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Sometimes it’s not the telcos that suffer most for their mistakes. This is a lesson the City of Springfield, Ill. is learning the hard way after it was ordered to repay $273,000 thanks to an AT&T billing error.
The fallout is just one stemming from a huge AT&T federal telecommunications tax error, where the company overcharged customers on data plans from November 2005 to September 2010. A class action settlement has called for AT&T to refund the money to users, meaning governments that already received the funding will have to return it.
“It was a letter saying a settlement was negotiated with AT&T and oh, by the way, you owe $273,000 in overpayments in taxes and we’re going to start collecting that,” Springfield director of budget and management Bill McCarty was quoted as saying.
It also means those same governments will face a funding shortfall for projected revenues already included in their budgets. While it is not expected to do major damage in Springfield – the city may end up short in its budget surplus – there is no doubt other areas will be harder hit.
Ever felt stuck in a meeting or conversation and needed an excuse to break away? A Canadian man has the perfect solution: This Is Your Out, or TIYO.
The premise is simple. A small device attaches to your key ring, and when the time comes to plan your escape, you discreetly push the button which triggers an incoming call to your cellphone. Your caller ID displays the caller as your boss, babysitter, spouse or kid’s school. You repeat back from the script on the call – which comes complete with the other party’s voice – and quickly make your exit.
A crowdfunding campaign is underway and if all goes as planned, production of the TIYO is expected to begin in September. Bad dates, beware.
Would you pay a monthly fee for an unlimited library of eBooks, set up much like the video streaming service Netflix? Amazon is willing to bet you will. Given that few services of its type exist, Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited is sure to make a literary splash.
A test page briefly appeared on Amazon’s website advertised the service for $9.99 a month, giving users access to over 600,000 titles. These would include popular titles such as The Life of Pi and The Hunger Games. The page has since been removed.
The now-removed page indicated the service would be available on “any device,” so bookworms needn’t race to the store to buy a Kindle just yet.
Providing improved Wi-Fi access to students is becoming a big initiative in the United States. In fact, the Federal Communications Commission just announced a $2 million plan to do just that. Facebook is taking this goal even further with a trial to provide Wi-Fi to students’ houses in Forest City, N.C.
Forest City is conveniently the location of one of Facebook’s largest data centres. The trial was rolled out in cooperation with the local school board and non-profit high-speed fiber Internet provider Pangaea, with 75 to 100 homes participating.
There is no word yet as to whether Facebook will extend this project beyond Forest City to other parts of the U.S., or even internationally. It is just one of the company’s many efforts to improve Internet access and educate — one project, Education Superhighway, gets schools more familiar with how their broadband works and how to improve it.
Schooley Mitchell is the largest independent telecom consulting company in North America, with offices from coast to coast. Our Telecom Consultants deliver telecommunications expertise to companies large and small from all industries. We offer a broad range of services that include analysis of existing and future telecommunications needs, assessment of best alternatives and implementation of cost-effective telecommunications solutions.