by Mike Masnick
Thu, Feb 10th 2011 4:18am
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Dec 22nd 2010 7:47am
Does The FCC Really Not Understand The Difference Between A Device Operating System And A Mobile Network?
from the these-are-the-people-who-regulate-us? dept
Further, we recognize that there have been meaningful recent moves toward openness, including the introduction of open operating systems like Android.Now, whether or not you agree with the FCC's plans, or with the idea of "net neutrality" regulations in general, this statement is a bit of a head scratcher. It's kind of like saying "because cars use gasoline, we see no reason to set speed limits." I mean, the two are kinda sorta related in that they both involve cars (or mobile computing), but they're not the same thing at all. Just because Android is a more open operating system has nothing to do with network discrimination or questions about the end-to-end principle of networks. Making such a statement suggests that the FCC doesn't understand the difference between an operating system and a mobile network... and that's just scary.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Oct 28th 2010 4:56pm
from the doing-the-math dept
Of course, as Broadband Reports points out, something in the math doesn't make sense. This apparently went on for 2 to 3 years and impacted 15 million customers. While not every customer was charged the fee every month, many claim they did see it pretty much every month. So, start doing the math. Even if we assume that, say, one third of the users saw it every month for just one year and the rest saw it only once, we're already talking $90 million. But if it's true that many of them saw it for multiple years, and even if you throw in the $25 million fine, it sounds like Verizon Wireless could come out ahead in the end... Oh, and in case you were wondering, Karl Bode confirmed that no one at the FCC audited Verizon Wireless's estimates for how many people were charged this fee, so it's going on faith that Verizon Wireless -- who for years denied this fee existed -- is telling the truth about how many times it was charged.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Oct 4th 2010 2:16am
Verizon Wireless To Pay $90 Million Back To Users For $1.99 Data Fees It Insisted It Never Wrongly Charged
from the well,-look-at-that dept
That was in December of last year. Now, ten months later, Verizon has just announced that it's going to pay back "up to" $90 million in such bogus fees that it never should have charged to about 15 million subscribers. Apparently, those claims of not having done stuff wrong... well... it looks like that wasn't the case. It looks like they incorrectly charged people to the tune of perhaps $90 million (the company apparently thinks it could be more like $50 million once they've found all the false charges). Seems like a pretty big "accident," which they denied for so long. The latest statement suggests that Verizon Wireless "just" noticed these errors while "reviewing customer accounts," but given the number of complaints, and the fact that it's been going on for so long, including massive press coverage and an FCC investigation, you would think the company would have figured this out sooner.
Speaking of the FCC, it appears that it's not entirely satisfied with this customer refund, as the head of the FCC's enforcement bureau (or some PR staffer working there) amusingly quipped that the FCC was: "gratified to see the repayment, but for millions of Americans it's a day late and a $1.99 short."
Wed, May 5th 2010 7:10pm
from the irony dept
Mon, May 3rd 2010 7:36pm
from the now-with-added-free dept
It doesn't look like M2Z has updated its plan at all since 2006, doing nothing to address any of the concerns, beyond replacing the need for private investment with a second government handout, on top of its free spectrum. In particular, they don't seem to have upped their targets for the speed of their network. What the company was proposing wasn't exactly fast in 2006, is pretty pokey now, and will be even less attractive by the time its network would get up and running. In addition, it's worth clarifying that the "512 kbps" M2Z talks about is arrived at by adding the 384kbps downstream speed plus the 128 kbps upstream speed they plan to offer. That's a new trick we haven't seen before, even in the world of "up to" broadband speed advertising.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Mar 16th 2010 6:32am
from the no-one dept
The report pays lip service to greater competition and talks about getting better data and about making better use of wireless spectrum. Well, duh. But it takes no bold steps -- does nothing to really take control out of the hands of the incumbent telco providers -- just as we originally expected, even if really disruptive, but necessary, ideas were considered, they don't appear in the final plan.
In the end, it's the kind of plan you put forward if you're being political and don't want to make waves. It's not the plan you put forward if you're making a bold leadership statement about how to really expand broadband in this country. Too bad.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jul 31st 2009 6:37pm
from the whoops dept
Either way, this isn't good for anyone. The FCC's reasoning is that it:
"has a mission to foster a competitive wireless marketplace, protect and empower consumers, and promote innovation and investment."That's actually a bit of a stretch on the FCC's actual mandate. And as ridiculous as I think Apple's actions are here, having the FCC get involved doesn't seem good for anyone either. The FCC shouldn't be involved in deciding what applications get put on phones. Apple's decision has angered a bunch of people, with some swearing off the iPhone because of it. In those cases, those people have other options and other phones to go to. The situation doesn't require the FCC to get involved. It should just require Apple coming to its senses and getting rid of its silly policy of outright rejections of apps it doesn't like.
Tue, Mar 3rd 2009 6:38pm
from the same-old-story dept
We might be more sympathetic to the NAB's claim if it didn't have such a long and glorious history of trying to stifle anything that competes with incumbent broadcasters, and have such an annoying way of doing it. The FCC has put significant stipulations in place to ensure that white space devices don't cause interference, and despite the NAB's contention, the prototypes that failed in the testing process didn't do so. The FCC got it right by approving use of the white spaces with the restrictions and rules it put in place to tame interference; the NAB has once again got it wrong by trying to stifle innovation, and perhaps competition.
Fri, Feb 13th 2009 2:29pm
from the not-completely-surprising dept
The regulations say that one station in the broadcasters' metro areas must maintain analog service until at least the middle of April, but also that the stations must increase their "educational" programming about the switchover, and also provide both "local or toll-free telephone assistance, including engineering support" and "provide a location and staff for a consumer 'walk-in' center to assist consumers with applying for coupons and obtaining converter boxes, to demonstrate how to install converter boxes, to provide maps and lists of communities that maybe affected by coverage issues, and to serve as a redistribution point for consumers who are willing to donate coupons, converter boxes, televisions and for those in need of these items."
If this didn't involve the government, it would almost be remarkable. The government botched the converter coupon program, has caused more confusion with the delay, and now wants TV stations to set up call centers and walk-in locations to deal with it. What's even more galling is that stations will be forced to toss resources at an issue that effects a small sliver of the population: take the small subset of Americans that watch TV, but don't have cable or satellite, then the subset of those that haven't yet gotten with the program. From those few people that are left standing, will they be any more ready in June than they would be on the 17th, when the switchover was supposed to happen? And why should broadcasters have to devote so many resources to them, particularly when it's the bungled coupon program that's largely to blame?