Divided FCC Votes To Approve Lifeline Modernization, Consider New ISP Privacy Rules

Jason Cook

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.


(Chris Blakeley)

Broadband Industry: It’s Unfair If Facebook Can Collect Your Data, But AT&T Can’t

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]

Cable Industry Doesn’t Understand Net Neutrality, Wants Netflix Investigated For Throttling

Cable Industry Doesn’t Understand Net Neutrality, Wants Netflix Investigated For Throttling

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]

Robert S. Donovan

The Cable Industry Is Either Incredibly Stupid, Or Thinks You Are Really Gullible

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]

Congressional Committee Grills FCC About The Way They Do The Things They Do

Congressional Committee Grills FCC About The Way They Do The Things They Do

Agencies like the FCC operate under the auspices of Congress, which has oversight authority. And when an agency like the FCC touches a political third rail — in their case, regulation of powerful communications companies — they can expect to have to answer to Congress. Sometimes repeatedly. And so the FCC found itself on Capitol Hill today, being grilled by a panel of passionate Representatives.



Verizon: We Still Hate Net Neutrality And Hope It Loses, But We Love Net Neutrality!

Verizon is at it again: with a ruling on net neutrality likely to show up in the next few weeks, they are falling all over themselves to talk about how much they love net neutrality and what it protects, while explaining that they hate the rule that’s been put in place to protect net neutrality, and think it could ruin everything.


Appeals Court Questions Tennessee & North Carolina Lawsuit To Restrict Community Broadband


More than a year after the FCC voted to preempt state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that heavily restrict city- and county-owned utilities from providing broadband to consumers, the states and the federal regulator finally had their day in court. [More]

Comcast, AT&T Lobbyists Help Kill Community Broadband Expansion In Tennessee


When cable and telecom companies go through the effort of writing anti-consumer legislation for states, they can later be counted on to lobby to keep those laws in place when challenged. Case in point: Lobbyists for Comcast and AT&T recently helped kill a small piece of legislation in Tennessee that would have allowed a city-run utility to expand the reach of its broadband service. [More]

The TWC/Charter Merger Looks Likely To Happen — And Soon

The TWC/Charter Merger Looks Likely To Happen — And Soon

What Comcast spent more than a year failing to do looks to be a victory in the making for Charter: As the Washington rumor mill has it, the three-way mega-cable-merge of Charter, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks could get through a major hurdle and gain approval by the end of the week. In other words, it looks like this one’s going to happen.


(Steven Depolo)

Analyst: If Cable Companies Lose Set-Top Box Money, They’ll Just Charge More For TV

U.S. pay-TV companies rake in an estimated $20 billion a year in rental/lease fees for set-top boxes, but the FCC’s recent decision to draft rules to increase competition in the set-top box market could put that dependable revenue stream at risk. But one analyst says that if cable companies lose money from competing devices, they’ll just make up for it by charging more for TV. [More]

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler speaking in 2014. (FCC)

FCC To Consider Rules That Would Make ISPs Get Permission To Share Your Personal Info

There’s a reason they call this century the information age: everything is data, data, data. And today, the FCC announced a proposal that would regulate how ISPs — over which all that data flows — have to get your permission to collect and share all that juicy, valuable information.



FCC Announces Official Lifeline Modernization Proposal, Will Vote On It This Month

Internet access is a necessity, but it’s also kind of a luxury: the poorer you are, the less likely you are to be able to have it. Even while, to keep living in the always-on, always-connected world of the 21st century, you really need it.


(Rick Drew)

Court Delays Some FCC Efforts To Lower Costs For Prisoners’ Phone Calls

Last fall, a new FCC order sought to reduce the often sky-high prices that prisoners must pay for making phone calls. Those changes were to start kicking in over the coming weeks and months, but today a federal appeals court delayed some reforms while allowing others to move forward. [More]

Mike Mozart

Verizon, FCC Settle “Supercookie” Investigation With $1.35M Fine And Opt-Out Ability

In 2014 and 2015, Verizon caught a lot of attention for doing a couple of very sneaky things. One, they were inserting a little piece of code into all the web traffic on your phone to track your every digital move for advertising purposes. And two, they weren’t letting you opt-out of the tracking, even if you opted out of the ads.


Senators Once Again Introduce Bill To Try To Stop FCC And Net Neutrality

Senators Once Again Introduce Bill To Try To Stop FCC And Net Neutrality

Since June, 2015, net neutrality — or specifically, the FCC’s Open Internet Rule — has been the law of the land. While the rule is a win for consumers, plenty of businesses and politicians still don’t care for it, to say the least. So while the court challenge against it takes its own sweet time to mosey through the judicial system, opponents are taking another approach. What’s the best way to undo a law you hate? Get a new law.



Net Neutrality Is A Year Old Today. What’s Changed, What Hasn’t, And Where Does It Stand?

Happy birthday, net neutrality! A year ago today, after a long and contentious process, the FCC formally adopted the Open Internet Rule, reclassifying broadband internet as a Title II communications service and creating bright-line rules to protect consumers’ and businesses’ access to the internet.



AT&T Sues Louisville To Make City Less Attractive To Google Fiber

Google hasn’t even decided whether or not it will bring its high-speed Fiber broadband and TV service to Louisville. The Kentucky city is currently listed as merely a “potential” Fiber market. But that hasn’t stopped AT&T from suing Louisville administrators in an effort to make sure that Google will have a tougher time if it chooses to launch there. [More]


FCC Votes To Increase Competition For Set-Top Box Market

The FCC voted today to consider chairman Tom Wheeler’s new proposal for shaking up the set-top box market by, well, creating an actual competitive market that consumers have the option to use.