Robotexts on the Rise, FCC Nets $103M from Auction Round, Comcast’s No Broadband Growth

As FCC fights robocalls, robotexts are on the rise.

Robotexts on the Rise, FCC Nets $103M from Auction Round, Comcast’s No Broadband Growth
Photo of Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast

August 1, 2022 – The Federal Communications Commission issued an alert Thursday warning consumers to the rising threat of robotexts.

The FCC’s Robocall Response Team reported an increase of consumer complaints reporting that text messages are being used by scammers to target American consumers.

Complaints about unwanted text messages have risen steadily in recent years, said the alert, from approximately 5,700 in 2019 to 8,500 in June of 2022. Some independent reports estimate billions of robotexts monthly, said the report.

The alert warned citizens to refrain from responding to messages or clicking on links. Scammers may target money, personal information, or confirmation that a number is active for use in future scams. “If you think a text might be legitimate, you should independently look up contact information and reach out directly to the company, government agency, or law enforcement,” the alert counseled.

The FCC is actively fighting against illegal robocalls. In October, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel proposed a rule to combat the rise of robotexts but the proposal remains pending before the full Commission.

FCC spectrum auction raises $103M in latest round

Nearly $103.5 million was raised in a single round of the FCC’s auction for slices of the 2.5 GHz band Friday.

The mid-band spectrum supports fixed and mobile 5G connections. Eighty-two companies qualified to bid in the auction, including AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.

Licenses to the spectrum are issued by county, with up to three licenses available per county. Auction 108 participants bid on specific licenses in a license area. Cache County, Utah, with a population of 113,000, had the most bids, with a first-round price of $30,000 and six providers competing for it.

There are approximately 8,000 county-level licenses up for bids with only 168 receiving no bids during the first round.

The FCC is currently working to adopt spectrum-sharing incentives to enable wireless deployment in rural and tribal communities. Experts have advocated for more carve-outs for unlicensed spectrum to tackle the growing demand for connections and relieve congestion on existing frequencies.

Comcast reports no broadband growth in Q2

Comcast reported Thursday that it has seen no net increase in broadband subscriptions during Q2, marking the first time the company has failed to grow its internet business each quarter.

Instead, Comcast reported a loss of 10,000 residential broadband customers and a gain of 10,000 business broadband subscribers, resulting in an even 32.16 million broadband subscribers.

Comcast was still able to increase its quarterly broadband revenue compared to Q2 2021 by 6.8 percent, to $6.1 billion, due to higher average prices.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said on the company’s earnings call that the loss resulted from competition against fiber networks and saturation of the market. He said, however, that he was optimistic about the company’s potential in broadband.

“Notwithstanding these industry and mostly macro related factors, we remain extremely confident,” he said. “We’ve spent decades investing and innovating to build a business that is well positioned to succeed in the environment we’re seeing and we certainly expect a return to residential broadband subscriber additions.”

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