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Found 9 results

  1. Networking hardware vendor TP-Link today admitted violating US radio frequency rules by selling routers that could operate at power levels higher than their approved limits. In a settlement with the Federal Communications Commission, TP-Link agreed to pay a $200,000 fine, comply with the rules going forward, and to let customers install open source firmware on routers. The open source requirement is a unique one, as it isn't directly related to TP-Link's violation. Moreover, FCC rules don't require router makers to allow loading of third-party, open source firmware. In fact, recent changes to FCC rules made it more difficult for router makers to allow open source software. The TP-Link settlement was announced in the midst of a controversy spurred by those new FCC rules. The new rules for the 5GHz band require router makers to prevent third-party firmware from changing radio frequency parameters in ways that could cause interference with other devices, such as FAA Doppler weather radar systems. View the full article
  2. Even though the Federal Communications Commission has repeatedly said that wireless and landline phone providers are allowed to offer robocall-blocking services to their customers, some carriers have continued to incorrectly insist — and provide misinformation to consumers — that they simply don’t have the authority to deploy this technology. In an effort to make things clear once and for all, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler has sent letters to these companies that there are no regulatory roadblocks stopping them from helping their customers stop annoying — often illegal — automated and prerecorded robocalls. “Nothing in the Commission’s rules and orders prevents [phone companies] from offering customers robocall blocking technology,” writes Wheeler in letters to the chief executives at AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon. “I strongly urge you to offer your customers robust call blocking at no cost.” Between the Do Not Call List and rules prohibiting private robocallers from sending prerecorded messages or texts without having received prior consent, robocalling as a legitimate-but-annoying telemarketing tool has virtually disappeared. Yet complaints about robocalls continue to grow in number, indicating that most of these calls are being placed illegally, often by scammers. View the full article
  3. One week after a federal court upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s landmark net neutrality policy, emboldened FCC officials are moving to advance an ambitious set of reforms that are already generating static from the broadband industry and its political allies. The decade-long battle over net neutrality, the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible to consumers, is not over. Industry giant AT&T has said it plans to join an appeal of the DC Circuit’s decision to the Supreme Court, and net neutrality foes in Congress continue to pursue their relentless campaign aimed at knee-capping the FCC’s consumer protections. But now that the FCC’s regulatory authority is on the strongest legal footing in years, agency officials are well-positioned to address pressing policy issues without the albatross of net neutrality around their necks. Speaking to the National Press Club on Monday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler sounded a defiant note on the question of the agency’s legal power as he outlined new plans to promote 5G wireless spectrum. “Our networks are open and will remain open for innovators to use without permission, and for consumers to access any place they want to go on the web, without permission, without blocking, without throttling, and without paid prioritization,” Wheeler told reporters. View the full article
  4. A federal court upheld net-neutrality regulations designed to ensure an open internet, handing a victory to the Obama administration and a defeat to telephone and cable providers. The Washington-based U.S. Court of Appeals Tuesday acted after a decade of debate over web access that pitted Silicon Valley against companies that provide internet access to homes and businesses. The court likened internet service providers to utilities, saying they “act as neutral, indiscriminate platforms for transmission of speech.” The ruling is a triumph for the Federal Communications Commission’s Democratic majority that passed the rules last year. It is a win for Alphabet Inc.’s Google, online video provider Netflix Inc. and others who championed the notion of an open internet where internet service providers are prevented from offering speedier lanes to those willing to pay extra for them. “The open internet rules are here to stay,” Pantelis Michalopoulos, an attorney who represented Netflix and Dish Network Corp. in the case, said in an e-mail. “There is no doubt who is the winner: the open internet. The gatekeepers may not block or throttle our information. They may not ask information to pay tolls.” Challengers including AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp. said the rule would discourage innovation and investment. AT&T said it would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. View the full article
  5. In the year since the FCC passed net neutrality rules, ISP allies in Congress have run the agency through an endless gauntlet of show-pony hearings. While most of these hearings profess to be focused on agency transparency and accountability, they're really geared toward one single purpose: to publicly shame the agency for standing up to deep-pocketed telecom campaign contributors. Given the fact the only real way to overturn the rules is for ISPs to prevail in court or via Presidential election, this showmanship has been little more than a stunning display of wasted taxpayer dollars and stunted intellectual discourse. Undaunted, the Senate held yet another "FCC accountability" (read: pointless tongue-lashing) hearing last week, during which Senators pummeled FCC boss Tom Wheeler with many of the same, repeatedly-debunked claims net neutrality opponents have been making since the rules were approved. Among them was the claim that the rules somehow hampered broadband investment, despite the fact that objective data (including quarterly ISP earnings reports) repeatedly shows that simply isn't the case. View the full article
  6. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it has found Verizon Wireless to have deliberately violated the privacy of its users. Verizon Wireless is the largest US carrier with over 100m subscribers, but failed to disclose the practice of using supercookies in order to violate their users privacy from late 2012 until 2014, violating a 2010 FCC regulation on Internet transparency. Supercookies are un-deletable and contain unique identifiers that the company used to identify users so that Verizon and others could target their advertising based on the user’s web browsing history. The information contained in the supercookies allowed advertisers to fine tune their adverts and deliver them to likely receptive recipients. View the full article
  7. A well-placed source in Washington, D.C. with knowledge of the matter tells Stop the Cap! the Federal Communications Commission is prepared to take a hard look at the issue of Internet data caps and usage-based billing if a major cable operator like Comcast imposes usage allowances on its broadband customers nationwide. Comcast introduced its usage cap market trial in Nashville, Tenn. in 2012 but gradually expanded it to include Huntsville and Mobile, Alabama; Atlanta, Augusta and Savannah, Georgia; Central Kentucky; Maine; Jackson, Mississippi; Knoxville and Memphis, Tennessee; Charleston, South Carolina; and Tucson, Arizona. "Two and a half-years is exceptionally long for a "market trial," and we expected Comcast would avoid creating an issue for regulators by drawing attention to the data cap issue during its attempted merger with Time Warner Cable," said our source. "Now that the merger is off, there is growing expectation Comcast will make a decision about its "data usage plans" soon." View the full article
  8. The Federal Communications Commission has demanded—and received—the paid peering agreements Netflix signed with Comcast and Verizon, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced today. While Wheeler said the commission has "broad authority," he didn't promise to take any action beyond gathering information. "To be clear, what we are doing right now is collecting information, not regulating," he said. According to Comcast, the FCC has actually had the Comcast-Netflix agreement for months, but it had not previously revealed that fact. Wheeler said he wants to make sure consumers get the Internet service they pay for—something that has not been happening for many Netflix users. View the full article
  9. After months of complaints by Netflix, the Federal Communications Commission is beginning to look into the streaming quality issues that Netflix subscribers have been seeing on Comcast and Verizon. Netflix has been in a heated and public battle with internet providers over network congestion that's supposedly slowing its service down, with both sides pinning responsibility on the other. "Consumers pay their ISP and they pay content providers like Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon. Then when they don’t get good service they wonder what is going on," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says in a statement. "I have experienced these problems myself and know how exasperating it can be." The FCC has obtained the terms of the agreements that Netflix made with both Comcast and Verizon earlier this year that have it paying them both in order to resolve these issues. The FCC says that it doesn't yet have a full understanding of what's occurring between the companies, and it's continuing to evaluate to see who's at fault for the connection problems. "Consumers must get what they pay for," Wheeler says. "As the consumer’s representative we need to know what is going on." Wheeler says that the FCC is continuing to request information from internet and content providers. View the full article
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