FCC Stories August 11

PSA: FEMA and FCC to conduct emergency alert test today

Since 2012, the US has had the Wireless Emergency Alerts program that uses Americans’ cell phones to warn them about emergencies, such as dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations. Today, FEMA and FCC are conducting a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts.

FCC Stories November 30, 2020

Controversial FCC chairman Ajit Pai has announced that he will resign as of January 20, 2021. This announcement is not necessarily surprising, as this is the same day that President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated and it is tradition for the FCC chairman to step down in conjunction with the inauguration of a new president.

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FCC Stories August 21, 2020

T-Mobile and AT&T says ‘too expensive’ to prove coverage claims

With carrier claims about both LTE and 5G coverage not always reflecting reality, the FCC has said that carriers should have to prove coverage claims. However, both T-Mobile and AT&T are objecting to this, claiming to it would be too expensive for them to do so …

FCC Stories March 7, 2020

The Federal Communications Commission has announced that it will vote later this month on rules that would require all carrier and cable companies provide call blocking technology to customers. This comes after Congress passed the Traced Act, and President Trump signed it into law.

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FCC Stories January 3, 2019

Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai will not make a trip to CES 2019 next week in Las Vegas, nor will FCC commissioner Brendan Carr. The two were reportedly forced to bail on their previously scheduled trips due to the ongoing government shutdown.

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FCC Stories December 31, 2018

FCC to suspend most operations this week due to government shutdown

The FCC has shared today that it is planning to shut down the majority of its operations later this week due to the lapse of government funding.

FCC Stories May 9, 2018

Apple has urged the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to leave the so-called ‘super-high’ radio spectrum free for use for 5G and other uses that may be developed later.

The FCC licenses a number of different radio spectrums, which means that they are reserved for a specific purpose, like mobile voice calls or television. Unlicensed radio spectrum can be used for a variety of purposes, and Apple wants to see frequencies in the 95GHz to 3000GHz range remain unlicensed …

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FCC Stories January 19, 2018

FCC blocks two cheapskate tactics Internet service providers wanted to use

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has blocked two tactics Internet service providers had hoped to use to reduce the expense needed to meet their broadband service obligations …

FCC Stories December 14, 2017

The FCC has today voted to repeal net neutrality policies put in place in 2015 during the Obama administration.

While today’s outcome isn’t much of a surprise, the proposed plan drew more and more criticism and concern from individuals as well as businesses and organizations in the lead up to today’s vote.

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FCC Stories September 28, 2017

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has once again publicly called out Apple over not enabling FM radio chips in iPhones during recent natural disasters. Pai’s pointed statement follows the NAB renewing its own push for Apple to enable FM radio access on iPhones.

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FCC Stories August 31, 2017

Apple has officially broken its silence on the net neutrality debate. In with a new comment, Apple has asked the FCC (via Recode) to “retain strong, enforceable open internet protections” that advance consumer choice, no paid fast lanes, transparency, competition, and investment and innovation.

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FCC Stories March 20, 2017

Sometimes secret Apple devices just aren’t that interesting …

Apple of course goes to great lengths to keep its product plans secret, but there are some places where it is required by law to reveal at least some clues – FCC testing being one of them.

FCC Stories August 8, 2016

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The FCC today announced that it has agreed to a settlement with AT&T for the carrier allowing unauthorized third-party charges on customers’ monthly bill. AT&T will pay a total fine of $7.75 million, $6.8 million of which will be refunds to affect customers. The other $950,000 will be a federal fine paid to the U.S. Treasury.

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FCC Stories January 30, 2016

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Apple recently has filed a new document with the Federal Communications Commission in which it argues that Made for iPhone, or MFi, accessories should be acknowledged by the organization as alternatives for hearing aid compatibility compliance. Recently, the FCC has proposed that all phones and consumer wireless devices must be compatible with hearing aids.

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FCC Stories October 16, 2015

iPad Pro receives FCC clearance as release date nears

Last month, Apple finally unveiled the long-rumored iPad Pro, which sports a large 12.9-inch display and 64-bit A9X processor — the closest thing to a tablet/laptop crossover the company has announced so far. In an FCC filing that just went public, the iPad Pro has officially been cleared for sale and use in the United States.

The report (originally spotted by GforGames) states that the iPad Pro has been registered with model number A1652, with both Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi+LTE models approved. Apple’s Pro tablet will support 802.11 Wi-Fi standards a/b/g/n/ac in 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, and optionally LTE Cat. 4, with maximum download speeds of 150Mbps. These listed specs match those shown on the iPad Pro specs page on Apple’s site. It’s also worth noting that the iPad Pro’s Apple Pencil has also passed through the FCC.

Other specifications include built-in stereo speakers on both ends of the device, for a total of four speakers, and a Touch ID sensor for unlocking and making purchases on iTunes and with Apple Pay. There’s an 8MP iSight camera with f/2.4 aperture on the back with 1080p video and slo-mo, and a 1.2MP FaceTime HD camera on the front.

When it was announced, Apple stated that the iPad Pro will be available to buy in November, but preorders could begin later this month. According to our sources, Apple will make the iPad Pro available to order online within the next two weeks, with devices arriving at retail stores in early November. It’ll cost $799 for the 32GB Wi-Fi only model and $949 for the 128GB version, while the 128GB Wi-Fi + Cellular version will ship with an Apple SIM and cost $1079.

FCC Stories October 8, 2015

wifi calling

AT&T was officially granted an FCC waiver this week to enable Wi-Fi calling for its customers with supported devices like iPhones running iOS 9. Wi-Fi Calling first appeared during the iOS 9 beta period and remained functional for those who enabled it previously, but AT&T stopped sign-ups for the feature once iOS 9 was publicly released due to requirements set by the Federal Communications Commission.

While AT&T has officially turned on Wi-Fi calling for its subscribers, the carrier is doubling down on its position that rivals T-Mobile and Sprint have deployed and marketed Wi-Fi calling features for a while without proper FCC approval. At issue with the FCC is how Wi-Fi calling lacks support for teletypewriter (TTY) devices. And although AT&T has been cleared to turn on Wi-Fi calling without meeting that requirement, it wants in FCC investigation into its competitors’ behavior. expand full story

FCC Stories August 15, 2015

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It appears plans for future Apple wireless accessories have (again) been spoiled by the FCC. According to a pair of filings that hit the organization’s website yesterday, Apple is preparing to soon debut new versions of its Bluetooth Magic Mouse and Wireless Keyboard. According to images indicating the FCC label location on the accessories, the new mouse will be called the “Magic Mouse 2.” As for the new wireless keyboard, there are no indications of a name change as of yet.

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FCC Stories July 29, 2015

AT&T doesn’t want to be throttled for throttling customers

It seems AT&T thinks throttling the data speeds of customers without telling them about it isn’t such a big deal. The Federal Trade Commission sued AT&T back in 2014 for “deceptive and unfair data throttling” after the company imposed caps on unlimited data contracts, beyond which it reduced their data speeds by almost 90%. The Federal Communications Commission joined the party last month, fining AT&T $100 million – and The Hill reports that the carrier now wants that fine reduced to just $16,000.

The Commission’s findings that consumers and competition were harmed are devoid of factual support and wholly implausible,” the company wrote in its filing. “Its ‘moderate’ forfeiture penalty of $100 million is plucked out of thin air, and the injunctive sanctions it proposes are beyond the Commission’s authority.”

The FTC had stated that it could legally have imposed fines of $16,000 per affected consumer, but that would have resulted in an “astronomic” fine, so chose to limit the total penalty to one large enough to deter future violations. AT&T had originally claimed that it was doing nothing wrong, but Ars Technica notes that the company amended its policy in May so that throttling was applied only when the network was congested.

AT&T has not offered unlimited data plans to new customers for some years, but has a small-ish group of customers who remain on grandfathered plans which remain valid for as long as the customer retains the plan.

Apple last month removed subsidies from both AT&T and Verizon iPhones, moving to plans where customers pay the full cost of the phone on an installment plan.

Photo: Re/code

FCC Stories July 24, 2015

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AT&T and DirecTV’s $48.5 billion merger has been approved today following more than a year of regulatory review. The merger will see AT&T become the biggest pay-TV company, passing up cable company Comcast. AT&T says it will serve more than 26 million U.S. customers and 19 million users in Latin America.

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FCC Stories June 17, 2015

AT&T

[Updated with AT&T statement below the fold…]

The Federal Communications Commission announced today that it plans to fine AT&T $100 million for throttling data speeds for customers with unlimited data plans. In its complaint, the FCC said the carrier “deprived consumers of sufficient information to make informed choices about their broadband service” which hurt competition… expand full story

FCC Stories March 17, 2015

Apple Watch Sport

Ahead of the Apple Watch launch next month, Apple has removed language from its website signaling it has received all necessary final approvals from the US Federal Communications Commission.

Up until today, Apple’s website included the following footnote noting that the device had not yet been authorized by the FCC for sale: expand full story

FCC Stories November 25, 2014

FCC pressures T-Mobile into showing actual speed test results for users w/ throttled plans

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission this week reached an agreement with T-Mobile to ensure that customers receive proper information about the speed of their wireless internet connection, even if the user has a capped data plan. The carrier has 60 days to implement the changes outlined in the agreement.

FCC Stories October 28, 2014

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The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced that it is suing AT&T for “deceptive and unfair data throttling”. The FTC’s announcement seems to target AT&T’s practice of lowering data transfer speeds for customers with unlimited data plans versus customers with tiered data plans now offered. From the FTC’s press release:

“AT&T promised its customers ‘unlimited’ data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “The issue here is simple: ‘unlimited’ means unlimited.”

AT&T has called the FTC’s allegations baseless adding that the carrier has been “completely transparent” with its subscribers.

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FCC Stories July 30, 2014

verizon-4g-lte

Following the recent revelation that Verizon Wireless would begin throttling some 4G LTE customers on unlimited data plans, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has sent a letter to the carrier (full text below) expressing his disdain with the policy and question the necessity of throttling only customers on unlimited plans.

In the letter, Wheeler asks Verizon CEO Daniel Mead why exactly the company feels the need to only throttle customers on certain plans, rather than throttling based on the needs of the technology that powers the network. Wheeler says he is “deeply troubled” by Verizon’s claims that the policy is necessary to “optimize” the network, when in his opinion, it appears to more likely be a ploy to get customers off of unlimited plans.

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