Ajit Pai promised that killing Net Neutrality would spur investment and improve service: a year later, service and investment have declined

A year ago, Trump FCC Chairman (and former Verizon exec) Ajit Pai killed Net Neutrality, leveraging illegal, fraudulent industry dirty tricks to ram his rule through the process; all along, he claimed that Net Neutrality was a drag on investment, competition and service improvements, and that Americans would see immediate benefits once he was done killing Net Neutrality. Read the rest

Canada's telcoms regulator adopts a sweeping new pro-competition agenda

For decades, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has been missing in action, standing idly by as Canada's telcom companies merged with each other and with media giants, created three bloated, anticompetitive vertically integrated monopolies; now the CRTC has repented its sins, adopting its proposed pro-competition agenda (which was bitterly opposed by the Big Three), with far-reaching implications for mobile virtual network operators, facilities sharing, rural coverage, accessibility and investment. The policy goes into effect immediately. Read the rest

Traverse City, MI braves the wrath of telcoms lobbyists, pushes ahead with municipal fiber network

Municipal broadband is pretty much the telco monopolists' worst nightmare: it's a cheaper, faster alternative and it's the only internet service that customers express high levels of satisfaction for, so it's no wonder that telcoms lobbyists have convinced 26 states to ban cities from providing internet access, sometimes literally drafting the legislation and handing it off to lawmakers. Read the rest

Maine's new ISP privacy law has both California and New York beat

The Great State of Maine, having jettisoned its far-right lunatic "government" and replaced it with a responsive, progressive, evidence-based one, is now set to pass the nation's most stringent ISP privacy law, going further than both New York and California. Read the rest

New Jersey law would force Verizon to pay the taxes it avoided for a decade

A 1997 New Jersey law allows telcoms companies to stop paying taxes while continuing their access to municipal infrastructure (poles, land, lines, etc) if they serve fewer than 51% of the people in a city; in 2008, Verizon started to claim this exemption, by 2015, it was paying no municipal taxes to 150 of New Jersey's 565 cities. Read the rest

Comcast fights shareholder call for lobbying transparency, saying that it would be "burdensome" to reveal how much it spends lobbying states

A group of Quaker investors called Friends Fiduciary have introduced a shareholder motion that was backed by the owners of more than a million Comcast shares, calling on the company to voluntarily disclose its state-level lobbying activities; the company strenuously objects to making such disclosures, calling the measure an "unnecessary burden." Read the rest

AT&T promised it would create 7,000 jobs if Trump went through with its $3B tax-cut, but they cut 23,000 jobs instead

In 2017, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson campaigned for Trump's massive tax-cuts by promising that they would create 7,000 jobs with the $3,000,000,000 they stood to gain, as well as investing in new infrastructure: instead, the company has reduced its headcount by 23,328 workers (6,000 in the first three months of 2019!) while reducing capital expenditures by $1.4B (AT&T reduced capex by another $900m in Q1/2019). Read the rest

Frontier receives $283.4m/year in taxpayer money, neglects network, rips off customers -- and Trump's FCC won't investigate

Frontier Communications is a telcoms company so naturally they're a terrible company (a telcoms company is just a collection of regulatory subsidies wrapped up in a layer of greed and malpractice); the company is one of the nation's leaders in the use of fraudulent accounting to evade taxes, and it takes in $283.4 million every year in tax-funded subsidies to provide services to rural Americans, while ripping them off like crazy and cutting corners by neglecting its network and allowing it to fall into dangerous disrepair. Read the rest

Vodafone sources claim Huawei created a "backdoor" for its home routers and network switching equipment and then lied about removing it

Vodafone discovered that the home routers that Huawei provided for its Italian residential broadband business had a "backdoor" -- an open telnet interface that could allow attackers to take over the router and surveil the user's network -- and after they complained to Huawei about it, Huawei released an update that they claimed removed the interface, but that this was a lie. Read the rest

Telcoms lobbyists oppose ban on throttling firefighters' internet during wildfires

The CTIA is America's top telcoms lobbying organization, and they're trying to kill AB1699, a proposed California law that would ban carriers from throttling firefighters' internet access, as Verizon did in 2018, then lied about, then launched a charm offensive to defend. Read the rest

Fool me twice: New York State commutes Charter's death sentence after Charter promises to stop breaking its promises

Back in September 2018, the state of New York ordered Charter to leave: the company had made a bunch of promises about investing in high-speed broadband for New Yorkers as a condition of approval for its acquisition of Time Warner Cable, and then it lied like crazy, defrauding the state and attracting a $172.4M penalty (the largest penalty ever paid by a US ISP); since then, the company has been begging New York state to commute its death sentence and give it another chance. Read the rest

America's best mobile carrier is also the first phone company to back Right to Repair legislation

As I've mentioned every Read the rest

Record companies sue Charter because providing high-speed internet contributes to piracy

A new complaint against Charter Communications filed on Friday by Sony, Universal and Warner asks for legal redress for Charter's alleged failure to disconnect people repeated accused of copyright infringement; the complaint specifically lists the provision of a higher-speed tier of internet service as evidence that Charter was profiting from infringement. Read the rest

Small business in Wisconsin cancels its unusably bad internet service from Frontier; Frontier demands $4,300 cancellation fee

Wisconsin's Pardeeville Area Shopper is a one-person family business run by Candace Lestina, whose mother founded the weekly paper; like all businesses, the Shopper needs internet service, and like most American businesses, the Shopper is at the mercy of a terrible, monopolistic ISP, in this case, Frontier. Read the rest

Appeals court to Donald Trump's FCC: "Drop dead."

The federal appeals court in the DC circuit has overturned the FCC's decision to make it effectively impossible for people on tribal lands to make use of the federal "Lifeline} program that provides cheap broadband access to poor communities. Read the rest

Google Fi to carriers: don't sell our customers' location data to third parties

In the wake of this week's Motherboard scoop that the major US carriers sell customers' location data to marketing companies that sell it on to bounty hunters and other unsavory characters, Google has disclosed that they have told the carriers that supply service for its Google Fi mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that they expect that Fi customers' data will not be sold this way. Read the rest

Why the hell do we continue to believe the carriers' promises to respect our privacy?

There have been several attempts to force the US telcoms industry to respect our privacy: to stop our ISPs from spying on us and selling our usage data to marketers, to stop the mobile carriers from spying on our location and selling the data to marketers (and, it turns out, stalkers and bounty hunters), and every attempt has fizzled, as telcoms lobbyists and telcoms-funded lawmakers have sold us out, saying that the privacy rules are unnecessary because the carriers wouldn't do anything too sketchy lest they suffer reputational damage. Read the rest

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