Archive for the ‘FCC’ Category

FCC asks court for delay in case that could restore net neutrality rules

January 16th, 2019
The Federal Communications Commission meeting room, with an empty chair in front of the FCC seal and two United States flags.

Enlarge / The Federal Communications Commission seal hangs inside a meeting room at the headquarters ahead of an open commission meeting in Washington, DC, on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

The Federal Communications Commission yesterday asked judges to delay oral arguments in a court case that could restore Obama-era net neutrality rules.

Oral arguments are scheduled for February 1 at the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which will rule on a challenge to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's repeal of net neutrality rules. The court confirmed this week on its website that its schedule "will not be affected, at least initially, by the partial shutdown of the federal government" that began on December 22, 2018. The court has enough funding to operate for now and said that "[o]ral arguments on the calendar for the month of January and February will go on as scheduled."

But the FCC, which is partially shut down, filed a motion yesterday asking the court to postpone oral arguments in the net neutrality case.

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Ajit Pai gives carriers free pass on privacy violations during FCC shutdown

January 15th, 2019
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai drinking from a giant coffee mug in front of an FCC seal.

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai with his oversized coffee mug in November 2017. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai refused a Democratic lawmaker's request to immediately address a privacy scandal involving wireless carriers, saying that it can wait until after the government shutdown is over.

A Motherboard investigation published last week found that T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T are still selling their mobile customers' real-time location information to third-party data brokers, despite promises in June 2018 to stop the controversial practice.

House Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) asked Pai for an "emergency briefing" to explain why the FCC "has yet to end wireless carriers' unauthorized disclosure of consumers' real-time location data," and for an update on "what actions the FCC has taken to address this issue to date."

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Posted in FCC, location data sharing, Policy | Comments (0)

FCC gets a new Democrat, is back to full slate of five commissioners

January 3rd, 2019
Drawing of a fight between a donkey and an elephant, representing Democrats and Republicans.

Enlarge / Democrats vs. Republicans. (credit: Getty Images | Linda Braucht)

The Federal Communications Commission will once again have a full lineup of five commissioners, with three Republicans and two Democrats. The FCC has had three Republicans but only one Democrat since Mignon Clyburn left the agency in May 2018.

Democrat Geoffrey Starks has been in line to replace Clyburn since June and was confirmed by the US Senate in a voice vote yesterday. Starks will join Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel as one of two Democrats; the FCC's Republicans are Chairman Ajit Pai, Michael O'Rielly, and Brendan Carr.

Rosenworcel congratulated Starks in a statement, saying, "I look forward to working together on a broad range of our shared goals, from protecting consumers to serving the public interest to ensuring that every American has a fair shot at success in the digital age."

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Posted in FCC, geoffrey starks, Policy | Comments (0)

Ajit Pai thanks Congress for helping him kill net neutrality rules

January 2nd, 2019
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai smiling and shaking someone's hand at his Senate confirmation hearing.

Enlarge / Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai arrives for his confirmation hearing with the Senate Commerce Committee on July 19, 2017, in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty Images | Chip Somodevilla )

Ajit Pai today celebrated a victory in his ongoing quest to prevent the US government from enforcing net neutrality rules.

The Pai-led Federal Communications Commission repealed Obama-era net neutrality rules, but the repeal could have been reversed by Congress if it acted before the end of its session. Democrats won a vote to reverse the repeal in the Senate but weren't able to get enough votes in the House of Representatives before time ran out.

"I'm pleased that a strong bipartisan majority of the US House of Representatives declined to reinstate heavy-handed Internet regulation," Pai said in a statement marking the deadline passage today. Pai claimed that broadband speed improvements and new fiber deployments in 2018 occurred because of his net neutrality repeal—although speeds and fiber deployment also went in the right direction while net neutrality rules were in place.

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T-Mobile denies lying to FCC about size of its 4G network

December 18th, 2018
A person holding a cell phone that says,

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

T-Mobile has denied an allegation that it lied to the Federal Communications Commission about the extent of its 4G LTE coverage.

A group that represents small rural carriers says that T-Mobile claimed to have 4G LTE coverage in places where it hadn't yet installed 4G equipment. That would violate FCC rules and potentially prevent small carriers from getting network construction money in unserved areas.

T-Mobile said the allegations made by the Rural Wireless Association (RWA) in an FCC filing on Friday "are patently false."

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Posted in 4G, FCC, LTE, mobility fund, Policy, rural wireless association, t-mobile | Comments (0)

FCC forces California to drop plan for government fees on text messages

December 17th, 2018
A woman sending a text message on a smartphone.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Tom Werner)

California telecom regulators have abandoned a plan to impose government fees on text-messaging services, saying that a recent Federal Communications Commission vote has limited its authority over text messaging.

The FCC last week voted to classify text-messaging as an information service, rather than a telecommunications service.

"Information service" is the same classification the FCC gave to broadband when it repealed net neutrality rules and claimed that states aren't allowed to impose their own net neutrality laws. California's legislature passed a net neutrality law anyway and is defending it in court. But the state's utility regulator chose not to challenge the FCC on regulation of text messaging.

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Posted in Biz & IT, cpuc, FCC, Policy, text messages | Comments (0)

T-Mobile lied to the FCC about its 4G coverage, small carriers say

December 13th, 2018
A person's hand holding a smartphone with a

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

T-Mobile lied to the Federal Communications Commission about the extent of its 4G LTE coverage, according to a trade group that represents rural wireless providers.

T-Mobile claimed—under penalty of perjury—to have coverage in areas where it hadn't yet installed 4G equipment, the Rural Wireless Association (RWA) said in an FCC filing Monday. The same group previously reported to the FCC that Verizon lied about its 4G coverage, leading to the FCC starting an investigation and announcing that at least one carrier exaggerated its 4G coverage.

Inaccurate coverage maps could make it difficult for rural carriers to get money from the Mobility Fund, a government fund intended to build networks in unserved areas. The FCC last year required Verizon and other carriers to file maps and data indicating their current 4G LTE coverage with speeds of at least 5Mbps. Carriers must provide "a certification, under penalty of perjury, by a qualified engineer that the propagation maps and model details reflect the filer's coverage as of the generation date of the map in accordance with all other parameters," the FCC order said.

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Posted in 4G, Biz & IT, FCC, Policy, rural wireless association, t-mobile, verizon | Comments (0)

FCC panel wants to tax Internet-using businesses and give the money to ISPs

December 12th, 2018
A mouse cursor hovering over two options labeled

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Christian Michaels)

A Federal Communications Commission advisory committee has proposed a new tax on Netflix, Google, Facebook, and many other businesses that require Internet access to operate.

If adopted by states, the recommended tax would apply to subscription-based retail services that require Internet access, such as Netflix, and to advertising-supported services that use the Internet, such as Google and Facebook. The tax would also apply to any small- or medium-sized business that charges subscription fees for online services or uses online advertising. The tax would also apply to any provider of broadband access, such as cable or wireless operators.

The collected money would go into state rural broadband deployment funds that would help bring faster Internet access to sparsely populated areas. Similar universal service fees are already assessed on landline phone service and mobile phone service nationwide. Those phone fees contribute to federal programs such as the FCC's Connect America Fund, which pays AT&T and other carriers to deploy broadband in rural areas.

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Posted in amazon, AT&T, FCC, google, Netflix, Policy | Comments (0)

Net neutrality bill 38 votes short in Congress, and time has almost run out

December 11th, 2018
The dome of the United State Capitol Building against a deep blue sky in Washington, DC.

Enlarge / The dome of the United State Capitol Building in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty Images | Phil Roeder)

Legislation to restore net neutrality rules now has 180 supporters in the US House of Representatives, but that's 38 votes short of the amount needed before the end of the month.

The Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution, already approved by the Senate, would reverse the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality rules. But 218 signatures from US representatives (a majority) are needed to force a full vote in the House before Congress adjourns at the end of the year.

Net neutrality advocates previously said they needed 218 signatures by December 10 to force a vote. But an extension of Congress' session provided a little more time.

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Report: FBI opens criminal investigation into net neutrality comment fraud

December 10th, 2018
A person's hand holding a pen and filling out a subpoena form.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | courtneyk)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the use of stolen identities in public comments on the government's repeal of net neutrality rules, BuzzFeed News reported Saturday.

The investigation focuses on "whether crimes were committed when potentially millions of people's identities were posted to the FCC's website without their permission, falsely attributing to them opinions about net neutrality rules," the report said.

"Two organizations told BuzzFeed News, each on condition that they not be named, that the FBI delivered subpoenas to them related to the comments," BuzzFeed wrote.

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Posted in FBI, FCC, net neutrality comments, net neutrality repeal, Policy | Comments (0)