T-Mobile US indicated it plans to discontinue its support for the federal Lifeline phone program, which provides subsidized phone service to low-income Americans, as of the end of 2014. The carrier said the move will impact its operations in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, New York and Tennessee and Washington, D.C.
AT&T and Verizon not only think that 4 Mbps is a sufficient definition for broadband, but they have told the FCC that the regulator should not look at data caps when defining whether an Internet service should be qualified as a broadband service.
There have been three broad themes to the FCC under Chairman Tom Wheeler, reinforced in his remarks at the recent CTIA trade show: more competition, more spectrum, and an open, non-discriminatory Internet. The significant items on the FCC docket that play into these themes--the pending AT&T-Direct TV and Comcast-TWC deals, the 600 MHz incentive auctions, and the ongoing discussions on network neutrality--show that the FCC has taken a lot on, and has had a lot thrown at it. An intransigent Congress and the upcoming mid-term elections are an additional wildcard that could impact how and how quickly these major items are addressed.
The success of the mobile broadband industry is due in part to a light regulatory touch that has encouraged massive investments and resulted in one of the most successful industries of all time. This industry, however, is still in the relatively early stages and will grow and evolve in ways that cannot be predicted. It will be successful to the extent that unnecessary regulatory strangleholds, especially ones that treat wireless and wireline equally, do not hold it back.
Over 90 of AT&T's wireless industry partners have come together to jointly make their voice heard at the FCC in protesting the service provider's pending acquisition of DirecTV.
A bill renewing the ability of satellite operators to take broadcast signals from far-away stations and deliver them to about 1.5 million rural subscribers without local access to various broadcast outlets has passed the Senate by voice vote.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is expected to withdraw an effort to include in the pending satellite reauthorization bill rules that would give the FCC greater oversight over pay-TV customer service.
The Competitive Carriers Association is urging the FCC to reconsider its rules for triggering when bidding for next year's planned incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum will split into "unreserved" airwaves and "reserved" spectrum set aside for smaller carriers.
Commenters applauded a federal government proposal to set up a public-private partnership that would create a model city for testing spectrum-sharing policies and technologies.The plan was floated in July by the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
With the public commentary period for the FCC's proposed new net-neutrality rules ending Monday night, the commission reported that the number of comments had set a record, at more than 3 million.