we did, those pesky jerks at the FCC are trying to rob us — and consumers — of more options to be marketed to, and commodified by, our Internet service providers. [More]
The Federal Communications Commission today in their monthly meeting voted narrowly to move forward with two high-profile, contentious proposals. One is formally adopting a plan to modernize the Lifeline program, and the other is to start considering how to apply stronger consumer privacy protections to ISPs.
Later this week, the Federal Communications Commission will be voting on a proposal intended to protect some of your personal data from being shared by your Internet service provider, by requiring that the ISP first get your permission. As the vote approaches, the broadband industry is trying to make the case that your ISP’s collecting and sharing of customer data is no different than Facebook or Google’s. [More]
The core tenet of “net neutrality” is that Internet service providers — the Comcasts, Time Warner Cables, and Verizons of the world — can’t do anything to block, limit, or expedite users’ access to content. Regardless of whether it’s a video stream or a PDF, these carriers should be delivering the content as quickly as they advertise. And even though the cable industry is currently fighting net neutrality in court, it apparently has no understanding of that basic underlying principle. [More]
The Comcast-connected faux grassroots group created to protect the cable industry’s $20 billion annual revenue stream of set-top box rental fees is now claiming that it caught FCC Chair Tom Wheeler in a real “gotcha” moment, proving that there is indeed no need for competition on these devices. But either this group has no idea what it’s talking about, or it thinks the American consumer is incredibly gullible. [More]