Jon Brodkin

FCC secrecy over net neutrality comments leads to settlement for journalist

The Federal Communications Commission has settled a case over its refusal to comply with a public records request, agreeing to pay $43,000 to a journalist who sued the commission. Freelance writer Jason Prechtel filed a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request with the FCC in mid-2017, asking for data that would identify who made bulk comment uploads in the proceeding that led to the repeal of network neutrality rules. Prechtel was trying to research comments that were falsely attributed to people without their knowledge.

ISPs strike deal with Vermont to suspend state net neutrality law

The state of Vermont has agreed to suspend enforcement of its network neutrality law pending the outcome of a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission. In Oct, the nation's largest broadband industry lobby groups sued VT in a US District Court to stop a state law that requires Internet service providers to follow net neutrality principles in order to qualify for government contracts.

Despite carriers selling 911 location data, FCC ignores privacy in new rules

Smartphone 911 location data is getting more precise, but the Federal Communications Commission isn't updating its privacy rules despite carriers' history of selling their customers' location data. The FCC is scheduled to vote on a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) requiring collection of more precise location data. The data would identify a person's floor in a multi-story building when someone calls 911 and is being referred to as "Z-axis" data.

New York hasn’t followed through on order to kick Charter out of state

New York government officials still haven't followed through on a July 2018 decision to kick Charter Communications out of the state. Negotiations between Charter and the state have dragged on for months past the original deadline, and the sides say they're getting closer to an agreement that would allow Charter to remain in New York. The state Public Service Commission (PSC) voted on July 27, 2018 to revoke its approval of Charter's 2016 purchase of Time Warner Cable (TWC), after accusing Charter of failing to meet merger-related broadband expansion commitments.

Chairman Pai’s rosy broadband deployment claim may be based on gigantic error

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai's latest claim that his deregulatory policies have increased broadband deployment may be based in part on a gigantic error.

Pai FCC Loses in Court -- Judges Overturn Gutting of Tribal Lifeline Program

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit overturned the Federal Communications Commission's attempt to take broadband subsidies away from tribal residents. The Ajit Pai-led FCC voted 3-2 in Nov 2017 to make it much harder for tribal residents to obtain a $25-per-month Lifeline subsidy that reduces the cost of Internet or phone service. The change didn't take effect because in Aug 2018, the court stayed the FCC decision pending appeal.

Net neutrality court case preview: Did FCC mess up by redefining broadband?

Oral arguments in the case against Ajit Pai's net neutrality repeal are scheduled for Feb 1, and net neutrality advocates are confident that they will be victorious. Courts generally give deference to FCC classifications, so Pai's opponents will have the burden of proving that the FCC's reasoning wasn't legally sound. Net neutrality proponents spoke to reporters about the upcoming oral arguments in a press conference on Jan 30. 

Verizon blames school text provider in dispute over “spam” fee

After being criticized for charging a new fee that could kill a free texting service for teachers and students, Verizon is trying to deflect blame. Now Verizon is offering to reverse the fee for K-12 users of the free Remind service. "Verizon will not charge Remind fees as long as they don't begin charging K-12 schools, educators, parents, and students using its free text message service," Verizon said.

Verizon charges new “spam” fee for texts sent from teachers to students

A free texting service used by teachers, students, and parents may stop working on the Verizon Wireless network because of a dispute over texting fees that Verizon demanded from the company that operates the service. As a result, teachers that use the service have been expressing their displeasure with Verizon. Remind—the company that offers the classroom communication service—criticized Verizon for charging the new fee.

Minnesota AG seeks refunds from Comcast, alleging company lied to hide full cost of service

A new lawsuit filed against Comcast details an extensive list of lies the cable company allegedly told customers in order to hide the full cost of service. Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson sued Comcast in Hennepin County District Court on Dec 21, seeking refunds for all customers who were harmed by Comcast's alleged violations of the state's Prevention of Consumer Fraud Act and Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act.