Jun 22, 2017

FCC no longer cares to regulate pay phones because there are so few left

AP

The FCC on Thursday proposed eliminating some of the regulatory requirements for phone companies that support the few remaining pay phones.

Why it matters: It's another sign of the rapid decline of pre-cellphone era technology. You know the numbers of pay phones are seriously dwindling when the telecom regulator no longer feels the need to track transactions for them. The number of U.S. pay phones has declined to fewer than 100,000 from 2 million in 1997.

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Data: FCC; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Cincinnati Bell asked the FCC last month for a waiver to exempt it from filing the annual audits tracking pay phone transactions. According to FCC filings, the cost of Cincinnati Bell's audit is now about five times the amount of revenue it makes from its pay phones. Sprint also asked for a waiver.

What's next: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wants to waive the pay phone audit requirements for 2017 while the agency considers whether to eliminate them altogether.

Fun fact: The first pay phone was installed in New Haven, Conn., in June 1880, per the AT&T blog.

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Pope Francis' advice: No phones at the table

Pope Francis sends a message on a phone during an audience with altar servers at the Vatican in 2018. Photo: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Pope Francis urged us to talk to each other during meals instead of using our phones during his weekly Angelus address in St. Peter’s Square, per Reuters.

What he's saying: "I ask myself if you, in your family, know how to communicate or are you like those kids at meal tables where everyone is chatting on their mobile phone ... where there is silence like at a Mass but they don’t communicate?"

Go deeper: Phone addicts are the new drunk drivers

Keep ReadingArrowDec 30, 2019

The Sackler family withdrew billions from Purdue Pharma

Purdue Pharma headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, withdrew $10.7 billion from the company over the last dozen years, placing the money in trusts and overseas holding companies, according to an audit commissioned by Purdue and filed in bankruptcy court yesterday.

Why it matters: The revelation may reignite the debate over how much the Sacklers should be required to pay to resolve the thousands of lawsuits pending against Purdue for its role in the opioid epidemic, the New York Times reports. The family has offered to pay at least $3 billion in cash as part of a settlement, but some states have argued that the Sacklers should have to pay more.

Go deeper: New court documents show former Purdue Pharma chief's role in marketing OxyContin

Keep ReadingArrowDec 17, 2019

Consumer tech giant TCL isn't hiding its Chinese ties

Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

For years, China's TCL sold tons of TVs and phones in the U.S. under other brand labels, like Alcatel and RCA. These days, though, it's looking to make its own moniker into a household name here.

Why it matters: TCL's move comes amid threats from Washington to push at least some Chinese tech out of the U.S. market. And it marks a bit of global brand unity that contrasts with efforts companies like TikTok have made to distance themselves from their China connections.

Go deeperArrowJan 8, 2020