FCC chairman Ajit Pai cited data from BarrierFree to boast of improved rural broadband access, despite warnings that it was overinflated. The FCC has been on a mission to improve broadband access for rural Americans with the launch of the $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund last year. On its website, the FCC highlights the... Read more »
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"The FCC should fine itself": Pai relied on ISP's impossible deployment claims.
Astroturfing, political posturing and invective. Exactly what internet policy needs Comment A flawed consultation into Section 230 – America's safety blanket that shields online platforms like Google and Facebook – has already devolved into a mess dangerously reminiscent of the net neutrality debate.…
Judges uphold FCC preemption of city rules, including limits on small-cell fees.
FCC tentatively approves 14¢-per-minute limit but only for interstate calls.
DOJ and ISPs sue Calif. despite court vacating FCC's bid to preempt state laws.
Chairman Ajit Pai says he hopes for 'vigorous debate' on the administration's petition to limit legal liability for social media giants Twitter and Facebook.
"Tell the FCC to reject this," Democrat says as agency seeks public comment.
Guess what? Literally everyone thinks this is a terrible idea The US Department of Commerce (DoC) has formally asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to review a critical law that provides blanket liability to online platforms such as Google and Facebook.…
Trump admin petitions FCC to reinterpret Section 230’s legal protections.
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The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will be available for people in suicidal crisis under a new easier-to-remember phone number in two years.
On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to finalize 988 as the number Americans can call to be directed to the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline hotline. As of right now, individuals in suicidal crisis can reach that hotline by dialing 1-800-273-8255 (TALK), but that number will be easier to remember once it transitions to its three-digit equivalent starting on July 16th, 2022.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement on Thursday, “Establishing the easy-to-remember 988 as the ‘911’ for suicide prevention and mental health services will make it easier for...
It’s official: the FCC has approved the merger of telecom giants Sprint and T-Mobile, a move that evens the playfield against juggernauts Verizon and AT, but critics say reduces competition and opens the door to anti-consumer behavior.Once that’s resolved, Sprint and T-Mobile can proceed with a long-planned merger that will shrink the major US telecom field from four down to three.After the DOJ approved the merger back in July, the FCC vote was one of the last remaining obstacles.It was split down party lines: Chairman Ajit Pai joined two Republican commissioners in approving the $26.5 billion merger, while the two Democrat commissioners voted against.One of the latter, commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, wrote in the Atlantic that reducing the number of telecoms “will hurt consumers, harm competition, and eliminate thousands of jobs.” The same happened when mergers in other industries saw shrunk the number of major players, including airlines (which added baggage fees and smaller seats) and pharmaceuticals (raised prices for essential medications), Rosenworcel argued.After the merger, Rosenworcel continued, there’s very little to prevent the newly-merged company from raising wireless prices on consumers - except the mega-telecom’s word that it won’t (for three years, anyway).
The T-Mobile/Sprint merger is one step closer to becoming a reality.The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has formally voted to approve the merger, just a few months after the Department of Justice (DOJ) gave its approval.In May, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he would vote for the merger as long as the two companies committed to a fast rollout of 5G tech.Other Republican commissioners also signaled support for the merger.The two Democratic commissioners on the FCC have voiced disapproval for the merger, with one commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel, penning an op-ed about it in the Atlantic earlier today.“A condensed pharmaceutical industry has led to a handful of drug companies raising the prices of lifesaving medications, taking advantage of those struggling with illness,” said Rosenworcel in the article.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to approve T-Mobile's $26.5 billion merger with Sprint.The FCC pointed to Chairman Ajit Pai's recommendation in August to approve the merger, but it wasn't a unanimous vote -- FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel wrote Wednesday in The Atlantic about voting against the deal."The largest wireless merger in history is now headed toward approval.If you own a mobile phone, as 96% of American adults do, that's bad news," Rosenworcel wrote."Shrinking the number of national providers from four to three will hurt consumers, harm competition and eliminate thousands of jobs."The US Justice Department approved T-Mobile's $26.5 billion bid to merge with Sprint in July after the deal was OK'd by the FCC's Pai in May on the condition that T-Mobile and Sprint divested Boost Mobile as well as requiring them to build out 5G in rural areas and offer wireless home broadband good enough to substitute fixed line service.
Republican Commissioners Brendan Carr and Michael O'Rielly backed Chairman Ajit Pai's proposal to allow the merger, while Democrats Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks voted against it.But the companies won't be completing the merger just yet, as they face a lawsuit from a group of state attorneys general who are trying to block the deal.But the final document should reflect what Chairman Pai proposed in May, requiring the merged company to deploy 5G to 97% of the US population within three years and to 99% of Americans within six years.That includes deploying 5G to 85% of rural Americans within three years and 90% within six years.Commissioner Starks had called for the FCC to halt its merger proceeding while the agency investigates a discovery that Sprint took millions of dollars in government subsidies for "serving" 885,000 low-income Americans who weren't using Sprint service.Sprint took FCC cash for “serving” 885,000 people it wasn’t actually serving
President Donald Trump congratulated Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai in a tweet today citing last week's court decision to uphold the agency's net neutrality repeal, which eliminated rules preventing broadband providers from blocking or slowing down access to websites or charging companies extra to deliver content faster.Trump claimed it was a big win for the future of the internet, including 5G wireless, the next generation in mobile technology.The FCC is one of several federal agencies that has moved quickly to deregulate since Trump took control of the White House after the 2016 election.The Republican-led FCC voted in 2017 to dismantle the popular open internet rules adopted under President Obama, arguing that the rules had stifled investment because the rules imposed utility-style regulation on the internet.Supporters of the Obama-era rules have said the FCC's deregulation has left a void in which broadband providers can abuse their power as gatekeepers of the internet and squelch online competitors and limit the sites and services consumers can access, as well as raise prices.FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, one of two Democrats on the commission, pointed out that the decision wasn't a total victory for the FCC.
Boom Solutions, Integra Wireless, and WinPR were all found to be using devices for their point-to-point broadband that were “misconfigured,” according to the regulator this week.This caused interference with a doppler weather radar station at San Juan international airport.It’s good to see the FCC finally come to Puerto Rico’s defense after its extraordinary failure to help the island after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017.That failure saw the agency heavily criticized by the General Accountability Office (GAO) and its own commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel.But sadly the FCC under chair Ajit Pai has not had a change of heart: this week’s fines represent just the latest spat in an inter-agency battle over 5G technology.As we reported in June, that effort is being driven by the deputy chief of staff and director of policy at the Commerce Department, Earl Comstock.
The FCC released the findings from its investigation today, describing how CenturyLink failed to follow best practices that could have prevented the outage.The 37-hour outage began on December 27 and "was caused by an equipment failure that was exacerbated by a network configuration error," the FCC said.Instead, the FCC said it "will engage in stakeholder outreach to promote best practices and contact other major transport providers to discuss their network practices," and "offer its assistance to smaller providers to help ensure that our nation's communications networks remain robust, reliable, and resilient."While Pai's FCC deregulated broadband when it repealed net neutrality rules, it still regulates landline phone networks such as CenturyLink's with its Title II authority over common carriers.When contacted by Ars, Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the report should have been completed sooner and that it should have included "an action plan to avoid a repeat.Problems began the morning of December 27 when "a switching module in CenturyLink's Denver, Colorado node spontaneously generated four malformed management packets," the FCC report said.
(Reuters) — U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Wednesday circulated a draft order that would grant approval to the $26 billion tie-up of T-Mobile and Sprint.“The evidence conclusively demonstrates that this transaction will bring fast 5G wireless service to many more Americans and help close the digital divide in rural areas,” Pai said in a statement.The order must still be approved by two of the other four FCC commissioners.The U.S. Justice Department approved the merger last month, but the deal still faces a court challenge from 16 state attorneys general.A trial is set for December 9 on the legal challenge by the states.The lengthy draft FCC order has not been made public.
Although the US is one of the most advanced digital nations in the world, the difference between the haves and have nots is quite staggering.Some might see it as a first world problem, however with the benefits of connectivity being applied to areas such as education and healthcare, it is irresponsible to allow this divide to continue.It is of course commercially attractive to drive connectivity options in the densely populated urban areas, but such are the sparse and environmentally challenging regions across some of the US, vast numbers of people are being left behind.“In short, we’re proposing to connect more Americans to faster broadband networks than any other universal service program has done,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.“I’m excited about what this initiative will mean for rural Americans who need broadband to start a business, educate a child, grow crops, raise livestock, get access to telehealth, and do all the other things that the online world allows.And I look forward to kicking off this new auction next year.”
The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted to adopt a new mechanism for distributing subsidies to rural broadband providers."[T]he decisions we make now will direct funds for broadband for the next decade," said Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel."So choosing where those funds go for the next ten years without having accurate data is a real problem...We need maps before money.Unlike the FCC's CAF II auction, where incumbent carriers got first dibs on deciding whether to serve a given area, the new fund will be available to any company, including cable companies or public utilities, that propose building a broadband network.Even though the FCC is moving forward with the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund using existing broadband mapping criteria, the agency acknowledged its data collection program is flawed.These faulty maps have infuriated lawmakers who have been flooded with complaints from constituents, but the lack of visibility has also hampered the FCC's efforts to distribute limited funds to help bring broadband to the 19 million people in this country, who still lack access at a time when the service is considered as important as water or electricity.
The Federal Communications Commission today ordered cities and towns across the country to stop regulating broadband delivered over cable networks.The vote to approve Chairman Ajit Pai's plan also limits the fees that municipalities can charge cable companies.This could impact public TV stations and services that network operators provide cities and towns in exchange for cable TV franchises.The FCC announcement of its decision said, "the Order prohibits excessive franchise fees and explains that local governments may not regulate most non-cable services, including broadband Internet access service, offered over a cable system.""We've heard from thousands of communities across the country worried we are cutting the operations of so many local channels," FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said while voting against Pai's plan.Ajit Pai’s new gift to cable companies would kill local fees and rules
The US telecoms regulator has decided to redirect the 2.5 GHz band away from its current educational use to create more 5G spectrum.The Federal Communications Commission is positioning this as a move to modernize the outdated regulatory framework for the 2.5 GHz band, which is apparently the single largest band of contiguous spectrum below 3 GHz.The band had been set aside for educational TV use and the FCC move removes any restrictions on who can use it and how.It had previously been made available for free but now the government gets to cash in on yet another auction.At long last, we remove the burdensome restrictions on this band, allowing incumbents greater flexibility in their use of the spectrum, and introduce a spectrum auction that will ensure that this public resource is finally devoted to its highest-valued use,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.“These groundbreaking reforms will result in more efficient and effective use of these airwaves and represent the latest step in advancing U.S. leadership in 5G.”
The Federal Communications Commission has voted to free up another band of wireless spectrum for next-generation 5G wireless service.On Wednesday, the agency voted 3-2 to auction spectrum in the 2.5GHz band.This sliver of airwaves, known as the Educational Broadband Service, had been set aside for educational purposes during the 1960s.Sprint uses leased spectrum in the 2.5GHz band for its existing 4G network and these leases are a key reason why T-Mobile proposed spending $26 billion to buy the company, so it could use this so-called midband spectrum to build a 5G service.He continued, "At long last, we remove the burdensome restrictions on this band, allowing incumbents greater flexibility in their use of the spectrum and introduce a spectrum auction that will ensure that this public resource is finally devoted to its highest-valued use."She summed up her opposition in a tweet: "The Kennedy Administration did something visionary.
(Reuters) — The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday voted 3-2 to auction a key band of underused 2.5 GHz spectrum to help advance next-generation 5G wireless networks and scrap requirements that it be used for education.The mid-band spectrum was reserved in the 1960s for what is now known as the Educational Broadband Service.Sprint uses leased spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band in its existing 4G network and 5G network that it is being rolled out.FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the commission was taking “a major step toward freeing up critical mid-band spectrum for 5G.At long last, we remove the burdensome restrictions on this band, allowing incumbents greater flexibility in their use of the spectrum and introduce a spectrum auction that will ensure that this public resource is finally devoted to its highest-valued use.”Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the Republican majority was collapsing “this spectrum into an overlay auction system that structurally advantages a single nationwide carrier.”
The FCC voted at its open meeting this week to adopt an anti-robocall measure, but it may or may not lead to any abatement of this maddening practice — and it might not be free, either.That said, it’s a start towards addressing a problem that’s far from simple and enormously irritating to consumers.The last two years have seen the robocall problem grow and grow, and although there are steps you can take right now to improve things, they may not totally eliminate the issue or perhaps won’t be available on your plan or carrier.The first item was proposed formally last month by Chairman Ajit Pai, and although it amounts to little more than nudging carriers, it could be helpful.The FCC has said before that this is not the case and that carriers should go ahead and opt everyone into these blocking services (one can always opt out), but carriers have balked.The rulemaking approved today basically just makes it crystal clear that carriers are permitted, and indeed encouraged, to opt consumers into call-blocking schemes.
The FCC said it "approved a Declaratory Ruling to affirm that voice service providers may, as the default, block unwanted calls based on reasonable call analytics, as long as their customers are informed and have the opportunity to opt out of the blocking."FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says the commission's rules were vague as to whether robocall blocking is legal on an opt-out basis but that today's ruling will fix that problem.Deployment of call-blocking tools "has been limited because they're only being made available on an opt-in basis, and many of the consumers who would most benefit from these tools, such as elderly Americans, are unaware that they can opt in," he added.FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, one of two Democrats on the Republican-led commission, approved the order in part and dissented in part.I am disappointed that for all our efforts to support new blocking technology, we couldn't muster up the courage to do what consumers want most—stop robocalls and do it for free.On this aspect of today's decision, I dissent.
After years of complaints, growing bipartisan political pressure, threatened legislation, furious attorneys general and stats that show the problem is only getting worse, the FCC approved a measure on Thursday that should not only stop such calls before they reach people's phones but implement the service by default, rather than requiring subscribers to opt-in.And the FCC will look a new "safe harbor" provision that means mobile companies can block spoofed calls.The measure was passed unanimously by the FCC's five commissioners – a rare event in the increasingly partisan commission – and pretty much everyone is happy that the organization has finally acted in consumers' best interests, rather than the financial interests of the companies it is supposed to oversee.Because, although the new measure will finally bring relief to millions of frustrated users, the FCC has purposefully left the way open for cellular operators to charge for its "service."A very big part of the reason that robocalls exist in the first place is that mobile phone networks make a lot of money from them: if a call connects, the company collects, even if it's a recorded voice offering something you don't want.This new measure – which both the FCC and mobile industry are continuing to pretend is a novel idea that they just arrived at - will finally stem the tide but the cellular networks don't want to lose their robocall revenue and so users can expect to see new charges appear on their bill to make it up.
“Advocates need to lean in,” US Representative Anna Eshoo (D-California) told a panel about net neutrality Thursday at Stanford.Congress moves when it’s pushed from the outside.”Eshoo and her co-panelists, Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, Reddit CEO Steven Huffman, and Stanford law professor Barbara van Schewick, remained doggedly optimistic about the future of net neutrality in the United States.“There is great power in us,” said Rosenworcel, one of two FCC members who in 2017 voted against repealing the Obama-era rules that prohibited internet service providers from intentionally slowing or blocking web traffic.An October poll by Morning Consult showed that 61 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Republicans support net neutrality.“It’s pitched to the American people as a political issue but the only people it’s political for is the politicians,” said Huffman, who noted that net neutrality is the rare issue that nearly all Reddit users agree on.
To hear the Federal Communications Commission tell it, this is a golden age for broadband access in the United States.According to a newly released report from the agency on the digital divide, the gap between rural and urban internet access has “narrowed substantially, and more Americans than ever before have access to high-speed broadband.” Between the end of 2016 and the end of 2017, the number of Americans without broadband access fell from about 26 million to about 21 million, the report found.The data underlying it, they argue, doesn’t truly capture what broadband looks like in rural America — leaving lawmakers and government officials with a warped view of internet access.But the 2019 version of the report has come with an unusual amount of political baggage, and is raising hard questions over the quality of the data used in the process.“And we must have accurate data about the problem we are trying to solve and the progress we are making toward solving it in order to make effective, data-driven decisions.”To generate the report, the FCC relies on data from service providers.