Roaming charges in EU will be capped from April 2016
The European Union's crusade against roaming charges has received crucial support from the European Parliament, after being given the all-clear, at the same time as new net neutrality measures. Proposals to scrap roaming charges completely across the continent have been approved by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in a vote, and though they won't be removed completely until mid-2017, consumers in the region can expect to start feeling the effects of changes in the law from April next year.
Video throttling restriction included in $80 Sprint unlimited data plan
Sprint has launched a new price plan today that it hopes will make the cost of the service simpler to subscribers signing up to it. At the same time, the carrier has also come under fire for including a policy in the "All-In" plan's small print, limiting the amount of data transferred for specific types of network traffic, a move which some may consider to be against the basic principles of net neutrality.
Deal puts end to roaming charges in European Union by June 2017
Europe is one step closer to ending mobile phone roaming charges throughout the continent, after the European Parliament agreed on new rules to forbid them once and for all. According to the deal, agreed to last night in the final days of Latvia's European Union Council presidency, roaming charges as a whole in the region will be scrapped in the next two years, with the agreement also -- surprisingly -- including stricter net neutrality rules that would apply across the continent.
Deal puts advocates for Net Neutrality, Open Internet under Verizon control
As predicted by Verizon when it announced the deal, Verizon Communications and AOL today announced the successful completion of Verizon's tender offer to purchase all outstanding shares of AOL for $50 per share in cash. As a result, AOL shares will no longer be traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and AOL is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Verizon. The sale includes AOL properties like Engadget, The Huffington Post, and Tech Crunch -- all staunch defenders of Net Neutrality and the US Federal Communication Commission's Open Internet regulation.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Complaints about net neutrality issues prompts expansion of Internet.org
Facebook is allowing more online services to take part in its Internet.org free access scheme, following complaints. The initiative, which allows for free access to certain web services for mobile phone users in emerging markets, drew criticism from some over the "walled garden" created by the free service, something which goes against the concept of an open Internet and net neutrality principles.
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.
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."
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.
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.
AT&T claims new FCC ruling exempts it from FTC oversight
AT&T is utilizing the US Federal Communications Commission net neutrality and Title II to escape a federal lawsuit by another federal agency, despite having vociferously objected to the proposal and still promising to file a lawsuit to prevent its implementation. Citing its new status as a "common carrier," AT&T argued in court yesterday that since it falls under FCC jurisdiction, the Federal Trade Commission's suit about throttling unlimited data plans was improperly applied as a result, and should be tossed out.
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.
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.
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.
The MacNN Podcast for March 2, 2015
The MacNN Podcast hits its fourth airing and touches on the hot button issues in the tech world! Join this week's hosts, MacNN Editor Charles Martin, alongside staff writer Michelle Elbert, and Managing Editor Mike Wuerthele as they discuss the events that got our attention, needed further discussion, or just plain tickled our fancy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chen sees threat to net neutrality from app developers more than carriers
Blackberry CEO John Chen appears to be turning to the US government for help in broadening the app ecosystem for the struggling Canadian handset, as well as railing against a US-centric view of net neutrality and possible Title II regulation at the same time. In a blog post taken in part from a letter the CEO wrote to members of Congress, Chen defines not only what he sees as an ideal path for net neutrality, but also complaining about a "two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem" where content providers like Apple and Netflix are free to not develop for all wireless platforms.
Republicans deny Internet providers have monopoly; Democrats reluctant to strip FCC of power
As reported last week, the US House of Representatives' Energy & Commerce Committee held a hearing titled "Protecting the Internet and Consumers through Congressional Action." The hearing was to discuss the unnamed draft bill introduced by Representative Fred Upton (R-Michigan), head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota), head of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in the Senate, which purports to "draft a new law for this century" and ensure net neutrality, but strips the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of almost all enforcement authority.
Unnamed measure prohibits paid prioritization but also strips FCC of 706 authority
A draft bill intended to resolve the current threats to net neutrality was announced today in the US Congress, with plans to begin hearings on it as early as next Wednesday by the US Energy & Commerce Committees. The bill purports to ensure net neutrality by prohibiting blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, and a number of other desirable perks, but also specifically strips the FCC of its existing authority to protect consumers and encourage competition.
Increasing focus on FCC in ongoing struggle to codify access to broadband
February might not shape up to be such a great month if you're a large national Internet provider in the US. Not only will the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) be voting on the adoption of net neutrality rules FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, all but confirmed would be Title II-based in an interview at CES last week, but it's also possible the commission will be voting on petitions supported by President Obama to overturn laws in several states that are purported to block the build-out of broadband Internet access on the municipal level.
Group representing $30.6 billion in holdings want unequivocal statement
Telecommuncations carrier Verizon has often said that it supports the concept of net neutrality, but its actions undermining the concept have annoyed investors, who are now putting pressure on the firm to embrace the concpt. A group of shareholders represented by the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Trillium Asset Management, has re-submitted a proposal expressing support of net neutrality, lack of support for "paid prioritization," and calling for Verizon management to comply.
Carriers scared by thought of oversight, make dubious claims
Yesterday at CES FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, sat down for an interview with CEA Presedent Gary Shapiro in which he all but confirmed that the proposal to be submitted to the Commission on February 5 and voted on February 25 will adopt Title II of the Communications Act as a basis for securing net neutrality. Today, a number of the big carriers have released statements expressing displeasure.
Confirms new proposed rules will be distributed on February 5, with vote to be taken 20 days later
Today at CES in Las Vegas, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President Gary Shapiro sat down for a "Super Session" with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and asked what had changed in his world since they spoke at the conference in 2013. "Oh, nothing," deadpanned Wheeler, prompting laughter from the audience, "it's all exactly the same." As the discussion went on, Wheeler's responses to questions seem to be confirming earlier reports that the Commission is strongly leaning towards adopting some level of Communications Act Title II as a base for ensuring Net Neutrality, as urged by President Obama -- similar to how it was imposed on the wireless industry.
New rules are said to contain Title II regulation plans
US Federal Communications Chairman commissioner Tom Wheeler is reportedly planning on unveiling a new set of net neutrality rules in the beginning of February. The new rules, which are said to be more aggressive than originally proposed, which should incorporate feedback from the public comment process, should come to a vote at the February 26 meeting - and may finally include Title II regulation of broadband, which would apply oversight to ISPs similar to that of utilities, such as water and power.
Double-talk from industry supports notion that some regulation would benefit consumers
Since President Barack Obama voiced his support for reclassification of ISPs as utilities, there has been much debate back and forth, and back again on the topic of "Title II" regulation of carriers. Would it be the dystopian nightmare anti-government zealots and the carriers proclaim, or would it provide a golden utopia of progress for consumers and American businesses alike?
Letter From National Association of Manufacturers claims net neutrality 'slowing business'
The U.S. National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and leaders in Congress to oppose the possible, and much more strict, proposals for Internet regulation as put forth by the FCC. The letter, which claims that the current standard of net neutrality "severely threaten continuing growth," functions as a rebuttal to a similar letter from the opposite point of view sent last May by over 100 tech companies, who argued that net neutrality was the only option that would protect Internet growth and well-being.
Believes Internet should be split into two channels to secure quality for special services
While members of the European Union and the US fight net neutrality and Internet traffic equality battles, German Chancellor Angela Merkel waded in during a conference in Berlin to explain her outlook for the Internet. Instead of looking towards maintaining a neutral playing field for all, Merkel says that the Internet should be split into two tiers to accommodate special services.
Pai questions development of Open Connect, believes cache devices could lock others out
A commissioner from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is asking Netflix to answer allegations that it is touting net neutrality in one hand, while constructing Internet "fast lanes" with another, by December 16. Commissioner Ajit Pai issued a letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, asking that the company reply to allegations that its development of Open Connect and decision to forego membership in the Streaming Video Alliance is actually helping tip the scales in its favor.
Hearing to question FCC commissioners over proposed rules pushed back to 2015
The US House of Representative Communications and Technology subcommittee announced it is pushing back its hearing over the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) proposed net neutrality rules. Initially, the hearing was set to take place on December 10, but the delay pushes the review into an undisclosed time in 2015.
AT&T claims it will adhere to fiber build, but freezing any new expansion plans
Following the US Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) demand for more information about a "frozen" fiber buildout, AT&T has responded to the call late yesterday. The company claims that the announced expansion of the gigabit network is not actually frozen -- only new, unannounced expansions have been halted in the wake of the FCC's net neutrality and Title II regulation discussion, though the announcement was seen a thinly-veiled threat against the FCC.
Wheeler believes lawsuits inevitable, regardless of result of discussion
US Federal Communications Commission head Tom Wheeler said that there is a specific reason why the regulatory group is taking its time with the net neutrality discussion. Speaking at a meeting on Friday, the chairman said that caution was prudent, and that the agency needs to "make sure that we understand what is going on here." Referring to Verizon, AT&T, and the other major Internet providers, he added that "the big dogs are going to sue regardless of what comes out."
Cruz doesn't think government should pick 'winners and losers' from the 'big boys'
After President Barack Obama urged the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) to consider Title II regulation of Internet service providers in order to treat them like a utility, numerous individuals and companies spoke in opposition. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was one such politician, equating net neutrality to "Obamacare" for the Internet. Though Cruz explained his reasoning during a talk in Austin, Texas late last week, his "don't mess with the Internet" sound bite seems confused. Does his stance on the way the Internet should be treated add up?
Roberts believes merger on track for completion in March, working on net neutrality
The merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is moving along, according to recent statements from Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. Roberts said that his company is moving "full steam ahead" with the $45 billion deal to acquire Time Warner Cable, an acquisition that would bring an additional 11 million customers to Comcast's Internet and television services.
CEO Stephenson says provider might hold investment on fiber builds in 100 areas
During an analyst conference on Wednesday, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that the company is considering putting a hold on its build-out of gigabit fiber networks for select cities in the US until a decision is made on net neutrality rules. The company announced in April that it would be bringing high-speed fiber to 100 cities and municipalities.
Wheeler reminds critics that FCC is independent, not bound by White House
Speaking before a series of Silicon Valley company representatives, US Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler has refuted President Obama's call for Title II regulation of cable companies and strict net neutrality. The chairman, when asked about the President's declaration, reminded attendees that the FCC doesn't answer to the President, with the statement that "I am an independent agency."
FCC should create net neutrality-protecting rules, insists Obama
President Barack Obama has voiced his support for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify Internet services under Title II of the Telecommunications act. Wading into the net neutrality debate again, Obama has issued a statement asking for the FCC to "answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality."