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AT&T

AT&T Quietly Adds Charges To All Contract Cell Plans 338

guttentag writes "The Wall Street Journal is reporting that AT&T Mobility, the second-largest wireless carrier in the U.S., has added a new monthly administrative fee of 61 cents to the bills of all of its contract wireless lines as of May 1, a move that could bring in more than a half-billion dollars in annual revenue to the telecom giant. An AT&T spokeswoman said the fee covers 'certain expenses, such as interconnection and cell-site rents and maintenance.' The increased cost to consumers comes even though AT&T's growth in wireless revenue last year outpaced the costs to operate and support its wireless business. The company has talked of continuing to improve wireless profitability. Citigroup analyst Michael Rollins noted that the new administrative fee is a key component for accelerating revenue growth for the rest of the year. He said the fee should add 0.30 of a percentage point to AT&T's 2013 revenue growth; he predicts total top-line growth of about 1.5%. Normally, consumers could vote with their wallets by taking their business elsewhere. AT&T would be required to let customers out of their contracts without an early termination fee if it raised prices, but it is avoiding this by simply calling the increase a 'surcharge,' effectively forcing millions of people to either pay more money per month or pay the ETF."
United Kingdom

"Secure" Shorter .uk Internet Domain Proposed 87

another random user writes with an excerpt from the BBC about a new proposal to issue top level .uk domains, for a price: "The scheme would give businesses the chance to register www.name.uk as their web address. It would run alongside the current www.name.co.uk service. Applicants would have to prove they had a UK presence and pay a higher fee. A three-month consultation is under way. Some companies may oppose the move on the grounds they already face having to buy other new net addresses. Eleanor Bradley, Nominet's director of operations, stressed that the idea was 'not a money marking exercise' and that any additional earnings derived would be passed onto an independent trust to invest in improving Internet access and security."
Slashdot.org

Get Your 15 Years of Slashdot Shirt (For free, Depending) 146

We'll be sending a passel of shirts to the crowd-sourced parties that we hope you'll get to, and to any artists whose Slashdot logo suggestions we end up selecting. (There are nearly 30 parties planned so far, in places as far-flung as Latvia and Nigeria!) But starting today the limited edition Slashdot anniversary shirt is also available from our brethren and sistren at ThinkGeek (still, for now, serving the same corporate overlord as Slashdot). So if you can't land one of the swag ones (sorry!), you can still swathe yourself in the Slashdot livery, which isn't so different from the colors of the Vogon constructor fleet. We'll only turn 15 once, but a clever T-shirt is forever. Update: 09/21 17:12 GMT by T : If you want to come hang out with the folks who post the stories to Slashdot day-to-day, note that Unknown Lamer is hosting a party in Raleigh, NC, Soulskill and Samzenpus will both be in Ann Arbor, and timothy will be at parties (coffee shops are awesome!) in Houston and Austin.
Businesses

Whistleblower In Limbo After Reporting H-1B Visa Fraud At Infosys 276

McGruber writes "The New York Times has the sad story of Jack B. Palmer, an employee of Infosys, the giant Indian outsourcing firm. 17 months ago, Mr. Palmer made a quiet internal complaint that Infosys was committing visa fraud by bringing 'in Indian workers on short-term visitor visas, known as B-1, instead of longer-term temporary visas, known as H-1B, which are more costly and time-consuming to obtain.' Since making his complaint, Mr. Palmer 'has been harassed by superiors and co-workers, sidelined with no work assignment, shut out of the company's computers, denied bonuses and hounded by death threats.'"
Businesses

Xmarks May Not Be Dead After All 123

gatorfan sends word that Xmarks, which announced its upcoming closure a few days back, may not be so dead after all. The outcry from people willing to pay for the service was so loud that the company has now posted a pledge that users can sign if they are willing to pay for the service, and they say that they have fielded inquiries from several organizations who might be willing to buy the company's assets and keep the service going.
The Internet

DNSSEC and the Geopolitical Future of the Internet 70

synsynackack writes "The Register reports that the DNSSEC protocol could have some very interesting geopolitical implications, including erosion of the scope of state sovereign powers. The chairman of ICANN, Peter Dengate-Thrush, explained, 'We will have to handle the geo-political element of DNSSEC very carefully.' Experts also explained that split DNS and the DNSSEC protocol don't match very well; technically, it is possible for someone at the interface of the global Internet and a country-wide Internet to strip electronic certificates attached to data and repackage the data with a new one."
Government

Can We Legislate Past the H.264 Debate? 310

Midnight Warrior writes "We could solve the H.264 debate if a country's legislature were to mandate that any patents that contribute to an industry-recognized standard were unenforceable in the application of that standard. Ideally, each standard would also be required to have a 'reference design' that could be used without further licensing. This could also solve problems with a ton of other deeply entrenched areas like hard drives, DRAM, etc. RAND tries to solve this strictly within industry, but both the presence of submarine patents and the low bar required to obtain a patent have made an obvious mess. Individual companies also use patent portfolios to set up mutually assured destruction. I'm not convinced that industry can solve this mess that government created. But I'm not stupid; this clearly has a broad ripple effect. Are there non-computer industries where this would be fatal? What if the patents were unenforceable only if the standard had a trademark and the implementer was compliant at the time of 'infringement'? Then, the patents could still be indirectly licensed, but it would force strict adherence to standards and would require the patent holders to fund the trademark group to defend it to the end. In the US model, of course."
Patents

USPTO Plans Could Kill Small Business Innovation 175

bizwriter writes "If protecting inventions is at the heart of high tech competitiveness, plans afoot at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will critically wound small companies. The agency's notorious 750,000 patent application backlog has long been the subject of heavy criticism. One of the key tools the USPTO wants to use is to raise fees so high as to directly reduce 40 percent of the backlog. That would mean setting filing and maintenance rates so high as to make it economically difficult, if not impossible, for many small companies to adequately protect their innovations, leaving large corporations even more in control of technology than they are now."

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