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FCC wants ‘broadband’ to be 25Mbps down/3Mbps up

FCC wants ‘broadband’ to be 25Mbps down/3Mbps up

I think we can all agree that a 4Mbps download is not ‘broadband’ Internet, at least as most would define it. That’s how the FCC currently sees broadband, but FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler agrees with us, and wants to reclassify what broadband actually is. He feels (probably correctly) that ‘broadband’ is more like 25Mbps down. As for upload, he’d like the current definition of 1Mbps to be upped to 3Mbps. In a report, the FCC is also troubled by broadband rollout, especially in rural areas.

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Apple iBeacon puck detailed – but who is it for?

Apple iBeacon puck detailed – but who is it for?

Fresh details about Apple's mysterious iBeacon hardware, spotted crossing the FCC's test-bench last year, have emerged, suggesting the Cupertino firm could use it to encourage developers to adopt the micro-location system. Signs of the Apple iBeacon (A1573) first surfaced in mid-July, a battery-powered Bluetooth puck that would transmit location details to a nearby iOS device, allowing apps and services to understand the user's position with far greater accuracy than GPS or WiFi positioning would commonly allow. Now, thanks to the user manual and testing photos for the iBeacon becoming available, we know a little more about what Apple might have in mind for the gadget.

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Sony WiFi sound bar passed through FCC, likely headed to CES

Sony WiFi sound bar passed through FCC, likely headed to CES

HiFi and wireless didn’t really mix until Sonos came along to keep your various rooms uncluttered but still sounding great. There have been others who are jumping into the WiFi game, but none have the cache Sony does. In what seems to be a natural progression, Sony’s latest sound bar has passed through the FCC, and details it’s wireless prowess. It also pinches from Sonos’ design, bringing the long bar with a mix of speaker material and plastic to your living room.

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D-Link DCH-G020 connected home hub hits FCC

D-Link DCH-G020 connected home hub hits FCC

D-Link is a big force in the home networking market with all manner of networking adapters and routers. The company also has its fingers in other product lines including home automation. A new D-Link home automation product has turned up at the FCC called the DCH-G020. We don’t have a lot of detail on the device at this time, but you can bet we will likely hear more about it next month when CES 2014 kicks off.

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Marriott wifi blocking plan gains opposition from Google, Microsoft

Marriott wifi blocking plan gains opposition from Google, Microsoft

If you're like many of us, a trip to the hotel usually means eschewing the available WiFi in favor of setting up your own hotspot. The reasons for this are numerous: speeds are usually better, you don't like the risks of hotel WiFi, and you can side-step any fees the hotel might require. Marriott was recently fined $600,000 for jamming guests' hotspots at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center, and around the same time it had petitioned for the right to continue blocking guest hotspots, citing security reasons.

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Comcast, Time Warner Cable hit with acquisition review delay

Comcast, Time Warner Cable hit with acquisition review delay

The Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger has hit another snag, with the Federal Communications Commission reporting that Time Warner had held back over 7,000 documents. The FCC discovered the issue some time this month, with the reason said to have been caused by "an inappropriate claim of attorney-client privilege." After realizing 7,000 or so documents were withheld, the FCC then discovered Time Warner had also experienced a "vendor error" that resulted in failure to provide more than 31,000 documents.

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T-Mobile, FTC settle for $90 mil in ‘cramming’ lawsuit

T-Mobile, FTC settle for $90 mil in ‘cramming’ lawsuit

After calling the claim “unfounded and without merit”, T-Mobile has agreed to settle with the FTC over charges they ‘crammed’ bills with unnecessary and unwarranted charges. At least $90 million will be returned to consumers who can prove T-Mobile charged them for goods or services without merit. The lawsuit stretches back to July, when the FTC said T-Mobile was guilty of “cramming”, a practice of adding charges to a customer’s monthly bill for ringtones and the like.

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Letter from IBM, others to FCC decries Net Neutrality reclassification

Letter from IBM, others to FCC decries Net Neutrality reclassification

Major tech companies sent a letter addressed to the FCC and Congress today in opposition to President Obama’s stance on Net Neutrality. The letter, sent by the Technology Industry Association (TIA), was signed by more than 60 companies including Cisco, dLink, IBM, and Intel. Outlining a trickle-down effect that would ultimately lead to stifling technological investments, the scope of the letter is that reclassification under Title II of the Telecommunications Act is a bad thing. It also serves as a line in the sand, as other tech companies like Netflix or Amazon support reclassification.

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FCC: Apple’s Activation Lock works really well

FCC: Apple’s Activation Lock works really well

Smartphone theft is getting worse, according to a new report from the FCC. In 2012, about 1.6 million phones were stolen. 2013 brought 3.1 million devices being stolen. San Francisco, a forward-facing tech haven, had the worst smartphone theft statistics, where 59% of all robberies included perpetrators taking their victim’s smartphone. Things don’t get much better on the other side of the country, where 46% of thefts in New York involved smartphones. Things do get better if you’ve got an iPhone, which the FCC says helps to thwart theft.

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FCC challenges Netflix on net neutrality talk, peering

FCC challenges Netflix on net neutrality talk, peering

Netflix is no stranger to running afoul of Internet Service Providers (ISPs). At various turns along their way, Netflix has struck agreements to push their content onto screens across the country. According to the FCC, this amounts to an Internet “fast lane” — the very thing Netflix is arguing we shouldn’t have. Though the company is very outspoken regarding net neutrality, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai says their actions don’t match what they say. To his mind, Netflix is taking step to “effectively secure” Internet fast and slow lanes.

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FCC labels on phones, tablets will soon vanish

FCC labels on phones, tablets will soon vanish

The back of your smartphone or tablet probably has a series of symbols meant to inform you about what not to do with your device as well as who’s approved it for your pocket. Now, new legislation has been signed into law to move those etched or printed symbols into the software. The E-Label Act, signed into law today by President Obama, was only introduced this Summer. Manufacturers will now have to find a new way to entertain you while you stare at the rear of your device.

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US E-Labels Act ends the requirement for regulator labels

US E-Labels Act ends the requirement for regulator labels

Smartphone users in the US rejoice. You now have less clutter to stare at on the back of your devices. President Barack Obama has just signed into law the E-Labels Act which loosens the noose on device manufacturers to physically imprint regulators' signages on devices. This serves to clear up some room and conserve some space on devices, especially smaller ones. But considering it is just a US law, device makers will still have to comply with similar policies in other countries in the meantime.

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