Jon Brodkin

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.

CenturyLink blocked its customers’ Internet access in order to show an ad

CenturyLink briefly disabled the Internet connections of customers in UT recently and allowed them back online only after they acknowledged an offer to purchase filtering software.

Rural Wireless Association: T-Mobile lied to the FCC about its 4G coverage

The Rural Wireless Association (RWA) claims T-Mobile lied to the Federal Communications Commission about the extent of its 4G LTE coverage. T-Mobile claimed—under penalty of perjury—to have coverage in areas where it hadn't yet installed 4G equipment. As part of the FCC's Mobility Fund challenge process, RWA members have conducted millions of speed tests at their own expense to determine whether the major carriers' coverage claims are correct. Those speed tests previously found that Verizon didn't cover the entire Oklahoma Panhandle as the carrier claimed.

At AT&T’s urging, FCC panel proposes tax on businesses that use the Internet

The Federal Communications Commission's Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) has proposed a new tax on Netflix, Google, Facebook, and many other businesses that require Internet access to operate. If adopted by states, the recommended tax would apply to subscription-based retail services that require Internet access, such as Netflix, and to advertising-supported services that use the Internet, such as Google and Facebook. The tax would also apply to any small- or medium-sized business that charges subscription fees for online services or uses online advertising.