At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission pushed internet service providers to promise they wouldn't penalize customers who struggled to pay their internet bills when they needed connectivity the most. More than 800 companies signed onto the Keep Americans Connected pledge, a commitment to not disconnect customers who were behind on their bills or charge late-payment fees that drew effusive praise from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
Verizon agreed to buy TracFone, a provider of wireless prepaid services, in a deal worth up to $7 billion in cash and stock, further consolidating the US cellular market. TracFone, a unit of Mexico’s América Móvil SAB, has about 21 million prepaid customers in the US under its namesake brand as well as StraightTalk and Net10. The company doesn’t run its own physical network in the US and instead rides on other cellphone carriers’ systems for a fee and then resells service under its own brands.
Representative John Lewis (D-GA), a son of sharecroppers and an apostle of nonviolence who was bloodied at Selma and across the Jim Crow South in the historic struggle for racial equality, and who then carried a mantle of moral authority into Congress, died on July 17. He was 80. On the front lines of the bloody campaign to end Jim Crow laws, with blows to his body and a fractured skull to prove it, Lewis was a valiant stalwart of the civil rights movement and the last surviving speaker from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.
Judge Victor Marrero of the United States District Court in Manhattan ruled in favor of T-Mobile’s takeover of Sprint in a deal that would further concentrate corporate ownership of technology, combining the nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers and creating a new telecommunications giant to take on AT&T and Verizon. The decision concluded an unusual suit filed in June by attorneys general from 13 states and the District of Columbia. The challenge was brought after regulators at the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission approved the deal.
We believe that a comprehensive federal privacy and data security law is essential to hold institutions accountable, restore consumer trust, and protect our privacy. We have developed a set of core principles that should be included in any comprehensive data protection legislation. Under our framework, consumers would control their personal information, and corporations, non-profits, and political entities would be held to higher standards for when and how they collect, use, share, and protect our data.
A photo essay by Liz Moughon.
As Americans anticipate the arrival of 5G wireless technology—with superfast data-transmission speeds expected to enable everything from superior home internet service to long-imagined technological advances like self-driving cars—it’s easy to forget that millions of people across the US still have no broadband internet access in their homes. In these photos, the toll that such a disconnect takes on people in southeastern Ohio is clear, from students to working people to business owners.
Obviously, there's no bigger story this week than the possible impeachment of the 45th president of the United States. But if we still have your attention, here's some items of note we found this week. 1) Court Again Rejects FCC Attempt to Loosen Broadcast Ownership Rules. 2) Rebuilding Communications Infrastructure in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands 3) Defining the Digital Divide.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) took to the floor of the Senate in an attempt to force a vote on a bill to reinstate net neutrality on the one-year anniversary of its reversal. “Under Sen. McConnell’s leadership, the Republicans are trying to bury this bill in a legislative graveyard,” Sen Markey said, referring to the Save the Internet Act passed by the House in April. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) noted that the Senate approved a measure nearly identical to the one in the House in 2018.
After the House voted, everyone had an opinion.
After over nine hours of debate over mostly failed amendments, and delays, legislation that would re-regulate internet access by reinstating the Federal Communications Commission's 2015 Open Internet Order's Title II-based net neutrality rules is on its way to a vote in the full House, where it is likely to pass. An amended version of the Save the Internet Act (HR 1644) was approved by the House Commerce Committee on a party-line vote.