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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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.
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]
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]
Rounding out a week punctuated by new accusations of mobile carriers overcharging consumers using a practice known as “bill-cramming,” one past lawsuit is being put to rest. T-Mobile agreed today to shell-out at least $112.5 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit that the “Un-carrier” tacked-on unwanted third-party charges to customer’s bills. [More]
Phones are wireless, consumers are cutting back, and copper is expensive: all are reasons why the big phone companies want permission from the FCC to walk away from old-fashioned landline networks and to keep moving toward an internet-based future. The FCC tentatively agrees, and voted 3-2 today to take another baby step in the process that will end up making the nation’s century-old copper landline network obsolete.
FCC Pauses Review Of Both Media Mega-Mergers Because Content Companies Won’t Share Confidential Info
The slowly-turning wheel of the approvals process for two big media mergers has temporarily ground to a halt, as the FCC today announced delays in their reviews of both AT&T’s planned acquisition of DirecTV and also the Comcast/Time Warner Cable union. The delays in both proceedings stem from the same core issue: media content companies who don’t want their rivals to learn their secrets.
Media Companies Afraid To Leave Public Comments Privately Tell FCC Why The Comcast/TWC Merger Stinks
Plenty of big companies have left lengthy public comments explaining their opposition to Comcast buying Time Warner Cable. Still, though, not everyone who is afraid of the potential consequences of the merger is able to go air their grievances publicly. Media organizations that usually love announcing their opinions to anyone and everyone have been suspiciously silent on the matter, perhaps, as Sen. Al Franken suggested, due to fears of retaliation from their largest business partner. But just because those companies aren’t filing public comments doesn’t mean that they’re in love with the merger, and they may be telling a very different story behind closed doors.
Not very much happens in Washington, D.C. in August. But even as the city slows down, FCC chair Tom Wheeler continues to make strong noises about using the FCC’s authority to preempt state laws that prohibit the expansion or creation of municipal broadband utilities. And now, some members of Congress are joining him.