Verizon and Sprint to Pay $158M FCC Settlement for Bill Cramming

Verizon and Sprint are out a combined $158 million in restitution and fees for allowing and profiting from “cramming” charges. Verizon settled with the FCC to pay $90 million after it was caught placing recurring charges on consumer cell phone bills without the full consent of the customer. Sprint will pay $68 million for like practices. AT&T recently paid $105 million over cramming issues, and T-Mobile has also come to similar terms wit the FCC. “For too long, consumers have been charged on their phone bills for things that they did not buy,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a

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AT&T Sues FCC Over Net Neutrality

AT&T recently filed a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), seeking to overturn its net neutrality ruling, which was just published in the Federal Register. AT&T joins the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, United States Telecom Association, American Cable Association, and the CTIA in their efforts to change the FCC’s decision. These associations allege the new rules are “arbitrary and capricious, and violate federal law.” The main complaint shared by these groups is regarding the FCC’s decision to view the Internet as a telecommunications service, as opposed to a utility like phone services. AT&T has stayed out of previous

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Tennessee Sues FCC Over City-Run Internet

The state of Tennessee is suing the FCC to overturn its recent city-friendly decision to dismantle laws that restrict municipalities from supplying broadband and competing with private companies such as AT&T and Comcast. The FCC recently re-classified broadband Internet as a utility, effectively declaring it as a right for every American and, at the same time, dismantled laws restricting competition. Now, while the broadband industry is suing the FCC to stop net neutrality rules, the state of Tennessee is also claiming the FCC “has unlawfully inserted itself between the State of Tennessee and the State’s own political subdivisions,” calling it

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U.S. Wi-Fi Innovation Act Seeks More Airwaves Alongside Smart Cars

Legislation requiring regulators to quickly test how shared radio frequencies could exist alongside those used for communications between smart cars was recently revived by two U.S. senators, in an attempt to allocate more airwaves to public Wi-Fi. U.S. Senators Cory Brooker, a New Jersey Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, are re-introducing a piece of legislation that aims to direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to study how more spectrum can be freed up for public use without interfering with connected vehicles. The Wi-Fi Innovation Act was originally visited last year. The bill is supported by cable and wireless

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AT&T Lands Proposed $600,000 Fine From FCC

In a 3-2 vote, The Federal Communications Commission voted to fine AT&T for violating the rules and regulations of some airwave licenses. The United State’s second biggest wireless carrier landed a proposed fine of $600,000. FCC officials reported AT&T operated a number of its cell sites differently from how it was authorized by the commission between 2009 and 2012. However, the Republican commissioners who voted against the fine said some information was missing and therefore couldn’t be sure the allegations were true. AT&T revealed the fine came as a result of its own voluntary review, following its discovery of “minor”

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FCC Improves Complaints Website

The Federal Communication Commission is making moves towards improving its archaic web infrastructure. Recently, the FCC has updated its complaints website, making it easier for users to lodge complaints about Internet, phone and cable providers. According to the FCC, the features of this new site include: A streamlined, user-friendly complaint filing system Ready access to helpful information enabling consumers to resolve some problems on their own Better communications between consumers and FCC consumer representatives Ability for consumers to monitor complaints 24 hours a day, 7 days a week Faster delivery of complaints to service providers, enabling them to respond to

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Marriot fined $600,000 by FCC

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) handed out a hefty $600,000 fine to Marriot International for blocking their customers’ personal mobile hotspots. The Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville disabled all Wi-Fi except the hotel’s own, and went on to charge guests for accessing the hotel network. Guests accumulated charges from $250 to $1,000 per device. “It is unacceptable for any hotel to intentionally disable personal hotspots while also charging consumers and small businesses high fees to use the hotel’s own Wi-Fi network,” FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc said in a statement. “This practice puts consumers in the

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E-Rate Broadband and Tech Update

Last month, I shared a post on big changes coming to the E-Rate Program. This month, I’m pleased to provide even more information about what schools can expect in the coming years. Following are the highlights of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) E-Rate Modernization Order released on July 23, 2014. We have only listed the changes that have the greatest impact. The purpose of the order is to continue support of high-speed access to schools and libraries and expand access to digital learning technologies by providing support for Wi-Fi networks within schools and libraries. Changes include: 1. Priority One services

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Unlimited Data = Throttled Users

Mobile users who have held onto unlimited data plans tend to guard them with their lives. The treasured flow allows them to surf the web and stream video to their hearts’ content without hitting any caps. But that doesn’t mean the experience is always pleasant. While Verizon is the latest to face criticism for its plans to throttle data, it appears none of the major providers are innocent. AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have all been known to throttle unlimited data users as they gobble up bandwidth. Not all of them use the same methods, but results are the same –

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Funding Boosts Windstream’s Rural Infrastructure

Windstream expects to provide broadband to 75,000 homes thanks to USDA Rural Utilities Service stimulus funding, the company announced at the recent Stephens Spring Investment Conference in New York. It is the only provider in many of the markets and is expected to play a large role in the program. Execs have said customers can expect to receive speeds of 10 Mbps and higher. “In a lot of these locations, all that’s really is available is satellite broadband on the stimulus side so we feel really good about our chances to be the only game in town in terms of

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