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      Senate confirms Biden FCC pick as 5 Republicans join Democrats in 55-43 vote

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 7 September, 2023 - 19:11

    The Federal Communications Commission meeting room, with an empty chair in front of the FCC seal and two United States flags.

    Enlarge / The Federal Communications Commission seal hangs inside a meeting room at the headquarters ahead of an open commission meeting in Washington, DC, on Thursday, December 14, 2017. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

    The US Senate today confirmed nominee Anna Gomez to the Federal Communications Commission, finally giving President Biden a Democratic majority on the telecom regulator more than two and a half years into his presidency. The vote to confirm Gomez was 55-43 and went mostly along party lines.

    Biden's first nominee was Gigi Sohn, a longtime consumer advocate who drew united opposition from Republicans and doubts from more conservative Democrats. Sohn withdrew her nomination in March 2023, blaming the cable lobby and "unlimited dark money" for scuttling her appointment. The Senate never scheduled a floor vote on Sohn.

    Biden tried again in May with the nomination of Gomez , a State Department digital policy official who was previously deputy assistant secretary at the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) from 2009 to 2023. A lawyer, Gomez was vice president of government affairs at Sprint Nextel from 2006 to 2009 and before that spent about 12 years at the FCC in several roles.

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      ISPs complain that listing every fee is too hard, urge FCC to scrap new rule

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 15 August, 2023 - 20:01

    Dollar signs superimposed on a photo of a person's hands typing on a laptop keyboard.

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | anyaberkut)

    The US broadband industry is united in opposition to a requirement that Internet service providers list all of their monthly fees. Five lobby groups representing cable companies, fiber and DSL providers, and mobile operators have repeatedly urged the Federal Communications Commission to eliminate the requirement before new broadband labeling rules take effect.

    The trade associations petitioned the FCC in January to change the rules and renewed their call last week in a filing and in a meeting with FCC officials. The requirement that ISPs list all their monthly fees "would add unnecessary complexity and burdens to the label for consumers and providers and could result in some providers having to create many labels for any given plan," the groups said in the filing on Friday.

    The trade groups said the FCC should instead "require providers to include an explanatory statement that such fees may apply and that they vary by jurisdiction, similar to the Commission's treatment of government-imposed taxes," or require "the display of the maximum level of government-imposed fees that might be passed through, so that consumers would not experience bill shock with respect to such fees."

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      FCC chair: Speed standard of 25Mbps down, 3Mbps up isn’t good enough anymore

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 25 July, 2023 - 20:18

    A United States map illustrated with streams of ones and zeroes to represent binary data and Internet transmissions.

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | wigglestick)

    The Federal Communications Commission hasn't raised its broadband speed standard since early 2015 when it adopted a metric of 25Mbps downloads and 3Mbps uploads.

    That could finally change under Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, who is proposing a fixed broadband standard of 100Mbps downloads and 20Mbps uploads along with a goal of bringing affordable service at those speeds to all Americans. Under her plan, the FCC would evaluate broadband availability, speeds, and prices to determine whether to take regulatory actions to promote network deployment and competition.

    Rosenworcel hasn't revealed anything about how affordability will be measured. But in a proposed Notice of Inquiry that would start an evaluation of broadband deployment across the US, she included affordability as one of the aspects to be considered.

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      Biden FCC nominee advances to Senate floor despite Ted Cruz’s protests

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 12 July, 2023 - 17:40

    In the FCC hearing room, an empty chair sits in front of the FCC seal and two US flags.

    Enlarge / Federal Communications Commission hearing room on February 26, 2015, in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty Images | Mark Wilson)

    Democrats are one step closer to having a majority on the Federal Communications Commission for the first time in Joe Biden's presidency.

    Biden nominee Anna Gomez was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee today, advancing her nomination to the Senate floor. A vote of the full Senate on Gomez's nomination has not been scheduled yet.

    Democrats hold a 14-13 majority on the Senate Commerce Committee. Gomez's nomination was passed without a full roll call, but nine Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), asked to be recorded as a "no" on Gomez's nomination.

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      Biden picks new FCC nominee to fill seat that’s been empty for over two years

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 22 May, 2023 - 20:17

    Joe Biden speaking into a microphone

    Enlarge / US President Joe Biden on March 13, 2023, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. (credit: Getty Images | Saul Loeb)

    President Biden today announced his new choice to fill the empty seat on the Federal Communications Commission, which has been deadlocked with two Democrats and two Republicans for his entire presidency.

    Biden nominated Democrat Anna Gomez, who has worked in both government and the telecom industry. Gomez has been at the US State Department since January 2023 as senior adviser for International Information and Communications Policy and was a deputy assistant secretary at the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) from 2009 to 2023.

    A lawyer, Gomez was also vice president of government affairs at Sprint Nextel from 2006 to 2009. Before working for Sprint, she spent about 12 years in several roles at the FCC, including deputy chief of the International Bureau and senior legal adviser to then-Chairman William Kennard.

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      FCC chair proposes ban on deceptive “Broadcast TV” and “Regional Sports” fees

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 22 March, 2023 - 18:19

    The phrase &quo;Hidden fees&quo; printed on a piece of paper tucked inside a pile of documents.

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | AndreyPopov)

    A new proposal targeting hidden fees charged by cable and satellite companies could force TV providers to clearly list their "all-in" prices.

    The proposal announced today by Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel would require cable and direct-broadcast satellite providers to "state the total cost of video programming service clearly and prominently, including broadcast retransmission consent, regional sports programming, and other programming-related fees, as a prominent single line item on subscribers' bills and in promotional materials."

    TV providers generally advertise a low rate that doesn't include charges such as the "Broadcast TV" and "Regional Sports Network" fees. Cable and satellite companies say these fees cover the amounts they have to pay for programming.

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      Starlink/T-Mobile plan for satellite-to-phone service to get boost from FCC

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 17 March, 2023 - 16:07

    SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert sit on a stage outdoors, holding microphones and smiling, during a press conference. Sievert wears a T-Mobile T-shirt and Musk wears a T-shirt that says

    Enlarge / SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert at a joint event on August 25, 2022, in Boca Chica Beach, Texas. (credit: Getty Images | Michael Gonzalez )

    The Federal Communications Commission says it wants to help satellite companies and mobile carriers partner up to close gaps in wireless networks. In a 4-0 vote, the FCC yesterday proposed "a new regulatory framework" designed to help satellite operators and wireless companies "leverage the growth in space-based services to connect smartphone users in remote, unserved, and underserved areas."

    In August 2022, Starlink operator SpaceX and T-Mobile announced a plan to deliver space-to-ground service to mobile phones in areas not covered by T-Mobile's cellular network. SpaceX said this week that the companies plan to start testing the satellite-to-cell service sometime this year. Text messaging is expected to be the first supported service, with voice and Internet coverage to be added later.

    The FCC said yesterday that "numerous such collaborations have launched recently, and the FCC seeks to establish clear and transparent processes to support supplemental coverage from space."

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      FCC orders phone companies to block scam text messages

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 16 March, 2023 - 18:40

    A man viewing a text message with a

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | B4LLS)

    The Federal Communications Commission today finalized rules requiring mobile carriers to block robotext messages that are likely to be illegal. The FCC described the rules as the agency's "first regulations specifically targeting the increasing problem of scam text messages sent to consumers."

    Carriers will be required to block text messages that come from "invalid, unallocated, or unused numbers." Carriers must also block texts from "numbers that the subscriber to the number has self-identified as never sending text messages, and numbers that government agencies and other well-known entities identify as not used for texting," the FCC said.

    Carriers will have to establish a point of contact for text senders so the senders can inquire about blocked texts. The FCC already requires similar blocking of voice calls from these types of numbers.

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      FCC officials owned stock in Comcast, Charter, AT&T, and Verizon, watchdog says

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 15 March, 2023 - 19:43

    In this photo illustration, the Comcast logo is displayed on a smartphone with a stock exchange index graph in the background.

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | SOPA Images)

    The Federal Communications Commission should be investigated for letting employees own stock in Comcast, Charter, AT&T, and Verizon, nonprofit watchdog group Campaign Legal Center told government officials.

    " Federal law specifically bans FCC employees from owning 'any stocks, bonds, or other securities of [any company] significantly regulated by the Commission,'" the nonprofit group said last week in a letter and detailed report sent to FCC Acting Inspector General Sharon Diskin. "Despite this ban, the most recent financial disclosures publicly available show that ethics officials allowed multiple FCC employees to own stock in telecommunications and other companies that appear to fall under the prohibition."

    The letter, sent by Campaign Legal Center General Counsel Kedric Payne and two other lawyers at the group, urged the FCC Office of Inspector General (OIG) to "investigate whether the FCC's ethics officials took appropriate action to enforce the ethics laws... The ethics officials responsible for enforcement must explain to OIG and the public why they allowed employees to hold stocks in FCC licensed telecommunications and computer companies in apparent violation of the law."

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