Category: FCC

June 7, 2019 Off

FCC passes measure urging carriers to block robocalls by default

By Jill T Frey

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 toward 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.

Under fire for not acting quickly enough in the face of a nationwide epidemic of scam calls, the FCC has taken action about as fast as a federal regulator can be expected to, and there are two main parts to its plan to fight robocalls, one … Read the rest

May 29, 2019 Off

FCC’s broadband deployment report called ‘fundamentally at odds with reality’

By Jill T Frey

The FCC has officially issued this year’s Broadband Deployment Report, summarizing the extent to which the agency and industry have closed the digital divide in this country. But not everyone agrees with it: “The rosy picture the report paints about the status of broadband deployment is fundamentally at odds with reality,” said Geoffrey Starks in a lengthy dissenting statement.

The yearly report, mandated by Congress, documents things like new broadband customers in rural areas, broadband expanding to new regions and all that sort of thing. The one issued today proclaims cheerfully:

[The FCC] has made closing the digital divide between Americans with, and without, access to modern broadband networks its top priority. As a result of those efforts, the digital divide has narrowed substantially, and more Americans than ever before have access to high-speed broadband.

We find, for a second consecutive year, that advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed

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May 16, 2019 Off

A year after outcry, carriers are finally stopping sale of location data, letters to FCC show

By Jill T Frey

Reports emerged a year ago that all the major cellular carriers in the U.S. were selling location data to third-party companies, which in turn sold them to pretty much anyone willing to pay. New letters published by the FCC show that despite a year of scrutiny and anger, the carriers have only recently put an end to this practice.

We already knew that the carriers, like many large companies, simply could not be trusted. In January it was clear that promises to immediately “shut down,” “terminate” or “take steps to stop” the location-selling side business were, shall we say, on the empty side. Kind of like their assurances that these services were closely monitored — no one seems to have bothered actually checking whether the third-party resellers were obtaining the required consent before sharing location data.

Similarly, the carriers took their time shutting down the arrangements they had in place, … Read the rest