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AT&T rails against $100 million FCC fine for misleading customers

07/29, 11:23am

Company redefining 'unlimited' to try to escape fine

AT&T is protesting the $100 million fine it was levied by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for improperly informing unlimited wireless customers of throttling after 5GB of data is consumed in a month. Claiming that the penalty is "an unseemly effort to coerce settlement," AT&T is demanding that the FCC retract the document, and cancel the associated fee, holding AT&T liable for misleading customers.

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The MacNN Podcast, episode 25: My Stupid Cat's Fault

07/27, 1:27pm

PCs outsold by iOS devices, AT&T/DirecTV merger, AAPL vs AMZN and more

Another interesting week at MacNN brings us plenty to talk about on Episode 25 of The MacNN Podcast, ranging from the FCC approval of the AT&T/DirecTV deal for no clear reason (but with a bunch of conditions), to our new column "My Stupid Fault." We also include a full report on Apple's fiscal Q3 and the uncalled-for drop in the stock, the results of our testing of Apple's new third-party SSD Trim support, and more.

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US FCC approves AT&T and DirecTV merger, with significant conditions

07/24, 3:18pm

Company must grow FTTP, provide low-income broadband, among others

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has conditionally granted approval of the transfer of control of licenses and authorizations from DirecTV to AT&T. The approval will allow AT&T to acquire DirecTV and merge the two companies into one combined entity.

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T-Mobile agrees to $17.5M FCC fine over national 911 outages

07/20, 7:44am

Loss of 911 service for three hours last year prompts fine, compliance plan

T-Mobile has agreed to pay a fine relating to two 911 service outages that took place last year, with the settlement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) costing the carrier $17.5 million. The two outages, said to be separate but related, prevented all T-Mobile customers from being able to call the emergency services for a total of three hours on August 8, potentially putting citizens at risk by being unable to get help quickly.

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WSJ: FCC plans to reject Dish's $3.3B spectrum auction discount

07/17, 1:09pm

Using smaller companies to bid said to have violated spirit of spectrum auction rules

Dish Network may have to pay the full price for its bids in January's AWS-3 spectrum auction after all, a report claims. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is said to be close to ruling over whether or not Dish is entitled to $3.3 billion in discounts for its $13.3 billion in spectrum bids, as it "violated the broad spirit of the auction's rules" by using two smaller companies instead of bidding directly.

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FCC votes to extend Lifeline phone program to broadband

06/18, 7:30pm

Program will need to cut waste, increase subsidy to have meaningful impact

The US Federal Communications Division on Thursday voted 3-2 to consider a proposal from FCC Chair Tom Wheeler that would expand the government's Lifeline program to help subsidize the cost of home broadband service to the nation's poorest people. The program, originally put into place during the Reagan administration -- but often referred by critics as "Obamaphone" -- currently provides a small subsidy to help disadvantaged people afford cellular phone service.

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FCC plans to fine AT&T $100M over 'unlimited' data plan throttling

06/17, 7:40pm

FCC claims AT&T misled consumers using grandfathered unlimited data plans

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning to fine AT&T to the tune of $100 million, for "misleading its customers about unlimited mobile data plans." Resulting from complaints received by the agency since 2011, the carrier is being penalized for throttling the amount of data for customer accounts that have plans marketed with "unlimited data" once they reach a certain threshold for the month.

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FCC assigns ombudsman for fielding Open Internet complaints

06/16, 10:07am

Attorney Parul Desai takes the mantle, floodgates now open for complaints

Citing comments leading up to the establishment of the Open Internet regulation, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) consumer and governmental affairs bureau chief today appointed Parul P. Desai to serve as the Open Internet ombudsperson, the public's primary point of contact within the agency. Desai will be responsible for fielding formal inquiries, informal questions, and any complaints that may arise related to the Open Internet rules from both consumers and industry sources.

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FCC's Open Internet rules go live, enforcement efforts commence

06/14, 9:35am

Open Internet considered victory for Internet consumers and innovators

Following a review period after publication in the Federal Register, on Friday, the FCC's Open Internet order went into effect. Service providers are now officially reclassified as Title II carriers, and will be governed with a "light touch." Opinions and debate swirls around the topic along industry and party lines. However, for now, Open Internet rule is in effect.

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Budget that will hobble FCC Open Internet enforcement up for vote

06/13, 12:22pm

Items to block implementation Net Neutrality rules until court cases resolved included

On Wednesday The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations posted a press release outlining the Financial Services Bill for the fiscal year 2016. Among the highlights released by the subcommittee there's an item to cut back on funding for the FCC and hobble the ruling on Net Neutrality. The bill was approved by the subcommittee on Thursday and could be voted on by the full Committee as early as this coming week.

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FCC proposes addition of broadband, modernization of Lifeline scheme

05/29, 10:58am

Proposed changes would provide broadband to low-income households

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has revealed plans to modernize an existing communications program to help low-income families have subsidized high-speed Internet access. Chairman Tom Wheeler shared the proposals to bring the FCC's Lifeline telecommunications subsidization program up to date by adding broadband to the phone-only scheme, as well as making sure the basic standards are in place for connections, in an attempt to minimize waste and costs by increasing competition and minimizing the potential for defrauding the program.

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Editorial: FCC, lawsuits, Net Neutrality, and The Bill of Rights

05/25, 6:32pm

AT&T Open Internet lawsuit against FCC citing first and fifth amendments

AT&T and several trade organizations in the telecom and cable industry have publicly posted statements of issues they intend to raise as part of their lawsuits against the FCC's ruling mandating net neutrality. While the statements aren't in-depth rundowns of the arguments the organizations that oppose the ruling intend to make, they do seem rather familiar to anyone who remembers the successful Verizon lawsuit of 2012 that acted as a catalyst for the Title II reclassification for ISPs in the first place. These issues indicate AT&T and others believe the FCC's ruling on net neutrality violates the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, as well as the Communications Act of 1934 (as amended).

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Cox reportedly testing bandwidth overage fees, FCC may examine charges

05/14, 10:40pm

Charges for overuse of bandwidth may be scrutinized by FCC

Cox Communications will allegedly start testing overage fees for home broadband this summer in preparation for a nationwide deployment, according to a rumor. The potential extra costs to Cox subscribers arrives at the same time as another rumor claiming the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may start policing bandwidth caps of consumer broadband services.

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Verizon, Sprint agree to pay $158M settlement with FCC over 'cramming'

05/12, 6:47pm

Unauthorized third-party charges cost Verizon, Sprint dearly

Sprint and Verizon have agreed to pay a fine from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for adding unwanted third-party charges to phone bills, a practice also known as "Cramming." The two carriers have agreed to pay $158 million to settle the charges, with Verizon paying the higher amount of $90 million, while Sprint will be charged $68 million.

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FCC Chairman urges cable companies to drop net neutrality resistance

05/07, 11:11am

Tom Wheeler suggests cable companies should work on competition

Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler wants cable companies to drop their resistance to net neutrality and increase competition with each other. Speaking at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association's (NCTA) Internet and Television Expo, Wheeler also expresses the belief that the concentration of promoting competition between providers will be better for consumers and the industry as a whole.

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ISPs request stay of Title II classification while suing to end it

05/03, 8:18pm

Big providers, trade groups try to suspend FCC enforcement of net neutrality

Groups comprised of America's largest Internet providers have opted to file legal requests to suspend any enforcement of the FCC's recent reclassification of broadband providers as common carriers, as defined by Title II of the Communications Act, until the lawsuits to repeal that decision can be settled. Requests were filed by four trade associations with the FCC, with at least one of the requests indicating that an answer is requested by May 8, in time for requests for a stay to be filed with the courts.

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Collapse of Time Warner Cable, Comcast merger evolved over months

04/25, 10:10pm

The signs were there, but did either cable giant see them?

This past Friday, the Comcast Time Warner Cable (TWC) merger was officially canceled. A report by Bloomberg Business indicates the resistance by both the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been in play for quite a bit longer than just the week prior to when the deal was nixed.

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Briefly: Google stops selling Nexus 7, Possible Google Glass 2 at FCC

04/25, 9:13pm

Google online store discontinues Nexus 7 tablet

Google is no longer selling the Nexus 7 through its online store. Spotted by Talk Android, the product listing for the Android tablet shows the message "The Nexus 7 is no longer available for purchase," and the tablet does not appear in the main products menu anymore. The Nexus 9, the company's larger tablet produced by HTC, remains unaffected and is now the only tablet sold in the store.

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Plug officially pulled on Time Warner Cable and Comcast merger

04/24, 9:59am

Future uncertain for AT&T and DirecTV merger, future suitors for TWC

As expected, Comcast and Time Warner Cable have both walked away from the blockbuster merger deal, citing governmental resistance from the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission. In a statement about the collapse, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said that "we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn't agree, we could walk away."

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FCC Open Internet regs appear in Federal Register, effective June 12

04/11, 3:31pm

Publication of regulation likely to redouble opposition efforts to regulation

The US Government has released the Federal Communications Commission's Open Internet regulation package to the Federal Register. With publication, the net neutrality and Title II regulation, as laid forth by the FCC, are effective and enforceable starting on June 12.

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Legal barrage launched over FCC Open Internet regulation in DC courts

03/24, 7:51am

As expected, ISPs banding together under common trade group

The battle in the US court system to scuttle the new Open Internet regulation as approved by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has begun. Filed yesterday in Washington DC, trade group US Telecom has petitioned the courts on behalf of AT&T, Verizon, and a few others to block the Title II and net neutrality imposition, calling it "arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion."

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Verizon agrees to $3.4M FCC fine over 911 call outage in California

03/22, 10:42am

Lack of emergency services in California costs Verizon dearly

Verizon is agreeing to pay a fine of $3.4 million to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over an outage of emergency 911 services in multiple states last year. While the entire outage affected over 11 million people and at least 83 emergency call centers in seven states last April, the FCC centered its investigation over a lack of communication by the carrier during the outage in California.

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AT&T continues Title II use to escape lawsuits, fines despite disdain

03/21, 10:19am

FCC agrees with read of Title II, denies smaller companies fees from AT&T

AT&T continues to use Title II regulation as a tool to escape lawsuits and fees, while publicly deriding the mandate. In a court ruling this week, the telecommunications giant utilized its Title II status with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to escape fees from Great Lakes Comnet (GLC) and Westphalia Telephone Company (WTC) imposed for " interstate access services under an unlawful tariff."

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Apple Watch: FCC approval, Mail Pilot, Android Wear

03/17, 9:00pm

Apple hints that Apple Watch has received FCC approval

Apple on Tuesday removed disclaimer language from its Apple Watch web page, signalling that it has obtained approval for sale of the device in at least the US, if not all the major countries where Apple is currently planning to launch the Apple Watch at retail beginning April 24. The Watch will be available for preview and pre-ordering -- but not for sale -- at Apple Stores beginning April 10 in select countries.

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FCC chair denies White House influence on Title II, net neutrality

03/17, 10:44am

Hearing before Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today

US Federal Communications Commission head Tom Wheeler is appearing before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today, to defend the agency's Title II and net neutrality regulation. In a prepared statement before the group, Wheeler calls the buildup to the decision "one of the most open and expansive processes" that the FCC has ever run, and decries accusations of improper influence by President Obama in drafting the Open Internet Order.

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MacNN Podcast, episode six: New MacBook, ResearchKit, Title II, more

03/16, 6:00pm

Our panel still talking about 'Spring Forward' event ramifications

The MacNN Podcast episode six is now available (later than normal -- sorry about that), and this week we looked at the new MacBook and weigh up its pros and cons; talk about Apple Watch pricing and some new details that have come out since last Monday; delve into ResearchKit, which is already making big waves in the medical community; discuss Samsung's Galaxy S6 and the line's fading status as an "iPhone killer" (though still likely to be a very successful competitor); and get into the actual meat of the FCC's net neutrality and Title II proposal.

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Title II, net neutrality 'Open Internet' FCC order published in full

03/12, 10:58am

No surprises; Title II a light touch, debate terms bandied about defined finally

The US Federal Communications Commission has published its new Open Internet order, also known as net neutrality and Title II order, in full. The document spells out specifically which aspects of the 80-year-old Title II concept will be applied to Internet Service Providers, as well as specifics of the net neutrality order.

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Republicans file bill to rip Internet regulatory powers from FCC

03/06, 9:10am

Bill floated by TN lawmaker, who previously sought to stop municipal broadband

Legislation has been filed opposing the US Federal Communication Commission's Title II and net neutrality vote. Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is driving the "Internet Freedom Act" which if passed will block the FCC from implementing its net neutrality proposal, including Title II, and strip the agency of the ability to issue a new rule on the matter. The move is similar to one she took in July, trying to strip the FCC of regulatory powers, over a slightly different matter. Ironically, Blackburn represents a district that enjoys high competition, above-average speeds, and dramatically lower pricing than average.

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House Judiciary Committee writes FCC; threatens anti-Title II law

03/03, 9:59am

Letter questions FCC independence from Obama administration

The Republican-run US House Judiciary Committee has sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission head Tom Wheeler, claiming that the new net neutrality ruling is the "most oppressive and backward regulatory option possible," despite a failure to cite any specific evidence of harm. The committee is claiming it will instigate a Congressional Review Act to refute the net neutrality regulations as voted on by the FCC, and also to strip the FCC of its ability to impose Title II regulation on US Internet Service Providers.

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Sonic.net CEO praises Title II, Ex-FCC head lambastes it [u]

02/28, 10:30am

Jasper joins most small ISPs in welcoming rule enforcement

[Updated with comments from Republican ex-FCC head Michael Powell] While the debate about this week's Federal Communications Commission Title II regulation and net neutrality vote rages on publicly and privately. Sonic.net CEO Dane Jasper welcomes Title II, and has said so publicly, joining a chorus of ISPs that welcome the enforcement. Additionally, the FCC has clarified in no uncertain terms what it will do if claims that fees to use existing telephone poles will rise turn out to be true. A former FCC chair, however, remains opposed to the measure.

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Opponents, supporters of FCC Net Neutrality, Title II vote speak out

02/26, 2:46pm

Comments come in as expected, with threats of lawsuit and more work needed

As expected, the Federal Communication Commission's votes today have not gone unnoticed by the telecommunications and Internet industry. There are no surprises in the commentary generated by the vote, with posturing and veiled threats being delivered by those impacted negatively by the vote.

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FCC approves net neutrality, Title II proposal in 3-2 vote

02/26, 11:52am

Fight likely to continue in House, Senate over depth of FCC power

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved the net neutrality rules, including Title II regulation of Internet Service Providers as proposed by FCC Chair Tom Wheeler, with minor modifications. The vote wasn't unanimous, nor was it expected to be, and predictably split across party lines. The two Democratic members and the Chair voted to approve the contentious policy, and the two Republican members voted against it.

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FCC net neutrality vote today, last minute changes made to proposal

02/26, 9:45am

Revisions come at Google, advocacy group request for language clarification

On the eve of the net neutrality vote at the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), chairman Tom Wheeler has reportedly made some changes to the proposal. Reportedly extracted by request of Google and some other public interest groups is a clause that could allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to charge websites for delivered content.

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Democratic FCC commissioner requests last-minute Title II changes

02/24, 5:59pm

New proposals may weaken 'paid prioritization' ban, throttling restrictions

One of the three Federal Communications Commission board members previously expected to vote in favor of Chair Tom Wheeler's Title II net neutrality proposal has thrown a spanner in the works by suggesting some changes that could possibly dilute the effectiveness of the proposal. Commissioner Mignon Clyburn has asked Wheeler for some changes that wouldn't challenge the overall concept of the proposal, but could weaken FCC enforcement of some key aspects.

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Net neutrality opponents make last-ditch attempt to stop FCC vote

02/23, 9:27pm

Republican commissioners ask for special treatment, delay on historic vote

Following the lead of Republicans in Congress, the two GOP commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are doing their bit to try to stop or at least slow down a planned vote this week on FCC Chair Tom Wheeler's net neutrality proposal, which fixes the current hodge-podge of neutrality exceptions and violations by removing the power to "gatekeep" the Internet from big Internet Service Providers (ISPs) through Title II "public utility" regulation.

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T-Mobile CEO urges FCC to change spectrum auction rules

02/19, 8:05pm

Spectrum auction in 2016 in danger of being dominated by AT&T, Verizon

The Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) needs to improve its auction rules ahead of another 600MHz spectrum auction set to take place next year, the CEO of T-Mobile has urged. John Legere warns that the next auction could be dominated by larger carriers AT&T and Verizon, and that "If the government wants a competitive wireless market, they need to establish action rules to reflect that."

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FCC's Ajit Pai, ex-chairman Powell rally against Title II regulation

02/10, 3:39pm

Press conference by Pai met with angry protestors seeking Title II

Current US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) member Ajit Pai (R) and ex-FCC chairman Michael Powell (R) have come out in opposition to current chairman Tom Wheeler's net neutrality and Title II regulation plan for broadband and cellular data carriers. Both men, aligned with the Republican party and seemingly operating in parallel with efforts in the House and Senate to stop the measure, are calling the chairman's proposal unnecessary given the current climate, and injurious to investment in US broadband.

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Senate throwing in with House; calling for FCC, Obama Title II docs

02/10, 9:44am

Senate DHS chief's committee calling for FCC reasoning, communications

Following a similar move by the House, the Senate has launched its own investigation on the US Federal Communications Commission's upcoming call for Title II legislation of ISPs. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) is giving the FCC two weeks to provide documents related to, and reasoning for, the call for "what new factors" after President Obama's remarks induced the FCC to apply Title II reclassification.

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House committee demands FCC, White House Net Neutrality communications

02/07, 12:15pm

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sees red, charges

The House Committee on Oversight and Government reform has written to US Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler, and has demanded that the regulatory agency produce any and all communiation between the FCC and the White House. The Republicans on the committee claim to see "an improper influence" from President Obama at the core of the FCC commissioner's recent mandate of Title II regulation of ISPs, and are demanding the documentation to back up their claims, and potentially torpedo the effort.

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FCC Chair Wheeler formally announces Title II regulation proposal

02/04, 12:33pm

Proposal to be submitted for FCC discussion before end of the week

Officially launching what will become a highly-contentious fight in Washington DC, US Federal Communications Commission commissioner Tom Wheeler has officially stated that he is submitting "the strongest open Internet protections ever proposed by the FCC," which calls for the banning of paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. The move by the chairman was expected, with AT&T and Verizon both threatening lawsuits to block the regulation.

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AT&T serves notice it will sue over Title II reclassification

02/03, 4:15pm

Argues that prioritization, throttling are 'information services'

Carrier AT&T has filed two notices with the Federal Communications Commission that argue against the planned introduction of a proposal by FCC Chair Tom Wheeler to reclassify broadband and mobile data providers as "common carriers" under Title II. The proposal, yet to be formally introduced, would get rid of paid-prioritization deals, ensure net neutrality, cease blocking and throttling users without cause, and require more transparency in dealings by ISPs.

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FCC Title II plan will model itself on Obama recommendations

02/02, 11:03pm

Regulation will be proposed, but using model of 1993 cell carrier agreement

A few new details appear to have leaked out of the new proposal by Federal Communications Commission Chair Tom Wheeler, which would call for Title II regulation of Internet service by broadband providers and may also include a similar reclassification for cellular data, which up till now has been exempted. The move would increase the FCC's ability to regulate providers, but uses the "light touch" model that was adopted for mobile phone service in 1993.

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FCC commissioner questions Dish discount in AWS-3 spectrum auction

02/02, 9:49am

Commissioner questions Dish bending rules to gain small business bid discount

Dish Network's bidding in the recent $44.9 billion AWS-3 spectrum auction has come under scrutiny by a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), for potentially bending the rules of the auction While Dish acquired a large collection of licenses for $13.3 billion, it has come under fire for picking up the licenses at a discount, something the other major carriers were unable to do.

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FCC raises $44.9B in AWS-3 auction, including $18.2B from AT&T bids

01/30, 3:33pm

Dish Network spends $13.3B on spectrum licenses, Verizon $10.4B

The latest spectrum auction conducted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has raised $44.9 billion. Of the bidders looking to acquire what has been termed AWS-3 spectrum, the FCC revealed AT&T spent more than any other carrier or organization, using $18.2 billion to acquire almost half the total number of licenses up for grabs in the auction.

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FCC redefines broadband speeds as 25Mbps downloads, 3Mbps uploads

01/29, 2:49pm

Vote of FCC commissioners to change broadband definition passes 3-2

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has changed its definition of broadband, after commissioners voted 3-2 in favor. The previous definition of 4Mbps download, 1Mbps upload minimum speeds have been increased to 25Mbps down, 3 Mbps up, a move which pushes higher the proportion of households in the United States declared to be incapable of receiving broadband Internet access.

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FCC nixes petition by hotels, disallows Wi-Fi hotspot blocking

01/28, 7:45am

Preceding RM-11737 resolved with public notice against blocking

A petition by Marriott, Hilton, and an association of hotel owners asking for permission to block guests from creating their own Wi-Fi hotspots has been resolved today in a public notice by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Specifically, the blocking of personal Wi-Fi hotspots is prohibited, and will be "aggressively" investigated and acted against, according to the agency.

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Verizon pays $5M to settle FCC rural call completion investigation

01/27, 2:11pm

Failure to investigate issues with rural landlines costs Verizon dearly

Verizon has agreed to settle an investigation with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over complaints that it itself had failed to investigate issues with rural calls. After admitting its failure, Verizon has agreed to pay a fine of $2 million, as well as implementing a "compliance plan" which involves spending an extra $3 million on sorting out rural call completion issues.

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Comcast provides letters to politicians supporting its merger with TWC

01/27, 1:29am

'Outpouring of thoughtful and positive comments' came directly from Comcast

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) frequently puts out a call for comments as part of their decision-making process, and usually hears back from concerned citizens as well as "astroturf" industry-funded campaigns. In the case of the merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC), however, Comcast posted a thank you to the politicians, organizations and businesses that submitted comments in its favor. An investigation of those letters, however, has revealed a number of politicians who's comments were penned by Comcast employees, and simply signed off on, much like the situation where Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood sent a subpoena to Google which was later discovered to have been written by the MPAA's law firm.

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Cable lobbyist asks FCC not to redefine broadband as 25Mbps connection

01/26, 12:49pm

Claimed lack of justification for proposed FCC broadband speed definition

Cable companies do not believe customers need to have connection speeds faster than 25Mbps, according to a letter sent by a cable lobbying group to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The letter from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) asks that the FCC avoids defining broadband as a 25Mbps downstream, 3Mbps upstream connection, due to a lack of justification.

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Google wants to be a wireless carrier, reports claim

01/22, 1:00am

Rumors surface of possible deals again, this time with Sprint and T-Mobile

Earlier today, web newsite The Information released statements from several unnamed sources that Google may begin offering wireless services as early as this year by reselling bandwidth from Sprint and T-Mobile. The rumor isn't anything new -- in fact the site posted a similar story last year, indicating Google would be reselling bandwidth from Sprint and Verizon. In spite of the annual speculation, the Wall Street Journal is also reporting on the subject, with additional information from the FCC.

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