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FM radio on smartphones? The FCC wants to see it happen

FM radio on smartphones? The FCC wants to see it happen

There's no lack of streaming radio apps available for your smartphone, but one thing that is still mysteriously in short supply is access to FM radio. Most smartphones today have FM radio antennas built into them, but those antennas are only active in about half of smartphones here in the US. The FCC's new commissioner, Ajit Pai, would like to see that change.

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FCC halts 9 companies from providing subsidized broadband internet

FCC halts 9 companies from providing subsidized broadband internet

Under its new director, the FCC has wasted no time in reversing policies put in place under the previous administration. New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced that nine companies won't be allowed to participate in a federal program called Lifeline. With this program, low income customers can receive a monthly $9.25 credit that helps them pay for high-speed broadband internet.

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FCC drops net neutrality investigations into AT&T, Verizon

FCC drops net neutrality investigations into AT&T, Verizon

Right through December of last year, the FCC had ongoing investigations into telecom giants including AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile over their use of zero-rated data services, viewing them anti-competitive and in violation of net neutrality rules. Unfortunately, these investigations were opened under outgoing FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, and part of President Trump's restaffing has been appointing Ajit Pai as the new head. In turn, the agency has also revealed that it's dropping the investigations.

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Amazon seeks FCC permission for secret wireless testing

Amazon seeks FCC permission for secret wireless testing

It appears Amazon may be up to another one of its mysterious, experimental projects. It's been discovered that the company has filed a request with the FCC for permission to test wireless communication technology in areas of Washington, all without stating the exact purpose. There are a few hints that the tests could be related to Amazon's desire to begin drone deliveries, but the company only says it involves "innovative communications capabilities and functionalities."

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FCC is still concerned about AT&T and Verizon zero-rated services

FCC is still concerned about AT&T and Verizon zero-rated services

Zero-rated services are becoming increasingly popular among carriers and companies, giving customers a way to consume certain content without using up their high-speed data allotment. Such arrangements have raised concerns about net neutrality in the past, and while the FCC isn't necessarily against zero-rated offerings, it has expressed concerns with some of them. Verizon and AT&T are, once again, the focus of that concern.

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Nintendo Switch issue may stop gamers in their tracks

Nintendo Switch issue may stop gamers in their tracks

Nintendo Switch recently made a stop at the FCC, and though we didn't glean a whole lot of new information from this filing, we did discover one important tidbit. As it turns out, the battery within the Nintendo Switch may not be easily removable. This could cause some problems for players in the later stages of the Switch's life, especially for those who buy at launch and play it for a number of years afterward.

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Nintendo Switch stops by FCC en route to March launch

Nintendo Switch stops by FCC en route to March launch

What is probably Nintendo's most interesting console since the original Wii is really coming and soon. If there were any doubt about that, the Nintendo Switch's presence at the FCC should banish all that. Of course, it doesn't really give us a solid date for the curious handheld console's retail launch, but it at least hints that the ball continues to roll. While Nintendo already publicly committed to a March launch, the gaming giant might do a publicity tour of the Switch first as early as January next year.

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Net Neutrality – Why it should matter to you

Net Neutrality – Why it should matter to you

Before this year’s presidential elections became the major factor dividing the US tech industry, it was “net neutrality” that split camps along lines of for or against. And if you thought the (legal) battle is over, you are definitely wrong. Although the FCC already ruled in favor of net neutrality last year, the changing of the guards opens up the real possibility, nay an explicit objective even, of undoing all that. The net neutrality debates are about to be reignited and, whichever side of the camp you stand on, the results will inevitably affect everyone.

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FCC says AT&T, Verizon are violating net neutrality with sponsored data plans

FCC says AT&T, Verizon are violating net neutrality with sponsored data plans

This week the FCC sent letters to both AT&T and Verizon, stating that zero-rated data — plans and services that don't count against users' monthly allotment — is a violation of net neutrality rules. For AT&T, this applies to their new DirecTV Now streaming video service, and for Verizon it's their own Go90 video service. The FCC's wireless communications chief Jon Wilkins wrote that the telecoms' practices "inhibit competition, harm consumers, and interfere with the ‘virtuous cycle’ needed to assure the continuing benefits of the Open Internet."

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T-Mobile fined $48m by FCC over ‘unlimited’ data restriction disclosures

T-Mobile fined $48m by FCC over ‘unlimited’ data restriction disclosures

The FCC has announced that T-Mobile will pay $48 million to settle a probe into its restrictions disclosures related to unlimited data. The commission announced the fine today, saying it is related to an investigation it carried out regarding whether the Uncarrier appropriately disclosed what kind of restrictions come with its ‘unlimited’ data plan. The FCC found that some customers on both T-Mobile and MetroPCS may have expected more high-speed data than they ultimately received.

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Comcast fined $2.3 million by FCC over erroneous billing issues

Comcast fined $2.3 million by FCC over erroneous billing issues

Comcast has been fined $2.3 million over so-called ‘negative option billing’ — that is, unauthorized billing for services or goods that weren’t request and that require the consumer to contact the company in dispute and to seek refunds. According to the FCC, it had received many complaints from Comcast customers who claimed the service provider was bill “cramming,” or adding charges to bills for things they didn’t request, including DVRs and premium channels. In some cases, subscribers say they declined items, only to be mailed them and billed for them.

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Wireless Emergency Alerts will soon support more characters, embedded URLs

Wireless Emergency Alerts will soon support more characters, embedded URLs

The Wireless Emergency Alert system, which pushes AMBER Alerts and emergency notifications of things like natural disasters to phones across the US, is about to get something of an overhaul. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted today to expand the WEA system in a number of different ways, ranging from giving the alerts more characters to adding embedded URLs where it's appropriate.

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