FCC

Read Cult of Mac’s latest posts on FCC:

New net neutrality rules should end mobile video throttling

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New net neutrality rules should end mobile video throttling
Your wireless carrier won't be able to throttle streaming video for much longer.
Image: Fox/Cult of Mac

There’s a good chance watching video on your iPhone is about to get better. Net neutrality rules passed by the FCC this week reportedly forbid U.S. wireless carriers from lowering the quality of streaming video to throttle the amount of data its consumes.

So if you watch Apple TV+, Netflix, etc. on your iPhone, your carrier is no longer allowed to reduce the video quality.

FCC decision could make future Apple Vision AR headsets smaller

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Apple Vision Pro
Future Apple Vision headsets might be more comfortable to wear because of an FCC vote.
Photo: Apple

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to allow unregulated devices to use the 6 GHz band to wirelessly communicate over short ranges. Apple could use this to enable fast communication between its Vision AR headsets and other computers, like an iPhone.

Apple is one of several companies that asked the FCC to make the change back in 2019.

Feds will test nationwide phone emergency alert system on Wednesday

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Feds test nationwide phone emergency alert system
Your iPhone will get an emergency alert Wednesday that looks a lot like this.
Photo: FCC/FEMA

iPhones and Androids in the United States will receive an emergency alert Wednesday, but it’s not anything to worry about. It will come from a couple of U.S. government agencies testing the Wireless Emergency Alerts system.

This isn’t the first time the system has been tested — the feds are required to check that the system works every few years.

In short, just ignore it. Also ignore the crazy conspiracy theories surrounding the test.

Net neutrality might return when controversial FCC chairman resigns

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FCC chairman Ajit Pai isn’t down with China Mobile coming to the United States.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is on his way out, which possibly might bring back net neutrality.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC

The man who ended net neutrality will exit the Federal Communications Commission along with the Trump administration in January. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was in office for less than four years, but brought significant change.

No change was as dramatic as ending the rules that prevented broadband service providers from slowing down the internet traffic of rival companies.

FCC boosts Wi-Fi speeds by opening 6 GHz spectrum

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6 GHz Wi-Fi is coming to many devices. Eventually.
Lots of computers in a small space is a scenario where 6 GHz Wi-Fi is expected to shine.
Photo: Pixels CC

The FCC on Thursday approved an expansion of Wi-Fi to the 6GHz band. This adds almost five times the bandwidth to the short-range wireless networking standard. It should bring Wi-Fi connections that are up to 2.5 times faster, with less interference from nearby computers.

Thursday’s FCC vote on this expansion was unanimous, and the change has strong industry support.

2020 Powerbeats Pro may have scored FCC approval

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This might be the 2020 Powerbeats Pro next to the 2019 one
2020 Powerbeats Pro look familiar in FCC filings.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple got approval to release a pair of “totally wireless high-performance earphones” from the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday. But the company didn’t release this product, so exactly what they’ll offer is a mystery.

That said, information buried in the FCC filing shows these will be very similar to last year’s Powerbeats Pro. They might be the successor.

FCC eyes boosting Wi-Fi speeds by opening 6GHz spectrum

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home Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi over the 6GHz spectrum, if approved, could offer up to 2Gbps wireless connections.
Photo: Alan Levine/Flickr

The FCC will vote April 23 on a proposal to expand Wi-Fi to the 6GHz band. If approved, the move would add almost five times the bandwidth to the short-range wireless networking standard used by MacBooks, iPads, and virtually every other mobile device. That could bring faster Wi-Fi connections, with less interference from nearby computers.

FCC forces carriers to crack down on fake caller IDs

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Spam call
The FCC ordered phone companies to block calls made with fake caller ID info.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

The FCC on Tuesday gave wireless carriers until next summer to implement a system designed to prevent caller ID spoofing. The goal is blocking phone scammers from using fake caller ID information to convince call recipients that they are talking to someone trustworthy or from their local area.

FCC plans to hit U.S. cellphone carriers with massive fines

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Verizon
All the major carriers are about to get fined.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

America’s largest cellphone carriers are about to get hit with hundreds of millions of dollars in fines from the Federal Communications Commission according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Officials at the FCC found the companies broke the law by selling customers’ location data to third parties and are prepared to make AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint pay big time. The companies have reportedly been notified that fines could be on the way.

Judge slams ‘dumb’ FCC in iPhone radiation lawsuit; case moves to trial

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The FCC is currently shut down.
A California judge whacks the FCC with a ruler over its testing standards for radiofrequency radiation, but says the case will continue.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

U.S. District Judge William Alsup allowed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Apple over allegedly exposing iPhone owners to high levels of radiofrequency radiation to move forward Thursday. However, the judge also blasted the Federal Communications Commission for its “dumb” testing standards.

Take a sneak peek at a rack-mounted Mac Pro

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The rack-mounted version of the Mac Pro as seen in Apple's FCC filing.
IT managers can drool over the rack-mountable version of the Mac Pro.
Photo: Apple/FCC

Not every model of the uber-powerful new Mac Pro will sit under someone’s desk. The appearance of the “cheese grater” Mac attracted so much attention that people might want to see what the version designed for rack-mounting looks like.

FCC approval makes T-Mobile/Sprint merger almost a done deal

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FCC chairman Ajit Pai isn’t down with China Mobile coming to the United States.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai openly supports the big T-Mobile/Sprint merger.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC

The Federal Communications Commission reportedly will grant approval for the multibillion-dollar merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. This is one of the last hurdles before the third- and fourth-largest U.S. carriers can blend into a single entity almost as large as AT&T and Verizon.

Feds will retest iPhones for excessive radio-frequency radiation

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iPhone-7
Your trusty old iPhone 7 might be a rule breaker.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

An independent lab claims that the iPhone 7 emits more radio-frequency radiation that is allowed by the FCC. And the iPhone X skirts the line.

The tests, done at the behest of the Chicago Tribune, have reportedly caused the FCC to examine whether these and other cell phones meet its safety guidelines. That doesn’t make them a cancer risk, though.

AT&T and T-Mobile join forces to fight robocalls and scammers

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spam-call
Suck it, spammers!
Photo: Icons8/Unsplash

AT&T and T-Mobile today confirmed an unlikely partnership for a wonderful cause. The rival carriers are joining forces to fight robocalls and scammers.

Both will deliver the FCC-recommended STIR/SHAKEN standards to digitally validate calls across their networks. It will make it easier for customers to filter out unwanted calls.

Apple lobbying for new ‘very low power’ Wi-Fi tech

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home Wi-Fi
This could open up new possibilities for Wi-Fi devices.
Photo: Alan Levine/Flickr

Apple joined forces with a number of other tech companies to lobby the Federal Communications Commission for a new Wi-Fi band.

The proposed 6 GHz band would open up new types of short-range connectivity for portable Very Low Power (VLP) devices. It could prove useful for everything from mobile augmented reality devices to high-speed tethering with smartphones, laptops and tablets.

Sprint and T-Mobile merger takes giant step toward approval [Updated]

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FCC chairman Ajit Pai isn’t down with China Mobile coming to the United States.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai says its OK for there to be three nationwide carriers instead of four.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC

Your iPhone may soon have one less option for wireless service. The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission has signed off on the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile. This is a significant step toward the third and fourth largest U.S. carriers becoming one.

Update: An unconfirmed report indicates that the Justice Department might nix this merger.

U.S. carriers are no longer sharing customer location data

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Significant Locations
Your location data is no longer up for grabs.
Photo: Cult of Mac

U.S. carriers have (mostly) put an end to the practice of selling customer location data to third-parties, a new report reveals.

This dodgy practice was previously carried out by giants including T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. They passed on this data to middlemen, which then sold the information to other companies without getting the necessary permission from users.

FCC bans China Mobile from US

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The FCC is currently shut down.
The FCC put a big stop sign in front of a Chinese telecommunications giant.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

China Mobile is blocked from offering phone service in the United States. The Federal Communications Commission just unanimously voted to prevent this company, which is owned by the Chinese government, from expanding to the U.S.

FCC tries to confirm carriers stopped selling phone location data

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Apple Maps reservation OpenTable
You can’t escape your phone company tracking you, but the FCC can make them stop selling the information.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The CEOs of the big four US wireless carriers were asked by an FCC commissioner whether they’ve stopped selling their customers’ real-time location data, as they had promised to do.

Published reports in recent months indicated that the locations of Americans were being sold without their permission of even knowledge.

FCC wants to ban China Mobile from US

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FCC chairman Ajit Pai isn’t down with China Mobile coming to the United States.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai isn’t down with China Mobile coming to the United States.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC

The largest mobile phone network operator in the world will likely be banned from doing business in the USA.

China Mobile, which has over 900 million subscribers in mainland China, has been blocked from offering services in the United States, according to the latest proposal by the Federal Communications Commission.

Feds test nationwide emergency alert system today

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FEMA and the FCC will send Americans a pair of emergency alerts today.
FEMA and the FCC will send Americans a pair of emergency alerts today.
Photo: FEMA

Your iPhone could send out a pair of alerts this afternoon, but they aren’t ones you’ve set yourself. Instead, they’re from the U.S. government, and both are test messages.

The goal is to try out a pair of systems set up to notify the public of emergencies. Again, these are only tests.