Learn more about the potential service after the jump.
Find out more about this ruling after the break.
We've all heard the stories of bill shock when it comes to an unexpectedly huge phone bill — people who have traveled out of the country without a roaming plan, or those who unknowingly dropped a data plan, only to be slammed with a bill in the hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Yesterday, the FCC announced it was seeking public opinion over whether or not customers should be notified if their phone charges are unusually high.
To be clear, this would not extend to customers going a few text messages over budget —it's reserved only for those special case scenarios where large amounts of money are at stake.
European carriers are already required to notify customers when they're incurring large roaming charges or come close to exceeding their monthly data plans, but no such law exists in the US. I'm sure parents would appreciate a heads-up if an over-zealous teen texts too much, and I would have loved a notice before I racked up $200 worth of charges when I was in Canada recently. To support (or not support) the measure and for more details, visit the FCC's website.
What do you think?
While this decision will curb some illegal file-sharing (this is why the case was brought to court in the first place), it has far-reaching implications. To hear how this ruling could affect you (and your cable bill!), read more
The report says that Apple will "likely limit the launch region to the U.S. and the number of units available to roughly 300,000 in the month of March, far lower than the company's initial estimate of 1 million units."
This all sounds a bit suspicious to me. Sure, this could be a technical problem, but the iPad's launch has been clouded by several different issues. First, there was the announcement that the iPad would begin shipping in "about 60 days," a formula Apple hasn't used before. I definitely expected the eventual announcement of a launch date, but even now, Apple's site says that WiFi models will ship in "late March" and 3G models in "early April." Plus, there's still the question of FCC authorization. Could that be causing the delay?
Google Voice, the Internet voice application that functions similarly to a phone, blurs the line between the two forms of communication. Is it the same as phone service? Google says no, but a claim from telephone provider AT&T says it is. Now the Federal Communications Commission is on the case.Last week, the FCC sent a letter to Google, asking them to explain how Google Voice works. The main reason? The FCC is trying to discern whether or not the app should be considered a phone service, subjecting it to more stringent regulations and fees.
This Summer, most of you said you'd signed up for a Google Voice account. (If you still haven't, check out my top five reasons for using Google Voice.) The FCC launched the probe because of Google's policy restricting calls to certain rural locations. Google argues that the restrictions are in place because of the high termination rates charged by carriers in these areas.
To find out what Google's position is on this situation is, just read more
The promises of Android are tempting enough to make me consider giving up my iPhone (well, add it to my cell phone collection maybe) — the shortlist of features includes WiFi, 3G, and Bluetooth — and check out this walkthrough video for more. Considering it's being made by HTC, whose quickly building its reputation for good-lookin' phones, the pot gets even sweeter.
But what do you think: Is this a phone that will rival your lust for iPhones and BlackBerrys?
The Writers Guild of America is sick of having to write storylines in TV shows solely to feature a product or brand, so much so that the group is bringing the issue to the FCC. The WGA is hoping to make it so that any kind of advertisement is blatantly disclosed, and writers don't have to sneakily work products into a plotline where they maybe don't make sense.
geeksugar has questioned the product integration on Gossip Girl, noting that the show is clearly required to use Verizon products, but the gadgets used by the characters don't make sense for their characters.
WGA West president Patric Verrone explains that with product integration, "the hope is that consumers, not expecting to find a commercial within their program, will fail to realize they are actually being advertised to. This practice exploits the emotional connection viewers have with shows and their characters in order to sell a product." He goes on to claim that audiences are alienated by these sneaky tactics, though "an industry source" counters that "product placement has not been an issue for viewers."
What do you think? Should shows stop trying to work in products, sometimes at the expense of consistency within the story? Or does it not bother you?
Photo courtesy of the CW
Despite recent talk about the future of cell phones on planes, the FCC has decided to keep a rule in place that requires cell phones to be turned off during airline flights. According to the AP, the reasoning behind the decision was technical.
"These days it's impossible to get on a bus without at least one person hollering into their cellphone, invading the private space of everyone around them," one member of the public wrote in an e-mail to the FCC. "That's bad enough when one can get off in 10 minutes. To have to suffer through HOURS of such torture, with nowhere to go and miserably cramped conditions — someone is going to explode."
Unlike the Federal Aviation Administration, which bans the use of cellphones and other portable electronic devices for fear they will interfere with navigational and communications systems, the FCC's concern is interference with other cellphone signals on the ground.
In January, the New York Times reported that Emirates, the Dubai-based airline, installed satellite-based technology that allows voice calls and text messaging on one of its Boeing 777’s late last year and expects to begin offering the service to passengers on an international route. Emirates said calls will work at altitudes above 9,800 feet to avoid potential interference with land systems. The downside is users will reportedly be billed at $3 to $3.50 a minute for outbound and inbound calls.