256 page FCC filing lays out case for rejection of merger
Video streamer Netflix has formally objected to the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger, with a complaint filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this week. The streamer believes that the merger hampers consumer access to data, and "would set up an ecosystem that calls into question what we have to date taken for granted: that a consumer who pays for connectivity to the Internet will be able to get the content she requests."
Charter swept up in FCC info dragnet, September 11 deadline for submissions
A request for information from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been submitted to Comcast and Time Warner Cable, demanding the pair detail its Internet and programming agreements before the merger is approved. Information sought are broadcast deals with sports leagues, Internet network management such as that with Netflix traffic, consumer data caps, and other information deemed vital which may impact relations with customers should the deal be approved.
Deal marks fourth major deal with Internet service providers
Netflix has signed a new peering deal, this time with Time Warner Cable. The deal now gives the video streamer interconnection deals with Internet service providers that cover about 68 percent of all the broadband customers in the US. Notably, the 32 percent it doesn't have deals with are smaller providers - largely carriers that have pro-net neutrality views, and haven't been found to limit or slow down Netflix traffic for users.
Organization believes that auction violates Spectrum Act, abuses discretion under APA Act
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has filed a petition with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, seeking a review of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) 2015 spectrum auction. In the filing, the NAB states that the FCC isn't taking the proper precautions to protect broadcasters that choose to retain their spectrum. According to the NAB, an updated methodology the FCC is using will result in a loss of coverage area for remaining broadcasters.
Staff deluged by comments for and against the controversial plan
Under an onslaught of remarks, both slamming and supporting Federal Communication Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler's Net Neutrality proposal, the agency has extended the second public comment phase five days, now ending September 15. The alteration was made "to ensure that members of the public have as much time as was initially anticipated to reply to initial comments in these proceedings," according to the agency.
Companies withdraw contributions after watch dog group call the donations suspect
Comcast and Time Warner Cable have withdrawn contributions to the Kaitz Dinner, a yearly event that celebrates diversity in the cable industry. News of the funding removal came after the Citizens of Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) objected to the contributions, as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Mignon Clyburn was being honored with an award at the event.
Enquiry expands as throttling 'expands to a business issue' rather than technical hurdle
The FCC has decided to expand its investigation into Verizon's recently-announced changes in "unlimited" data for subscribers into a full review of the entire US cellular industries network management policies, with a particular focus on "throttling" policies and how they are implemented, particularly for customers still on an "unlimited" data plan. The agency is even questioning carriers about why it would need throttling policies on more-efficient LTE networks at all.
No comment given regarding possible Title II regulation of ISPs
President Obama, fielding a question at a press event, has decried part of US Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler's "net neutrality" proposal. Speaking before the US Africa Leaders Summit, the president claims that "you don't want to start getting a differentiation in how accessible the Internet is to different users" and that the proposal needs to "leave it open so the next Google and the next Facebook can succeed."
Company claims all the other wireless carriers do so, so it should as well
Verizon is the first mobile provider that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has queried about Internet speed slowdown for certain customers on an "unlimited" data plan. In a response filed with the FCC yesterday, the wireless company explained its rationale for reneging on its "unlimited" promise, and noted that a user needs to consume 4.7GB of mobile data per month to be put in the class of users that it would throttle, for what it claims is a need to protect the experience of the rest of its customers on the network.
Ban focuses on disruptive nature of phone calls rather than technical issues
Not a year after some usage limitations on airplanes were lifted for smartphones and tablets comes news that the United States government is looking to issue a permanent ban on in-flight voice calls. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is reportedly developing a "notice of proposed rulemaking," according to the Wall Street Journal, that could bring an end to cellphone calls onboard planes before they start.
Agency asks for interconnection agreements for understanding, regulation depends on discovery
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is looking into six additional Internet service providers (ISP) and content providers over interconnecting and peering agreements, according to reports. An official spoke to Ars Technica after it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking information on the Netflix peering deals with Verizon and Comcast. The news comes after FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced in June that the agency would be investigating such agreements.
Letter from Chairman Wheeler asks Verizon to justify its network management
Last week, one of the largest mobile carriers in the United States announced it would begin throttling some unlimited accounts that access 4G LTE. Verizon stated that it would begin the effort in October, but it would be limited to only the top five percent of data users on unlimited plans. While the slowdown won't have an effect on all LTE customers, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler believes that the new policy is running afoul of several regulations.
Comments opened after organizations in Tennessee, North Carolina petitioned agency
After receiving petitions from the Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga, Tennessee and the City of Wilson in North Carolina, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is opening comments on the subject of preempting state laws. Based on Chairman Tom Wheeler's previous comments on municipal broadband, the FCC would get involved in the battle if it meant better serving consumers.
FTC net neutrality letter addresses concerns about Internet 'hyper-giants'
In a letter filed with the US Federal Communications Commission regarding the pending net neutrality proposal, pro-cable company advocacy group The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) believes that if the "fast lane" net neutrality proposal stands as is, then "hyper-giants" like Amazon, eBay, Netflix, Facebook, and Google could charge the cable companies to allow customers to access services, essentially holding Internet Service Providers hostage. The cable companies allege to have no defense against such tactics, and claim to lack a "practical ability" or the incentive to throttle said large Internet companies.
EPB asks agency to step in, overturn state law to allow service outside existing area
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could soon have a chance to act on Chairman Tom Wheeler's promise to overturn state laws when it comes to municipal broadband networks. Today, the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (EPB) filed a petition with the agency asking that they step over state law to allow them to expand access.
Notice on Open Internet Transparency Rule tells ISPs to give accurate service information
In a public notice to Internet service providers, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reminded business that they cannot lie to consumers about the services they offer. The notice informs business and the general public that "every provider of broadband Internet access in the United States" is subject to the Open Internet Transparency Rule.
Bill aims to remove FCC regulatory power, seeks to protect 'state rights'
A bill sponsored by US Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has been passed, which aims to strip the Federal Communications Commission's ability to interfere with laws passed to limit municipal broadband networks. Passing 228-195, generally along party lines, the bill, if signed into law, would reinforce strictures that make it difficult in 20 states to offer municipal broadband services in opposition to services provided by for-profit giants like Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable.
FCC approves rules to cover clips under Communications of Video Accessibility Act
Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously to extend the provisions of 2012 closed captioning rules to further cover Internet video clips from television shows. The new rules expand provisions of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 in the process. As a method of ensuring equal access to all programming forms to parties that suffer from hearing impairment, the FCC opted to require all Internet TV show clips to have captions in place, starting in January 2016.
New deadline gives public 72 more hours to comment on proposed changes
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has extended the first deadline for public comment on the controversial "fast lane" net neutrality proposal. The extension, following a major crash of the nearly two-decade old comment system, extends through midnight on June 18. A second "reply comment" period will start after this period ends, however.
Third-party companies previously made iBeacon devices, intent of device is unknown
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released documents on July 4 outlining a new device from Apple which point to a company-made iBeacon. The device was first spotted by router maker Securifi, which lists the new device seeking approval wireless certification from the FCC for the "Apple iBeacon." Previously, iBeacon hardware was only made by third-party manufacturers.
Chairman takes to Twitter to 'keep your input coming, 'announce comment figures
Those looking to speak up about the potential changes to net neutrality still have some time to speak up before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) closes the commenting period on July 15. Those adding their voices on the direction of the Internet won't be alone, as FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently said on Twitter that 647,000 comments were received so far.
Extra $2B Wi-Fi fund offered on top of existing E-Rate program
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a $2 billion fund to help provide Wi-Fi equipment to schools to create wireless networks. The fund, on top of the existing E-Rate program within the Universal Service Fund (USF), came under criticism from teachers unions, schools, and other groups before being approved today by a vote of 3-2.
Resulting company could have means to leverage control over the broadband pipe
In a memo from Dish Network's Senior Vice President and Deputy General Council Jeffrey Blum to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a series of meetings on July 7 indicate that the company has raised issues with the prospective merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Believing that the combined business could utilize "choke points," it could leverage control over broadband to do harm.
Deal covers consumer speeds, not peering deals between companies
Some Democratic senators are looking at a ban on the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) proposal to allow Internet "fast lanes." Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Doris Matsui (D-CA) have proposed a bill that codifies the FCC's existing authority to ensure that Internet Service Providers don't allow some content providers faster access at the expense of other services.
Peering deals seem to have little lasting effect on Netflix user speeds
After a bevy of consumer complaints were filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against Verizon and Comcast regarding Netflix "throttling," the regulatory agency has begun looking into the problem. The FCC demanded, and has received, the terms of peering deals that Netflix made with both Internet giants, and will examine the issue to see if there is anything that can be done on behalf of consumers.
Remarks repeat what Wheeler has said in the past about local broadband
US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler, after speaking with Chattanooga Tennessee mayor Andy Berke, took a hard stance against states' legislation and business deals with cable companies, which often prevent the buildout of municipal broadband. In a statement after the meeting, the chairman said in a blog post that he believes "that it is in the best interests of consumers and competition that the FCC exercises its power to preempt state laws that ban or restrict competition from community broadband. Given the opportunity, we will do so."
Slingbox M1 could be first new Sling Media release in two years
Sling Media may be preparing to launch its first media streamer for two years, since the introduction of the Slingbox 350 and 500 models in late-2012, if an FCC filing is to be believed. The Slingbox M1 is shown in a photograph to be a compact and nondescript black box, which could allow for the same streaming of TV content over the Internet as earlier models but at a lower price.
One group hired known false grassroots campaign generator to sink measure
Two groups have written letters to the US Federal Communications Commission, opposing the FCC's new net neutrality proposal -- the American Consumer Institute (ACI), and Broadband for America. Both groups claim to be pro-consumer, and purportedly advocate for more choice and lower costs for subscribers. However, both groups are in fact heavily funded by the telecom industry, and are likely "astroturfing" for the cable industries in their fight against FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's threat of Title II regulation by the FCC, embedded in the net neutrality discussion.
John Oliver rallies fans against Internet rules, FCC commenting undergoes load issues
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) experienced a heavy server load on Monday, possibly related to comments made by John Oliver during Sunday's episode of the HBO comedy Last Week Tonight. The comedian gave a report on net neutrality which called for commenters and Internet users to comment at the FCC's website. Oliver used what he considered to be less "boring" language to inspire people to speak up to the FCC about the open Internet.
Change in target speeds will affect federal money allocations for expansions
The US Federal Communications Commission is considering revising what it officially calls "Broadband Access." A proposal floated before the FCC will soon solicit comments on the definition of broadband, and is asking the public of 10Mbps or 25Mbps download and 2.9Mbps upload should be considered broadband.
Proposed legislation would prohibit 'regulatory baggage' of Title II
Yesterday, Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) introduced legislation to limit the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) authority to regulate broadband under Title II of the Communications Act. The proposed legislation comes after the FCC released a proposal to reclassify broadband Internet access under Title II as a telecommunications service rather than an information service if Internet Service Providers abuse permissions that the FCC may give to providers.
Carriers appealed plan over moving telephone subsidies to internet, subsidy concerns
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) saw its 2011 proposal to expand broadband to rural areas upheld after a judge rejected arguments from carriers over the loss of telephone subsidy funds. The Connect America Fund, a $4.5 million initiative aimed at spreading faster Internet access to seven million people who live in rural areas, was under review by the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver after numerous telecommunication companies challenged the plan.
Wheeler says commission will examine peering deals, believes in open Internet
During a House of Representatives hearing on Tuesday, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler said that the commission would be looking into peering deals between content providers and ISPs that have recently been made. The arrangements, such as some high-profile ones between Netflix and providers such as Comcast and Verizon, have been a part of the net neutrality debate since Wheeler's proposal was first speculated on, and are seen by some as legal blackmail even as proponents argue that players such as Netflix abuse existing infrastructure.
Deal approval would bind carrier to net neutrality, but interpretation possible
In an effort to help its bid to buy satellite TV carrier DirecTV, AT&T has now promised to uphold the FCC's previous 2010-era policy on net neutrality for three years following the approval of the merger, "irrespective of whether the FCC re-establishes such protections for other industry participants following the DC Circuit Court of Appeals vacating those rules." The FCC has recently voted to abolish the 2010 "Open Internet" guidelines following the court ruling.
Fine, two-year agreement for calling customers on Do Not Call list
Sprint has agreed to pay the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) $7.5 million in fines, as part of a settlement over Do Not Call registry violations. The fine stems from an investigation into whether the carrier failed to "honor consumer requests to opt out of phone and text marketing communications," and is the largest Do Not Call settlement the FCC has ever reached.
Signers of three letters to FCC receive 1.2 to 5 times more lobbyist money from telecoms
Members of the United States House of Representatives responsible for sending letters to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over net neutrality concerns have received more than double the average campaign contributions from telecommunication companies over a two-year window. The contributions, tracked by Maplight, shows the funds that the politicians of both parties have received via political action committees and employees of organizations.
Apple co-founder relays how important keeping Internet open is to country
Inventor and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has penned an open letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) emphasizing the importance of the agency to the people of the United States, and its role as a protector of the open Internet. The letter, published in The Atlantic magazine, chronicles Wozniak's history with telecom and the headaches he's run across at various times because of the monopoly companies have had as a result of government policies.
AT&T, Verizon, Comcast dislike idea of ombudsmen monitoring business
Amidst wide concern about today's US Federal Communications Commission vote on Chairman Tom Wheeler's net neutrality proposal, the three major Internet service providers are apparently not pleased as well. AT&T has penned a missive complaining that the potential regulation of Internet providers as a utility would "place a cloud" over innovation and harm customers. Additionally, Verizon believes that the same utility-like regulation, should the ISPs induce the FCC to enact it, would "jeopardize investment and innovation in broadband."
GOP leaders warn that FCC proposal could harm internet economy, innovation
Four Republicans in the United States House of Representatives including Speaker John Boehner sent a letter today to Federal Communications Committee (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler asking that he halt his plan on regulation of the Internet. Government leaders think the plan will be a detriment to the economy and innovation that currently thrives.
Letters from both sides of government show bipartisan gridlock on issue
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has confirmed that he plans to limit how much spectrum AT&T and Verizon can buy in the 2015 auction of bandwidth reclaimed from TV broadcasters after the shift to digital broadcasting. As with his net neutrality stance, the proposal is drawing heated debate and strong opinions from Congress as well as industry sources.
Providers urge Wheeler to stick to initial plan, avoid reclassification of broadband
Senators, Internet companies and citizens aren't the only groups issuing letters to the Federal Communications Commission over proposed changes to net neutrality. CEOs of major telecommunication companies have stepped in, issuing a letter to Chairman Tom Wheeler and the FCC commissioners, asking that changes in policy stay away from the concept of possible reclassification of broadband as public utilities.
Move intended to assuage Internet fears of 'fast lane' provisos
Starting at 2PM ET, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Senior Counsel for External Affairs for the Chairman, Gigi B. Sohn, will be monitoring questions regarding Wheeler's pending net neutrality legislation. Using the hashtag #FCCNetNeutrality, users can submit questions, or follow the discussion led by the FCC's chairman's lead attorney.
Changes address public, corporate concerns that rules would end net neutrality
The head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Chairman Tom Wheeler, is said to be according to the revising his proposal on broadband rules, according to the Wall Street Journal. The uncirculated first version has come under heavy fire recently by a wide variety of parties, from the public, tech companies and government officials to the other FCC commissioners, all of whom have registered objections. Changes to the proposal will include language that would allow for FCC oversight on deals, in order to keep providers from separating traffic into two lanes of speed based on paid agreements.
Wyden, Boxer, Franken among Senators concerned with net neutrality proposal
In a letter addressed to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Friday, 11 United States Senators voiced their concerns over the newly-proposed net neutrality rules by the FCC that may be heading to vote this week. The letter specifically points to the problems and inequality the proposal may promote, including "paid prioritization arrangements."
Commissioner Pai issues statement on proposal, spectrum auction more important
Another FCC commissioner has stepped forward with concerns over Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposed plans over net neutrality. Commissioner Ajit Pai issued a brief statement, stating that the proposal shouldn't be the topic of the commission's meeting this month.
Ephemeral chat service SnapChat has settled a grievance with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The complaint to the FCC against the service alleged that messages sent through SnapChat would irrevocably vanish, and not be able to be captured by other means were misleading. To settle the complaint, SnapChat has agreed to launch an enhanced privacy program, and be subject to compliance monitoring for 20 years.
Sunshine period cutting off public input starts today
Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has failed in her bid to postpone a vote on the new net neutrality rules posed by the FCC chairman, former cell industry lobbyist Tom Wheeler. Speaking about strong feedback from citizens protesting the proposals, Commissioner Rosenworcel believes that the FCC should pause to consider what it is doing, and how it wishes to do it.
Google, Facebook, Amazon among coalition asking for FCC to reconsider net rules
A coalition of technology companies have co-signed a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over its net neutrality proposals. Signed by over a hundred Internet companies, including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and Amazon, the letter asks the FCC to reconsider what the companies claim "represents a grave threat to the Internet."
Senator believes new rules favor established business over startups
As expected, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) is launching a campaign to prevent the Federal Communication Commission's recent proposed changes to net neutrality provisos. Using Google and YouTube's pre-purchase battle as an example, Franken believes that the new plan will cripple innovation and give established business an unfair advantage over startups. Franken said in a video from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee that "we paid for a free and open Internet. We can't let it be taken away."
Browser developer wants FCC to better understand the modern internet
The development team behind Firefox has submitted a petition to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), outlining a proposal on how net neutrality could be handled going forward. The 17-page document from Mozilla presents a plan to keep the Internet open, but centers on the proviso of the FCC declaring the relationship between internet service providers (ISPs) and edge providers as common carrier.