Earlier this week, the announcement that Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell was leaving gave Genachowski, a Democrat, more political leeway to leave his post. As The Washington Post noted, even with Genachowski gone the Democrats would retain a 2-1 voting advantage. If he had left before McDowell, the votes at the FCC would be 2-2.
Sprint's buyout by Japanese carrier Softbank should be right on track for a late May conclusion, Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, hinted today.
Specifically, the FCC head said that his organization's review is on schedule with the typical 180-day review period, after which the FCC hands down a yay or nay decision. In this case, the 180-day count ends on May 29.
Just because the process is going well, doesn't mean it's a done deal. Even with full FCC approval, the Justice Department, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security could still stall the … Read more
The Federal Communications Commission has issued citations that accuse two companies of bombarding wireless customers with millions of illegal robocalls during last year's presidential election.
Working for both the Democratic and Republican parties, the two companies placed more than 1 million artificial voice messages each without consumers' prior authorization, the FCC said Friday. The companies, Dialing Services and Democratic Dialing, also failed to provide proper identification as required by federal law, the FCC said.
"Consumers have increasingly been sounding the alarm on robocalls, rightly complaining about unwanted, intrusive cell phone calls and text messages from strangers, or worse … Read more
In a statement, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said that the merger will strengthen the U.S. wireless market by "moving toward robust competition and revitalized competitors."
The Justice Department, meanwhile, said in its statement that because MetroPCS is a regional provider and T-Mobile is a nationwide carrier, competition should not be harmed at a national level by allowing the companies to combine. And because MetroPCS competes in markets where all four nationwide … Read more
Google has begun testing a new database that would allow unlicensed TV broadcast spectrum to be used for wireless broadband and shared among many users.
The new database will keep track of the TV broadcast frequencies in use so that wireless broadband devices can take advantage of the unlicensed space on the spectrum, also called "white space."
Google is one of several companies that has built such a database, and it is the latest one to enter into the Federal Communications Commission's 45-day testing phase. Spectrum Bridge and Telcordia completed their trials, and there are another 10 … Read more
The Federal Communications Commission might eventually investigate whether it should be illegal for consumers to unlock their mobile phones.
Speaking to TechCrunch in an interview published yesterday, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said that the ban is "something that we will look at at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones." He went on to tell TechCrunch that the "ban raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns."
The U.S. in January made it illegal for consumers to unlock mobile phones -- a relatively common practice among unhappy carrier … Read more
The Federal Communications Commission yesterday announced new regulations for cell phone signal boosters.
Under the new rules, anyone who has a signal booster or plans to buy one must obtain permission to use it from their carrier. If permission is obtained, the signal booster must be registered with the carrier to ensure it meets specifications and all parties are aware of its use.
The FCC's rules, which were first brought to the floor in 2011, take aim at reducing interference with wireless networks. Signal boosters are designed to connect to cell phones to improve a connection with towers in … Read more
The Federal Communications Commission took the first steps today toward freeing up more wireless spectrum to boost Wi-Fi data speeds and ease congestion on Wi-Fi networks in hotels, airports, and homes.
During its meeting today, the five-member commission approved a proposal that will allow 195 megahertz of additional wireless spectrum in the 5GHz band to be used for unlicensed Wi-Fi use. This will increase the amount of available unlicensed spectrum by 35 percent. This is the largest block of wireless spectrum the FCC has freed up for unlicensed use in 10 years.
The commission also agreed to create rules that … Read more
A hefty chunk of taxpayer dollars spent by the government on mobile phone service for low-income Americans may have been wasted.
A federal program called Lifeline provides hefty discounts on mobile phone service to qualifying low-income households. The goal is to ensure that they can connect with families, employers, and emergency services.
How many of those households should actually have been receiving the discount?
Last year, the Federal Communications Commission started forcing mobile carriers to confirm the eligibility of their Lifelife subscribers. The agency figured that around 15 percent of users would be determined ineligible, but the tighter rules discovered … Read more
The Federal Communications Commission held the first of several planned field hearings today in Hoboken, N.J., to review what went wrong with the nation's communications network during Superstorm Sandy.
The storm, which was one of the worst to hit the East Coast of the United States, knocked out about 25 percent of all cell sites and cable service in the 10 states affected by the storm. Of course, in certain regions where the storm hit the hardest, such as New York and New Jersey, these figures were much greater.
In Long Beach, N.Y., on Long Island, every … Read more