Items tagged with FCC

Carrier lock-in has long been the bane (well, a bane) of the mobile user’s life. Being unable to switch between carriers at will because of lengthy contracts and the need to buy a new phone and throw the old, now-useless one in a ditch somewhere* even though it’s a perfectly fine piece of hardware when you opt for a different provider is frustrating and expensive. The Obama administration is pushing for change in this regard. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has filed a petition with the FCC that would require any wireless service provider to unlock a mobile device upon request so that the device’s owner could use it with a different provider... Read more...
The NVIDIA P1640 tablet appears to have a real product name--the NVIDIA Tegra TAB--and it’s made an appearance at the FCC. Documents show that the 7-inch device sports a variant of the Tegra 4 chip (T4OS-A2) and comes with a stylus--or at least, the “Premium Model” will. The Tegra TAB also comes loaded with the standard spate of Android apps as well as specialized software just for the device that appears to emphasize stylus input. These include Autodesk SketchBook Express, Stylus Mobile, Write (a word processor for handwriting), and NVIDIA Pen Application Launcher; Camera Awesome will replace a native camera app. There’s a “base port” on the device, as well... Read more...
While the issue of divvying up spectrum isn't exactly fun to talk about around the water-cooler, it's an important one inside of the telecommunications industry. And, of course, that extends back to Washington. President Obama today issued a Presidential Memorandum that urges federal agencies to make better use of available spectrum. Obama's administration has stated on numerous occasions that it's a big fan of rural broadband, and it wants to get wireless Internet access to as many Americans as possible, and fast. The memorandum establishes a set of measures that Federal agencies, in collaboration with industry and other stakeholders, will now take to more aggressively enhance spectrum efficiency... Read more...
Outgoing FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is leaving his post sometime in the near future, but he’s no lame duck; according to the New York Times, Genachowski and the rest of the FCC are working hard on making in-flight WiFi cheaper, faster, and more readily available. The FCC voted to begin the process of using newly-available 500MHz spectrum to bolster in-flight WiFi. The process will likely years, but the end result will ideally be in-flight WiFi speeds that rival those that people enjoy at home and in various coffee shops and other restaurants. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski Unlike airplane-to-satellite Internet service, which is expensive and relatively slow, the ground-to-airplane... Read more...
In a one-city crusade, San Francisco attempted to pass an ordinance requiring retailers to post warnings to consumers about the potentially dangerous levels of radiation coming from their cell phones. It didn’t get far, as a judge blocked the 2011 ordinance before it could take effect, and now, Reuters reports that the city has backed down from the measure. The city had already lost in court against the CTIA, and the permanent injunction against the ordinance was part of a settlement. The CTIA had posited that such an ordinance would violate its free speech rights and would mislead consumers about an issue that currently doesn’t appear to have consensus among the scientific community.... Read more...
Julius Genachowski announced today that he will be stepping down from his post as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission in the "coming weeks." Thus will end a nearly four-year run for the lawyer and businessman, who was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate at the end of June in 2009. "Over the past four years, we’ve focused the FCC on broadband, wired and wireless, working to drive economic growth and improve the lives of all Americans. And thanks to you, the Commission’s employees, we’ve taken big steps to build a future where broadband is ubiquitous and bandwidth is abundant, where innovation and investment are flourishing," Genachowski said... Read more...
Well, it's good to see the ball rolling on this one already. In January, the US government deemed it illegal to unlock your cell phone without explicit carrier permission - and obviously, that didn't go down too well with consumers. Almost immediately, a petition was started that garnered over 115,000 signatures. President Obama took notice, and agreed that people should be able to unlock their phones if they own it. Now, a bill has been introduced that aims to re-legalize the process. Utah Republican Mike Lee has said, "Consumers shouldn’t have to fear criminal charges if they want to unlock their cell phones and switch carriers", and I couldn't agree more. I'm of the belief that if you... Read more...
We've all seen the reports that show the U.S. lagging behind quite a few other nations in terms of national average broadband speed (we're looking at you, South Korea), but the FCC now has a report out that details the best and the brightest available to American citizens. Of course, most people aren't able to look at a report, weigh their options, and then choose an ISP. Most times, only one or two ISPs are available in a given area, so we're stuck with a take-it-or-leave-it scenario. But for those lucky enough to have those options, the results from the 2013 Measuring Broadband America are certainly worth paying attention to. The program has been ongoing since the middle of 2011, and it's described... Read more...
In what is already a hotly contested issue that will no doubt end in a high stakes showdown, the FCC and its chairman Julius Genachowski (pictured), is proposing a large-scale, free public WiFi network that would be more powerful than current home and office WiFi networks, according to the Washington Post. Essentially, these WiFi networks could allow people from all economic levels to access the Internet without paying for in-home service, and users of all stripes could use the WiFi to make phone calls and surf the Internet without paying for 3G or 4G service from a wireless carrier. Unsurprisingly, the likes of AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Intel, and Qualcomm are staunchly opposing the proposed... Read more...
How do you know we're living in the future? If Wi-Fi in the skies and second-screen experiences aren't enough for you, how about this? While Google has thought up some pretty outlandish things in its history, there's a big difference between cooking something up on a drawing board, and submitting something to the FCC for clearance. Google Glass has been seen as a pretty far-fetched initiative, essentially strapping a 24/7 camera to your face and allowing those who wear it to interact with their social contacts via the Internet. It could very well usher in the era of wearable computing in the mainstream, but it could also serve to freak out those who are already concerned with being watching too... Read more...
Say what you will about the inefficiencies of government, but FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has evidently been busy of late. While things like "Internet expansion" generally get shoved aside in place of things like "debt ceilings," Genachowski has been doing a fine job of keeping some of our interests in the limelight. We're obviously in favor of spreading as much broadband love as possible across every area of the globe, and it seems that the FCC's head man is as well. This week, he announced new actions as part of the Broadband Acceleration Initiative, which is described as "a comprehensive effort to remove barriers to broadband build-out, including streamlining the deployment of mobile broadband... Read more...
There was a bit of Alltel left over after the Verizon Wireless acquisition back in 2009, and now AT&T is gobbling up the rest. AT&T announced that it will purchase Alltel and its licenses, network assets, retail outlets, and subscribers (such as they are, at 585,000 people) for $780 million. Alltel operates in Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina, covering mostly rural areas on the 700MHz, 850MHz, and 1900MHz bands. For AT&T, this means expanded coverage for its users in areas with a total of 4.6 million potential customers. Alltel HQ The deal, of course, must be approved by the FCC and Department of Justice before it goes through; assuming there are... Read more...
Folks have long since argued about what government aspects are too wasteful, and which ones don't actually have a positive impact. But as technology fans, it's hard to knock this idea: FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has called for at least one gigabit community in all 50 states by 2015. It's a new challenge that should provide a solid background to the rural broadband initiatives that are already ongoing. While America sees plenty of innovation, it's actually lagging far, far behind many other nations when it comes to broadband infrastructure. Places like The Netherlands and South Korea have far greater average speeds than the United States, and while the U.S. is certainly a huge landmass to... Read more...
It doesn't appear there will be any delaying Research In Motion's plans to launch at least one BlackBerry 10 device at the end of the month, as scheduled. In addition to the numerous leaked photos of RIM's upcoming products, a new BlackBerry device is now listed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC listing identifies the model number as RFH121LW. Unfortunately there aren't any details accompanying the listing, just a bunch of numbers and letters that are otherwise meaningless. Here's a look: An official BlackBerry 10 launch event is scheduled for January 30, 2013 in New York. We've already seen some leaked photos ahead of the event, albeit they're blurry snapshots. Image... Read more...
With CES 2013 just around the bend, a few of the fancier items are beginning to surface early courtesy of FCC filings that are being unearthed. Generally speaking, a product destined for a U.S. reveal will scurry through the FCC's testing lair just days or weeks prior to its official announcement. And that seems to be the chain of events that is unfolding with this particular Lenovo tablet. The image here shows an FCC image of what can only be assumed as the ThinkPad Helix. It's a unique form factor tablet that didn't ever really seem destined for U.S. shores. But now, thanks to radio tests in the associated filing, that seems to no longer be the case. It appears that the 11.6", Windows 8-based... Read more...
When it comes to flying in the U.S., and dealing with either the FCC or the FAA, "red tape" comes to mind. It's a heavily regulated industry, and with safety at the forefront, there's at least somewhat of an excuse. But, it's still no fun to deal with, particularly if you're waiting for Wi-Fi to come to your favorite airline. But now, the Federal Communications Commission has adopted a Report and Order establishing rules to help speed the deployment of Internet services onboard aircraft. In other words, this action allows in-flight Wi-Fi providers to get their equipment certified faster and installed with fewer delays. Here's the word straight from the horse's mouth: "The Report and Order formalizes... Read more...
The Pebble smartwatch is most certainly in the limelight. After raising bookoodles of money on Kickstarter, the crowdfunded smartwatch has garnered the attention of the masses in a major way. And now, after it missed its September ship date, it's in the spotlight for another reason: ruining Christmas for some. All jesting aside, there's no doubt that pundits are feeling a little uneasy after seeing a company grab so much cash and then miss a ship date by months and months, but there's a ton of red tape in developing new hardware, and more specifically, getting that hardware ready for action in the U.S. That whole "FCC clearance" thing is a chore unto itself, but it looks like the folks behind... Read more...
One of the more annoying parts of flying, outside of the ridiculous TSA security process and the notoriously packed flights, is the whole "turn your phones off" thing before taking off. While the skeptics would argue that it's just a myth that a phone could wreck a plane's GPS system, the FAA takes the "better safe than sorry route." But now, Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski is seemingly ready to take a second look at just how practical these silly rules are. Forcing people to turn everything off between the ground and 10,000 feet (on both ends of a flight) is pretty annoying, especially to businesspeople who are trying to make an office out of the sky and utilize... Read more...
By May 15, 2014, all four of the nation's top wireless carriers (AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile) will support emergency texting. U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said all four of these carriers have committed to major deployments of text-to-911 in 2013. The rollout is scheduled to be available nationwide by May 15, 2014. As a result of the agreement between the Federal Communications Commission and these wireless carriers, more than 90 percent of the nation's mobile customers will be able to contact emergency services using text messaging. The service is designed to compliment, not replace, voice calls to 911 services. "Access to 911 must catch... Read more...
Mega e-tailer Amazon may be putting the cart before the horse in accepting pre-orders for its new line of Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablets. How so? Well, it's come to light that Amazon's new slates have not yet received approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is a requirement to sell any wireless product. It may be just a formality at this point, but it's still highly unusual to take orders for a device without FCC approval. Those who go ahead and submit a pre-order are reportedly being sent emails that say, in part, "We will send you an email asking you to confirm your pre-order of Kindle Fire when it is approved for sale by the Federal Communications Commission."... Read more...
Verizon Wireless customers have reason to celebrate today, at least the ones using Android devices. Following an investigation, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled that VZW is not allowed to block third-party tethering apps on Android devices, and must also pay a $1.25 million fine to settle the investigation. "Today’s action demonstrates that compliance with FCC obligations is not optional. The open device and application obligations were core conditions when Verizon purchased the C-block spectrum," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. "The massive innovation and investment fueled by the Internet have been driven by consumer choice in both devices and applications.... Read more...
For too long, the download/upload speeds advertised by ISPs fell far short of real-world performance, but things have been improving of late. According to the FCC’s “Measuring Broadband America” 2012 report, ISPs were delivering an average of 96% of advertised speeds during peak traffic times, which is up significantly from the 87% speed found in the the August 2011 report. The good news doesn’t stop there; the report found that five ISPs were actually “routinely meeting or exceeding advertised rates”. Average Peak Period and 24-Hour Sustained Download Speeds as a Percentage of Advertised, by Provider—April 2012 Test Data Download speeds, broken down... Read more...
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