In maintaining our commitment to cultivate new leaders to enable and promote a free and open internet, Public Knowledge recently concluded the second round of its online Open Internet Course. The course, which ran from June 27 - October 10, 2016, hosted 30 participants, including journalists, students, government officials, and practitioners in the digital rights field.
Consumers have a lot to complain about when it comes to their cable, broadband, and wireless services. But the issue that hits closest to home is their bills - they’re too high, too confusing, and larded with hidden fees. Cable industry billing practices are a big part of how the cable industry gets away with jacking up rates at more than twice the rate of inflation over the past twenty years.
Last week, the Federal Communications Commission made two huge moves to help consumers navigate the digital marketplace. The first was to finally pass its long-awaited landmark broadband privacy rules. But tucked inside that order was something equally important, if less high-profile: a commitment by the FCC that by February 2017, it will embark on a proceeding to address mandatory binding (or forced) arbitration clauses.
Last week, the Federal Communications Commission released a fact sheet summarizing proposed final rules that would significantly upgrade consumer broadband privacy protections. The final proposal varies from the framework set forth in the original proposal in one important respect. The FCC initially proposed requiring Internet Service Providers to obtain opt-out consent for first party use of customer information and opt-in consent for third party use of customer information. Instead, responding to industry lobbying, the FCC will adopt the framework originally developed by the Federal Trade Commission that requires opt-in consent for “sensitive” information, but requires subscribers to affirmatively opt out from the ISP using information designated “non-sensitive.”
After a proceeding that has stretched on for more than a decade, the Federal Communications Commission’s largest ever data collection, and numerous delays, the fight over business data services (BDS) reform (previously referred to as “special access” reform) could be nearing its end. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has repeatedly promised the FCC is finally set to reform the BDS market this year by lowering the rates that monopoly phone companies can charge to businesses, institutions, and wireless carriers, and promoting new competition and market entry.