Today, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler unveiled a working set of principles for his proposed plans to regulate ISPs (including mobile ones) under Title II of the 1996 Telecom Act. These providers would be overseen more like a utility, such as landline phones, granting the FCC much broader authority over companies that operate in this space.
Wheeler wants to enact a pretty narrow version of net neutrality under this (proposed) newfound authority, banning "paid prioritization," paid "fast lanes," and arbitrary throttling and blocking not part of reasonable network management. These new provisions are not trivial, and are definitely ensconced in the larger net neutrality "vision" of groups like the EFF and FSF. Read More
Tom Wheeler, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, announced today that he will reclassify broadband internet providers as Title II utilities under the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The proclamation, written for Wired, dances back and forth between his specific plans and lots of bluster for a public that is hungry for more ISP regulation. One rather surprising note is that mobile broadband will also be included in this move, which was not nearly as expected or precedented.
What is this all about?
After a lawsuit filed by Verizon a year ago, a federal court ruled that the FCC did not have legal standing to enforce their net neutrality rules. Read More
If you're a hotel manager, especially at a big, fancy hotel where people can expect to pay a convenience fee for running water, you might be tempted to charge an iniquitous amount of money for your guests to access the Internet. Your guests, in turn, might tell you to suck it and use the Wi-Fi hotspot feature built into just about every new smartphone being sold today. That might make you turn around and consider doing something drastic, like, say, implement an elaborate system of jammers to block or spoof signals and make personal Wi-Fi devices useless. You might also be a dick. Read More
Consider devices like the HTC One, or any of Sony's recent Xperia flagships, or the Moto X with its wood and leather options. These are gadgets with decades of engineering inside of them, but which have nonetheless been painstakingly designed to look gorgeous on the outside. And nothing spoils that quite like a big honkin' FCC-required ID and safety label hiding on the metal finish. Manufacturers can try to make it blend into the phone's default color, or hide it behind a battery cover or on a bezel. But we know it's there, taunting us, like a zit on a teenager the night before the prom. Read More
The Federal Communications Commission has been taking some quite visible actions to keep American carriers in line. Chairman Tom Wheeler took Verizon to task about its plans to throttle unlimited data users, which it then scrapped. The FCC assisted the Federal Trade Commission in its case against AT&T for throttling "unlimited" customers. Today the FCC announced that T-Mobile will report more accurate data speeds to customers who are being actively slowed down.
Here's the deal: T-Mobile offers a variety of plans and prices, including an unlimited data option (the real kind, not the AT&T kind). But for the lower-tiered plans, data itself is unlimited, but you only get a certain amount of high-speed LTE or HSPA+ data, after which you're limited to 2G speeds (128kbps at the fastest) until the end of the billing cycle, with no extra charges. Read More
AT&T unlimited data users, your champion has arrived. Today the United States Federal Trade Commission announced that it has filed a federal court complaint against AT&T Wireless, alleging that the company misled customers by offering "unlimited" cellular data service that was severely reduced in speed at some times and places. The FTC's complaint takes issue with AT&T's failure to inform customers that the unlimited data they were paying for could be "throttled," often cutting data speeds to specific customers by up to 90 percent.
FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez pulled no punches in accusing AT&T of deceptive advertising and violation of the FTC Act:
AT&T promised its customers ‘unlimited’ data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise.
You may cease panicking—the Nexus Player is available for pre-order in the Play Store again after paying a visit to the FCC over the weekend. Google stopped taking orders for the device shortly after it went live on Friday when someone realized the FCC hadn't actually approved the device. The wait wasn't long, though.
In the United States, all electronic devices that use certain wireless radio transmissions, including cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other standards and frequencies, must be approved by the Federal Communications Commission. It's technically illegal for retailers to sell devices that haven't been approved, which is probably why Google had to rapidly remove the Nexus Player pre-order status from the Play Store on Friday. But now the results of the FCC's tests on the Player have been posted to the Commission website.
Barring any violation of FCC rules and standards on the part of manufacturer ASUS, which is unlikely in the extreme, the Nexus Player is either approved now or will be soon. Read More
Google announced the Nexus Player on Wednesday as the first Android TV device, but there was no news on an updated Chromecast. Google's $35 streaming stick has been a big hit, and it's been more than a year since it was released. Now a device has passed through the FCC, and it's clearly a Chromecast with the updated model number A4RH2G2-2A.