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Overnight Tech: Emergency alerts, accessibility top FCC November agenda

THE LEDE: Three items, two pertaining to accessibility and another on wireless emergency alerts, will fill the agenda of the Federal Communication Commission's November open meeting.

The commissioners will vote on a notice of proposed rulemaking related to the wireless alert system that pushes warnings of weather emergencies and Amber Alerts to cell phones. The notice proposes making it easier for state and local authorities to send the messages, according to a blog post from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, as well as increasing the amount of information that can be included in the alerts.

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They will also consider an item broadening the scope of the agency's hearing aide compatibility rules to include technology beyond traditional cellular service.

"Individuals with hearing loss should not be relegated to specific services based on how such services are provided and deserve to have the same mobile communications options as other consumers," Wheeler said in the blog post.

Wheeler also said the item will "lay the groundwork for future improvements by calling on stakeholders to work collaboratively to develop a consensus plan for dramatically expanding the kinds of devices that Americans with hearing loss can use."

The third item would take "further steps to ensure that individuals who are blind or visually impaired can more easily access video programming on the increasing number of devices used to view video programming," Wheeler said.

NTIA GETS NEW DATA HUB: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration on Thursday also unveiled a new data hub where it will house all of its data and analysis on the Internet and computer use of Americans. The agency began collecting the information as part of the census more than two decades ago.

FEC WEBSITE GETTING SLOW ROLLOUT: The Federal Election Commission is testing out an early version of a new website that will eventually be the stop for journalists and the public looking for the campaign finance disclosures of politicians. "We're designing this site in phases. This allows us to launch new features faster than releasing a completely redesigned fec.gov," the test site reads.

CHARTER DEAL EXPECTED EARLY NEXT YEAR: The heads of Charter and Time Warner Cable said they expected their merger to be completed in the first quarter of 2016, according to The New York Times. The companies had previously predicted the merger would be approved by regulators before the end of the year, but delays at the Federal Communications Commission put off the start of the agency's review until last month. The FCC review is just past the 45-day mark on the unofficial 180-day shot clock. The merger also needs to win approval from the Justice Department.

WHILE THE COMPANY CONSIDERS SPECTRUM AUCTION: Executives also said on their earnings call that Charter is among the potential bidders in next year's broadcast incentive auction. "We're studying the auction," CEO Tom Rutledge said, according to FierceWireless. "But we are exploring it. We don't know how we'd finance it, or what our footprint would be. But we are thinking of the upcoming auction and what to do with it." He also reportedly noted that it was a potentially awkward situation because of the pending FCC decision on the Time Warner Cable merger.

HAS UBER TURNED US ALL INTO TERRIBLE CUSTOMERS?: That's essentially the question The Verge asks in an interesting feature posted Thursday. Its central argument is that customers, emboldened by the ability to rate the people servicing them through on-demand economy platforms, may have come to expect an unfair level of service. "You get pretty good at kissing ass just because you have to," an Uber driver told writer Josh Dzieza. "Uber and Lyft have created this monstrous brand of customer where they expect Ritz Carlton service at McDonald's prices."

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Apple has reportedly asked the Supreme Court to review a ruling that it conspired with publishers to raise the price of e-books.

Commerce Secretary Penny PritzkerPenny Sue PritzkerTrump transportation chief to join Biden for jobs event DeVos should ‘persist’ despite liberal opposition Indiana teachers hold sit-in to demand Young recuse himself from DeVos vote MORE said a new data-sharing agreement to allow digital information to flow between The U.S. and European Union could come "shortly."

Sixty-eight percent of U.S. adults now have a smartphone, while ownership of a number of other devices has dropped, according to a Pew Research survey released Thursday.

The CEO of FanDuel is calling for "industry-wide" regulation of the booming and controversial daily fantasy sports industry.

The Republican presidential debate hosted by CNBC on Wednesday night attracted fewer viewers than two earlier forums on CNN and Fox News.

 

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