FCC Chair Ajit Pai Plans a Public Auction of C-Band Waves

The Federal Communications Commission wants to offer a public auction of C-Band airwaves, taking away control from Intelsat SA and SES SA, which had planned a private auction that could have earned them billions of dollars. FCC chair Ajit Pai said the airwaves would be freed for 5G wireless use and generate revenue for the U.S. government. The plan could be voted on in early 2020. The satellite companies protested, saying they would work to create an alternative plan and calling Pai’s plan “a significant departure.” Continue reading FCC Chair Ajit Pai Plans a Public Auction of C-Band Waves

FCC Approves T-Mobile and Sprint Merger, States File Suit

The Federal Communications Commission approved T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint, a $26 billion merger that has been opposed by numerous state attorneys general and consumer advocacy groups. T-Mobile and Sprint, respectively the nation’s third and fourth-largest wireless carriers, pioneered the end of early termination fees and reintroduction of unlimited data plans. The FCC, which is dominated by Republicans, lauded the deal as likely to speed up the adoption of 5G networks across the U.S. Meanwhile, a group of state attorneys general are continuing with a lawsuit that intends to fight the merger. Continue reading FCC Approves T-Mobile and Sprint Merger, States File Suit

FCC Proposals Will Ban Carriers’ Use of Huawei, ZTE Gear

The FCC introduced two measures that would prevent U.S. carriers from using technology from Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE. Both measures impact the Universal Service Fund, managed by the FCC, that provides subsidies to low-income households. The first would prohibit carriers from using money from the Fund to buy ZTE or Huawei equipment. The second, under-development measure would require carriers receiving money from the Fund to remove existing Huawei and ZTE gear, possibly in exchange for replacements. Continue reading FCC Proposals Will Ban Carriers’ Use of Huawei, ZTE Gear

FCC Formally Approves the Merger of T-Mobile and Sprint

The Federal Communications Commission approved the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint yesterday, months after the Justice Department gave its approval. FCC chair Ajit Pai and Republican commissioners Brendan Carr and Michael O’Rielly indicated their support of the deal in May, believing that it would lead to a faster deployment of 5G. Democrats voted against the merger, and commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel argued that it would lead to higher prices and less innovation, ultimately impacting consumers. A coalition of state attorneys general are still attempting to prevent the merger with a multistate lawsuit. Continue reading FCC Formally Approves the Merger of T-Mobile and Sprint

Federal Appeals Court Offers Mixed Ruling on Net Neutrality

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit yesterday upheld the federal government’s repeal of net neutrality in the latest ruling that impacts how companies connect people to the Internet. However, the appeals court also ruled that the FCC had overstepped in its decision to prevent state and local governments from establishing their own related rules. The mixed ruling will likely lead to continued debate over net neutrality regulation, especially on the state level. It is also seen as a victory for the Trump administration, which has supported deregulation, and FCC chair Ajit Pai, who believes the repeal is good for the economy and fosters innovation. Continue reading Federal Appeals Court Offers Mixed Ruling on Net Neutrality

DOJ Okays T-Mobile/Sprint Merger, State AGs Sue to Block

The Justice Department approved the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, respectively the U.S.’s third and fourth largest wireless networks. Critics of the merger, who include several state attorneys general and Democratic presidential candidates, reiterated that the deal would not benefit consumers, a point of view shared, until recently, by DOJ’s antitrust chief Makan Delrahim. He considered the ramifications but changed his mind when both companies agreed to sell portions of their businesses to Dish Network. Continue reading DOJ Okays T-Mobile/Sprint Merger, State AGs Sue to Block

Dish Purchase Opens Door to Merger of T-Mobile and Sprint

Following weeks of negotiation, Dish Network has agreed to pay about $1.5 billion for T-Mobile and Sprint’s prepaid mobile businesses and about $3.5 billion for their spectrum. The deal’s terms prevent Dish from selling the assets or transferring control of them to a third party for a period of three years. The Justice Department is set now to approve the $26.5 billion merger of the two mobile phone carriers, said sources, which would position Dish to become the No. 4 wireless carrier in the U.S., replacing Sprint. Continue reading Dish Purchase Opens Door to Merger of T-Mobile and Sprint

FCC Proposal Restricts Local Regulation of Cable Networks

FCC chair Ajit Pai has put forth a plan to prevent cities and towns from regulating Internet access via their authority over cable TV networks and limit how much cities can charge cable companies. The cable industry has long lobbied for these changes; Pai’s proposal will come to a vote at the FCC on August 1. Pai’s proposal states that “some states and localities” are collecting fees and imposing requirements not “explicitly allowed” by Title VI, the cable regulation section Congress added to the Cable Act of 1984. Continue reading FCC Proposal Restricts Local Regulation of Cable Networks

FCC Plans to Reallocate Educational TV Spectrum For 5G

To create space for 5G in the mid-band spectrum, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to reallocate a block of 2.5GHz spectrum once reserved for educational TV and put it on the auction block. The reallocation vote is scheduled for July 10, with the auction planned for some time next year. Mid-band spectrum, also called sub-6GHz frequencies, delivers slower rates but better penetrates buildings and travels faster than millimeter wave signals. Crowdsourced network coverage service Opensignal quantified 5G speeds in South Korea. Continue reading FCC Plans to Reallocate Educational TV Spectrum For 5G

U.S. Blocks Chinese Telecom Bid for International Services

Citing law enforcement and national security risks, the Federal Communications Commissions unanimously denied an application by China Mobile USA (the U.S. arm of Chinese telecom giant, China Mobile Ltd.), which aimed to provide international calls and other services via American networks. This could be another in a series of signs of escalating tensions between China and the U.S. The crux of the FCC’s concern is that the company is owned by the Chinese government and would be therefore vulnerable to that influence.

Continue reading U.S. Blocks Chinese Telecom Bid for International Services

NCTA Lobbies For Paid Prioritization in Net Neutrality Rules

NCTA (National Cable TV Association) chief executive Michael Powell told Congress’ Communications and Technology subcommittee that the lobbying group agrees, “there should be no blocking or throttling of lawful content … [or] paid prioritization that creates fast lanes and slow lanes.” Even so, he did ask for exceptions that would allow Internet providers to charge for prioritization “under certain circumstances.” His request highlights the stark divide between the broadband industry and net neutrality advocates. Continue reading NCTA Lobbies For Paid Prioritization in Net Neutrality Rules

FCC Nixes California Regulators’ Plan to Add Fee to Texting

California telecom regulators wanted to impose a state fee on text-messaging services, but the Federal Communications Commission has squelched that plan by classifying text-messaging as an information service, not a telecommunications service. That’s the same classification the FCC applied to broadband when it repealed net neutrality and dictated that states cannot create their own net neutrality laws. Although California’s legislature is challenging the latter in court, it isn’t challenging the latest FCC ruling. Continue reading FCC Nixes California Regulators’ Plan to Add Fee to Texting

Seattle to Lead Cities’ Fight Against FCC’s 5G Rollout Order

Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan and city attorney Pete Holmes plan to sue the FCC over its decision to preempt local rules on 5G deployment — and will also coordinate with other cities on that lawsuit. The Portland City Council voted on Tuesday to approve the lawsuit, reported The Oregonian, which added that there is a growing list of cities preparing to join the fight. Although most of those cities are on the West Coast, others including New York City, Boston and rural areas have also been vocal against the FCC’s move. Continue reading Seattle to Lead Cities’ Fight Against FCC’s 5G Rollout Order

FCC Plan Could Allocate Airwaves for the Deployment of 5G

Later this month, the Federal Communications Commission will vote on a proposal to free up underused airwaves now used by broadcasters, telecom companies and utilities, to help jumpstart the deployment of 5G wireless technology. According to an FCC official, the proposal would help ease traffic on licensed spectrum typically used by Verizon, AT&T and other big carriers, and encourage more unlicensed radio traffic. The result would improve download speeds for next-gen Wi-Fi devices and aid wireless Internet service providers. Continue reading FCC Plan Could Allocate Airwaves for the Deployment of 5G

California Restores Net Neutrality Rules, Justice Dept. Sues

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law restoring net neutrality rules that the Trump administration had repealed. The law prevents broadband and wireless companies from blocking or throttling access to Internet content or charging for faster speeds to favor one website over another. The Department of Justice quickly stated it would sue California to block the new law, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions adding that, “under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce — the federal government does.” Continue reading California Restores Net Neutrality Rules, Justice Dept. Sues

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