Items tagged with FCC

It's kind of a curious thing that Nintendo is the only console maker out of the big 3 to have announced a new generation model, the Wii U, which will be released in the fourth quarter of this year. Microsoft and Sony so far have preferred to keep their next-gen console plans close to their respective chests while they squeeze out a few more sales out of their existing hardware. For Sony, that may mean releasing yet another PlayStation 3 console. Sony has filed paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that reveals a 4000 series (PS3 CECH-4001x) model, which is believed to be a super slim version to supersede the current 3000 series. There are reports that Sony will announce the... Read more...
Did you know that the FCC hasn’t updated its guidelines regarding maximum radiation levels in mobile devices since 1996? FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is apparently aware of this, because he’s looking to launch a formal inquiry into the matter. In a statement that was circulated to news outlets, the FCC isn’t exactly concerned that current standards are too lax, but it makes sense to periodically review standards for an industry that changes and evolves dramatically approximately every three days. There has been much debate in recent years about the potential danger of radiation from cell phones--it’s actually considered a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization--and... Read more...
The end looks nigh for LightSquared. The company that intended to hook up with Sprint for 15 years (or more) in order to redefine the 4G landscape in the United States is on the brink of disaster, and according to a Wall Street Journal report, the cards could fold as early as tomorrow. Reportedly, Philip Falcone's project could be getting ready for a bankruptcy-protection filing, which could go into effect as early as tomorrow. Why? Because time has simply ran out, for the last time. Despite taking advantage of a number of debt waivers, the company owes around $1.6 billion to various parties. And the two sides are seemingly too far apart to to make it work any longer. It sounds like the two sides... Read more...
Due to unresolved interference issues, Sprint has terminated its 15-year 4G network agreement with LightSquared. We heard rumors this might be coming, and now, Sprint has made it official. The announcement comes after LightSquared was unable to find a resolution to interference issues found by the Federal Communications Commission which cited tests that show interference between LightSquared’s proposed network and GPS. The agreement between Sprint and LightSquared was originally signed in June 2011. Sprint has said it would be open to future partnerships with LightSquared if the interference issues are resolved. Sprint Elects to Terminate Spectrum Hosting Agreement with LightSquared OVERLAND... Read more...
Not really surprising, but things aren't looking so good for LightSquared. The company has been fighting for what feels like ages to get their wholesale LTE network approved despite staunch opposition from naysayers who contend that the network will interfere with GPS usage, and they've seemingly been losing more and more ground by the day. This week, the NTIA recommended to the FCC that it put a halt to LightSquared's dreams, but the company isn't going to go away quietly. They said that they'll remain "committed to finding a resolution with the federal government and the GPS industry to resolve all remaining concerns. LightSquared is confident that the parties will continue the on-going efforts... Read more...
AT&T and Sprint have had their fair share of battles lately, especially with Sprint's strong opposition to the now defunct proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. In the latest battle between the two wireless carriers, AT&T is attacking Sprint for divesting some of its infrastructure and relying on roaming agreements for voice and data service in Oklahoma and Kansas. The FCC recently changed its policy and eliminated the Home Market Rule. When this rule was in effect, it prevented carriers from establishing roaming agreements in areas where they had their own spectrum. The original intent of the Home Market Rule was to help rural carriers compete on an even ground with the larger... Read more...
Wide open spaces? How about white spaces? These mysterious creatures hanging in the air, dealing with the digital TV transition and looking to free up spectrum, are now making their big splash in Wilmington, North Carolina. The FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology has just issued a public notice to start operation of the spectrum bridge's TV White Spaces database system, and they also authorized the first TV white spaces device. That device will be able to provide service to devices beginning January 26, 2012. OET has also approved a device by Koos Technical Services, Inc. (KTS) as the first product allowed to operate on an unlicensed basis on unused frequencies in the TV bands. The KTS... Read more...
One of the most wonderful things about the Internet is that it creates a more level playing field for most people, not unlike the public library (but on steroids). Whether you live in a bustling metropolis or a tiny Midwestern town, are rich or poor, have the latest iOS device or an old second-hand desktop someone gave you, you can email, connect with people over social networks, research, play, or view or download a free video tutorial on Carnatic music from a French Website. It’s a beautiful thing--as long you have high-speed Internet access. That little detail is an insurmountable obstacle for many, be it because of geography or the high cost of Internet access. The FCC views that inequality... Read more...
What if Sony popped out a new Bloggie camcorder, with Wi-Fi? According to a drop in the FCC, that may be on deck. Pocket camcorders have shipped with Wi-Fi before, and Sony's Bloggie line has seen a great deal of success through the years, and it looks that the next one may be the barnburner that makes us forget about the death of Flip Video. The MHS-TS55, as it's called, could bring 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi to the company's portable HD camcorder line, and while Sony hasn't confirmed it, the FCC's word is as good as gold, usually. The FCC filing also points out an HDMI output, and it's expected to also have 1080p video capture, built-in USB and a "low" price point. The perfect stocking stuffer? Only... Read more...
The government's still trying to figure this whole "jobs" thing out, but the FCC is making moves on something, anyway. It's being called (by the FCC) the "most significant policy step ever taken to connect all Americans to high-speed Internet, wherever they live." It's the Connect America Fund, which aims to reform the Universal Service Fund and intercarrier compensation systems. According to the FCC, those systems have been widely viewed as broken, and long overdue for reform. Efforts to expand high-speed Internet to rural America over the next six years will increase economic growth by $50 billion over that period, the FCC estimates. Details? "These reforms create a new Connect America Fund... Read more...
No one likes to be surprised by insanely high mobile bills. Or any bills, really. But with those mobile bills, at least there's a governmental agency watching out for Americans, right? Sheers and jeers aside, the CTIA and FCC has announced today new commitments by providers that represent more than 97 percent of wireless consumers in the U.S. to send free alerts to help consumers avoid unexpected overage charges. The joint announcement was made by CTIA President & CEO Steve Largent, Federal Communications Chairman Julius Genachowski, and Consumers Union's Communications Policy Counsel Parul Desai. The plan – called the "Wireless Consumer Usage Notification Guidelines" – will provide... Read more...
In speech remarks posted on the FCC website, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski announced a plan to bring broadband and mobile broadband access to the entire country. Big talk of that nature is nothing new, but the plan portends to achieve this goal by the end of the decade. Genachowski expects the number of people without broadband--18 million Americans, in his estimation--will be cut in half in five years, with the rest receiving coverage by 2020. In order to achieve this lofty goal, Genachowski said that the Universal Service Fund and Intercarrier Compensation System (which he called “complex” and “broken”) must be reformed. Those reforms are being circulated to the appropriate... Read more...
Much like the AT&T / T-Mobile USA merger, we knew that there was no way in the world that any new "net neutrality" rules would fly into law without a little friction. Verizon Communications has stepped up to the plate, not ashamed to make a public front against the looming FCC imposition of those very rules. This week, the company filed an appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit of the Federal Communications Commission's December 2010 Report and Order (FCC 10-201) adopting so-called "net neutrality" rules. The following statement should be attributed to Michael E. Glover, Verizon senior vice president and deputy general counsel: "Verizon is fully... Read more...
Well, it’s official: According to Reuters, the FCC’s Net neutrality rules have been published in the Federal Register. They'll finally go into effect on November 20th. We knew this was coming and discussed it last week, but the Federal Register publication was the last official step toward launching the new rules. Net neutrality has been endlessly debated and hotly contested, to say the least, and the war will not end when the rules go into effect. In fact, now that the rules are official, those opposed to them can now launch their respective legal challenges. Not only are ISPs such as Verizon going to raise a ruckus, Republicans are expected to mount a challenge, as well. (The FCC’s... Read more...
Families with limited income who are struggling to make ends meet may have reason to consider switching to Comcast. The company has rolled out a new $9.99 service tier that's available nationwide to citizens with at least one child receiving a free school lunch through the National School Lunch Program. The program isn't available to current Comcast subscribers (a significant oversight), but anyone who hasn't had Comcast service in 90 days and doesn't currently have an overdue balance with the company is able to apply. According to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the new service is intended to bridge the so-called digital divide between low-income families and the rest of the US. "We know that... Read more...
The U.S. government has never been accused of moving too quickly on anything, and the Net neutrality rules that the FCC released late in 2010 are no exception. According to Reuters, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget has finally signed off on the rules, which clears the way for implementation in the coming months. In a nutshell, Net neutrality concerns whether or not the government should regulate ISPs, and if so, to what extent. The new rules are, predictably, a compromise; if you’re interested in the nitty-gritty details, you can read the FCC’s document for yourself. To say that Net neutrality has been a contentious issue would be an understatement; even the... Read more...
Telecommunications companies in 16 states have laid out plans to share more than $103 million in federal funding to help expand broadband internet access to rural areas of the country that haven't yet been reached by high-speed service or are underserved. The announcement comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is providing about $13 million of the project's funds through its Community Connect program. The program exists to provide grants to rural, economically-challenged communities to be used for purchase, construction or leasing of facilities to bring broadband access to the chosen areas. The states that will benefit from the funding are: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Illinois,... Read more...
AT&T has filed eight separate suites against the law firm of Bursor & Fisher over the firm's ongoing efforts to persuade consumers to fight the wireless giant's proposed merger with T-Mobile. The merger would give AT&T and Verizon control of an estimated 80 percent of the wireless market. T-Mobile, which is owned by Deutsche Telecom, is the fourth-largest carrier in the US and has an estimated 150 million subscribers worldwide. AT&T's own justifications for the merger suffered a major blow last week when an unredacted document posted to the FCC's website demolished the company's claims that it needed to buy T-Mobile in order to shoulder the cost of upgrading its LTE network to... Read more...
Most ISPs advertise the upload and download speeds of their broadband, but just how much truth is in advertising? A recent study by the FCC aims give consumers the answer for the nation's largest providers. The Federal Communications Commission has released the results of a year-long scientific study it conducted with regard to the upload and download speeds of thirteen American internet service providers. Among the ISPs included in the study were AT&T, Cablevision, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Frontier, Insight, Mediacom, Qwest, Time-Warner, Verizon (DSL), Verizon (Fiber), and Windstream. Most of the ISPs hit 90 percent of their advertised upload speeds, which is good, except... Read more...
Hacker group Anonymous promised a cyberattack on the website of San Francisco Bay Area transit agency BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), starting at 12 noon PST on Sunday, Aug. 14, and they delivered, managing deface two related sites, as well leak user data from one of the sites. Both site defacements are related to Operation Bart (#OpBART on Twitter), the organization said, on the OpBART Facebook page. MyBART.org saw a cache of user data leaked, while the other site, californiaavoid.org, which is maintained by the California Office of Traffic Safety, said defacement on that site consisted as a rotating set of images. Almost all were related to Anonymous and featured the Guy Fawkes mask... Read more...
Recently, the launch of the Child ID app proved that the U.S. government wasn't scared of tapping into modern-day, consumer-friendly tech to provide a service to the American people. Now, the FCC is pushing for 911 texting.  The Federal Communications Commission is envisioning a project called Next Generation 911; in addition to just sending standard SMS, it will also allow 911 teams to receive photo and video messages in order to better prepare and respond. "It’s hard to imagine that airlines can send text messages if your flight is delayed, but you can’t send a text message to 911 in an emergency," said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. "The shift to NG911 can’t... Read more...
Government tests appear to confirm earlier tests done by the GPS industry: LightSquared's proposed mobile broadband network disrupts GPS devices in the area. The data is given more weight by the impartiality of the testing, but wasn't a surprise: LightSquared's spectrum block is right next to that used by GPS receivers. All GPS devices tested were affected, but some more than others. The government's tests were overseen by the National PNT Engineering Forum, a federal advisory group of engineers. Some devices simply saw signal strength degrade. Others were completely disabled. For example, the tests found that GM's OnStar system saw a "significant degradation of service" on most receivers tested.... Read more...
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