Showing posts with label FCC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FCC. Show all posts

Apr 27, 2018

Robo Calls are Big Business

Consumers get an estimated 98 million robocalls daily, according to the US government. Fraud from these unwanted calls amounts to about $9.5 billion annually. More than 3 billion robocalls were placed during March, 2018, according to the YouMail Robocall Index. In addition, the FCC gets about 200,000 complaints about robocalls each year, and the FTC received 4.5 million complaints about unwanted calls during 2017.

During 2017, the FCC gave phone companies the ability to block numbers they know are attempting to send spoofed calls that look as if they are local calls. And the agency also began a process to improve caller ID so calls could have "a verified digital fingerprint" to ensure a caller was legit.

Most of the big carriers offer a free call protection app, except Sprint, which costs $2.99 a month.

There are hundreds of apps such as Hiya, Nomorobo, RoboKiller, Truecaller, and YouMail that work. Look at the rating and read user comments before downloading any app. You can block numbers on your phone, but the major bad guys keep changing their number so it does not help much. However it is good for blocking local business that keep calling to sell services.

I have not found any app that blocks the call and locks the caller out of voice mail. This is the most aggravating part for me. I want one that blocks the call and blocks voice mail at the same time.

Incidentally, YouMail operates a Robocall Index that compiles the scope and location of the worst robocalling hotspots across the country by area code, and Atlanta leads the list.

Feb 26, 2016

TV Set Top Box Changes

On February 18, this year, the FCC voted to propose formally an open standard for set-top boxes. Proponents say that could mean one box bringing you cable channels, premium TV channels and streaming TV. The process could lead to TV viewers being able to own their cable TV set-top boxes.

It still will be several months before any final action is taken. Debate is expected regarding how the new devices would collect and handle viewers' data and what kind of access the new competitors would get to video content, for which cable companies and their existing competitors have to negotiate contracts.

Aug 22, 2014


By the end of 2014, US carriers will be required to route all of our emergency texts to 911. The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to require all mobile carriers to route text messages sent to 911, to local emergency response centers, just like phone calls.

The problem is most emergency services agencies are not yet equipped to receive them.

The big four operators have already implemented text-to-911 voluntarily, but many smaller operators have not. In fact, only about 2 percent of 911 response centers are capable of receiving SMS, so most emergency messages just get sent into the cloud.

The FCC also now requires messaging apps linked to phone numbers must all support 911. That means an app that works within the phone’s SMS client must be able to send 911 texts, but a social messaging app like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp does not. Am having difficulty understanding how someone with a phone finds it easier to text than to call, especially when 911 usually requires a series of questions and answers. Thumbs may not be faster than lips, but apps like EVA, SIRI, Skyvi, and Jeannie, etc. might be more linguistically understandable.

Apr 22, 2011

Airplane Facts

95% of people involved in airplane crashes do survive.
Popular Mechanics reviewed data of every commercial crash between 1971 and 2005 and discovered that those sitting in the tail had a 40% higher chance of survival.
Your blood alcohol level doesn't actually change when in the air. The difference is that you might feel drunker because of lower quantities of oxygen and a pressurized cabin.
Cell phones do not harm instruments, Federal Communications Commission bans them from planes, because when used in the air they can bounce along many towers on the ground and stop other calls from going out. Some airlines in Europe are now allowing the use of cell phones in the cabin.

University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute concluded that driving is far more dangerous than flying. According to their calculations, driving the equivalent distance of a flight poses a 65 times higher injury risk than flying in a commercial airplane.
There has actually been a 65% jump in the number of birds hitting engines, and it is an immediate and great concern for the Federal Aviation Administration. Engines can only handle birds that are about 4 lbs,

Jan 7, 2010

TV History

As we look to the new year, it is interesting to look back on how TV has changed our lives, for better or worse.

Philo Farnsworth, Idaho, invented television and filed for patent in 1927.

The first commercial TVs were produced in the US in 1938.

RCA 12 inch TV, 1939. Cost $600 (that would be like $9,337.00 in 2009).

The first public broadcast was made in London in 1936 and 1939 (on a 6 inch screen) in New York.

The FCC declares 1941 as the actual first broadcast and declares anything before that as 'experimental'. Also, the first commercial, from Bulova watch was seen in 1941. Maybe that is what made the FCC change its mind.

TVs were not produced from 1942 - 1945, due to the war, and tv stations broadcast only 4 hours per week.

Howdy Doody premiered on TV in 1947, The Lone Ranger in 1949, and the first coast-to-coast TV broadcast was 1951.

Commercial color TV was first seen in 1953, but less than 1 percent of TVs could view color. Most of the country had 4 VHF stations to watch, and none were available 24 hours a day. They ended the day with the national anthem, or the following. Then they showed test patterns until the next day's broadcast.

Do you remember -  "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of . . . " John Gillespie Magee Jr.

LINK to "High Flight" above from KSAT TV signoff. Poem begins at about 1 minute in.

Ronald Reagan was host of "General Electric Theater" from 1953 - 1961.

1955 ushers in the first TV remote control from Zenith. Whoopee!

NBC announced in 1965 that 96% of its programming was in color, but it wasn't until 1977 that 75% of TVs in homes could receive color. Color TV sales first outsell black and white in 1972.

First pay TV was 1972 and it caused an uproar.

Cable TV broadcasting came in during the 1940s and 1950s for stations owners, first home cable, 1948, and was deregulated in 1984. Cable reaches 50 percent of households in 1987. CNN is first cable 24 hour programming. UK produces first 24 hour broadcasts in 1987.

1991 begins the first real-time commercial broadcast of war (the Persian War) and most major advertisers pull their spots as they were not willing to sponsor war coverage. NBC lost millions in advertising. Viet Nam coverage was all from film, not live broadcast.

18 inch satellite dishes are introduced in 1996. First web TV is introduced in 1996.

98% of households have at least one TV in 1998 and 67% have cable.

In 2005 A 42" Plasma HDTV usually retails for $4,500.00 - $7,000.00, with regular plasma flat screen of 42' at about $1,400.

LCDs surpassed sales of old CRT type televisions in 2008.

All digital TV is the only type of TV available as of 2009. As of 2009 you can also watch TV on your cell phone.

Oct 1, 2009

Noisy Ads on TV

Every year, television networks receive thousands of complaints from viewers bothered by commercials that seem to be getting louder and louder.

A technical organization that sets standards for digital TV broadcasters came out on Sept. 16 with new recommendations that may finally lower the volume.

The Advanced Television Systems Committee, which developed the standards for digital video formats now used by all broadcasters in North America will soon send new standards to broadcasters for approval and provide a way to measure the loudness of television content, based on current scientific understandings of how human hearing works. Shows and commercials would be tagged with information about their loudness that TVs and audio receivers could use to counteract the audio tricks that make commercials appear so loud.

Under current FCC rules, the peak of a commercial can be no higher than the programming it accompanies. The problem is that the peak level of the sound does not accurately reflect how loud something sounds to the listener. Audio engineers find ways to get around the FCC rules by making commercials seem louder without actually increasing the peak levels of the loudest parts.

The problem is made worse with digital television, which can produce a greater range of sound than analog. This exacerbates the difference between television programs, which use the full range of sound, and the commercials, which squeeze the sound and push it upwards.

The new ATSC recommendations are entirely voluntary, but ATSC President Richer is confident that broadcasters will adopt them. "Broadcasters want to do things in a uniform way," he said. "Because our membership is broad, all of the major networks, many of the other broadcast groups, and also the manufacturers, we get a lot of buy-in to what we do." I think they should pay us to watch commercials, rather than charging us to watch TV.

Sep 17, 2009

Stimulated Internet

The $787 billion stimulus bill set aside up to $350 million to create a national broadband map that could guide policies aimed at expanding high-speed Internet access. According to AP, it is also to figure out where broadband Internet access is available and how fast it is. The NTIA also wants extensive data on that behind-the-scenes Internet infrastructure. Officially, the goal for the map is to help shape broadband policy and determine where best to invest the $7.2 billion in stimulus money earmarked for broadband programs.

In addition to the NTIA's mapping project, there's a parallel push at the FCC to gather more detailed data on broadband subscribers. Both efforts are designed to aid the Administration in setting telecom policy, said Colin Crowell, a senior counselor to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

Of course the mapping will not be done by the February 2010 release date of a national broadband plan being developed by the Federal Communications Commission, which is also mandated by the stimulus bill.

North Carolina's state broadband authority e-NC already maintains a map of broadband availability in the state, detailed enough to list individual addresses, according to executive director Jane Smith Patterson.

Rory Altman, director at telecommunications consulting firm Altman Vilandrie & Co., which has helped clients map broadband availability, said $350 million was a "ridiculous" amount of money to spend on a national broadband map. The firm could create a national broadband map for $3.5 million, and "would gladly do it for $35 million," Altman said.

Dave Burstein, editor of the DSL Prime broadband industry newsletter, believes a reasonable cost for the map would be less than $30 million.

Internet service providers have already committed to handing over data about where they have broadband coverage, so the main job will be to collect and translate that information into a map.

When the Pew Internet and American Life Project surveyed people who didn't have broadband in 2007 and 2008, it found that most of them aren't interested in it, find the Internet too hard to use, or don't have computers.