FCC reverses decision on Internet access

Regulators are telling nine companies that they will not be allowed to participate in a federal program meant to help provide affordable Internet access to low-income consumers, weeks after the firms had been given the green light to do so.

The move, announced Friday by Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, reverses a decision by his Democratic predecessor, Tom Wheeler.

Pai called the initial decisions a form of “midnight regulation.”

“These last-minute actions, which did not enjoy the support of the majority of commissioners at the time they were taken, should not bind us going forward,” he said in a statement.

The program, known as Lifeline, provides registered households with a $9.25-a-month credit that can be used to buy home Internet service. As many as 13 million Americans may be eligible for Lifeline but do not have broadband service at home, the FCC has found.

The FCC can reconsider decisions on the matter within 30 days of making them. Four of the nine approvals were revoked in response to a complaint; the remaining five were revoked within the 30-day window.

Until last year, Lifeline recipients could apply their federal benefit only toward landline and mobile voice service. Changes under Wheeler allowed beneficiaries to use their credits to purchase broadband.

The expansion was opposed by Pai and other Republican officials, who said the measure did not do enough to rein in potential costs or control waste, fraud and abuse. Democrats said recent changes to the program had helped reduce abuse.

— Brian Fung

Nissan recalls Altima over window issue

You might not want to open a rear window if you’re driving a Nissan Altima.

The company is recalling nearly 363,000 of the midsize cars worldwide from the 2015 through 2017 model years because the doors might open if a rear window is lowered.

Documents posted Friday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that the latch and lock cable in the doors may not have been routed properly at the factory. In certain situations, the window assembly can interfere with the cable and inadvertently open a door.

The documents say there were “several incidents” that could have been caused by the problem, but Nissan said it knows of no crashes or injuries.

— Associated Press

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