FCC

Why You Should Care That All FCC Settlements Must Now Go Through Full Commission Vote

New FCC chair Ajit Pai is a very busy man. After only a few weeks sitting behind the big desk, he’s killed off cable set-top box reform, abandoned rate caps on prison calls, scuttled Lifeline expansion, and decided violating net neutrality (which he hates) through zero-rating is officially not the FCC’s problem. Having accomplished all those goals, Pai is now targeting the Commission’s Enforcement Bureau, potentially making it more difficult to hold wrongdoing telecom companies accountable. [More]

FCC

FCC Officially No Longer Cares If Zero-Rating Is A Problem

It’s been a busy week over at the FCC, as new chair Ajit Pai continues on a streak of rapidly backing the Commission off of every Wheeler-era regulation he can. Earlier this week Pai ordered the FCC to stop defending its prison-calling rate caps in court; today, Pai’s taking on zero-rating and Lifeline — the former, a challenge to net neutrality, and the latter, a way to help low-income folks access the internet. [More]

Sh4rp_i

How To Avoid Losing Money To The “Utility Company” Scam

When the weather outside is frightful, losing your heat or electricity is the last thing you want to have happened. But don’t let your fear of such an event push you into falling for a common scam perpetrated by fraudsters trying to pass themselves off as utility company employees on the phone. [More]

Kerry Lannert

In-Flight Cellphone Calls May Finally Be Ready For Takeoff

You know that woman on the mall scream-talking into her cellphone? She could be on your next flight — well, maybe in a few years. After decades of prohibiting airline passengers from yakking away on their cellular devices from 20,000 feet up, federal regulators are mulling the idea of allowing travelers to make cellphone calls while in flight.  [More]

Matt Reinbold

FCC: Don’t Be Fooled By Callers Posing As Utility Employees Demanding Payment

We’ve heard about scammers who call up consumers and pretend to be utility company workers, demanding immediate payment. And as we head into the winter, when many people might be endangered by an interruption in heat, the Federal Communications Commission is warning folks to be especially wary of such calls. [More]

Mike Mozart

Amid Reports Of Billing Issues, FCC Sees Spike In Verizon Wireless Complaints

Amid recent reports of Verizon Wireless customers getting dinged on their phone bills with unexpected data overages, it may come as no surprise that the Federal Communications Commission has seen a spike in complaints related to the company. [More]

Adam Reker

Local Governments Say AT&T, Verizon Aren’t Paying 911 Fees

In much of the country, local 911 call centers are funded from mandatory fees of around $1/line placed on phone bills. However, recently filed lawsuits allege that AT&T, Verizon and others are slashing the 911 fees they charge business customers, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars uncollected.  [More]

frankieleon

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]

Linda Flores

Carrier Must Pay $51M For Allegedly Defrauding Lifeline Program

The Federal Communications Commission plans to fine Total Call Mobile $51.1 million after alleging the carrier fraudulently collected payments from a program that subsidizes wireless service for low-income consumers.  [More]

Groups Ask FCC To Reform Set-Top Box Market, Say New Rules Could Save Consumers Billions Every Year

Groups Ask FCC To Reform Set-Top Box Market, Say New Rules Could Save Consumers Billions Every Year

While the cable industry hasn’t fessed up to how much it makes leasing set-top boxes to their customers, in July, lawmakers crunched some numbers and found that it could be a $20 billion industry, with consumers paying up to $232 every year on that equipment. Two advocacy groups are now asking the Federal Communications Commission to begin a rulemaking proceeding to reform the video set-top box market, saying cable and pay-TV companies are overcharging consumers by $6 billion to $14 billion annually. [More]

(Mike Mozart)/
(Mike Mozart)

Verizon, Sprint Customers Have Until Dec. 31 To Claim A Piece Of The $158M Cramming Settlement Pie

The holidays can be a tiring, stressful time, full of never-ending checklists. While you might have checked off plenty of your to-do items, if you’re a Verizon or Sprint customer, you’ll want to make sure you add “check to see if I’m eligible for a bill-cramming refund,” to the top of your list.  [More]

Verizon Wireless Asks FCC For Permission To Start Offering WiFi Calling

Verizon Wireless Asks FCC For Permission To Start Offering WiFi Calling

Not one to be left behind while the other major carriers are hanging out on the technology bandwagon, Verizon Wireless has asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to enable WiFi calling on its network. [More]

(Mike Mozart)

AT&T Gets The Go-Ahead From FCC To Enable WiFi Calling For iPhones

After AT&T had to delay enabling WiFi calling on iPhones — a move it was expected to make, but didn’t, with the release of iOS 9 recently — the carrier is finally getting the go-ahead it needed from the Federal Communications Commission to roll out the feature to its customers. [More]

Jeepers Media

Sprint Stops Throttling Data Speeds As Net Neutrality Goes Into Effect

Net neutrality only became well and truly legal on June 12, and yet already the new rules are prompting change: Sprint stopped intermittently throttling data speeds for its heaviest wireless Internet users during busy times as of Friday, the same day the Federal Communications Commission’s net-neutrality rules went into effect.

[More]

Adam Reker

FCC Fines CenturyLink $16M, Intrado Communications $1.4M For Actions During Massive 911 Outage

Last month the Federal Communications Commission ordered Verizon to pay $3.4 million for failing to alert authorities of a preventable programming error that left nearly 11 million people in seven states without access to emergency services for six hours in 2014. While Verizon’s fine was decidedly hefty, it pales in comparison to the $16 million penalty the agency just levied against CenturyLink for the same 911 outage. [More]

Jeepers Media

Verizon To Pay $3.4 Million For Not Notifying Officials Of Massive 911 Service Outage

In April 2014 nearly 11 million people in seven states lost access to emergency services when a software programming error resulted a six-hour long 911 outage. The Federal Communications Commission determined in October that the lengthy outage could have easily been prevented, and today the agency began placing the blame by fining Verizon $3.4 million for failing to alert authorities. [More]

(Mike Mozart)

FCC Proposes $640,000 Fine For AT&T’s Violation Of Airwave License Rules

If you don’t play by the Federal Communications Commission’s rules, then you’re likely going to get caught and have to pay a hefty fine. Just ask AT&T, which must pay $640,000 after violating rules and requirements for operating some airwave licenses. [More]

(Stephen Depolo)

FCC Fines ESPN, Viacom $1.4M For Improper Use Of Emergency Alert Tones

Hearing the emergency alert warning tones blaring from your television typically makes you take immediate notice (and immediately hit the Mute button). So when a broadcaster allows a commercial or program to air similar sounds without an actual emergency occurring, they could be on the receiving end of a pretty big fine from federal regulators. [More]