Items tagged with FCC

The Federal Communications Commission is in the process of auctioning off 65 megahertz of the electromagnetic spectrum and it is going very well. As of Friday, bidding for six blocks of airwaves has reached an unprecedented amount sailing north of $34 billion.This particular auction, which started November 13, is now three times the reserve price of $10.5 billion that the FCC put on the sale. One of the factors that has contributed to the high bidding war is the fact that this is the first such auction in six years. “Years of hard effort paved the way for the AWS-3 auction, in which 70 applicants qualified to bid, and ongoing bidding appears to signal considerable commercial interest in this... Read more...
Everyone is waiting to see what the Federal Communications Commission will rule when it comes to net neutrality. However, the FCC is preparing itself for a lawsuit from cable companies in response to when it finally votes net neutrality regulations into place. At least that is what FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said earlier today.According to The Hill, Wheeler said, “The big dogs are going to sue regardless of what comes out. We need to make sure that we have sustainable rules, and that starts with making sure that we have addressed the multiplicity of issues that come along and are likely to be raised."Wheeler continued, “I want to move on open Internet rules with dispatch. I also want to have open... Read more...
If Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler gets his way, phone bills will go up by 16 cents a month, or $2 per year, as part of a plan to fund faster Internet access in schools. This would apply to the E-Rate fee that appears on phone bills, which is a program to fund Internet access to schools and libraries. Wheeler and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass) fielded a conference call to introduce the proposal. Both are in agreement that the current program needs rebooted, stressing that there's a growing divide between schools in well-to-do neighborhoods and those in lower-income, rural areas over Internet access. Image Source: Flickr (Michael Surran) "The failure to do so will mean children... Read more...
AT&T will be pausing its current investments regarding plans to bring fiber connections to 100 cities. The reason for the halt is that the company is waiting for U.S. regulators to make a decision on how the issue of how internet service providers will be able to manage their web traffic. "We can't go out and invest that kind of money deploying fiber to 100 cities not knowing under what rules those investments will be governed," said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson during an conference on Wednesday. “We think it is prudent to just pause and make sure we have line of sight and understanding as to what those rules would look like.” As the Federal Communications Commission continues to take... Read more...
While the US Senate doesn’t seem to have a clue about net neutrality and the issues brought up in regards to the FCC, its “Fast Lanes” plan, and the issue of what the internet should be classified as, President Barack Obama seems to get it. The President announced his support that the internet be reclassified as a utility service in order ensure that the internet remain free and open. “’Net neutrality’ has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted,” said President Obama in a statement released this morning. “We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to... Read more...
The concept of net neutrality has been a hot-button topic over the past few years, particularly as evidence by fundamental ISP misconduct that has grown more prevalent. In addition, an increasing number of customers have found themselves caught in the crossfire between two huge corporations (ISPs and content providers especially) with little to no recourse... Net neutrality is an attractive concept, particularly if you've followed the ways the cable and telco companies have gouged customers in recent years, and I'm a fan of the idea on some level -- but only to a limited extent. There are two problems with net neutrality as its commonly proposed... Net Neutrality Won't Fix ISP Throttling, Here's... Read more...
The concept of net neutrality has been a hot-button topic over the past few years, particularly as evidence by fundamental ISP misconduct that has grown more prevalent. In addition, an increasing number of customers have found themselves caught in the crossfire between two huge corporations (ISPs and content providers especially) with little to no recourse. Net neutrality, as it's generally explained, is the idea that no company should be allowed to treat traffic differently than other traffic. Information should flow with equal priority and consumers shouldn't end up paying more for "priority service" on certain applications.                     ... Read more...
We've covered the battles between ISPs and various large-scale content providers multiple times before. From deliberately throttling Netflix users to older spats that prevented Time Warner customers from watching cable channels they'd legally paid for, these kinds of disagreements are common in America these days. A new report from M-Lab, however, illustrates the degree to which these battles can impact all of an ISPs customers, including those who don't use video on demand services like Netflix. Details on how M-Lab configured its tests are available in this PDF, but the company ran its benchmarks and monitoring by setting up multiple access points within a single location and testing network... Read more...
On April 9, 911 services were interrupted for six hours which affected areas in California, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina while the entire state of Washington was affected. A 911 call-routing facility, located in Englewood, Colorado, had stopped directing emergency calls to 911 call centers, 81 in total, in those states. However, according to the Federal Communications Commission, the cause for the 911 outage was a preventable coding error. Intrado, the routing facility in Colorado, was affected by what was called a “sunny day” outage that, according to the report, affected 11 million people and prevented over 6,600 calls to 911.The  calls... Read more...
We've all been victims of inadvertent phone calls resulting from a phenomenon known as butt dialing or pocket dialing. It's funny when it happens, though it's not always a laughing matter. According to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Michael O'Reilly, 70 percent of 911 calls are made by wireless devices, and out of those, over half are the result of pocket dialing. "If my anecdotal experiences are remotely accurate, it would mean that approximately 84 million 911 calls are year pocket dials," O'Reilly says. "This is a huge waste of resources, raises the cost of providing 911 services, depletes PSAP morale, and increases the risk that legitimate 911 calls -- and first responders... Read more...
This past Wednesday, several Republican senators argued before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the topic of Net Neutrality and the Federal Communications Commission. While a large amount of companies are asking that the FCC classify the internet as a utility, Republicans are arguing such a move would give the FCC too much power which would stifle innovation and have said that the FCC shouldn’t get involved at all. To that end, Senator Ted Cruz (Republican, Texas) said, “The FCC's latest adventure in net neutrality in my view would only serve to stifle innovation and would potentially subject the internet to nanny state regulation from Washington.” Cruz then said that net neutrality... Read more...
If you have been following the battle between cable companies and major online companies, you won’t be surprised when you notice a “Loading…” icon or banner on some of your favorite websites today. Proponents of the existing net neutrality rules have been encouraging everyone from individuals to major companies to express their opposition to any changes in net neutrality rules that might give cable companies an opening charge heavy data users (like Netflix) more. You might be greeted by a banner like this one when you visit websites today. The organization behind today’s “Internet Slowdown,” as it’s being called, is BattleForTheNet. It encourages... Read more...
The Federal Communications Commission has been considering the implementation of new neutrality rules in an attempt to determine how internet service providers should manage web traffic on their networks. The outcry against the FCC and the concept of “fast lanes,” in addition to treating IPSs more like public utility companies, continues to grow with many network companies and equipment manufacturers going so far as to tell U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker how these policies could hurt the internet and U.S. economy. The latest group to join the protests and outcry are 33 companies that include Intel Corp, Cisco Systems Inc, and IBM. These companies, along with services such... Read more...
On September 10th, several of the popular websites you visit may appear to have trouble loading content, but that won't really be the case. All those slow loading animations are actually widgets, banners, and animated images provided by BattleForTheNet, a coalition of companies, organizations, and people who have come together to oppose changes to net neutrality rules and show what the web might look like if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allows cable companies to charge for Internet fast lanes. Sites like Mozilla, Kickstarter, Reddit, Etsy, Foursquare, Vimeo, iFixIt, Tumblr, and many others will have widgets and other images posted on the designated "Go Slow" day in protest of net... Read more...
Verizon will pay a hefty $7.4 million fine as part of a settlement agreement with the Federal Communications Commission to end an investigation into the wireless carrier's use of personal consumer information for marketing purposes without their consent, the FCC announced today. In addition to the fine, Verizon agreed to notify customers of their opt-out rights on every bill for the next three years. The FCC has been taking a hardline approach to the way wireless carriers do business, though most of the ire has been directed at data caps and related business practices. For example, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler sent a strongly worded letter to Verizon in July demanding an explanation as to why it... Read more...
Netflix has been butting heads with cable companies over tolls the latter want to charge in exchange for guaranteeing that Netflix's streaming content makes it into homes without any hiccups. So, it doesn't come as much surprise that Netflix is one of the first in line to publicly oppose Comcast's proposed buyout of Time Warner Cable (TWC), which if approved would see the merger of the two largest cable operators in the U.S. The streaming service made public a redacted version of its petition to deny the acquisition. At the heart of Netflix's petition is the creation of a combined entity that would give Comcast and TWC "the ability to turn a consumer's Internet experience into something that... Read more...
The battle for net neutrality is starting to feel like a never-ending one, but for the sake of having a truly fair Web, it's a battle of utmost importance. It's also a battle that you can help win, as the Federal Trade Commission seeks comments from the public on the proposed net neutrality rules. Originally, the FCC was going to cease receiving comments on July 15th, but a flood of last-minute comments poured in and ended up taking down the website that accepted them. The deadline was then extended until July 18th, but given the amount of attention this is receiving, the agency has once again extended the date, this time until September 15th. John Oliver explains, in layman's terms, why net... Read more...
Thinking twice on the matter, Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC) have both decided to withdraw significant donations totaling a combined $132,000 to a fundraising dinner honoring Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Mignon Clybrun, who is scheduled to receive a special "diversity advocate" award at the event. The Walter Kaitz Foundation is a non-profit organization that promotes inclusion and participation of women and multi-ethnic professionals in the cable telecommunications industry. Much of the company's funding comes from an annual dinner, in which it honors individuals inside and outside the cable industry who made strides in diversity. This year the foundation is hosting... Read more...
Cable giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC) are sponsoring this year's annual dinner for the Walter Kaitz Foundation, which is being held in honor of Mignon Clyburn, head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Clyburn is to receive a special "diversity advocate" award at the event, with Comcast donating $110,000 to the foundation that supports diversity. Normally something like this wouldn't raise an eyebrow, but it just so happens that Comcast needs the FCC approval before it can acquire TWC in a deal worth around $45.2 billion. TWC already donated $22,000 back on May 14, and while making donations doesn't break any rules, the timing is a little suspicious. Nevertheless, Comcast... Read more...
For years, Verizon and the other telcos have imposed limits on supposedly "Unlimited" data plans and justified those limits with dubious appeals to network quality of service. While throttling data usage makes a great deal of sense in certain contexts (downtown rush hour being an excellent example), most companies don't throttle based on time of day or local conditions. Verizon's latest attempt to slice off a bit more profit for itself may have been a bridge too far, however, as FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has gotten involved with investigating the company's practices. As we covered earlier this week, Verizon recently announced that it would "extend its network optimization policy to the data users... Read more...
While the FCC has come under fire for its stance on net neutrality of late, it has also been on the offense against ISPs. For example, the agency has stated that it will look into the bad service finger-pointing between Netflix and Verizon in hopes of adjudicating the dispute and discerning the underlying problems, and it’s also giving ISPs a warning about their level of transparency. “Consumers deserve to get the broadband service they pay for,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a Rule Enforcement Advisory. “The FCC’s transparency rule requires that consumers get the information they need to make informed choices about the broadband services they purchase.”... Read more...
From the beginning, the anti-net neutrality argument has been built on a single premise: Give companies free rein to charge more money for services, and they'll respond by improving the customer experience, rolling out service to more people, and aggressively adopting faster technology. Over the past few months, Netflix has served as an unofficial test drive for this theory -- the company has begun paying both Comcast and Verizon directly to improve Netflix performance. The result?  Comcast, at least, has improved dramatically. Verizon, on the other hand, continues to crater -- its FiOS service fell two spots to 12th place.   Verizon, naturally enough, has attempted to blame Netflix... Read more...
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