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Telecom Daily

Welcome to Faulkner's Telecom Daily. We publish Monday through Friday, updating top stories as events warrant.

Monday, November 19...

FCC Issues Galileo Satellite Ruling to Bolster Smartphone GPS Accuracy
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved the use of the "Galileo" GNSS (global navigation satellite system) by "non-Federal devices." This decision - which follows a recent European Commission (EC) request - will permit US consumers to access "certain satellite signals from the Galileo system" in order to augment GPS systems with "improved availability, reliability, and resiliency" for "position, navigation, and timing services in the United States." Traditionally, GPS devices and smartphones using GPS functions have employed satellite-based positioning, navigation, and timing services. Per the FCC, Galileo's GNSS is fully "interoperable and radio frequency-compatible" as a "foreign GNSS system with respect to the US GPS." The order specifically provides access to the RNSS (radio-navigation satellite service) E1 signal (1559-1591MHz portion of the 1559-1610MHz bands) and the E5 signal (1164-1219MHz portion of the 1164-1215MHz and 1215-1240MHz bands), the same ones upon which US GPS signals operate. The FCC noted that this decision does not affect Galileo's E6 signal, which is "not allocated for RNSS" and "could constrain US spectrum management." Allocation changes regarding this band are still "under consideration."

Comcast to Refund $700K, Cancel Debts Over "Deceptive Advertising" in Massachusetts
Comcast has agreed to a settlement through which it will issue $700,000 in refunds, and cancel the debts of "more than 200,000 Massachusetts customers," over allegations of "deceptive advertising" practices. The agreement's terms come via state Attorney General Maura Healey, who noted that the cable services provider "violated state consumer protection laws" with misleading long-term cable contract offers. Officials claim that Comcast "failed to adequately disclose the actual monthly price and terms of its long-term contracts for cable services," persuading customers to partake in packages that "could increase the price of certain monthly fees at any point." Per Healey, Comcast "typically increased customers’ monthly bills by 40 percent above the advertised price," forcing termination fees of up to $240 for canceling - or even downgrading - such packages to something more affordable, and, in many cases, leaving consumers either in debt or with damaged credit. Comcast agreed to provide refunds to customers who paid early termination fees and / or were involuntarily disconnected from services between January 2015 and March 2016; to "forgive all outstanding unpaid early termination fees and related late fees" incurred during that same period; and to "improve disclosures" prior to entering into future longterm contracts.

Android Police: Google to Patch Pixel 3 Vanishing SMS Flaw "Soon"
Google is believed to be preparing a patch for its Pixel 3 device to address complaints of "vanishing" SMS messages. According to Android Police, the developer has confirmed to the outlet the presence of a "bug affecting SMS/MMS on a small number of Pixel 3s," as well as its plans for an "incoming" fix. Recently, an anonymous "tipster" told the news outlet that the issue is likely related to Google's November 5, 2018 security update. "We're not entirely sure if this is a bug with the Pixel 3 itself or just the Messages app," noted Android Police, "There don't seem to be any reports of it happening on other devices."

... Brady Hicks, Faulkner Information Services

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