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
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
● Orders to U.S. factories rose 1.3 percent in December, the Commerce Department reported Friday. A key category that tracks business investment was up 0.7 percent, a sign that 2017 may be a better year for manufacturers as investment in the energy sector rebounds. Orders for durable goods, items such as cars and airplanes expected to last at least three years, fell 0.5 percent, while demand for nondurable goods, such as paper and chemicals, rose by 3.1 percent.
● Social Security numbers and other personal information of as many as 1.9 million Michigan workers may have been compromised, the state said Friday. A software update to Michigan’s unemployment system made people’s names, wage information and Social Security numbers available to employers and third-party payroll vendors who should not have had access, officials said. Those potentially at risk include employees whose pay is processed by a third-party vendor that works with the Unemployment Insurance Agency. The software update was done Oct. 10. Officials said a “vulnerability” was found Monday and a fix made that day.
● InterContinental Hotels Group said Friday that malware in servers at 12 of its hotels in the United States tracked data from payment cards used at the hotels’ restaurants and bars between August and December last year. The company said the malware tracked the cardholders’ names, card numbers, expiration dates and verification codes as transactions were being routed through the server. InterContinental did not identify the properties, specify the number of cards affected or say whether any data had been stolen.
● Pennsylvania-based Wawa, which has more than 700 convenience stores in six states, filed a trademark infringement lawsuit last week against a convenience store in Paterson, N.J., called Dawa. Wawa says Dawa is taking advantage of Wawa’s hard-earned reputation. “Dawa” is a casual way to say “come in” in Korean. Owner Mike Han said that he used that name for his store because everyone is welcome there. But Wawa spokeswoman Lori Bruce said the company must protect the brand name and ensure that consumers are not confused.
— From news services