News

FTC recommends steps to prevent unnecessary charges on consumer mobile phone bills

Through cramming, customers are charged for goods and services provided by third-party merchants. Sometimes these are legitimate add-on third party charges such as charitable contributions. However, a new Federatl Trade Commission report notes that other charges may be added illegally by scammers.

Extending rural broadband service a priority, USDA official tells Congress

The Agriculture Department has launched several efforts to help connect rural communities with high-speed broadband services, an agency official recently told a Congressional panel.

Obama expected to sign into law a bill allowing consumers to legally 'unlock' cellphones

The "Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act" (S. 517) reverses an October 2012 decision by the Library of Congress's Copyright Office that said unlocking cellphones without the carrier's permission is prohibited under 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

FCC warns broadband providers to provide accurate price and service information

In a July 23 advisory, the Federal Communications Commission said the Open Internet Transparency Rule, which has been in force since 2011, still applies to all ISPs whether they're cable, telephone, satellite, and fixed and mobile wireless providers.

House bill seeks to open up additional unlicensed spectrum for WiFi devices

A new bipartisan House bill directs the Federal Communications Commission to determine if some spectrum bands can be set aside specifically for wireless devices such as laptop and tablet computers.

Air Force: 3 satellites expected to provide 'space neighborhood watch capability'

The Air Force plans to launch two operational satellites and one experimental one July 23 that could create a "space neighborhood watch capability," according to a press release.

Wheeler: FCC to push for improved access, reliability for 911 calls

The Federal Communications Commission is moving to improve the reliability of emergency calls and add new, long-delayed capabilities such as emergency texting, the agency's chairman recently wrote in a blog post.

FCC needs more transparency, accountability in program providing rural telecom service, GAO says

Although the Federal Communications Commission has begun making funding reforms to a program to support both telephone and broadband service in rural areas, congressional investigators said the agency needs to do a better job in collecting and analyzing data to gauge the program's effectiveness.

FCC frees up more funding for wireless broadband deployments to schools and libraries

The Federal Communications Commission will add an additional $5 billion to a program to help provide high-speed, WiFi connections to every library and school in the United States.

FCC wants to fund wide range of experiments to help expand rural broadband service

Data collected from the various experiments will provide input into the FCC's broader effort to expand rural broadband through its Connect America Fund program.

Senate OKs bill that lets consumers unlock cellphones so they can switch providers

The Senate passed a bill July 15 that would let consumers unlock their cellphones instead of buying new ones when they switch providers.

Federal government seeks input on testing dynamic spectrum sharing

The Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration issued a joint public notice July 11, seeking input in creating a so-called "Model City" program, which is an outgrowth of a White House report about how spectrum can be better used to spur economic growth.

FCC chairman pushes to expand wireless coverage to all US schools, libraries

The plan, proposed by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, would pump an additional $5 billion into the commission's ongoing E-Rate program to extend high-speed WiFi services. His plan is slated for a vote on July 11.

Canada to auction mobile wireless spectrum in 2015

Next year the Canadian government will auction off more wireless spectrum to boost competition and cut mobile device costs. Beginning in 2015 the Advanced Wireless Spectrum (AWS-3) spectrum will be opened to wireless firms. According to Canadian government officials, AWS-3 is well suited for providing reliable high-speed connectivity for smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices.

Verizon: Nearly 150,000 requests for customer information from federal, state and local governments

In its second-ever "Transparency Report," the company provided a breakdown of subpoenas, orders, warrants and emergency requests that were made by law enforcement. However, it did not detail the number of requests made by each level of government.

More U.S. households ditch landlines to become cell phone only, new CDC survey reveals

Preliminary results from the survey released July 8 showed that about 40 percent of homes had only cell or mobile phones during the second half of 2013. That was an increase of 1.6 percentage points from the first half of the year and 2.8 percentage points since the second half of 2012.

FTC accuses T-Mobile of charging customers with bogus subscriptions

The Federal Trade Commission accused T-Mobile USA Inc. July 1 for charging its customers with bogus subscriptions that they never authorized.

EU further cuts roaming charges for calls, text and data across member countries

The European Union implemented new roaming charge rules across its 28 member countries, capping how much people can be charged for making outgoing calls, getting incoming calls, sending text messages and going online.

FCC's Clyburn: 600 MHz spectrum auction 'unique' opportunity, not a 'train wreck'

Federal Communications Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said the 600 megahertz spectrum auction slated for next year won't be a "train wreck," but an opportunity to re-purpose spectrum for...

FCC fines Chinese company almost $35M for marketing illegal signal jamming devices

The agency applied the maximum fine for each of the 285 models that C.T.S. Technology Co., Limited, marketed, the Federal Communications Commission said.