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]
The FCC has proposed a kind of arcane-sounding rule change that on the surface might not seem to affect consumers very much. But if all goes well, the rule will prove to be the kind of upstream change that prevents all the you-know-what from flowing on downhill to everyone else, and makes one of the most annoying things about cable TV into ancient history.
FCC Adopts Rule Saying Your Phone Company Actually Has To Tell You Before They Kill Your Copper Landline
The age of copper is over. Or at least, the nation’s biggest telephone legacy landline carriers really want it to be. And the FCC is okay with that — as long as companies stick to a few new consumer protection rules that the commission voted on today.
You hate getting robocalls. The FCC knows you hate getting robocalls. And so today the Commission voted to move forward with a proposal that would allow consumers to block all those annoying calls and texts.
The FCC voted 3-2 today to expand the Lifeline program for low-income consumers to include an optional credit for broadband access.
Manufacturers — of all kinds — usually try hard to get it right on the first try. From banana muffins to bicycle helmets, it’s in a company’s best interests to make their products perfect. Not only is it better for their reputation and their business, but it’s less expensive, in the long run, and causes less trouble. Sometimes, though, something just goes wrong. [More]
There’s a story we hear far too often: someone is buying a house. Before they put any money down, they do their research. They call the local cable/Internet provider to make sure they can get broadband service at this new address. They double-check. They triple-check. They search the property for wires, call back, and make sure they’ll be okay. Then they take out the mortgage, move in, and… surprise! There’s no broadband service after all, there won’t be any, and now they’re up a very expensive creek. [More]
The collapse of the much-discussed, absolutely enormous Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger earlier this year might have been an occasion for consumers and consumer advocates to cheer — but for businesses, it was much less good news. Cable companies that want to buy other cable companies are kind of freaked out: what if the FCC is hostile to their plans, too?
We’re barely into May, and it’s already been an incredibly busy year for the FCC. Even major issues like a spectrum auction and a ruling on municipal broadband were overshadowed by the two huge proceedings around net neutrality and the Comcast/TWC merger. And so when FCC chairman Tom Wheeler sat down for a “fireside chat” at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York this week, he had a lot to say.
FCC Proposes Treating Online TV Like Cable TV; Amazon Objects If It’ll Stop You From Binge-Watching ‘The Wire’
There’s another internet-related firestorm a-brewing at the FCC. This one is not as broad or as contentious as the now infamous net neutrality ruling, but it is bringing all the big players out to have their say. And what, you might ask, has everyone worked up? It’s the big bandwidth bugaboo of the twenty-teens: online video.
In Washington, DC today, a group of internet industry executives and politicians came together to look back on the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and to do a little crystal-ball gazing about the future of broadband regulation in the United States. Former FCC commissioner Michael Copps was among the presenters, and he had sharp words for the audience about the “insanity” of the current wave of merger mania in the telecom field and the looming threats of losing net neutrality regulation.
Comcast and Time Warner Cable have done their parade in front of the House and Senate to state their case publicly for why they should be allowed to merger into a truly massive mega-company. But now, it’s time for the investigation that really matters, as regulators at the FCC and the Department of Justice start looking into whether or not this deal is good for the public interest… or violates antitrust law. [More]
The mega-rich can dabble in pretty much any business they want to. Warren Buffet owns everything from furniture stores to ice cream chains. Richard Branson started a commercial spaceflight company, for crying out loud. And yet with demand for high-speed, affordable internet access going only up, up, and up, no new business or venture capitalist seems to be stepping into the fray to provide it. People passionately hate their current cable companies — so what’s stopping an enterprising entrepreneur from making a giant wad of cash entering the telecom game?
Former FCC commissioner Michael Copps has a long history of trying to support consumer interests. He has been an outspoken critic of media consolidation for many years. Back in 2011, he was the lone dissenting vote on the Comcast/NBC merger and recently, he’s been calling on the FCC to reclassify broadband ISPs and fix net neutrality ASAP.
For the first time since the advent of the financial meltdown, and for only the second time since 1999 when it became a publicly traded company, Goldman Sachs has — Gasp! Horror! Shock! — lost some money.
Bank of America’s new $5 monthly fee for having a debit card is getting painted as a public enemy, but columnist Michael Hiltzik for the Los Angeles Times says we should be giving it a great big hug.
Looks like at least one credit card marketer has cooked up a clever way around regulations that forbid unsolicited credit cards from being issued and showing up in your mailbox.