Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Odds and Ends

The FCC is considering a plan that would require wireless companies to let customers know when they are running up a bill that would go over their monthly limit for roaming charges or data use.

The initiative, outlined on Tuesday by Joel Gurin, chief of the F.C.C.’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, is intended to help consumers avoid what the commission calls “bill shock.”

The commission has received hundreds of complaints from consumers about receiving bills with unexpected charges, sometimes amounting to hundreds of dollars, Mr. Gurin said in a statement, adding that the charges are often caused by misunderstandings of contract terms.

Wireless carriers in Europe are required by law to send text messages to consumers when they are running up roaming charges or getting close to a set limit for data usage, Mr. Gurin said.

As someone who has experienced "bill shock," this seems like a good idea.
For more information about this plan, or to file a public comment on it, go to the FCC website.

And in other news:
Some lawmakers today are hearing about outdated standards that call for more men's bathrooms than women's bathrooms in federal buildings. Most federal buildings are at least 40 years old. Here's an excerpt from the testimony of Kathryn H. Anthony, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Architecture:

The problem is rooted in an era "where women were not as prevalent in the public realm and in the workforce as we are today," she'll say. "Until recently, most architects, contractors, engineers, building code officials, and clients were not concerned about this issue. They rarely contacted women about their restroom needs, women were rarely employed in these male-dominated professions, nor were they in a position to effect change."

With all of the huge problems Congress is facing, this may seem like a diversion, or a waste of time. It's a gender equality issue. It doesn't seem like a big deal to change these standards to reflect the changes that have taken place in the role of women in our workplaces and in our society.

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