Articles about Fcc

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Trump's FCC will soak net neutrality in gas and toss in a lit match

Supporters of net neutrality are preparing to defend FCC regulations passed two years ago in the face of what is increasingly looking like a determined effort by the Trump Administration to undermine them. Earlier this week, Trump named a third person to his FCC transition team and, as with the previous two, she is a vocal …
Kieren McCarthy, 01 Dec 2016

Super Cali goes ballistic, considers taxing Netflix

More than 40 cities in California are considering a tax on streaming services – dubbed a Netflix tax – claiming that the tax system needs updating for the internet era. The news comes as AT&T announces a new streaming service, DirectTV Now, which the company hopes will see people discard their cable boxes altogether for over …
Kieren McCarthy, 28 Nov 2016

Have some sympathy for the AT&T devil

Analysis When the first fixed-line phone systems were installed, you paid for everything, but particularly for each minute of each call. Later they had broadband added to the copper and a flat rate began to become the order of the day. As phone calls went to IP, the same applied to calls for the most part. While there are upper limits …
Faultline, 25 Nov 2016
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Pre-Trump FCC – get a grip on mobe data caps, racist Stingray spying, urge Dem senators

Leading Democrat senators are pushing the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to address a number of hot topics, including zero rating and the use of the Stingray cellphone-tracking technology, before the Trump Administration takes over in January. In a letter [PDF] sent Friday, seven senators including Elizabeth Warren …
Kieren McCarthy, 22 Nov 2016

Trump hires very best, greatest net neut haters to head FCC transition

President-elect Donald Trump has hired two strong opponents of net neutrality rules to head up his transition team for the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Economist Jeff Eisenach, who worked in the Reagan Administration at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and does a lot of corporate work for Verizon, and Mark …
Kieren McCarthy, 21 Nov 2016
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US telecoms industry weighs up the Trump effect

Comment As in every sector of US life, the telecoms industry is trying to work out what the shock election of maverick candidate Donald Trump to the presidency will mean for its operators and suppliers. There are few clues, of course – telecoms, even broadband, were not major campaign issues; Trump obviously has no track record of …
Wireless Watch, 21 Nov 2016

And with one stroke, Trump killed the Era of Slacktivism

Analysis No wonder America’s biggest lobbyist, Google, has been so frantic to drive through its agenda this year. Whether it was making an audacious landgrab for the TV industry, locking the Copyright chief out of her office, stopping ISPs from doing what Google does with your personal data, or taking the songs away from America’s …
Andrew Orlowski, 16 Nov 2016

FCC wants a word with AT&T about that zero-rated DirecTV streaming

The FCC is taking issue with AT&T over its plans to launch DirecTV as a zero-rated streaming video service. The US watchdog's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau has sent a letter [PDF] to AT&T's senior executive veep of external and legislative affairs asking the telecoms giant to address concerns that by omitting DirecTV from …
Shaun Nichols, 11 Nov 2016

Virgin goes 4G with zero-rated Facebook and WhatsApp

Virgin Mobile has finally upgraded its network to 4G – with an eye-catching deal: Facebook and WhatsApp data usage won't count against your monthly data bundle, a practice known as zero rating. With zero rating, no money changes hands between the network and the service, and in the USA, the practice has proved hugely popular. …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Nov 2016
Newspapers

FCC backs Google Fiber

The FCC has put its weight behind Google in the Chocolate Factory's fight to bring Fiber to Louisville, Kentucky, US. In a filing [PDF] to a Kentucky district court, the US comms watchdog says it believes Google should have the right to string its fiber data lines on city utility poles with the ability to lift up or move …
Shaun Nichols, 31 Oct 2016
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The new FCC privacy rules are here, and nobody is happy

The FCC has formally approved its new rules for internet service providers on the handling of customer data, and it seems few people on either side are particularly happy. The rules, adopted Thursday [PDF] by the commission after months of debate, call on any company currently providing broadband service to obtain opt-in …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Oct 2016

Clinton, Trump actually agree on something – blocking AT&T's Time Warner mega-buy

AT&T's proposed $84.5bn acquisition of Time Warner is already facing a gauntlet of opposition from government officials and activists. With the announcement of the deal less than 48 hours old, both leading presidential candidates have indicated they would oppose the merger after taking office due to concerns of over- …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Oct 2016
1960s edition of the country house murder mystery game Cluedo or Clue - Patented in the UK by John Waddington Games in 1947 - illustrative. By SamJonah, via shutterstock. editorial use only

Murder in the Library of Congress

The US Copyright Office has been given a brutal Silicon Valley-style sacking, the first time the Copyright Register has been dismissed in 119 years. Maria A Pallante was locked out of her computer on Friday, according to Billboard, on the instructions of her boss, a new Obama appointee, Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Oct 2016
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Whinge on: T-Mobile US docked $48m for limiting 'unlimited' data plans

T-Mobile US has agreed to pay the US comms watchdog the FCC $48m to settle claims that it illegally throttled the connections of some unlimited-plan data users. The settlement package [PDF] ends an investigation the US broadband watchdog launched over T‑Mobile's handling of customers on its unlimited data plans. At issue was …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Oct 2016

Sckipio touts fibre-like symmetrical G.fast kit

Fabless G.fast silicon house Sckipio hopes to give the fibre-most-of-the-way, copper to the home market a kick along with silicon that gets close to symmetric performance, at whatever data rate the copper can support. Talking to Vulture South after the launch, the company's marketing veep Michael Weissman explained the …

FCC slams Comcast with largest-ever fine for a cable company

Updated The US Federal Communications Commission is trumpeting the “largest civil penalty assessed from a cable operator” after it fined Comcast $2.3m for charging its customers for services they didn’t ask for and equipment they didn’t need. The government regulator said Comcast had shown a pattern of “negative option billing,” where …
Iain Thomson, 11 Oct 2016
Hammer, spanner and screw

FreeBSD 11.0 lands, with security fixes to FreeBSD 11.0

If you were one of the sharp-eyed users who downloaded FreeBSD 11.0 from the project's FTP servers before official release, it's time to upgrade again. The release version has landed and it's not the same as the bootleg. As Glen Barber posted at the end of September, “the final 11.0-RELEASE will be rebuilt and republished on …
Stingray

Probe cops' Stingray phone masts, senators tell US comms watchdog

A group of US Senators has asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to investigate concerns that police stingray devices are causing illegally high levels of interference to wireless networks. In a letter addressed to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, Senators Bernie Sanders (I‑VT), Ron Wyden (D‑OR), Al Franken (D‑MN), …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Oct 2016
LG demonstrates its VR headset for the G5 smartphone

VR as an aid for the disabled

The US Federal Communications Commission has published a white paper that explores why people with cognitive disabilities have not adopted the communications technology that has become the primary gateway to employment, education, healthcare and social life. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, in remarks prepared for a speech at the …
Thomas Claburn, 06 Oct 2016
A broken phone

Level 3 goes to Level 0 for American VoIP peeps

Backbone carrier Level 3 says it is investigating the cause of an outage that took out its services in North America. A spokesperson for the network provider told El Reg that the issue was resolved by 8:30am US Pacific time. The problems largely affected Level 3 VoIP and phone services in the East Coast and Midwest regions. A …
Shaun Nichols, 04 Oct 2016

FCC keeps secret Google TV landgrab under wraps forever

Analysis US broadband regulator the FCC dramatically cancelled the much-anticipated vote on its secretive TV set-top box plan on Thursday – and it's keeping the details confidential. The terse note announcing the cancellation of the vote [PDF] at the ironically named “Open Meeting” declared that: The item remains on circulation and …
Andrew Orlowski, 30 Sep 2016

FCC death vote looms for the Golden Age of American TV

Special report We’re living in a “Golden Age of TV”, and the United States makes the most envied popular TV drama in the world. Breaking Bad, The Sopranos and The Wire raised the bar for everyone in TV drama. More cash is invested in content: last year Netflix alone spent more on shows than either the BBC or HBO. It takes more risks and …
Andrew Orlowski, 29 Sep 2016
Snowball angry about being neutered

After AT&T's crushing blow, FTC tells Senate it wants its balls back

US trade watchdog the FTC says it will appeal the August decision stripping its ability to fine AT&T. In a hearing before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation this week, FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez confirmed her agency will challenge the Ninth Circuit Court's ruling that corporations that deliver a …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Sep 2016

Did last night's US presidential debate Wi-Fi rip-off break the law?

The host of the first presidential debate on Monday night, Hofstra University in New York, may have broken the law and could be in line for a huge fine. Reporters at the event were appalled to find that among the heavily marked-up items they were offered – $150 to rent a lamp, anyone? – was a $200 charge for a "secure wireless …
Kieren McCarthy, 27 Sep 2016

Video service Binge On 'broke the internet' but 99pc of users love it

Analysis Do you remember the butthurt and angst heaped on T-Mobile US when it launched its Binge On service earlier this year? T-Mobile US offered a toll-free all-you-can-watch mobile video service, trading quality for quantity. The Binge On user would get video downsampled to 480 pixels, but none of it would count towards their data …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Sep 2016
WiFi Icon

Wi-Fi Alliance publishes LTE/WiFi coexistence test plan

The Wi-Fi Alliance's long-awaited – and controversial – LTE-U Coexistence Test plan has landed. The reg-walled test plan is supposed to help work out if LTE-U – the mobile carriers' plan to use unlicensed spectrum if nobody else is talking – can coexist with Wi-Fi. Carriers, already under a spectrum squeeze, are hoping they …
Jean-Claude Juncker speaking in front of EU flag

EU chief promises modernised spectrum policy to avoid mistakes of LTE

The European Union announced its 5G Action Plan last week, and president Jean-Claude Juncker set out some ambitious connectivity goals in his State of the Union address. These include promises to enable free Wi-Fi in public spaces in every town and village in the EU states, and to achieve “full deployment” of 5G by 2025 ( …
Wireless Watch, 21 Sep 2016

FCC Comms criticized

The two Republican commissioners in the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have been accused of withholding documents that show they acted in cahoots with congressional Republicans in trying to kill net neutrality rules. Ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Elijah Cummings, has sent …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Sep 2016
Cut cable

Brave telco giants kill threat of decent internet service in rural North Carolina

A rural community in North Carolina says it will have to pull the plug on its broadband service over fears it will no longer be protected by the FCC. The city council in Wilson, North Carolina has voted to disconnect local broadband service in the nearby community of Pinetops following the 6th Circuit Court's ruling that the …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Sep 2016
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Songsmiths sue US antitrust over Google-friendly rules ruling

Two independent women songwriters are suing the US antitrust department of the Department of Justice over its proposal to rip up songwriters' contracts to make them more Google-friendly. Crucially, in the remarks, the DoJ proposes that both ASCAP and BMI must accept 100 per cent licensing – so Spotify and other giant music …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Sep 2016

Google's become an obsessive stalker and you can't get a restraining order

Comment Google isn’t just interested in tracking you, or even very interested. Google tracks you with the defiant zeal of an obsessive stalker. What’s curious is that the American state seems almost as keen on the unfettered collection and use of location data as Google itself. Phones incorporated GPS silicon long before the iPhone …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Sep 2016

FCC defends cable box battle

Staff at the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are pushing back against claims that the federal regulator is trying to control commercial contracts with its cable box plan. In a series of tweets Gigi Sohn, the person widely seen to be behind a raft of FCC proposals that clamp down on telco market abuse, criticized the …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Sep 2016
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Infected Android phones could flood America's 911 with DDoS attacks

A research trio has shown how thousands of malware-infected phones could launch automated distributed denial of service attacks to cripple the US emergency phone system "for days". The attacks are a new area of research and exploit the need for emergency call services to accept all calls regardless of origin. The theoretical …
Darren Pauli, 13 Sep 2016

Wait, wait – I got it this time, says FCC as it swings again at rip-off US TV cable boxes

US comms watchdog the FCC has published its revised plans to kill the multi-billion-dollar cable box rip-off. In a fact sheet [PDF], chair Tom Wheeler reiterates the same arguments he made back in January when he first proposed forcing cable companies to publish their data streams in an open format so competitors could offer …
Kieren McCarthy, 09 Sep 2016

FCC goes over the top again to battle America's cable-box rip-off

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to take another crack at breaking the multi-billion-dollar consumer rip-off that is cable set-top boxes by setting the regulator up as a copyright office. FCC staff were briefing organizations late last week on the revised plan, prompting an angry letter from the cable industry …
Kieren McCarthy, 06 Sep 2016
An upset woman with an empty wallet

US spectrum auction falls short by, oh, you know, $66bn thanks to tightwad mobile giants

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will have to change its plans for the 600MHz radio spectrum auction for mobile broadband – after the latest stage of bidding raised just $22.4bn of an $88bn goal. "Bidding in the forward auction has concluded for Stage 1 without meeting the final stage rule and without meeting the …
Shaun Nichols, 31 Aug 2016

US appeals court slaps down FTC, AT&T walks free, cats and dog living together, mass hysteria

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has thrown the issue of who can protect American consumers into confusion with a decision for AT&T and against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The decision [PDF] could see the telecom giant walk away from a $100m judgment for throttling its customers' data speeds without …
Kieren McCarthy, 31 Aug 2016
Boy with a backpack hides his eyes and cries. Pic by Shutterstock

Shock: AT&T totally not OK with FCC saying it ripped off US schools

AT&T has issued a rebuttal to the FCC's July complaint that it overcharged schools and libraries in Florida for internet service. The US telco giant said in a policy blog post that the FCC's allegations it violated of pricing rules for the federal E‑rate service program were "factually wrong." AT&T had been accused of …
Shaun Nichols, 29 Aug 2016

Google breaks heart, White Knight falls off horse

Analysis Google Fiber was supposed to be the White Knight of US broadband, riding to its rescue. But this horse has bolted. In the opposite direction. Rumours of the scale back had already been reported - we just didn’t know by how much. Now it emerges that Alphabet CEO Larry Page has not only slashed Google’s FTTH operation in half, …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Aug 2016
A farm and house

Just a little FYI: Small town ISPs want out of FCC privacy rules

An advocate group for rural broadband providers is asking the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to omit small ISPs from its planned privacy rules. The WTA (formerly known as the Western Telecommunications Alliance) has written [PDF] to secretary Marlene Dortch to request that the regulator omit small ISPs from rules …
Shaun Nichols, 24 Aug 2016
Trucker, image via Shutterstock

Breaker, breaker: LTE is coming to America's CB radio frequencies

Another industry alliance is gearing up to pitch mobile phone spectrum access to spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band – this time using frequencies formerly devoted to Citizens Band (CB) radio users. Following a decision by America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to free up 150 MHz of the “truckers' Internet” for unlicensed …
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

LTE-U’s window is closing and bigger 5G disputes may be coming

One of the presumed outcomes of the 5G process is full convergence of licensed and unlicensed spectrum, with one or more air interface standards which can span both, using frequencies entirely flexibly according to requirement. This is a very long way off, if the current quarrels over extending LTE into licence-exempt bands are …
Wireless Watch, 22 Aug 2016

Google had Obama's ear during antitrust probe

Updated According to emails released under the US Freedom of Information Act, Google briefed the White House amid an antitrust investigation into itself, breaking a 40-year precedent of the President's office staying well away from competition issues. Google lobbyist Johanna Shelton and the web giant's antitrust lawyer Matthew Bye met …
Andrew Orlowski, 18 Aug 2016
stingray

Baltimore cops accused of violating FCC rules with Stingrays

Three civil rights groups have filed a complaint with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the use of Stingray devices by the Baltimore Police Department (BPD). The filing [PDF] accuses police investigators of operating without a license and interfering with the cellular network, both while unfairly targeting …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Aug 2016
Auctioneer with hammer

FCC airwaves auction opens bidding

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has formally opened the bidding process on a spectrum auction that looks to raise billions in revenues and expand the coverage and quality of wireless broadband networks. The Commission on Tuesday kicked off the "clock phase" portion of the auction, in which telco providers submit …
Shaun Nichols, 16 Aug 2016
A fiber optic cable

EFF vows to take up muni broadband cause after FCC denied

With a US court having recently overturned the FCC's attempts to push for municipal broadband networks, online activists are readying their own campaign. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is putting its weight behind efforts to overturn or amend state laws that restrict cities from building their own broadband networks …
Shaun Nichols, 15 Aug 2016

Judges put FCC back in its box: No, you can't override state laws, not even for city broadband

A US circuit court has torpedoed the FCC and its efforts to champion city-owned broadband networks. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said on Wednesday [PDF] that the American regulator lacks the authority to overrule state laws that prevent cities from operating their own ISPs. Last year, the watchdog declared it was unfair …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Aug 2016
1950s style illustration - Smiling woman talks into rotary phone

Little choice in fast US ISPs

Americans still have little choice in broadband ISP – unless they want to put up with slow speeds. That's according to a study published this week by US watchdog the FCC. Here's how it breaks down: 75 per cent of the country has three or more providers in their area if they want 3Mbps to 10Mbps downstream and 768kbps to …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Aug 2016
Tony Montana on the phone in Scarface

AT&T dinged for $7.75m after letting scammers gouge customers (again)

US telco giant AT&T has been fined $7.75m after scammers were found sneaking bogus charges onto customer bills. The punishment was levied by America's comms watchdog the FCC. The regulator said the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was to thank for uncovering the scam in which criminals were duping landline customers into …
Shaun Nichols, 08 Aug 2016

New York jerks face $25K fines for hassling ex with fake caller IDs

A man who faked the caller IDs of his ex-wife's contacts in order to harass her will be fined $25,000. Gary Braver of North Bellmore, New York, and his work pal Steven Blumenstock faked the numbers of Robin Braver's mom and her child's school, among others, in order to trick her into answering her phone. When she did, they …
Kieren McCarthy, 04 Aug 2016