Cellular providers participating in the Lifeline program, which makes phone and broadband access more affordable for low-income consumers, receive a monthly subsidy of $9.25 per subscriber. They're expected to pass this along as a discount to the customer, but it looks like Sprint (now owned by T-Mobile) must have missed the memo. In fact, the company claimed subsidies for over 885,000 Lifeline subscribers who weren't currently using the service — and now the FCC wants its money back.
Cellular carriers have earned many negative impressions over the years for poor billing practices, unfair contracts, and some dubious attempts to insert themselves where they might not belong; but there's no denying that they have a good track record for giving a little back in times of crisis. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, carriers in the U.S. have committed to not terminate customers' lines and provide more data and cheaper plans to those who need them.
U.S. FCC chairman Ajit Pai took to Twitter today, outlining a plan to auction a portion of the valuable so-called "C band" frequencies for 5G use. There's one potential hiccup: parts of that C-band spectrum are currently used by some satellite service providers to deliver media to ~120 million American subscribers, but Pai believes that a portion of the frequencies can be auctioned and repurposed to satisfy American thirst for data, while still preserving a solid chunk for satellite programming.
After years of back-and-forth boardroom negotiations, handshakes with government officials, a failure along the way, and many doses of hard bargaining, Sprint and T-Mobile are on track to merge and form a wireless carrier with a total of 137 million subscribers. The Department of Justice recently greenlit the deal, all we're waiting for now is the FCC vote. Today, the countdown has begun as commission chairman Ajit Pai announced his support for the combination.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai has announced that he will deny an application from the world's largest mobile carrier to operate in the United States. China Mobile's request to provide cellular service from within the United States will be voted upon in the commission's next open meeting on May 9.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published its final rules gutting net neutrality today. But like most phone announcements these days, there were no real surprises. We all knew what was coming.
Why the actual publication of the repeal matters is because it is only now that states and internet freedom organizations can start taking legal action. Plus, now the Senate has 60 legislative days to block the FCC if it is so inclined, which would require help from Republican senators.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced the addition of a new alert program, Blue Alert, to the nation's emergency alerting systems. The new service is intended to notify the public of threats to law enforcement in real time. With the creation of a dedicated Blue Alert event code in the Emergency Alert System, state and local law enforcement will have the capability to push immediate warnings out to the public via broadcast, cable, and satellite providers, as well as to consumer smartphones through the Wireless Emergency Alert system.
Much like both the SILVER and AMBER alert programs, and utilizing the same notification system, Blue Alerts aim to warn the general public of threats to public safety and/or imminent danger.
We've covered the FCC's dance with Net Neutrality and Title II regulation for ISPs in the past, and it looks like chairman Pai has come out with a few more statements about the return to a future of deregulated internet regional monopolies. The FCC is in full propaganda mode today, churning out piles of information (or misinformation) on the subject after Pai announced his plans to stop ISPs from following Title II regulations. Companies like Verizon are more than excited to jump on the bandwagon for deregulation, too. After all, captive markets are profitable markets, and now the FCC is happy to support them.
It's a great time to be an American - at least, it's a great time if you're in charge of a huge telecommunications corporation and you've been sweating some of your anti-net neutrality practices. With the election of Donald Trump and a new chairman appointed at the Federal Communications Commission, the FCC's position on zero-rating policies like T-Mobile's Binge On data services, AT&T's free access to DirecTV Now, and Verizon's free NFL game streaming, has shifted. The Commission is no longer investigating these policies for any reason, according to briefs issued by newly-appointed chairman Ajit Pai.