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The FCC Plans To Fine AT&T Mobility $100 Million For Misleading 'Unlimited' Data Plans

It's been almost eight months since the Federal Communications Commission opened its lawsuit against AT&T for misleading statements on its "unlimited" data plans. Today the Commission announced its intention (PDF link) to fine the wireless company $100 million for failing to notify its customers that going over unspecified data limits on an "unlimited" plan would result in severely reduced or "throttled" speed, well below advertised speeds, violating the 2010 Open Internet Transparency Rule.

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After FCC Announces New Net Neutrality Rules, Verizon Gets Pissy With A Morse Code Rebuttal

You might have heard the news already, but the Federal Communications Commission has voted three to two to classify Internet service as a Title II utility in the United States, marking the biggest win for Net Neutrality advocates in... well, ever. A lot of the "people" (remember, in America corporations are people too) who don't like that have issued statements about how much they really want to throttle Internet speed, block legal services, and charge double for content disagree with the FCC, but none have done so in quite the way that Verizon has.

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Editorial: The FCC's New "Net Neutrality" Rules Will Change Very Little About Wireless Carriers In America

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.

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FCC Chair: Broadband Internet, Including Mobile Broadband, Will Be Reclassified As Title II Utility To Preserve Neutral Internet

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.

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Federal Communications Commission Says Blocking Personal Wi-Fi Hotspots Is Illegal (Cough, Cough, Marriott)

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.

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Report: The FCC Will Fine Sprint $105 Million For Overcharging Customers For Unwanted Text Messages

If you're an American wireless provider founded in 1978, here's your horoscope for today: avoid US regulatory agencies, customers whom you've charged for text messages without asking, and burly-looking men with open burlap sacks and insistent expressions. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Communications Commission intends to fine Sprint $105 million in punishment for sending unwanted text messages to its customers, then sticking them with the bill.

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The report says that the FCC is focusing on a three-month window in the fall of last year, during which the Commission received over 35,000 complaints from Sprint customers. The unwanted text messages included the usual carrier "alerts," ringtones, sports information, and even horoscopes, which the FCC says Sprint knowingly and willfully sent to customers with the intent to "cram" them with extra charges.

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Ugly FCC Certification Labels On The Back Of Your Gadgets Are On Their Way Out, Thanks To A New US Law

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.

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T-Mobile Promises The FCC It Will (Kinda Sorta) Stop Fibbing About Speed Tests For Users On Throttled Connections

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.

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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.

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The Federal Trade Commission Sues AT&T For Throttling 3.5 Million Unlimited Data Customers: 'Unlimited Means Unlimited'

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.

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The Nexus Player Is Available For Pre-Order Once Again After Clearing The FCC

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.

2014-10-20 12_21_09-Nexus Player - Devices on Google Play

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